Family defies waterfalls’ closure for special visit

Apollo Bay’s Sue McKenzie, second from left, walked to closed tourist attraction Marriner’s Falls on the closed track with her daughter Melinda, husband Brian and son Alistair. Mrs McKenzie will protest on Thursday for Parks Victoria to reopen the track to the waterfall.

Apollo Bay’s Sue McKenzie, second from left, walked to closed tourist attraction Marriner’s Falls on the closed track with her daughter Melinda, husband Brian and son Alistair. Mrs McKenzie will protest on Thursday for Parks Victoria to reopen the track to the waterfall.

AN APOLLO BAY woman with cancer walked to Marriner’s Falls to create a lasting memory for her family this year.

Otway Ranges Walking Tracks Association treasurer Sue McKenzie said after she received a secondary melanoma diagnosis in December she wanted to walk to the waterfalls despite the track’s closure for the past three years.

Mrs McKenzie said the falls were one of her favourite destinations in the Otways and she would attend a protest tomorrow to urge Parks Victoria to reopen the tourist destination.

“It’s one of the only walks like it that was close to Apollo Bay, it’s a special place to me, it’s the place I go to in my mind to make me feel better,” she said.

“I wanted to go there with my family and do the walk, we filmed the whole walk so my kids could look back on it later and remember it.”

A Parks Victoria spokesman told the Colac Herald the organisation shut the falls in 2011 due to significant safety concerns from trees regularly falling.

The spokesman said almost 60 trees had fallen across the track since its closure.

Mrs McKenzie said that after her walk in May, she believed it wouldn’t take much work for the track to reopen.

“I think it would be pushing it to say there were eight trees that we had to climb around, there certainly wasn’t any that were too big,” she said.

Apollo Bay Chamber of Commerce and Tourism president Nick Polgeest said he didn’t understand why the falls should remain closed.

“Marriner’s Falls is one of the highlights in Apollo Bay and I’m really angry about Parks Victoria not making a decision and taking the easy way out just because there’s a danger there,” Mr Polgeest said.

“There’s danger when crossing the road and driving, I just hoped common sense would prevail,” he said.

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