Visitors to a famous cliff edge popularised on Instagram continue to put their lives at risk despite efforts from the government to deter such dangerous behaviour.
Wedding Cake Rock has long been a highlight on the coastal path of the Royal National Park south of Sydney, however safety warnings are regularly ignored by those seeking new social media content.
Images of a man and a woman with their legs dangling off the cliff's edge, with little regard for the 25-metre drop below, were shared to Reddit on Monday, sparking a wave of anger from users who questioned the value of the photos.
"People are willing to risk their lives for a good insta," one person said.
"Instagram is more important than life," another wrote.
"How is it attractive to do something so blatantly stupid?" one commenter wondered.
Others scolded the visitors for ignoring the restricted area warnings, with one person branding their behaviour as "ignorant".
The rock's smooth, unblemished white surface, paired with its sharp angles, is a major tourism draw for the area, and its name derives from its aesthetic similarity to a piece of cake.
The location's geotag on Instagram is awash with photos of tourists posing precariously close to the edge of the cliff, disregarding the safety warnings at the site.
Rock face could fall 'at any time'
A 2015 geotechnical survey conducted by NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) using a drone discovered Wedding Cake Rock is extremely unstable and could collapse at any time within the next 10 years.
The rock is made of "dangerously soft" sandstone layers which have a "very high risk" of collapsing, NPWS say.
In 2019, NPWS replaced the safety barrier with a taller, more robust fence in a bid to deter those breaching the rules.
People breaching the fence can be hit with on-the-spot fines of $300 with the maximum financial penalty reaching $3,300.
NPWS told Yahoo News Australia on Tuesday the "vast majority" of visitors do the right thing.
A spokesperson said the fencing erected in 2019 has been effective in keeping visitors off Wedding Cake Rock.
"NPWS expects visitors to obey the warning signs and stay behind the fence for their own safety," they said.
The rock could fall at anytime and remains unstable, the spokesperson added.
“We are calling on people to think about the consequences of their actions, the impact an accident would have on themselves, their family and friends and the emergency services people who put their lives at risk to undertake dangerous cliff rescues and retrievals," a NPWS spokesperson told Yahoo in 2018.
Coastal erosion has been a hot topic in NSW in recent years, with residents in multiple suburbs along the coastline facing the possibility of losing their homes to high tides and wild surf, exasperated by the weather conditions brought by the ongoing La Niña weather event.
Over the Easter weekend, Waverley Council in Sydney's east announced part of its coastal path was closed due to rockfall making the walkway unstable.
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