A coastal town three hours north of Sydney has become so popular this holiday season, its local council is asking tourists to leave.
Seal Rocks, on the NSW mid north coast, has a tiny population of just 56 people but has emerged as a popular holiday destination for Sydneysiders.
The small seaside town can only be accessed through one road and has just one small general store and post office.
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Famed for its stunning beaches and slower paced lifestyle, the town has attracted a substantial influx of tourists during the year’s hotter months.
But now, MidCoast Council has warned tourists to avoid the sleepy town in a bid to ease traffic and emergency access hazards concerns.
“Please consider exploring other parts of our region over the coming days, as the amount of people in Seal Rocks is causing traffic and emergency access hazards,” MidCoast Council said in a social media post.
“Council staff are currently out and about in the area moving people on.”
MidCoast Councils director of liveable communities, Paul De Szell, said traffic congestion from the influx of tourists was causing significant problems for the town.
“We had issues particularly last year where we were so congested we had a gridlock situation,” Mr De Szell told the ABC.
“We couldn‘t get emergency vehicles in there, we couldn’t get waste trucks in there, and we don’t want it to escalate to that point again.”
Kimberley Hannaford is a worker at the town’s only store and has deep concerns about the condition of the town’s only accessible road.
“The road is the only road in and out of town,” she told the ABC.
“It is barely wide enough for two cars to pass at one time anyway, and now we‘ve got people parking along the foreshore.
“My parents are 80 and they‘re basically just hiding away in the house, they don’t go out because there’s just too many people around.”
The social media announcement by the MidCoast Council has split the internet.
Several were shocked at the local council’s decision to tell tourists to steer clear from a holiday destination, while others welcomed the announcement and critiqued the council‘s recent tourism campaign promoting the region despite infrastructure issues.
One user commented: “A tourist region telling people not to go there?”
Meanwhile, a Seal Rocks local in support of the council’s announcement said “We need this warning every day!!!”
Another user said: “Guess that’s hat happens when you promote the Barrington Coast but don’t have the amenities or infrastructure to sustain it.”