Most en­joy heat, but some shy away

Deniliquin Pastoral Times - - FRONT PAGE -

Brace your­self! The heat­wave is go­ing to get worse be­fore the in­ten­sity wears off.

To­day’s pre­dic­tion is for a top of 46°C in the De­niliquin dis­trict — although that’s only 1.7°C warmer than last month’s high­est tem­per­a­ture on De­cem­ber 27.

We’re ex­pect­ing a bit of a re­prieve from the scorch­ing con­di­tions af­ter to­day — in­clud­ing a top of just 31°C on Sun­day — which will be a wel­come re­lief.

The heat­wave has been hav­ing an im­pact on tourism num­bers at one of the busiest times of year.

De­niliquin’s three main hol­i­day parks have re­ported great num­bers al­ready this sum­mer, but some say camp­ing site book­ings are lower than last year.

Shorter stays are also be­ing ex­pe­ri­enced.

At BIG4 Hol­i­day Park, coowner Frank White said the Christ­mas and New Year pe­riod was on par with other years and the whole of Jan­uary has seen im­proved in­ter­est.

But he did say the heat has been par­tic­u­larly test­ing for some of the park’s guests.

‘‘We’re booked out for all of Jan­uary, although we do have a few camp­ing sites left, so we’re def­i­nitely up on num­bers for the whole month. It equates to about an ex­tra 200 nights,’’ Mr White said.

‘‘I would say 85 per cent of our guests are fam­i­lies, and they’re en­joy­ing ski­ing, fish­ing and a bit of every­thing else.

‘‘We have had a cou­ple of peo­ple shorten their stays be­cause of the heat, but on the whole peo­ple are spend­ing so much time on the river, in the pool or at our splash park they’re not com­plain­ing too much.’’

River­side Car­a­van Park coowner Shel­ley Hall said they too have had booked quests de­part ear­lier than ex­pected.

‘‘Our num­bers are prob­a­bly slightly lower than last year be­cause of the heat, and we find that some are leav­ing early,’’ she said. ‘‘The pool is def­i­nitely get­ting a work out. ‘‘Our camp­ing sites will re­ally start to slow off now, as is nor­mal for us at this time of the year, but the cab­ins are still quite busy.’’

De­niliquin McLean Beach Hol­i­day Park man­ager Pam Sut­ton said the weather is not the only con­trib­u­tor to some of the vis­i­tor re­duc­tions.

‘‘Our pow­ered sites are down be­cause of the heat and be­cause of the cost of fuel — they don’t want to fill up to make the trip — but every­thing else is go­ing great,’’ she said.

‘‘Our per­ma­nent site hold­ers are all here, but our new tourist num­bers are down.

‘‘We do have plenty of young cou­ples and groups who have used the park this year, maybe aged 23 to 30, and this week our new wave will be mostly fam­i­lies.

‘‘The beach has been pretty busy through­out, but it’s great to see so many vis­i­tors go­ing to the pool as well.’’

De­niliquin Vis­i­tor In­for­ma­tion Cen­tre tourism of­fi­cer Sonya Robin­son said while she does not have an of­fi­cial vis­i­tor num­ber count from the Pep­pin Her­itage Cen­tre, she had noted more day trip vis­i­tors than pre­vi­ous years.

‘‘We have a bit of a pat­tern of peo­ple ven­tur­ing past Echuca, even if it is just a day trip,’’ she said.

‘‘Word from the De­niliquin Boat Club is that peo­ple are very busy ski­ing, and I have also no­ticed a lot of kayak­ers around look­ing for for­est maps.

‘‘I’m also notic­ing we have a lot of re­turn vis­i­tors.

‘‘Even though it is hot peo­ple still seem quite happy to be here.’’

From to­mor­row un­til Tues­day, max­i­mum tem­per­a­tures are pre­dicted to be up to 35°C, with a cooler week­end fore­cast.

Wed­nes­day’s top of 37°C ended an eight day run of max­i­mum tem­per­a­tures more than 38°C, which started on Christ­mas Day.

In­clud­ing De­cem­ber’s top tem­per­a­ture of 44.3°C on De­cem­ber 27, the mer­cury rose to more than 40°C on three days in De­cem­ber — which is above av­er­age ac­cord­ing to the Bureau of Me­te­o­rol­ogy.

In De­cem­ber 2017 the tem­per­a­ture only ex­ceeded 40°C once — the month’s high­est max­i­mum of 40.1°C on De­cem­ber 13, 2017.

The high­est recorded De­cem­ber tem­per­a­ture in De­niliquin on record was 47.8°C on De­cem­ber 9, 1878.

The mean max­i­mum tem­per­a­ture in De­cem­ber 2018 was 33.6°C, while the long-term av­er­age for De­cem­ber — based on records start­ing in 1858 — is 30.6°C.

De­niliquin young­sters Ava and Chloe Mar­shall found a way to beat the heat with their fam­ily at McLean Beach on New Year’s Day.

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