National Parks and Wildlife Service has expressed frustration and concern over continued risk-taking by many visitors to Wedding Cake Rock in the Royal National Park.
This follows the Faixfax report that the fence erected at the iconic site three years ago is widely ignored.
Video footage taken from a drone shows about 20 people inside the fence, with several sitting on the edge of the rock with their legs dangling over.
Nature photographer Greg Tannos, of Alfords Point, sent up the drone and posted the footage on his website findmyaustralia.com
A National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) spokeswoman said the desire to take photos was overriding concern for personal safety.
“A geotechnical survey of the underlying rock strata at the site shows it is unstable and could collapse without warning,” she said.
“Despite NPWS putting a 1.6m-high fence around the unstable shelf, some visitors are blatantly ignoring warning signs and climbing over the fence, risking their lives and others for the sake of a selfie.
“It is extremely difficult to try to regulate the site when people ignore the signage, information and other safety measures on site and will not take responsibility for their own actions.”
The spokeswoman said advice had been communicated through media, social media, warning signs and NPWS communication channels.
“NPWS is currently reviewing options for the site in direct response to continued risk-taking visitor behaviour," she said.
“The vast majority of visitors to national parks and other coastline areas take responsibility for their own safety, have respect for observing safety warnings and structures, and enjoy their day in the park from the formal tracks and pathways.
“The Royal National Park is a beautiful location and we encourage people to come and look at the spectacular rock formations but the key is doing it from a safe distance from the edge.”
‘On the brink’
Tannos’ video starts with still images of risk-taking before the fence was erected, before leading into what he says is a compilation of footage taken on two occasions, both weekdays, over the past six months.
“Thousands of people are risking their lives to get photos without realising this very soft, fragile rock is on the brink of collapsing into the ocean,” he said.
Mr Tannos said during one of the walks along the Coast Track to film the rock, he passed a National Parks and Wildlife Service ranger who was returning after “going out to to catch and fine people” who were ignoring the signs.
“Although I am not an expert, my belief is that this iconic rock can collapse at anytime in the next few years,” Mr Tannos said.
“The video footage shows just how unstable it is, including images of reasonably fresh falls on the rocks below.”
Sutherland Shire professional photographer Adam Crews confirmed many people were ignoring the warnings.
“It really annoys me that people still jump the fence to get photos of themselves to only put up on Instagram because they see other people’s photos doing the same thing, like it’s a competition,” a post by adamcrewsimagery said.
Mr Tannos said Wedding Cake Rock was not the only place along the Coast Track where risks were being taken.
“I do the walk regularly and I often see people sitting on other protruding cliff sections,” he said.
“What can you do? You can’t put fence off everything.”