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Daring cantilevered lookout opens on Western Australia’s Southern Ocean coast
A daring cantilevered lookout and see-through platform has opened at The Gap and Natural Bridge near Albany in Western Australia.
Delivered as part of a $6.1 million upgrade of facilities in Torndirrup National Park, the site in Torndirrup National Park now has two accessible lookouts and new paths, picnic areas, signage and car parking.
The centrepiece of the upgrade is the cantilevered stainless steel lookout situated almost 40 metres above the ocean and extending 10 metres out from the cliff face, offering incredible views over the ocean.
Funded by the Western Australian Government's Royalties for Regions program and the Department of Parks and Wildlife, the project aims to improve visitors’ experiences and safety at the landmark Southern Ocean lookout.
The project to upgrade visitor access and facilities was originally expected to be completed last June. However contractors, BCG Construction, faced challenges fabricating the lookout's stainless steel components.
Western Australian Environment Minister Albert Jacob said there were several reasons why the overhaul of The Gap and Natural Bridge walkways and platforms took longer than expected, including adverse weather conditions, delays in importing stainless steel from Sweden and the sophisticated nature of the project.
He explained “obviously we wanted to get it done as quickly as we could, but it is a highly specialised job.
"This is the first time that we have gone down the path of using this specialised form of steel; the steel had to come from Sweden and it is highly technical in its nature to construct and weld."
Minister Jacob now expects that the new facilities will increase the popularity of The Gap and Natural Bridge as a major tourist attraction in the region.
With the site currently attracting 210,000 visits a year, Minister Jacob added “I would expect in years to come for that to increase significantly," he said.
"In the Albany area, these facilities join several other eco-tourism experiences, such as the Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk in Walpole-Nornalup National Park.
"I would compare it in experience to the Tree Top Walk; it certainly is a lot more affordable for tourists.
"It suspends you up to 40 metres above the ocean, just like the Tree Top Walk suspends you up to 40 metres in the tree top canopy."
Phil Cox, General Manager of the Discovery Bay Tourism Experience, which runs the whaling station and the Botanic Garden of Australian plants, said improvements at The Gap and Natural Bridge have brought the facilities up to world-class standards.
Cox told the ABC “when you look at it and see what they had to do to get this project up and running, you can understand (the delay).
"We know that a lot of people came over this way and were very disappointed to see it closed; they had come to the whaling station and let us know.”
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19th January 2015 - NATIONAL ANZAC CENTRE IN ALBANY NAMED ONE OF THE WORLD’S TOP ATTRACTIONS
11th February 2011 - WESTERN AUSTRALIA’S BIGGEST SHOW CAVE REOPENS
2nd October 2010 - $20 MILLION BOOST FOR CONSERVATION AND NATURE-BASED TOURISM IN WA
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