About the Project

The Bass Coast Dinosaurs Trail will be a unique and valuable tourism asset that celebrates and promotes the global significance of the region’s prehistoric heritage. Bass Coast has the most diverse range of polar dinosaurs in the world and coal reserves in Kilcunda and Wonthaggi were formed from the forests these creatures inhabited.

This is an iconic 40km experience that spans the region traversing from San Remo to Inverloch, featuring six creative art sites that link polar dinosaur fossils. This project will highlight the official State Fossil Emblem of Victoria, Koolasuchus cleelandi, the international significance of polar dinosaurs to the Australian Continent and celebrate the work of scientists and volunteers.

Council have finalised the Masterplan and purchased a 7 hectare site in Wonthaggi for the Gondwana Garden. We are currently undertaking detailed designs and feasibility studies on a Museum Discovery Centre and Sound and Light installation in Wonthaggi.

Stage 1 - $20 million investment

  • Design and delivery of Gondwana Garden (Wonthaggi)
  • Design and delivery of Dinosaur Playground (Inverloch)
  • Design and delivery of 5 art installations along the trail (San Remo, Kilcunda, Wonthaggi, Eagles Nest, The Caves)
  • Design and delivery of Sound and Light Experience (Wonthaggi)

Stage 2 - $20 million investment

  • Design and Delivery of Museum Discovery Centre
  • Design and Delivery of Stargazing Observatory

This project will

  • Support 418 FTE new and existing jobs
  • Generate $36 million in direct value to Bass Coast economy by 2035

The vast majority of councils across Australia actively seek State and Federal Government contributions to fund new tourism projects.

Council continues to hold meetings with Federal and State Ministers, Shadow Ministers, candidates, and Advisors to promote the benefits of investing in the Bass Coast Dinosaurs Trail.

Further, our advocacy efforts are strengthened through our membership of OneGippsland, Peri Urban Group of Rural Councils , Destination Gippsland and Destination Phillip Island and this project features in their budget submissions.

By 2035, the increase in tourist expenditure can be expected to generate $36 million in direct value added to the Bass Coast economy and support 418 FTE new and existing jobs.

The SGS Regional Economic Inputs Statement found that the Trail will:

  • enhance the visitor experience;
  • protect and conserve natural and cultural heritage values;
  • increase visitation across the year (not just in peak times);
  • encourage flow‐on private investment;
  • raise the brand profile of the region;
  • provide new recreational opportunities for the local population;
  • generate employment pathways for younger residents;
  • and allow for the development of a network of attractions and commercial partnerships.

This project is embedded within the environment enhancing natural values and providing social benefits for both the local community and visitors to the region.

Over the past 40 years the scientific community of local scientists, prospectors, researchers and over 700 volunteers have worked onsite prospecting and excavating areas of the coastline. They partnered with the university sector, museum sector, Traditional Owners and all tiers of government in pursuit of geological and paleontological scientific goals. Their work has contributed to making Bass Coast one of the most significant places in Australia for understanding dinosaur fossils. The Bass Coast Dinosaurs Trail concept was identified by the community and stakeholders have been involved in the concept development and Masterplan stages

The Bass Coast Dinosaurs Trail has multiple stakeholders including Bunurong Land Council Aboriginal Corporation, Bass Coast Shire Council, Parks Victoria, DELWP, Destination Gippsland, Destination Phillip Island, Visit Victoria, Dinosaurs scientific and prospecting community as well as many other business, environmental, cultural and community groups.

The local community, general public and visitors are also actively involved and online and in-person community engagement was undertaken as part of the Masterplan.

Masterplan Community Engagement Report

Bass Coast Shire Council has invested over $1.5 million to date on the Bass Coast Dinosaurs Trail to progress the concept.

This has included;

  • Development of Masterplan including site identification
  • Purchase of land at 300 Graham Street for $1.2 million for the Wonthaggi site that will be developed into the Gondwana Garden and may support the Sound and Light Show

This $20 million is broken up into three stages and funding is sought for stage 1 to develop the six creative art sites.

To accelerate the detailed design and feasibility studies Council has applied for Enabling Tourism Fund to enable the project to progress to investment readiness stage.

In September 2022, Council received $500,000 from the Enabling Tourism Fund to progress the planning stages.