Sydney’s famous Wedding Cake Rock landmark has quickly rose to fame, now being one of the most photographed sights in Australia.
On Instagram, there are almost 25,000 photographs using the hashtag ‘#weddingcakerock’, particularly popular with tourists as they flock to the landmark solely for the purpose of capturing the perfect photo.
And while Instagrammers are out striving to get the best photo for their feed, we are doing the exact same at home with our dog, who is not a very cooperative photo subject.
The landmark, located just south of Sydney in the Royal National Park, is a rock formation perched 50 metres above the ocean, named for its white colour and flat, layered surface.
And despite very clear safety regulations, including a 1.6-metre-high fence erected in 2016 and signage, tourists and locals continue to pose on the rock formation.
The rock is at danger of imminent collapse, with large cracks also visible on the surface.
In 2014, a French tourist died at the site when a portion of the rock crumbled beneath him.
Two men were brought to safety in 2015 from a ledge after falling, and last year the body of a missing teenage girl was found on the rocks at the base.
As per the ABC, NSW Parks and Wildlife (NPWS) confirmed NSW Police have been assisting them with “site compliance” as the copious amount of tourists risking their lives for photographs has become overwhelming for rangers.
A geotechnical report released in 2015 found that the rock could collapse at any moment into the ocean below, without warning, and most likely will collapse in the next 10 years.
March 2016 saw the creation of the 1.6-metre fence, as well as the introduction of fines up to $3,300 for anyone caught by rangers climbing the fence, and since then 13 fines have been issues of varying values.
“Well over 100” warnings have also been issued to those ignoring the signs.
A NPWS spokesperson said: “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 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.”
NPWS also said it was currently reviewing options for the site “in direct response to continued risk-taking visitor behaviour”.
The NSW Police’s involvement follows recent incidents in Australia involving the injury or death of tourists due to attempts at taking dangerous photos, with the death of 19-year-old US citizen Gavin Paul Zimmerman occurring just last week, as he slipped attempting to take photos at Cape Solander in Kurnell.