OPINION: Signage not up to scratch

DEAR News Of The Area,

AS a resident of Port Stephens, I am writing to express my dismay at the lack of adequate signage for visitors to our facilities and natural wonders, especially on the road approaches and at the location of entrances to the Tomaree Summit Walk and the Tomaree Coastal Walk which draw over 200,000 visitors per year.

Having grown up in Lake Macquarie, I am immensely proud of the Hunter region and all that it has to offer.

This pride has been heightened by my overseas studies in ecology and extensive travels covering some 30 amazing national parks.

However, when it comes to the insignificant signage (or total lack of it) here on the approaches to Tomaree Headland and at its base, I am sorry to say that Tomaree Headland does not make visitors feel especially welcome!

The signage is well below international standards.

Why is there not signage in keeping with this incredible Headland area, its trails, and road access to its 6.7-million-dollar Tomaree Coastal Walk?

Even the entrance to the popular five-minute walk over a sandhill to Zenith Beach is hidden by parked cars; all these matters have led to many complaints by frustrated tourists.

One morning recently I witnessed huge numbers of visitors starting their visit to Tomaree Headland – a high proportion could not see where the walks start!

Let alone: ‘Where is a toilet?, ‘Where do we pay to park?, and ‘How long will we need for the hike to the Summit and back?’

We need large and informative signs, above head-height, parked vehicles and turning traffic, well placed for all to see, as numerous frustrated visitors have pointed out.

There are excellent large head-high signs in a Soldiers Point park regarding wading birds, including one that flies non-stop from Alaska to be here: there is no such signage at Tomaree Headland to equal it in helping our valuable national and international visitors feel welcome and fully supported for a great experience.

That surely is a basic tourism oversight that needs to be speedily corrected by all relevant authorities in view of the volume of traffic and the great potential economic benefit to our region.

I look forward to your positive responses in acting to correct this situation to make our visitors welcome and ensure they have a rewarding experience.

Reginald ROBERTS PhD,
Retired insect ecologist.

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