Conservation Ecology Centre
This immersive experience in south-western Victoria takes a walk on the wild side – and thanks to considered design, it’s become a must-visit eco-tourism destination.
Located within a 19-hectare property on the Great Ocean Road, 6kms from Apollo Bay, Wildlife Wonders is a not-for-profit project by the Conservation Ecology Centre (CEC) that provides guided site tours through restored natural habitats along an 850m walking track.
Tract was engaged to work on the Landscape Architecture, Urban Design and associated infrastructure, including a visitor arrivals centre, car parking, and a cat-proof, fox- proof fencing.
The site itself presented several challenges from a design and planning perspective, including erosion, bushfires, the coastal landscape, and flora and fauna considerations. Our Planning team worked with consultants to address each challenge and obtain the planning approvals for the project.
As part of the Stage 1 works, our Landscape team designed an accessible ‘Discovery Trail’’ which winds through a steep gully on the site, allowing visitors to safely experience the remnant woodland and undertake guided tours by the Wildlife Wonders staff.
A series of curved suspended boardwalks were constructed, as well as designated rest stops to let visitors take in the dramatic views.
Tract also provided ongoing input into the design and layout of the future visitor centre, which will become the architectural focal point of the site.
CEC will invest all surplus generated by this venture into conservation of the Otways’ ecosystems. Their business model will provide a reliable and sustainable funding stream that will increase capacity to employ qualified ecologists to undertake conservation projects. Awarded a Silver Medal at the 2021 Victorian Tourism Awards, the project has been recognised for its significant addition to Victoria’s tourism offering and the visitor economy of the Great Ocean Road.