Lake tourism boom with good water levels a drawcard
HIGH water levels and warm weather just in time for the Christmas- New Year break has people flocking to the shire’s waterways and neighbouring lakes and rivers.
Tourist accommodation in popular spots like the Nagambie Lakes and Bonnie Doon are reporting huge numbers of people coming from across the state to take advantage of the great weather for swimming, boating, fishing and camping.
As people return to work after many enjoyed a two- week break, numbers have died down, however with the Australia Day weekend not far away, caravan park and leisure centre owners are preparing for another boom.
Kathy Octigan, owner of the Bonnie Doon Caravan Park said that with the water levels up to 77 per cent capacity (only 6m under the Bonnie Doon Bridge) and the temperatures heating up, she is expecting the lake to be extremely popular come January 26.
“With Australia Day falling on a Thursday this year, we expect many people to take an RDO on the Friday and make it a bumper weekend,” Ms Octigan said.
“So we expect it will be a really frantic weekend with so many people out on the water over the four days.”
While the number of visitors to the area is great for local businesses and the wider economy, it does bring with it the added risk of injury and even deaths on our waterways as crowds of people enjoy the water at the same time.
On Sunday a man aged in his 30s came off a wakeboard and hit the water heavily at Eildon at about 1.40pm.
He sustained head injuries and was treated by paramedics before being flown by air ambulance helicopter to The Alfred hospital in a critical condition.
Shire of Strathbogie mayor Amanda McClaren urged people to be safe and responsible on the water this summer.
During the summer, police will be enforcing the compulsory wearing of portable flotation devices when on the water.
Cr McClaren said she was happy to say the ‘zero tolerance policy’ was having a positive effect on people’s behaviour.
“There has been a really good response from water users,” she said.
“We want people to be able to get out and enjoy the lakes, but we want them to do so as safely as possible.”