Mackenzie Falls Gorge Trail
An awarding winning landscape design project; moulding innovation with a back-to-basics approach to deliver a bold design solution and enhanced visitor experience for one of Australia’s largest waterfalls.
The award-winning MacKenzie Falls Gorge Trail project moulds innovation with a back-to-basics approach to deliver a bold design solution and enhanced visitor experience for one of Australia’s largest waterfalls, located within the Grampians National Park, Victoria.
hansen partnership was engaged by Parks Victoria to prepare a concept plan for the MacKenzie Falls Precinct under their flood recovery program after floods caused the destruction of a key footbridge in early 2012.
We worked closely with Parks Victoria staff to gain an appreciation of the natural setting close to the cascading waterfall within the reserve. The remoteness of the site and lack of base data meant we had to rely on more basic, hands-on techniques such on-site visual mapping and photo assessment, which in turn contributed to the delivery of a highly site-specific response.
Our design included the realignment of the MacKenzie Falls Trail Path and a new footbridge crossing the MacKenzie River. The new trail traverses the river through steep and challenging terrain, setting up dramatic spatial sequences that better connect people to the landscape. The path alignment identified a more appropriate and interesting route and features a newly aligned footbridge and expanded mesh walkways that are better integrated with the natural surroundings. The trail’s new steel bridges and stairs are bolted into the rock face, providing robust infrastructure with the ability to withstand flooding and fires – both common in the Grampians National Park.
hansen’s sensitive design approach has resulted in the delivery of a sound framework for the ongoing management of the area, balancing increased visitor traffic with conservation and preservation requirements.
Construction of the new trail and footbridge was completed in mid-2013. In late 2014, the success of our approach and results was recognised at Australian Institute of Landscape Architecture (AILA) Victoria Awards, with the project taking home both Design Award and the People’s Choice Award.
On awarding the honours, the AILA judges said, “The reconstruction of the MacKenzie Falls trail in Victoria’s Grampians National Park introduces an entirely new and enhanced visitor experience to this spectacular natural landscape… hansen partnership is to be commended for this bold yet highly site-specific intervention.”
MacKenzie Falls Gorge Trail has also been awarded:
Best in Category – Architectural Design
2015 Premier’s Design Award
Finalist: Landscape Award
2015 World Architecture News Awards
Architectural Design: Urban Design & Public Spaces
2015 Good Design Awards
photo credits: Andrew Lloyd