Esperance accommodation providers are excited to be welcoming back Goldfields guests, who were banned from travelling 400km south for the past two months because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Esperance Chalet Village co-owner Fiona Shillington said her cabins were fully booked for the WA Day long weekend after a flood of keen travellers snapped up spots as soon as they heard they could travel to the coastal community.
“We’re really grateful — Kalgoorlie for us is a really important market,” she said.
“We’re thrilled to be able to welcome them so soon.
“There are lots of returning Kalgoorlie guests.
“We were full last weekend and this weekend, so we’ve seen lots of activity around town, which we have really been grateful for.”
Mrs Shillington said winter was usually the off-season for the popular accommodation provider, but after two months without visitors, there had been a boost in winter bookings as travellers from across the State were keen to visit.
“Having Perth open is amazing for the whole region; it’s all these future bookings,” she said.
“In previous years, we’ve had a much quieter off-season but our off-season is looking really encouraging.
“A lot of the Perth people have booked in advance for June, July and August, which is great, and not just two or three nights, which they would have done for a road trip.
“They are coming for four and five nights.
“Not everyone is a summer person; they love the cosy vibes, fires, beach walks and rugging up. You get these glorious 22C and 23C days with 10 knots of breeze and it’s glorious.
“We actually love winter — it is beautiful.”
Esperance Tourism chairman Wayne Halliday, who also owns Esperance Island View, said he was fully booked, until one group cancelled to travel to Perth instead, leaving only one room available.
“Since travel restrictions have lifted, there’s been some steady interest and occupancy is looking good for this weekend for us and others in town, I suspect,” he said.
“Mostly Kalgoorlie people; obviously there has been some extra bookings from Perth trying to see some friends and family in Esperance.”
With many self-drive trails, walking tracks and cycling paths, he said Esperance had plenty available for tourists that did not involve swimming or going to the beach.
“The coastal walking is always popular and pleasant throughout winter. It also is our whale season in July, so you don’t have to get right into the water — you can enjoy it from the coast.
“Further on, it is our wildflower season, so there is plenty of other things (to do).
“There is our artisans who are always open as well.
“We have some quite unique artisans in Esperance that would welcome some visitors for sure over winter.
“Stokes Inlet, Mt Ridley, Frenchman Peak — there’s plenty to do.”