Kennett River Tourism Infrastructure Improvements

  • Project typeKennett River Tourism Infrastructure Improvements
  • Project value$1.9M in Australian Government funding
  • Completion Date01 March 2023


A Geelong City Deal Project

The Kennett River Tourism Infrastructure Improvements project is an exciting three year project funded by the Australian Government for $1.9 million as part of the Geelong City Deal project which is a 10-year revitalisation plan for Geelong and the Great Ocean Road.

The proposed infrastructure upgrades include:

  • a new permanent public toilet facility and associated onsite wastewater treatment plant
  • road and parking improvements at the entrance to Kennett River

The Great Ocean Road (GOR) attracts more than 5.5 million visitors per year. Kennett River is a small coastal hamlet situated between Lorne and Apollo Bay. It has become known as a popular tourist stop to experience Australian wildlife such as koalas and native birds.

The large groups of international tourists and tour buses of over 1000 visitors per day (pre-Covid) was putting intense pressure on this small community and its infrastructure.  

Project Development

Colac Otway Shire Council finalised the Tourism Parking and Traffic Strategy for Kennett River on behalf of the community. This strategy sought to manage tourism parking and traffic infrastructure proactively by identifying:

  • the capacity of town to manage increased tourist numbers, and
  • infrastructure priorities to improve the tourist and resident experience, as well as ensure ongoing public safety. 

Community and stakeholder consultation has occurred over a number of years to achieve the best possible outcome for the project.

The engagement demonstrated there is general agreement for the need for well-located public amenities, safe pedestrian areas, and clear management of different types of vehicles in the town. 

Project Deliverables

  • A new public toilet facility and wastewater treatment facility:

A new well-located public toilet is required for easy access by visitors. The onsite wastewater treatment facility is required to manage wastewater in this environmentally sensitive area.

  • New parking and traffic management infrastructure:

New parking and traffic management infrastructure is required including new signage, pedestrian paths, road sealing/lining and vehicle parking. The improvements will disallow large coaches from entering the local road network in Kennett River and will provide dedicated parking for small tour buses to support sustainable tourism outcomes. These improvements will enhance pedestrian safety and improve the visitor experience.

With a budget of $1.9 million the project will provide:

  • road and parking improvements - $1,200,000
  • a new public toilet facility - $300,000
  • a new wastewater treatment plant for the public toilet facility - $400,000

Project Plan 

The proposed Kennett River Tourism Infrastructure Improvements will go through four phases of project management, including (1) Concept Development, (2) Planning and Detailed Design (3) Construction and (4) Completion.

Concept Development (Phase 1) commenced in June 2020 and has been informed by the Council strategy and community engagement. This phase is now complete.

The project is going through a Planning and Detailed Design phase where the works will be costed and relevant permits and Authority approvals sought for a project that is located on the coast in an environmentally and culturally sensitive area.

Following approvals, construction will begin approximately mid 2022 with an expected completion date of late 2022 for the public toilet and March 2023 for the roads and carpark works.

Community and Stakeholder Engagement

Engagement with key stakeholders has commenced with the City Deal Team reporting monthly to a Community Reference Group and Project Control Group. These two groups provide guidance and direction to the Project Management Team.

The City Deal Team is located at the Colac Otway Shire Council Nelson Street office and are available to chat about these projects.

If you wish to be kept informed about the project, you are encouraged to complete the +SUBSCRIBE section on this website. That way you can be updated more regularly on the project progress via email.

Find a link to the latest project update under the Project Updates section on this page.

Geelong City Deal Objectives

The Geelong and Great Ocean Road City Deal aims to:

  • support growth in the visitor economy through strengthening Geelong and the Great Ocean Road region as leading tourism destinations
  • drive continued economic diversification and jobs growth, supporting innovation and building on emerging strengths for Geelong and the Great Ocean Road region. 

Document Library

  • Project Engagement

Kennett River Community Survey Key Findings - April 2021(PDF, 2MB)

  • Project Designs

Road & Parking Preliminary Detailed Design Plans - Rev C(PDF, 4MB)

Wastewater Treatment Plant Design - DWC final(PDF, 16MB)

  • Related Documents

Kennett River Masterplan (Draft - July 2021)(PDF, 13MB)

Project Negotiables - Kennett River Tourism Infrastructure Improvements(PDF, 309KB)

Project Scope - Kennett River Tourism Infrastructure Improvements(PDF, 449KB)


For information on all Geelong City Deal projects in Colac Otway Shire, return to the main page


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