LOVING IT: The Jerrard and Patterson families take a stroll on the Jetty. Bridget Jerrard brought her children from Inverell to visit their cousins who live at Toormina.
LOVING IT: The Jerrard and Patterson families take a stroll on the Jetty. Bridget Jerrard brought her children from Inverell to visit their cousins who live at Toormina. Gemima Harvey

Tourists come to Coffs in big numbers over school holidays

THE Coffs Coast's popularity with holiday makers has once again been illustrated as "unprecedented" crowds travelled to the region for the school holidays.

Despite less than desirable weather leading into the two week break, Mother Nature put her best foot forward and tourism bosses throughout the region were celebrating as a result.

The Coffs Harbour Visitor Information Centre recorded extraordinary crowds with staff saying tourists were making Coffs Harbour the destination, rather than a stopover.

The results were welcome news to the region's many tourism businesses including the ever-popular Big Banana.

"Visitor numbers were up 150% on last year for these school holidays which is just a fantastic sign for the region," general manager Michael Lockman said.

Numbers were also up 25% at the Pet Porpoise Pool, led by an increase in domestic visitors.

With just a shower or two hitting the coast, occupancy levels at accommodation houses throughout Coast had been high with visitors making the most of the sunshine.

Comfort Inn Big Windmill guest service agent Michael Brewer said the season had been unexpected.

"It's been a fantastic season to the point where we've had to turn people away which is very unusual for this time of year," Mr Brewer said.

He said popular drawcards with guests included whale watching, the Sawtell Chilli Festival and the Bello Winter Music Festival.

"I think we'll see a lot of people re-booking holidays for next year, based on their experience this year."

Despite the extra traffic through the region, police said motorists had been paying attention to safety rules with only a handful of minor incidents recorded.

As of Thursday afternoon, eight drivers had been caught for mid to low range drink driving.

With sunshine forecast for the final day of holidays, tomorrow will be another day to make the most of what our region has to offer.



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