Accommodation providers say the Cooloola Coast has been inundated by visitors who have never been to the region, as the state finds itself faced with closed borders and a capital city keen to get away for the long weekend.
Accommodation providers say the Cooloola Coast has been inundated by visitors who have never been to the region, as the state finds itself faced with closed borders and a capital city keen to get away for the long weekend.

‘No room at inn’ as region prepares for visitor tsunami

NO Ekka is proving no problem for the Gympie region with accommodation providers saying they have been inundated by people who never even had Gympie on the radar before.

The coastline was one of the biggest winners, with operators in Tin Can Bay and Rainbow Beach saying there was no room at the inn as the state faces an Ekka weekend without the name attraction thanks to the COVID-19 shutdown.

"We're full," Rainbow Sea Resort owner Fiona Worthington said, adding that "quite a number of (guests) have never been here before".

Accommodation at Tin Can Bay is also hard to find.. Photo Craig Warhurst / Gympie Times
Accommodation at Tin Can Bay is also hard to find.. Photo Craig Warhurst / Gympie Times

Especially surprising was that many of them were from the Sunshine Coast and would never have had places like Rainbow Beach on their holiday radar.

Instead they would have packed up for Bali, or skiing in Australia's south.

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"The feedback's been they're very impressed," Mrs Worthington said.

"It's getting a little frustrating for our regulars who can't get (a booking) to stay."

This year's Ekka fell victim to the pandemic.

Tin Can Bay Tourist Park's Joy McKellar said they were turning guests away in their hundreds.

Many guests have never had Rainbow Beach on their radar until now.
Many guests have never had Rainbow Beach on their radar until now.

"We're completely full," she said.

"A lot of people can't travel to northern New South Wales and they're trying to find other accommodation."

This surge was a welcome change following mutliple cancellations by people after two women allegedly slipped across the Queensland border dishonestly last month.

The Cooloola Coast will not be the only part of the region drawing a crowd.

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Borumba Deer Park owner Rachael Bedford said the Imbil park is booked so solidly there is now a waiting list.

Those who could not secure a spot for this weekend long Ekka weekend made bookings on weekends either side of it.

"It's been great," she said.

The Mary Valley and Borumba Dam are proving to be popular stops, too.
The Mary Valley and Borumba Dam are proving to be popular stops, too.

And, like the atmosphere at Rainbow Beach, she said there were a number of visitors who would normally have never had Imbil or the Mary Valley on their radar.

A Gympie motel owner, who declined to be named, said the Ekka weekend was not having the same impact in Gympie itself - but this was not a problem as rooms were regularly booked out throughout the week, and had been since the pandemic closures started rolling back a few months ago.

But if there was an overflow from those waiting to secure a spot elsewhere in the region, they would be welcomed.

Gympie Times


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