The oldest lighthouse in South Australia is set to host the newest tourism destination on Kangaroo Island, with work commencing on the redesign and roll out of the Cape Willoughby visitor precinct.
The $5 million project will be jointly funded by the State and Commonwealth Government to support and rejuvenate Kangaroo Island’s visitor economy and the redesign has been made possible with the purchase of an additional eight hectares of former private land.
Located in Cape Willoughby Conservation Park, the redesign will include upgrades to heritage accommodation and day visitor facilities, a café and visitor centre, new walking trails and a spectacular cantilever viewing platform overlooking ‘Devil’s Kitchen’.
The new viewing platform will be set above a 10-metre chasm in the ironstone and granite cliffs where waves break over the rocks below and provide visitors with spectacular coastal views.
The upgrade will help the island’s economy to recover, following the devastating bushfires and the ongoing impacts of COVID-19.
Cape Willoughby is located on the most easterly point of Kangaroo Island, offering stunning views of Backstairs Passage and towards the Fleurieu coastline. The upgrade of the accommodation, day visitor precinct and the construction of a viewing platform will transform the precinct into a must-see destination for the eastern end of the island.
A focus of the upgrade will be ensuring the precinct offers a contemporary heritage experience in line with the Heritage Tourism Strategy which was launched earlier this year.
Cape Willoughby is a very unique and special part of South Australia’s heritage and the Kangaroo Island landscape and has the potential to bring a unique element to visitor experiences.
The upgrades at Cape Willoughby will encourage visitors to stay longer and explore further by increasing the experiences offered outside of the more popular destinations on the island.
It strengthens the tourism offering on Kangaroo Island, particularly with the announcement earlier this year of the rebuild of Flinders Chase National Park visitor centre at a new location, which will result in a world-class facility that enhances the visitor experience on the island’s western end.
It will also create new jobs on the Island, with up to 33 jobs created from the design and construction phase through to ongoing delivery of café and accommodation services.
Part of the funding would be also be used to kick start a process to deliver a multi-day trail from Penneshaw to Cape Willoughby, which would be done in partnership with the Tourism Industry Council South Australia Chief Executive Officer Shaun de Bruyn said it was exciting to see investment in the Cape Willoughby precinct to create another iconic experience on Kangaroo Island.
“Kangaroo Island is one of the world’s most beautiful destinations with its scenic landscapes, beaches and wildlife experiences,” Mr de Bruyn said.
“Having another iconic site to visit on the island will help to ensure more people will spend additional time when they visit, to experience the full range of experiences and products across the island.
“It’ll mean visitors have a high-quality experience by being able to access a wider range of experiences.
“It’ll also help to maximise the economic outcomes and ultimately employment for locals, which is particularly important as part of the island’s recovery from last summer’s bushfires and the ongoing effects of COVID-19.”
Kangaroo Island Mayor Michael Pengilly said it was a huge positive for funding to be secured for the heritage precinct on Dudley Peninsula.
“It’s another big step forward for tourism on the island,” Mr Pengilly said.
“Looking forward, this investment is going to set up the area for the future, and continue to drive a more diverse range of experiences for visitors and locals, which in turn will help the Dudley Peninsula economy, along with the rest of the island.
“We are very grateful to the Federal and State Government for this investment.”
The Australian Government is contributing $4 million to the construction of the new visitor precinct at Cape Willoughby through the Regional Recovery Partnerships initiative, with the South Australian Government committing a further $1m.