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Caravanning on the coast better than Bali?

FOR the Prosser and Hardwick families who hail from Sydney, it's really a no-brainer as to why Coffs is one of the state's hot spots for caravan and camping holiday goers.

Recounting tales of their 2016 visit, the families sit under the cool shade of their tent pitched for an 11th year in a row at Park Beach Holiday Park.

"The weather and the beaches keep bringing us back. Coffs is the only place we come back to every year," said matriarch Cathy Prosser.

Daughter Jess agreed, "It's very nice and relaxing, we don't relax very much."

The families, who travel in their caravan about three times a year, aren't the only Aussies who are enjoying caravaning rather than other forms of holidaying, according to figures recently released by Tourism Research Australia.

Caravan and camping holidays in NSW continue to grow in popularity, with a massive 26% increase in the number of holiday nights taken in 2016.

Around 16.9 million nights have been spent caravaning in NSW in the past year.

 

FUN IN THE SUN: Scenes at the Park Beach Holiday Park.
FUN IN THE SUN: Scenes at the Park Beach Holiday Park. Trevor Veale

"These are amazing figures which show how Australians' love of a caravan or camping holiday continues its rapid rise," Caravan & Camping Industry Association CEO, Lyndel Gray said.

"We see from the overall domestic results that couples and families are increasingly engaging with caravan and camping holidays and more people are travelling with children, which reflects what our members are also seeing in their parks."

Dr Stephen Saunders, Coffs Harbour City Council's Industry & Destination Development section leader, says the figures are being reflected in Coffs Harbour's visitor numbers.

"It's great, caravanning and camping is a very Aussie thing so it's going to happen for years and years and I don't see that changing.

"At certain times of the year there's very limited capacity, but even in those lull periods we've seen an increase in numbers.

"It's the beaches, the natural environment, and the people too."

The Jackson family from Newcastle say the main thing that has drawn them back to Coffs for two years in a row was, indeed, the beaches.

"We were coming back from Queensland and dropped in and had a look around, and saw how nice Coffs was. We normally go to South West Rocks but we decided to come here instead," said Anne-Marie Jackson.

 

The Jackson Family: Dean, Cooper, Lily and Anne-Marie.
The Jackson Family: Dean, Cooper, Lily and Anne-Marie. Trevor Veale

Back at the Prosser and Hardwick tent, Richard Hardwick says he loves to come to Coffs to go mountain bike riding.

Mrs Prosser adds the one thing travellers need to do when they visit Coffs is wait till nightfall, crack open a beer and watch the stars.

"Every year we say we won't come back, but we always come back," she said.

Topics:  camping caravan coffs council general-seniors-news holiday tourism travel-australia



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