IT’S something of a local in-joke, but the official figures back it up — Warrnamboolians love camping in Warrnambool.
The uniquely Warrnambool phenomenon continues unabated this year, with locals making up 13 per cent of bookings at Warrnambool Surfside Holiday Park and Shipwreck Bay Holiday Park (aka Surfside 1 and Surfside 2 respectively) in the Boxing Day-January 31 period.
That figure is even higher for Surfside 2 alone, where almost a quarter of all bookings are city residents.
“It is a uniquely Warrnamboolian thing,” Warrnambool’s tourism services manager Peter Abbott said.
“I do have to describe it to some people. I haven’t come across it anywhere else.
“But this is the first time we’ve done this report and there’s a perception that there would be a higher percentage (of Warrnamboolians staying at Surfside).
“It’s still a considerable number though.”
Mr Abbott noted that for many local families, staying at Surfside 1 or 2 was simply a matter of tradition.
“It is the best time of year to be in Warrnambool,” he said.
The council survey also showed that Melbourne is the most popular homebase for visitors to the two Warrnambool City Council-run caravan parks, making up 20 per cent of all bookings.
Warrnambool and Ballarat are equal second with 13 per cent. They are followed by Colac (nine per cent) and Geelong (six per cent).
Interstate visitors make up nine per cent of bookings, with most of those coming from South Australia and NSW/ACT.
Surfside 1 and 2’s 1150 sites are not fully booked at the moment, which is a common occurrence in the first weeks of January, Mr Abbott said.
“We have about 30-40 sites available at the moment,” he said.
“We’re accommodating between 4500-5000 people every night and they’re staying for an average of nine-and-a-half days.”