Charlotte Brundrett, Herald SunFebruary 19, 2020 8:00am

Victorians are being urged to help boost regional tourism in the wake of devastating bushfires.

And with road access improving across fire-hit East Gippsland, many caravan parks are already open for business, or gearing up to reopen in the near future.

“All those who are involved in the caravan, camping and tourism industry are encouraging those looking to get away to head to regions that were affected by the fires,” said Caravan Industry Victoria chief executive Rob Lucas.

“It is now about supporting those in the towns affected and supporting them for much longer that we think we should.”

The devastating fires, as well as road closures and tourists’ reluctance to be a “burden” on fire-affected towns, have led to a sharp drop in visitor numbers in what is traditionally the busiest period for caravan parks and camping sites in East Gippsland.

“We have been lucky enough not to have lost any caravan parks, however overall tourist numbers have declined,” Mr Lucas said.

Victorians are being encouraged to explore their own backyard on caravanning or camping holidays. Picture: Josie Hayden
Victorians are being encouraged to explore their own backyard on caravanning or camping holidays. Picture: Josie Hayden

As the clean-up continues, closures and restrictions on the roads are starting to be lifted, allowing caravan parks to reopen and resume business operations.

Mr Lucas said fire-affected communities would need Victorians’ support for many years ahead.

“We live in an amazing state where much of what we love is at our fingertips. It is now about driving that little bit further and staying that one extra night, which is what will help those who have been affected by the bushfire crisis,” he said.

“It will allow Victorians to help shape and rebuild small and large communities that have been devastated by simply taking a short break or holiday.”

In the lead-up to this weekend’s Victorian Caravan, Camping and Touring Supershow, check out some of the magnificent caravan parks to explore in East Gippsland:

Omeo Caravan Park

Old Omeo Highway, Omeo: Open

This beautiful tree lined caravan park sits adjacent to Livingstone Creek in the state’s far-east and is extremely pet friendly, with dogs, cats and even horses welcome.

Omeo Caravan Park facilitates a range of accommodation, such as caravans (including onsite options), cabins, tents and bunkhouses for larger visiting groups.

The location also boasts its very own on-site food truck, with The Big Red Food Van providing a range of delicious foods and beverages most evenings until late.

SWAN REACH HOLIDAY PARK

2143 Princes Hwy, Swan Reach

An award-winning property, Swan Reach Holiday Park is the ideal location for those wanting to get in touch with the great outdoors.

Located on the Tambo River, with the legendary Gippsland Lakes and Lakes Entrance situated nearby, there’s more than 180 species of birdlife that call the area home and the Buchan Caves nearby, perfect for adventurous types to explore.

With caravan, camping and cottage facilities available, there’s something for every kind of accommodation preference.

MARLO OCEAN VIEWS CARAVAN AND CAMPING PARK

10 Argyle Parade, Marlo: Open

A short drive from the foothills of the Snowy River National Park and the Croajingolong National Park, Marlo’s caravan park sits on beautiful parkland with a large playing oval overlooking waterways and nearby access to surrounding beaches.

On-site cabins and vans are available, in addition to sites for camping and caravans.

NRMA EASTERN BEACH HOLIDAY PARK

42 Eastern Beach Rd, Lakes Entrance

Close to the waters of Eastern Beach, this holiday park offers the ultimate beachside escape with two-bedroom villas and powered or unpowered caravan and camping sites.

There’s also a solar heated swimming pool, bouncing pillow, children’s playground and recreation room, making it the ideal holiday park destination for families.

Note: Visitors to the Gippsland region should check the traffic and Emergency Victoria updates before travelling.

To find out more about travelling on wheels in East Gippsland and beyond, visit the Victorian Caravan, Camping and Touring Supershow at the Melbourne Showgrounds from Thursday, February 20, to Monday, February 24.