Most enjoy heat, but some shy away
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.