THERE’S a mix of old and new visitors at regional holiday parks this week, but they’re all there for one thing – to bask in the sunshine.
Families, water skiers, fishermen and grey nomads have set up camp at Lake Keepit and Copeton Waters in one of the busiest September holiday periods for years.
Both parks have reported huge numbers over the past month, with only unpowered sites available over the long weekend.
Early high temperatures had skiers on the water six weeks ago with the water surface temperature about 21 degrees.
The parks have attracted holidaymakers from all over, including the Gold Coast, Brisbane, Central Coast and the New England North West.
Some are newbies, like the Brixleys from the Gold Coast, while others, like the McElhinney family from Coonabarabran, are long-time park visitors.
Copeton Waters park manager David Allan said facility upgrades had brought more families to the park, including those just out for the day.
“We’ve got the splash park, the adventure playground and the jumping pillow, so that’s made it extremely popular with the families,” Mr Allan said.
“This is definitely a stronger holiday period than we’ve seen for the past 10 years. Usually people are just starting to take their boats out, but people have been skiing here for the past month or more.”
While there are no cabins or powered sites available, there’s plenty of space if you’re not into glamour camping (known as glamping).
“A big advantage for us is the virtually unlimited unpowered sites because we have 25km of shoreline,” Mr Allan said.
Accommodation demand at Lake Keepit has been steady, but will ramp up this weekend, with park managers Philip and Kerry Lloyd expecting a busy time ahead.
“Most of the accommodation is gone except for a few unpowered sites and bush camping,” Mrs Lloyd said
“We get a lot of walk-ins over the long weekend, those people who haven’t pre-booked.”
Gold Coast couple Dan and Michelle Brixey brought their three children Alyssa, 12, Isobel, 8, and Ramona, 2, to Lake Keepit this week for the first time, despite Mrs Brixey being a local girl.
“I grew up in Tamworth and it was nothing like this,” she said.
“Apart from the lake itself, I really didn’t recognise the place. The facilities were a pleasant surprise.”
The kids have spent time at the splash park, had a hit of tennis and today they’ll be canoeing.
The glampers are staying in the lake’s chalet accommodation overlooking the lake. “We’ve done the camping bit before and we realised that we weren’t campers,” Mr Brixey said.