Communities in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland are calling on holidaymakers put off by last years floods to return and enjoy the regions that are open for business this summer.
The Central NSW Joint Organisation last month launched the Come Out, Were Open campaign to encourage people to wrap their arms around local businesses needing the support of visitors this summer.
Central NSW includes Oberon, Bathurst, Orange, Blayney, Cabonne, Cowra, Grenfell, Forbes, Lachlan and Parkes.
Shopping in Orange, NSW
Executive Officer of Central NSW Joint Organisation, Jenny Bennett said: “We’re inviting people to come and take a short break in one of the most beautiful country destinations in Australia.
This is about helping each other and shopping locally, Aussies have always been great at supporting those in need.”
One business impacted by the floods is Molong Stores, a retail shop on the main street of Molong, which re-opened before Christmas. Owner Robert Carroll said, “Every little bit helps right now, just buying a coffee puts money in the back pocket of someone that needs it. We are hurt, exhausted and ready to welcome shoppers.”
Come Out, Were Open encourages people to not cancel or hesitate but to come to Central NSW to enjoy the lush scenery, food and wine, boutique stores, cooling rivers and pick-your-own orchards.
“The last few months have been hard for a number of businesses as some travellers have presumed that we’re not open for business, but that couldn’t be more wrong.” said Jenny Bennett.
Across social media people are being encouraged to share stories positive stories of support at #unearthcentralnsw. Central NSW Joint Organisation is working with its 10 local government councils to encourage people to visit – locals, visitors and those staying with friends and family.
It’s important if you are travelling to plan ahead and only drive to the conditions as extensive repairs are being carried out to bring some roads back up to standard.
Murray River towns
The popular Murray River on the Victoria/New South Wales border is a mecca for tourists over summer who flock to popular regional destinations along both sides of its banks to camp, fish and take part in a host of boating and other water-based activities.
Murray Regional Tourism, which represents communities on both sides of the river from Mildura to Albury/Wodonga, conducted an initial impact assessment survey among tourism operators in the lead up to Christmas and estimates that the region has lost more than $127 million in revenue and will struggle in coming months if doesn’t receive significant government support.
The twin towns of Echuca-Moama on the Victoria/New South Wales border is one of the communities that has been hit particularly hard and which is encouraging tourists to visit the region this summer, even though most water-based activities are still off limits.
The historic paddle-steamers at Echuca were given the green light to get back to business in early December with a section of the Murray River from Hume to Perricoota Station opened to recreational boating with restrictions – no towing, 15 knots speed limit and no wash to be produced.
Paddle-steamers, houseboats, and other vessels have not been allowed on the water in Echuca since October's devastating floods which exceeded the previous record river levels set in 1993 and saw the town divided by a levee bank.
Despite much of the river still being off limits, around 85 per cent of businesses are open including restaurants, cafes, pubs, clubs, local breweries, art galleries, golf courses, hiking and cycling trails, quirky local boutiques and silo art trails.
State health departments advise tourists to flood-affected areas to take precautions against mosquito bites because of the increase in mosquito-borne diseases such as Japanese encephalitis.
Here are a few tips:
- Cover up – wear long, loose-fitting clothing as mozzies can bite through tight clothing
- Use mosquito repellents containing Picaridin or DEET on all exposed skin
- Limit outdoor activity if lots of mosquitoes are about
- Remove stagnant water where mosquitoes can breed around your home or campsite
- On holidays make sure your accommodation is fitted with mosquito netting or screens
- Use ’knockdown’ fly spray, mosquito coils or plug-in repellent where you gather to sit or eat outdoors
- Don’t forget the kids – always check the insect repellent label. On babies, you might need to spray or rub repellent on their clothes instead of their skin. Avoid applying repellent to the hands of babies or young children
Caravan parks and camping
Several of the many caravan and holidays parks along the river at Echuca/Moama had reopened in the weeks leading up to Christmas, but all bush and free camping was still closed.
The Echuca Moama tourism website was advising that Rotary Park in Rose Street, Echuca, was open for camping for self-contained caravans and RVs at a cost of $10 per person per night.
Low-cost unpowered camping is also available at Rich River Golf Club, Twenty-Four Lane, Moama, for self-contained caravans and RVs.
With caravan parks and resorts impacted by the flood water, the Echuca Moama Visitor Information Centre advises there is plenty of motel and limited resort accommodation available.
For current information about accommodation and visitor information, visit Echuca Moama website.
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