by Jim Alouat
SOUTHERN retirees and families are swapping their cold, harsh winters for Bundaberg's warmer climate and caravan park owners are loving it ... and so should you.
When some of us hear that "winter is coming”, we tune in to the latest episode of Game of Thrones.
But when our Victorian, South Australian and Tasmanian friends feel the onset of winter, they pack their lives into a caravan and head north, injecting a vital economic boost to our region.
Big4 Cane Village Holiday Park manager Dawn Taylor has been at the helm of the Avoca-based caravan park for a decade.
She said the park, which fitted about 60-65 caravans on its 2ha property, had been full all winter.
"I only had two spots available on Saturday,” Ms Taylor said.
"It's always like this from mid-June to the end of the August.
"All the southerners come up here for the good weather.”
Ms Taylor notes there seems to be a few more visitors than previous years.
"I have seen a few more because some have come in off the road, that haven't booked, and I've had to turn them away,” Ms Taylor said.
"They didn't realise how busy it got here.”
Some of those short-term lodgers are eyeing off long-term prospects in the region too, according to REIQ president Le-Anne Allan.
When Ms Allan spoke to the NewsMail late last month, she recalled having more than 135 people at open homes during one weekend where at least 30% of them were buyers from Victoria and South Australia.
"Those southern buyers are well and truly back in the market and I haven't seen them for a few years,” Ms Allan said. Some are looking at investing and others are looking at relocating.”
Ms Taylor enjoys seeing satisfied grins after guests visit some of Bundaberg's tourism hotspots like the Rum Distillery and the Hinkler Museum.
"They're happy, on holidays and it's a great lifestyle. Why wouldn't you do it.”