Holiday park bookings surge in South West WA as COVID-19 restrictions lift

People are pining to get outdoors after months of being holed up indoors during COVID-19, and camp sites in South West Western Australia are booking up.

Key points:

  • Holiday park owners in South West WA are reporting a boom in people going camping
  • Campers are able to space out safely in Margaret River and Busselton areas
  • With less interstate and international travel more people are choosing to explore their own backyards

Camping was one of the earliest activities allowed since WA started its slow climb out of coronavirus restrictions.

Campground and holiday park owners in the region have reported people coming down in droves to get out of the house and go camping — even if they have never camped before.

Campgrounds fully booked

Amelia Grey owns a holiday park in Peppermint Grove Beach and said they have been almost fully booked since regional borders opened.

“There are people who maybe haven’t considered camping but have thought, ‘Well, I don’t actually have another option,'” Ms Grey said.

Andrew Lilley owns a camping store in Bunbury and said he was experiencing a small boom in sales.

“As soon as restrictions dropped off [sales] really picked up and people really started to get out and enjoy the bush,” he said.

Andrew Lilley says his business is experiencing a boom similar to the busy Easter holidays period.(ABC South West WA: Zoe Keenan)

“A lot more families are getting out for the first time and starting to enjoy WA as opposed to going to Bali for a holiday.”

Read more about coronavirus:

Camping is a safe option post COVID-19

Margaret River Busselton Tourism Association joint CEO Steve Harrison said it was no surprise that more tourists were opting for the camping option.

Since coronavirus, Mr Harrison said many tourists would be cautious about what activities they do in order to maintain social distancing and avoid contracting the virus.

“Camping has been driven by that [desire]: let’s get outdoors, let’s get a bit of freedom and a bit of movement,” he said.

“Also, the feeling that when you’re outdoors camping… you’ll feel confident that you’re separated and so it’s not surprising that form of accommodation and holiday is appealing to people.”

Weather has not dampened spirits

Winter in the South West region usually means a sharp decline in campers but Ms Grey said they were unusually busy for a cold weekend.

“I think not being able to go overseas or interstate, people are looking for ways to get out and about with their friends and families,” she said.

“People have realised how blessed we are to live in Australia and to have these amazing places around us that we can just go and visit for a couple of days away.”

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