It?s standing room only
by BELINDA SCOTT
MOVE over locals, it's standing room only on the Coffs Coast this week.
The family break is back with a bang, caravans are cool, tents are terrific and resorts are bulging at the seams as the high holiday season hits its straps.
Quality Resort Nautilus staff member Amy Hayward said yesterday the resort had been completely sold out for the last three nights and had been forced to turn away up to 40 people a night.
"We tried to find other accommodation for them but everything was booked out ? not only the resorts but he motels," Ms Hayward said.
She said Nautilus' large ground floor family units were sold out months in advance, but the resort would have some accommodation available after January 13.
A spokesman for the bookedout Boambee Bay Resort at Sawtell said there would be some units available after January 14.
Nambucca Valley Visitor Information Centre manager Joy Lang said it was almost impossible to find seaside accommodation in the valley, with apartments and caravan parks filling first, then motels and bed and breakfast accommodation, but it was easier to find a bed away from the coast in centres like Macksville and Bowraville.
"There are possibly more caravan and campers than in the last couple of years," Ms Lang said.
The marketing manager for Park Beach Holiday Park and Sawtell Caravan Park, Susan Colby, said cabins were booked solid until the end of January and there were few caravan and camping sites available until next week.
She said both powered and unpowered camping sites were in demand and there was a 'good vibe' at the two parks, with lots of regular visitors and big family groups.
Both parks are popular with families because they are so close to beaches and creeks, as well as to clubs and shops.
A notable feature of caravan parks this year is the quantity and quality of new caravans, motorhomes, campervans and camping equipment on display.
Ms Colby said solar tarpaulins, made of reflective silver material, were this season's must-have camping accessory but people took pride in having the best and latest camping equipment.
The $6.8 billion caravan and camping sector is enjoying a nostalgia holiday boost, according to the Australian Financial Review. Orders for caravans are up 50 per cent with one manufacturer and there is a 16 week backlog at manufacturers in Perth and Melbourne.
Caravan and camping visitors nights have risen 9.5 per cent in the last four years, with holiday park cabins popular as visitors demand modern infrastructure and entertainment but development pressures are threatening many coastal holiday parks.
Almost a third of Australians said they wanted to spend more time on holidays in 2006, according to a poll conducted by a fast food chain. The Domino's Pizza Australia New Zealand Ltd survey asked Australians what they would like to achieve in their lives in 2006.
The clear favourite was spending more time on holidays, which was more than twice as popular at 32.1 per cent than the next best choice, changing or getting a job (14.6 per cent), which almost tied with the don't knows (14.1 per cent).
Having more fun came in fourth at 12.5 per cent.