Camping plan unveiled for historic quarantine station

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Campsite proposed for Point Nepean National Park
Campsite proposed for Point Nepean National Park will use existing buildings and car park. PIC: Herald-Sun

Camping could soon be allowed at an historic quarantine station in a remote Mornington Peninsula park.

The Herald-Sun reports that Parks Victoria has applied to Heritage Victoria for a permit to develop a ‘low impact campsite’ in sand dunes within Point Nepean National Park at Portsea.

This would reportedly be the first time camping was allowed in the park, which includes the heritage listed Point Nepean defence and quarantine precinct.

The newspaper says the plan has two stages with the first campground flagged for Burgess Park on the foreshore of Ticonderoga Bay. Existing buildings which form part of the quarantine precinct would be transformed into bathing and cooking areas for campers.

The Herald-Sun reports that campers would only be allowed to use tents and their vehicles would be left at an existing car park nearby

The second stage, which is not included in the permit application, would be developed at the nearby Moonah Woodland and repurpose the old mortuary and administration buildings.

According to the permit application, Parks Victoria would manage the first site for three years and then appoint an external operator. The second stage would be rolled out when funding was available.

Dolphin Research Institute director Jeff Weir, who has run education programs in the park since the 1970s, told the Herald-Sun that encouraging more people into the ‘unique and special’ site would help keep it safe.

“If we want people to have empathy for our coastal environments we have to let them experience them first hand,” he told the paper. “This plan sounds like a good fit … it’s a magical place and I imagine that the camping spots would be very highly sought after if it goes ahead.”

The camping proposal was included in a master plan developed for the park in 2017.

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