The Tasmanian National Parks Association commends the Hobart City Council for now considering Halls Saddle (the intersection of Huon Road and Chimney Pot Hill Road to Ridgeway) as a location for a kunanyi/Mt Wellington visitor centre. The proposed site is not the saddle itself but the adjacent former quarry which provides excellent views of the mountain and far more space for a visitor centre and car parking than could possibly be provided at The Springs (the site previously considered). We hope this represents a permanent acknowledgement that The Springs simply cannot accommodate much more infrastructure than is already there, although a major revamp is clearly long overdue.
However, kunanyi’s immediate problem is not the absence of a visitor centre, it is the capacity of the mountain road, both traffic volumes and the amount of parking available. It is apparent to any regular visitor that the road’s limits are regularly being reached, if not exceeded, despite greatly improved traffic management by HCC staff and the introduction of the shuttle bus service. The top priority must be to address future access to the mountain. An obvious solution, which would preserve the character of the mountain and could be implemented quickly and relatively cheaply, is to restrict the number of private cars that can be on the mountain road at any one time while simultaneously increasing the capacity of the shuttle bus service to cater for the majority of visitors.