Halls Gap inundated with tourists as COVID-19 restrictions are lifted | The Ararat Advertiser

news, local-news, Halls Gap, Tourism, tourist, holiday

Halls Gaps has come to life in recent weeks with an influx of tourists from across the state. Businesses in the picturesque town, home to Gariwerd (Grampians National Park), and surrounding townships have seen scores of people make the trip down the Western Highway following COVID-19 restrictions lifted across the state. Will Hudson, general manager of Livefast Cafe in Halls Gap, said the extra patrons are a welcome sight. « When you can only seat up to 18 people inside per hour and a similar amount outside plus take away orders, we have found that each weekend we are really maxing out our possible turnover, » he said. « What we are noticing though is a big jump in midweek sales with visitors more likely to be able to book midweek. READ MORE: Prompted by pandemic, Grampians Community Health finds new way of retaining skilled workers It’s been great midweek for this time of year, with the school holidays spiking really well so far midweek. « I’m co-owner of Paper Scissors Rock Brew Co at the other end of the Main Street and we have experienced similar results with weekends operating at peak capacity, and now that school holidays have rolled around, we are finding most our peak periods for lunch and dinner are booking out quickly. » Mr Hudson also operates a holiday rental in Halls Gap that is booked out since the restrictions were lifted. « Domestic tourism is really strong and I’m looking forward to when restrictions finally ease up and we can operate at 100% of our capacity in both the café and the brewery. » Halls Gap Caravan Park manager Nadja Herrington wholeheartedly agrees. « Halls Gap is a tourist town – without tourists we would struggle, » she said. « The caravan park has been busy since June 1 – we have been at capacity in our cabins. « We have a limited number of camping sites, because we want to keep our campers as safe as possible. » A short distance away, the Halls Gap Zoo has also seen a rapid jump in visits. READ MORE: Owner Yvonne Culell said the flood of visitors is a godsend after closing the zoo for 10 weeks at the height of the pandemic. « It has been wonderful! » she said enthusiastically. « Attendance has been healthy – Saturday was good, but it got a bit quieter in the afternoon, which suggests a lot of day trippers from Melbourne. « However, we were especially busy on Sunday and that has continued on into the school holidays. » While you’re with us, you can now receive updates straight to your inbox each Friday morning from The Ararat Advertiser. To make sure you’re up-to-date with all the news from across the Ararat shire, sign up here.

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