Authorities were forced to close Hanging Rock Reserve only three hours after opening when too many visitors flocked to the popular Victorian tourist destination yesterday.
The site reopened last Tuesday, just in time for the first weekend of the mid-year school holidays.
But Macedon Ranges Shire Council announced the Newham destination was at capacity about noon and barred the site to further visitors for the rest of the day.
“There are limits to visitor numbers in place at the reserve and other restrictions to help reduce the spread of COVID-19,” it said online.
“Hanging Rock may reopen if visitor numbers reduce during the day, however this cannot be guaranteed, so it is recommended residents and visitors planning to visit make alternative plans to avoid disappointment.”
Siobhan McKenna told NCA NewsWire tourists were hiking “shoulder-to-shoulder”.
“It was so busy,” she said.
“We were waiting in a queue just to park the car and then on the way out the whole freeway coming into Hanging Rock was chock-a-block.”
Holgate Brewhouse manager Colin Mullens said the main street of Woodend was “packed” and anticipated more visitors throughout the next two weeks.
“We had a steady flow of customers coming in and unfortunately because of restrictions and how many we could sit inside we had to send a few away,” he said.
“It was a big difference in numbers and a great response to school holidays.”
It comes after the state recorded 75 new cases overnight, an increase of 24 on Sunday‘s figures.
Hanging Rock reopened on June 23 with restrictions in place to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
The limits included visitor numbers, barbecues unavailable for use and the closure of the site‘s discovery centre, while the summit of the rock would remain closed permanently.
Macedon Ranges Shire Council has been contacted for comment.