Victoria (Australia) campgrounds are filling up, as more Australians go out to camp and enjoy the outdoors with families and loved ones this Easter holiday.
Joanne and Ross Osborne have hit the road a dozen times since purchasing their caravan three years ago, escaping Melbourne’s COVID-19 lockdowns as frequently as possible.
With their three sons, the Osbornes have escaped Melbourne every chance they had during the pandemic and are back for Easter, along with thousands of other campers filling Victoria’s camping grounds.
“We find that camping is a little more homely. We’re all about having fun with our kids, and we don’t want time to pass us by,” Joanne said as her kids splashed in the pool at Queenscliff’s BIG4 park.
Discovery Parks Chief Operating Officer Matt Lang said campsites across Victoria would fill about 90% of their sites over the long weekend and about 80% for the remainder of the school holidays.
“Easter is traditionally one of the busiest times of the year for our parks, and we’re really pleased to see that bookings have bounced back to pre-COVID levels,” Lang said.
According to Lang, Discovery Parks and its affiliated campgrounds have seen increasing numbers of people making last-minute reservations for their holidays, probably due to COVID-19 issues or the isolation requirements.
BIG4 Holiday Park Chief Executive Sean Jenner said Victorian and Queensland campsites were among the most sought-after throughout Australia this month as tourists were cautious about traveling far from their homes.
“We found many travelers, especially Melburnians, were cautious about moving too far from their home base for fear of another lockdown,” Jenner said.
“It’s great to see these [higher] figures across the board. It shows confidence in travel, and getting into the great outdoors is well and truly up.”
Smaller family-owned campgrounds have also welcomed city dwellers back with memories of temporary shut-downs and canceled bookings that remain fresh in their minds.
“Part of the reason we’re still so busy is people aren’t going overseas as much. People are still getting their confidence back and trying to avoid catching COVID-19,” said Geoff Simpson, co-owner of the Yarranungara Yurt Retreat in north-east Victoria. His site is fully booked until the end of May.
Sharon Jarrott said campers had flocked to her King Valley site ever since the lockdowns ended,
Outdoor retail and camping businesses also benefit from the holiday influx, with the demand for tents camping gear, sleeping bags, and flashlights increasing.
This story originally appeared on The Age.