Visitor numbers soar as people escape to Barrington Coast’s national parks during Covid-19.
From Barrington Tops to Brimbin, Myall Lakes to Minimbah, visitation to national parks in the Barrington Coast has surged as people seek nature-based activities to escape, exercise and stay overnight during Covid-19.
Like many local businesses, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service have had to change the way they do things during the Covid-19 pandemic. First and foremost, safety systems consistent with NSW Health regulations and guidelines to keep staff and visitors safe were introduced. NPWS then introduced an online booking system for more than 30 campgrounds within the Barrington Coast so that they could better manage visitor numbers.
This system gave NPWS never-before-seen insights into the popular demand for campsites in the Barrington Coast. In July, these campgrounds experienced between three to five times the number of campers compared to the same month last year. This is a huge, positive increase that bodes well for the local townships and businesses who benefit from NSW national parks’ visitors.
The impacts of increased visitation have been most evident at Barrington Tops National Park, especially in the last few weeks as cold days and nights have bought snow to the highest point of the Barrington Coast. NPWS has seen a number of under-prepared visitors, and has appreciated the support of MidCoast Council, NSW Police and other community groups in communicating the safety messages for Barrington Tops National Park during snow events.
These messages include for visitors to:
- Check weather and road conditions before you leave home and again before you leave Gloucester.
- Tell a friend or family member where you’re going and when you’ll be back.
- Leave plenty of time for the return trip in daylight hours: travel time is up to 1.5 hours from Gloucester.
- For a trip to the snow here, leave the two-wheel-drive at home — four-wheel-drives are best suited for driving in snow and ice conditions.
- During snow events, the status of roads on Barrington Tops can change at short notice. NSW Police may close the road at any time to ensure visitor safety.
- Prepare for rapidly changing extreme weather including rain, wind and sub-zero temperatures. Pack additional warm clothing and extra food and water.
As we move into spring and the weather begins to warm, NPWS is sure this increased trend in visitation will continue across the Barrington Coast region to support the recovery of the local visitor economy.