After multiple years of increasing tourist numbers, Seal Rocks’ local council is now telling people to stay away due to extreme traffic.

The beachside town of Seal Rocks, located on the New South Wales Mid North Coast, now has so many people visiting the location that visitors are being asked to stay away. The small coastal town only has one road in and out, which is causing the ever-increasing amount of tourists to overload the community’s capacity.

“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,” a council spokesperson said on Wednesday.

Paul De Szell, director of MidCoast Council of liveable communities, has advised that only locals and people with accommodation bookings should go to the area.

“We had issues particularly last year where we were so congested we had a gridlock situation,” Mr De Szell said.

Because the town only has one road in and out and limited parking along said road, many visitors opted to illegally park on the sides of the road, effectively narrowing it down to a single lane.

“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.”

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“If people park on both sides of the road it [can] actually … reduce it to less than one lane so people then can’t get in or out,” Szell said.

“We also have issues with people who are camping unlawfully … from Harrington and Crowdy Head in the north, all the way down to Tea Gardens,” he said.

The 2021 census reported that Seal Rocks had a population of 56 people, a factor that plays a significant role in the town’s capability to provide suitable infrastructure.

Kimberley Hannaford, who works at the town’s only store, said the conditions were “becoming steadily worse every holiday season”.

“The road is the only road in and out of town,” she said.

“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.”

Hannaford also said that she was concerned about the road’s condition after a recent geotechnical study found that sections of the Seal Rocks road and the nearby Kinka road were at risk of coastal erosion and succumbing to rising sea levels by the year 2060.

“They’ve got motorhomes and caravans parked along there, which is degrading the road even further,” she said.

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