Holiday makers to Eden are so blown away by how much there is to do in the area that they are already planning future trips.
“The feedback we have received (from visitors) is ‘There is so much to do we’ll be back next year for longer’,” Eden Visitor Information Centre manager Yvonne Wilson said on Monday.
Popular hotspots include our national parks, Nethercote Falls, the Pinnacles, Boyd’s Tower, Bitangabee Bay, Saltwater Creek and Greencape Lighthouse.
Overseas visitors have delighted in meeting native animals at Potoroo Palace and droves of families have been heading to the Sapphire Coast Marine Discovery Centre which opened last week with a great schedule of activities for children.
Snorkelling and fishing, eating out and staying over are still the order of the day as the holiday season continues.
Accommodation houses have been regularly booked out and are still in high demand as domestic and international holidaymakers flock to the coast this summer.
Mrs Wilson said Saturday’s changeover created a brief window of opportunity for accommodation.
“I rang around Friday morning and there was a whole lot of availability coming up but by Saturday afternoon it was gone,” she said.
At the Visitor Information Centre numbers are down slightly for 2012 on the previous year but close to par for December.
“Comparing 2012 with 2011 we had 4916 less people through over the year with December only down by 248,” she said.
“To put this in perspective 1500 more people came through here in December than the total population of Eden.”
To January 7, 2228 people dropped in for information and advice compared to 2221 in the same period last year.
International visitors for December totalled 850.
Mrs Wilson said the centre’s new Fishermen’s Packs, Kids Packs and Historic walk brochure have been eagerly received and have encouraged people to return to Eden next year.
Retailers are also enjoying the boost in patronage, particularly eateries, camping and fishing shops.
Barry Ellis from Eden Outdoors and Marine has been opening at 6am, nipping home for a nana nap during the heat of the day and staying open until 6pm or 7pm.
“Trade has been very good so far, but it has slowed down considerably since Saturday,” he said.
“Diving gear has been the big seller this year but rod and reel combos and prawning gear is also really popular and there are plenty of prawns in the lake (Curalo).”
But it’s not just gear and licences holiday makers are after.
“If I could get paid for giving out information I’d be a rich man,” he laughed.
Fish and chips have been the order of the day at local seafood outlets.
Some, like Snug Cove takeaway Hooked On Seafood, have doubled rostered staff and extended opening hours to cater to demand.
Cook Vicki Skeers said the summer rush hit on Boxing Day and is only now showing signs of slowing.
“It’s been one of the busiest Christmases and New Year’s Day was the busiest day,” she said.
“Most nights it’s about 10pm before we get out, usually we close at around 7.30pm at other times of the year.”
“You’ve just got to stay open longer, you really do.”
She said junior staff have snapped up the extra shifts
“Normally we have three on during the week. From Boxing Day through we’ve had six on, the juniors are doing more shifts and they’re happy.”