WIMMERA tourism received a boost during the Easter long weekend as residents across the state flocked to events and the region’s natural gems.
Parks Victoria ranger David Roberts said the region was experiencing a rise in visitation as a result of the booming nature tourism trend.
“Certainly there’s been a notable increase in day visitation to our natural areas – especially the Grampians – in the past couple of years,” he said.
“I suspect there’s a confidence around the region – we haven’t had a fire or a flood in a couple of years and another source of confidence is the water, so people can fish and water ski.”
Mr Roberts said nature-based tourism helped towns and businesses who profited from visitors to natural drawcards including Pink Lake, Mt Arapiles and the Grampians.
“It’s not only creating an economic return for local businesses and the local government; but people get the experience of reconnecting with the bush,” he said.
“Sometimes it’s a good thing not to have (mobile phone) reception and to be disconnected from the technology people are tied to in their day-to-day life.”
Mr Roberts said campsites within national parks – including the Stayplton campground reopened late last year – were brimming with visitors.
“Stayplton was sitting at about 75 per cent occupancy,” he said. “It’s fantastic people are starting to realise it’s open and available.
“In the northern Grampians, it’s been about two years since the fire and (the area has) rebounded quite well.”
Mr Roberts said many car parks was overflowing and over capacity during the long weekend.
“Car parks are always a major indication of visitation and they were overflowing to a significant degree,” he said.
“We had a really big turn out over the four-day weekend – particularly in the Grampians, including the Wonderland area and Reed Lookout.”
Mr Roberts said it was great to see people from far and wide flock to the region to enjoy the area’s natural appeal.
He hoped the nature tourism trend would continue to benefit the Wimmera.