Many tourists who visit Wedding Cake Rock upload a coveted photo to social media. (Instagram)
NSW rangers are so overwhelmed with the number of tourists risking their lives to take social media snaps at one of Sydney’s most famous photo spots that they have called in the police to help them.
NSW Parks and Wildlife (NPWS) confirmed NSW Police have been assisting them with “site compliance” at Wedding Cake Rock, a popular tourist spot which has become swamped with people attempting to take the perfect shot for social media sites such as Instagram.
The site at Wedding Cake Rock is protected by a 1.6-metre-high fence, erected in 2016 in an attempt to prevent tourists from standing on the rock.
A 2015 geotechnical report found the rock could collapse at any time “without warning” into the sea 50 metres below.
In March 2016, NPWS introduced fines of “up to $3,300” for anyone caught by rangers climbing the fence and since then, it has issued 13 fines to people ignoring the signage and scaling the fence.
It did not reveal the value of the issued fines but said it had also issued “well over 100” warnings to people ignoring the signs.
Signage often ignored
However, tourists continually ignore the threat of the fines, with thousands of photos uploaded to Instagram under the Wedding Cake Rock hashtag since the legislation was introduced.
Most appear to have scaled the fence.
A NPWS spokesperson said it was one of the reasons NSW Police had been called in to help.
“It is extremely difficult to try to regulate this behaviour when people are intent on ignoring the signage, avoiding detection and intentionally going over the fence,” the spokesperson said.
“The warning signage at Wedding Cake Rock, and the need to climb a 1.6-metre-high fence, makes it impossible for people to be unaware of the extreme danger which is why [we are] appealing for those visitors to reconsider their choices when visiting this location.
“People are making a well-informed decision to put themselves at extreme risk when they ignore the barrier.”
The dangers of the rock
The 2015 geotechnical report found that the cliff’s edges, or the entire formation, could collapse at any time.
A French tourist fell to his death at the site in 2014 when part of the cliff crumbled underneath him.
The following year, two men had to be winched to safety from a ledge after falling.
The area became popular with tourists in 2015 after images of people posing on the cliff top began appearing on social media.
NPWS said it was currently reviewing options for the site “in direct response to continued risk-taking visitor behaviour”.
Are the likes worth it?
Rangers from NSW Parks and Wildlife Service are fining people up to $3,300 for climbing onto the rock. (Instagram)
The reliance on NSW Police to help with compliance at Wedding Cake Rock follows a spate of incidents in NSW involving tourists injuring themselves attempting to take photos at dangerous locations.
Last week 19-year-old Gavin Paul Zimmerman, from the US state of Utah, slipped while taking photos at Cape Solander in the Sydney suburb of Kurnell.
In Western Australia, a 20-year-old man died while attempting to take a picture at a notorious cliff face, known as The Gap, near Albany in May.