New and improved visitor infrastructure is coming to Murujuga National Park.
Murujuga National Park is Western Australia’s first jointly managed national park. It is jointly managed by the Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation (representing the five traditional owner groups) and the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions. It’s also home to one of the largest and most diverse collections of rock art in the world and is a popular destination for the local community and tourists.
To make it safer and easier for visitors to enjoy the natural beauty and cultural richness of Murujuga National Park, a new, six-kilometre, two lane, sealed road, from the existing bitumen road servicing Withnell Bay to Conzinc Bay is set to be delivered. Once complete, the road, with pullovers and car parks along the alignment, will take visitors to some of the best beaches in Karratha, with two, new day-use areas providing shade, seating, barbeques, toilets, and interpretive signage.
Latest news and next steps
Since late 2022, changes at the ‘jump up’ have reduced the risk of damage to rock art from potential rock-falls. We have also been able to conduct a prescribed burn in the national park, which was essential in managing fuel loads but has also assisted in undertaking detailed heritage surveys. We also completed geotechnical investigations and some detailed biodiversity surveys.
The journey ahead, from late 2023 onwards, requires State and Federal approvals to be obtained and the final road design to be completed before construction can begin. The next steps are:
- Finalise road design with project partners
- Refer proposal to the Environmental Protection Authority for assessment under the Environmental Protection Act 1986
- Submit a Section 18 to the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage for assessment under the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972
- Refer proposal to the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water for assessment under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999
What is the Murujuga National Park access road and day use areas project?
The project includes the design and construction of a new, six-kilometre, sealed two-lane road through to the proposed location of the Tourism Precinct at Conzinc Bay, supporting pullovers and car parks along the alignment, as well as secondary access roads, viewing platforms and car parks servicing two, new day-use areas, containing shade, seating, toilets, BBQ’s and interpretive signage – currently identified as the northern day-use area and the southern day-use area.
Why are these works in the national park important?
Construction of the Murujuga National Park access road will provide critical access to the northern Burrup to facilitate the sharing of Aboriginal culture, and tourism projects. The new road will provide a main entry point to the Murujuga National Park and will facilitate 2WD drive access to Conzinc Bay, opening up access to picturesque beaches for both locals and visitors.
The road is being designed to ensure the values of the park, including the unique petroglyphs, are being protected.
How long with the project take?
The construction phase of the project is expected to take 12 to 18 months, during this time, parts of the national park will need to be closed to visitors to provide safe access for work crews and machinery. Visit alerts.dbca.wa.gov.au for updates on park closures.
Will I still be able to access the park during construction?
Although a temporary closure of the northern portion of Murujuga National Park is currently in place, the community will continue to have access to the beach boat launch at Withnell Bay with the exception of a short period of time while improvements to the adjacent car park are undertaken. Visit alerts.dbca.wa.gov.au to stay up to date on park closures.
Why is a section of the national park closed?
In November 2022, DBCA and MAC temporarily closed 4WD access north of Withnell Bay to facilitate the following:
- Urgent remediation of the eroded hillside adjacent to the ‘Jump-up’ to prevent damage to significant rock art;
- Detailed geotechnical, heritage, and environmental investigations including turtle and avi-fauna surveys in support of completing the detailed design for the $27.3 million National Park access road and day-use areas;
- Weed management and rehabilitation of the coastal dunes which have been severely degraded due to inappropriate 4WD activity; and
- The construction of the $27.3 million National Park access road and day-use areas.
What consultation has been carried out?
A draft amendment of the Murujuga National Park Management Plan 2013 was released for a two-month public submission period which closed on 8 April 2022. A total of nine submissions were received. The purpose of the amendment was to better facilitate visitor opportunities and public access.
Consultation with key stakeholders including traditional owners and custodians, industry, and the broader community has been ongoing since 2019.
Will I be able to go camping in these parts of the national park once the project is completed?
Camping is not permitted in Murujuga National Park, however, the proposed Murujuga Tourism Precinct will include accommodation as well as a Living Knowledge Centre.
Can I bring my dog to this part of the national park?
No dogs, or other pets, are allowed into the national park. Dogs are allowed at the nearby Hearson’s Cove.
Will these works impact petroglyphs in the park?
In consultation with traditional owners, MAC has carried out extensive heritage surveys along the Burrup Peninsula and the Dampier Archipelago to ensure impacts to the area’s unique petroglyphs are avoided.
Will this impact the World Heritage nomination?
No, the National Park access road and day-use area project will help protect and promote the extraordinary cultural and natural values of Murujuga through the provision of well-designed, high-quality infrastructure.
Why has it taken so long for this road project to commence?
This is a significant project that has required extensive investigations and planning to ensure the protection of cultural and biodiversity values within the park. Multiple surveys have been undertaken by the Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation including surveys of the flora, archaeology, and Aboriginal heritage.
Will there be a boat launch at Conzinc Bay?
Boat launching will not be available within Conzinc Bay but will continue to be available from the beach at Withnell Bay. A dedicated anchorage is planned at Conzinc Bay as part of the proposed Murujuga Tourism Precinct.