Caravan parks will be in full swing over the Easter long weekend and school holidays, with maxed-out bookings making for busy times ahead.
Blue Lake Holiday Park reception supervisor Samantha Ham said the park was fully booked over Easter and this had been the case for roughly two months with minimal cancellations.
Ms Ham said the park had been extremely busy since before Christmas and tourists were visiting from all over Australia.
“There are a lot of people and families doing a lap of our wonderful country,” Ms Ham said.
“Mount Gambier is a great stopover for them as there is so much to see and do.
“Others are just wanting to get out of the cities, especially after being in lockdown for so long, we also have a lot of returning guests who come to the park each year as they really enjoy the area.”
Ms Ham said a steady stream of reservations had been made over the last 18 months and the park had been booked to full capacity during school holidays, long weekends and Christmas.
Beachport Caravan Park co-owner and operator Stacey Benson said their park was also fully booked over Easter and they were heavily booked during the school holidays.
“That whole school holiday period we’re going to be busy again, which we anticipate every year,” Ms Benson said.
“It’s just good to see that people are getting out and about again.”
Ms Benson believed these school holidays would be busier than last year due to the number of people who had been coming through.
Ms Benson owns the caravan park with her husband Paul and the couple also owns the Beachport Motor Inn, which Ms Benson said had also been busy and regularly booked during this period.
Coming into the Easter and school holiday period Ms Benson said tourists were a 50-50 split between South Australians and Victorians now border restrictions had been relaxed.
She said travel had changed since the past two years of COVID, with many people travelling outside typical peak times such as school holidays.
“We are seeing a lot of people from over the border that are travelling outside those peak periods now,” Ms Benson said.
“We’re just pleased that people are back travelling and happy that people are hearing about our town.”
Looking ahead, Ms Benson said it was good things were returning to a new sense of normality and said it would be interesting to see what the next couple of years would bring.
“International travel has opened up but I do not know whether there’s going to be that huge confidence in jumping on an aeroplane with a few hundred other people just yet,” Ms Benson said.
“I think the next couple of years will be really positive for Australian tourism and people will realise what’s in their own backyards instead of travelling overseas.”
Melbourne tourists Alan, Theo, Ben and Mary Hutchinson visited Mount Gambier recently and planned to see some of the sights of the region during their four-day stay.
This was their first trip to Mount Gambier and natural wonders such as the caves and sinkholes were on the agenda.
“We just wanted to see all the natural sights,” Ms Hutchinson said.
“We’re teaching the kids as we’re going along so they learn a little bit along the way as well.”
Ms Hutchinson said they had also brought a telescope with them because she was interested in astronomy.