No more selfies

  

wedding cake rock travel aus

The Wedding Cake Rock formation in the Royal National Park is one of the most beloved places to take a selfie in Australia. From handstands, selfies and couple shots, the peculiar land formation has become a popular setting to snap a daring photo.

Unfortunately, there are visible fractures observed in the formation. Therefore, the country's National Parks and Wildlife Service has warned visitors to stay away from the beloved attraction located along Sydney's Royal Coast Walk.
A recently completed geotechnical assessment of the formation's condition shows that the rock is "precariously balancing on the edge of the cliff and severely undercut," according to an NPWS news release. Accordingly, the entire rock formation could collapse anytime within a decade.
"We have now received the results and the report is clear -- standing on the rock platform risks a truly tragic outcome," said Gary Dunnett of the NPWS in New South Wales.
"We will now take action to create a new and safer way to allows visitors to take in the beauty of the site without compromising their safety," said Dunnett.
"This will likely mean a new viewing platform further back from the edge that will allow people to safely take those incredible shots of the rock formation that have become internationally recognizable. This is not about closing the site, it is about making it a safe place to visit and enjoy the view."
People have taken to social media and have linked the closure to the recent interest of the rock, encouraging daredevils to take risky photos near the edge. In 2014, a 23-year-old university student fell to his death from the rock. According to the Sydney Morning Herald "he was believed to be hanging from the edge when the soft rock crumbled."
According to park officials, the fractures are part of a natural process; however, they emphasize that visitors shouldn't go near cliff edges.
"The fractures on the rock could date back hundreds and potentially thousands of years," a spokesperson for the New South Wales Office of Environment and Heritage stated. “It's part of the normal process of rocks being worn over time by the elements and a result of the rock geology. All visitors to national parks or other coastal headlands are warned to stay well away from cliff edges."
Despite the warning messages, visitors to the Royal National Park, south of Sydney, are continuing to risk their lives for an Instagram worthy photo. However, authorities have had enough. Therefore, from now on, park rangers will have the authority to issue on-the-spot fines of at least $300 for sightseers who ignore the warning signs, jump the fence and risk their lives for a picture.
Regional manager of Metro Southwest National Parks and Wildlife Service, Gary Dunnett, said daredevils believe the rock to be solid and safe, but the reality is that the formation is at great risk of crumbling into the sea below.
“People look at this pure white rock, and they think it's as stable as concrete,” Mr Dunnett said. “But the white appearance is because oxides and other contaminants that are usually in the stone matrix are bleached out of it, and the result is that the rock is much more fragile than other coastal cliff lines.”
He continued: “People who stand on the edge of any rock or cliff face are putting themselves at peril. But Wedding Cake Rock could collapse when people are standing many metres from the edge.”
Mr Dunnett said they hoped fines will deter people from risking their lives.
“We put in warning signs, and even a new solid fence two months ago. But because it's so sturdy, people are using it to climb over and access the rock,” he said.
“We have seen on social media, people are posing next to the warning signs before they hop over the fence and take a photo on the edge. We will issue penalty notices of $300 for people who ignore the signage. Our expectation is that by issuing an amount of penalty notices, we are hoping to send a shock wave through social media, which is the same medium that started attracting people getting these photos in the first place.
“But we don't want to discourage people from visiting.”

 

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