WHILE hundreds flock to the beach this summer, caravan park operators north of Heyfield are also reporting strong numbers.
With attractions like Lake Glenmaggie, the Gippsland Plains Rail Trail and the Blores Hill mountain bike park, as well as the gateway to the High Country, tourists from across the state are returning in good numbers after a worrying year for Australia’s Most Resilient Town.
The boost will support the local economy through the summer, it is hoped, and encourage more investment to develop tourism infrastructure.
Earlier this year, regular users of the Blores Hill mountain bike park said there were hopes to improve facilities at the entrance, which could bring 24-hour enduro races to the area.
Blores Hill Caravan Park owners Fred and Angelina Hooimeyer said a new boat ramp for the southern part of the weir would attract even more people.
They added good news about the area’s award-winning wineries and restaurants was also beginning to get through to the city, providing even more options for tourists keen to explore the area.
At Lake Glenmaggie Caravan Park, dozens of boats, kayaks, and jet skis were being launched.
Interestingly, all the families the Gippsland Times spoke to reported they were repeat visitors — some had been camping in the area for more than 40 years, and said they looked forward to returning each year.
Back at Heyfield, the Timberline store was doing a roaring trade.
Manager Allison Akers said recent rains had been a godsend, helping fill the weir up and easing fears about bushfires.
“We really rely on this time of year; it keeps us going,” she said.
“(Earlier in the year) we were thinking, ‘what’s going to happen next’, but we couldn’t ask for more.”