Grey nomad effect sweeps into Hervey Bay shops
THERE was a time when Urangan's pier precinct was a shipping port bustling with economic activity.
Today, grey nomads are bringing life back into the quiet end of town, pumping money into local pubs, clubs and shops.
Mark and Maria Eadie are two of the hundreds of travellers helping to revitalise Urangan and the wider Fraser Coast economy.
The Hobart couple has stayed in the new Pier Caravan Park three times since it opened in June.
"The weather has drawn us to the Fraser Coast, and the shopping, golf courses, cafes, the nice flat land to ride push-bikes around, and it's pretty safe with not many drugs or louts,” Mr Eadie said.
"I came here two days after the park opened by myself, then I moved on and came back here for a week, then my wife came back here from Hobart and we're up here for a month.
"The town is nice, it's got the best weather up the coast without the highs and lows.”
Urangan businesses have also welcomed the influx of travellers.
Sundaes at the Pier owner Penny Hawley said she could get up to 100 people through her doors every day, resulting in hundreds of dollars being spent on food and drink.
"It makes all the difference,” Ms Hawley said. "I've been here almost three years and this is definitely one of the best winters in that entire time.”
Pier Caravan Park manager Claire Medley said the park had been completely booked out since July.
"It went berserk,” she said.
"On Saturday we hear people walking around the markets and going into the shops.
"It's just that time of the year, because almost every park in Hervey Bay has been full at some point.”
Ms Medley said she was surprised to see such high numbers for the park based on word-of-mouth.
"We hear people say their family and friends had stayed here earlier in the month, then they came based on their recommendation,” she said.
"It seems like the park was opened at just the right time.”
The busy tourist season comes off the back of strong spending numbers for the Fraser Coast.
Tourism Research Australia figures revealed total visitor expenditure in the region rose 13.2 percent to $42.1 million in the year ending March 2018.
Earlier this month, Maryborough's Doon Villa RV park caretaker Glenn Barsby said grey nomads were pumping more than $9000 a day into the region's businesses.