In the 13 years Nick Montague has owned Blueys Cellars, he has never seen a busier winter than the one just passed.
The coronavirus pandemic may have claimed 53 lives in NSW and taken a considerable toll on the State's economy, but it has resulted in a huge upsurge in regional travel, with the already popular Pacific Palms proving a bigger drawcard than ever.
"From the June long weekend on, every weekend has been comparable to a weekend in January and February," Mr Montague said.
"It's been like summer."
Mr Montague said the influx of visitors had resulted in unprecedented winter trade for his business, and he was far from alone.
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Pacific Palms Recreation Club secretary manager Di Ellis says the club is predicting an increase in turnover of 30 per cent from last year for the July 1 to September 30 quarter - and that's with public health order restrictions limiting the amount of patrons the club can let in.
"We've been inundated," Ms Ellis said.
"We've actually had to bring back staff."
Kembali Cafe owner Mel Bartz says it's easily been the busiest winter her and her husband have experienced in the six years they've been running the business, and she expects the coming October school holidays will be even busier.
"I don't think it's going to stop," she said.
"I think it'll be as busy as the regular summer holidays."
Mrs Bartz's prediction is reflected in reports from local accommodation providers, which reveal even trying to find a place to stay in Pacific Palms and surrounding areas at the moment is proving a challenge.
If we have a captured audience in NSW where they can't go overseas and they feel claustrophobic, it makes sense that they would go up the coast.Greg Hope, Pacific Palms Signature Properties
Pacific Palms Signature Properties principal Greg Hope said his business had seen somewhere between a 50 to 100 per cent increase in rental bookings through winter and properties were booking out much quicker than usual for the coming months.
"This spring and summer is looking much bigger (than usual)," he said.
Just down the road at Treachery Camp, Seal Rocks, administration officer Kim Clasby said the park was currently booked out four weeks in advance, with the Christmas/New Year period also at capacity.
She said the park had been booked out every weekend since it reopened in June except for two rain-affected weekends.
"We could've booked it 50 times over this school holidays," Ms Clasby said.
"I've never seen it like this before."
Ms Clasby said the majority of visitors were coming from Newcastle and Sydney and believed the area had benefitted both from the lockdown earlier in the year and the state border closures.
Mr Hope agreed.
"If we have a captured audience in NSW where they can't go overseas and they feel claustrophobic, it makes sense that they would go up the coast," he said.
Mr Montague and Mrs Bartz also thought the proximity of Pacific Palms to the State's larger metropolitan areas had contributed to its popularity.
"We're just at the tip of the weekend drive from Sydney," Mr Montague said.
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While there has been some resistance to visitors in the community this year, particularly when COVID-19 case numbers in the State were at their highest, Mr Montague says businesses like his are doing everything they can to minimise the risk by adhering to government health regulations.
Blueys Cellars currently has a limit on the amount of people allowed in the shop, while Pacific Palms Recreation Club is not allowing entry to patrons from local government areas deemed as high risk.
And in terms of when the bumper season may slow down, no one is expecting anything to change until state borders start to reopen.
"When the Queensland border reopens we'll see a slow down," Ms Ellis said.
"But even then I think we'll be pretty good."
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