Frankston beach looking towards Olivers Hill. Photo: Gary Sissons
What would bring more visitors to Frankston? Does the city need an iconic attraction, perhaps several big attractions? What would they be? Do we already have them? These and related questions will be asked of Frankton residents in coming weeks. A survey is being conducted by leading advocacy group the Committee for Greater Frankston. It can be accessed at www.c4gf.com.au
The London zip-line ride Zip Now is one of the world’s fastest. It opened in June 2019.
Frankston City Council figures show tourism is worth $305 million annually to the municipality and supports almost 2000 direct and indirect jobs (pre-COVID). Committee CEO Ginevra Hosking said: “Tourism and related hospitality businesses are a big employer of young people, many of whom find their first job in the sector and forge successful careers.”
Ms Hosking said the catalyst for the survey was the recent Top Tourism Town Awards, conducted by Victoria Tourism Industry Council. “There were 22 finalists and Frankston made the top six, a wonderful effort. Ballarat won gold, Lakes Entrance silver and Bendigo bronze. Ballarat is famous for Sovereign Hill, the ‘living museum’ of the gold mining era; Lakes Entrance is known for boating and water sports on the Gippsland Lakes; and Bendigo for its colonial city centre, goldmining-era museums, art galleries and potteries. On the Mornington Peninsula, visitors swim with dolphins, soak in the hot springs or visit a winery restaurant.
“Reading and hearing about the tourism awards and the three winners prompts the question: what are Frankston’s tourism highlights? We have some fabulous places but perhaps no iconic, ‘must-do’ experience that people can readily engage with like at Ballarat, Lakes Entrance and Bendigo. Frankston has Port Phillip’s finest beach and its adjacent waterfront reserve, including a popular foreshore playground and a boardwalk from there to nearby Olivers Hill, with its spectacular panoramic views. There is the world-renowned McClelland Sculpture Park and Gallery as well as Frankston Arts Centre, George Pentland Botanical Gardens and Peninsula Aquatic Recreation Centre.”
Ms Hosking said Frankston CBD street art tours had earned a strong cult following recently, culminating in the annual Frankston Big Picture Fest. “We now have 72 murals and artworks in the CBD.” Other attractions included Sweetwater Creek and Frankston Reservoir reserves, Kananook Creek trail, Seaford Wetlands and Dame Elisabeth Murdoch’s Cruden Farm. Frankston history sites included Ballam Park, Mulberry Hill, Mechanics Institute, and Frankston Oval gates, which came from Old Melbourne Gaol. “So we’re asking: how do we package and promote Frankston to visitors, including day-tripping Melburnians or country Victorians, during these times of restricted movement, but also to other Australians and overseas tourists after restrictions ease.”
Recent suggestions for new visitor attractions include:
A zip-line ride over Frankston
This would be an urban version of the famous Otway Fly near Apollo Bay. Using Frankston CBD’s natural elevation, soar over the precinct’s massive murals and artwork. Watch the sun set over the water – the best moving view in Melbourne. One of the first zip-lines in a city operated during the 2010 Winter Olympics at Vancouver, Canada (170m long). One of the world’s fastest opened in London in June 2019 (225m). Other zip-lines operate in San Francisco and Las Vegas (260m, pictured).
The Frankston Coastal Marathon Track
Frankston to Melbourne is 42km, the distance of a marathon. How about a ‘do-it-at-your-own-pace’ marathon track along the Port Phillip coast, marked by a blue line. The track would become a destination for runners from around the world. Amateur runners, or groups of friends and family, could do it all at once or over several weekends; get tired, hop back on the train. It could be the Frankston Coastal Triathlon Track – cycling and swimming as well as running. Coincidentally, in early July, Sydney writer Peter FitzSimons called for the preservation of the Sydney Olympics marathon blue line. Just 100m of the line still exist – in a road tunnel off the central bitumen.
Paddle Kananook Creek at dusk
With the Frankston pier lighting project about to start, there will be a new focus on the pier and Kananook Creek mouth entrance. Imagine a lantern-lit rowboat or canoe paddle down the creek. Finish the evening with a picnic on the beach.
Frankston bike ride art and nature trails
Cycling routes could be from the CBD to Port Phillip; along the foreshore boardwalk to Olivers Hill; through beautiful parks and reserves; and from the CBD to McClelland Sculpture Park and Gallery – from funky street art to mega-sculptures.
Residents can take the survey and tell the committee what they think at www.c4gf.com.au
Mike Hast is a freelance writer for the Committee for Greater Frankston, and a former editor of Peninsula newspapers.
The marathon coastal track could be a triathlete track with the swim leg off Frankston pier. Competitors emerge from the water at a recent event. Photo: Gary Sissons