Cross border reunions have been dominating holiday accommodation bookings as Queensland and New South Wales families make plans to meet after being separated for months. Following the Premier’s announcement that the QLD and NSW border bubble would be expanding; thousands of Aussies have border-hopped to reunite with their nearest and dearest.
One family eager to reunite is the Hickson family, who after missing many family milestones this year, have booked a holiday in Byron Bay to catch up across the border and celebrate many missed birthdays and high school graduations. Lee Hickson said that the border closures kept her apart from family and friends for most of the year, but that recent expansion of the travel bubble made a reunion possible.
“My brother and his family relocated to Mackay during COVID, but the rest of my family are based here in NSW. I live about an hour from Suffolk Park and my other brother lives down near Wagga Wagga,” said Ms Hickson.
“Since the borders have been closed, we’ve all be stuck in our own little worlds, so we wanted to plan a trip that would get us all together again. “It’s going to be one big celebration, there are some birthdays we’ve missed and high school graduations – we’re all very keen to get together and catch-up after several months apart.
“We reached out to other family members and friends in NSW and QLD, and we’ve ended up organising a holiday with almost 40 people. “More than half of the group needed somewhere to stay, so we booked several cabins and camp sites at Ingenia Holidays Byron Bay for early November,” Ms Hickson said.
Ingenia Holidays Byron Bay Park has seen significant interest from both states with a 52 per cent increase in bookings since the NSW QLD ‘border bubble’ was first announced. Ingenia Holidays Byron Bay Park Manager Katrina Hansen said that families had been flocking to the park, with it serving as an ideal half-way point between the two states.
“We’ve experienced really strong booking enquiries since the border bubble was first announced. It’s been lovely to see so many reunions take place,” Ms Hansen said. “We’ve seen big group bookings, like the Hickson family, who needed accommodation that would work for a wide range of age groups.
“Our park ticks a lot of boxes because we have something for guests of all ages, along with an onsite restaurant and café, and our playground, games room and swimming pool are a hit with the kids. “We’re also walking distance from Tallow Beach and only five minutes away from central Byron – so there is no shortage of activities. “Our guests also love that they can bring the whole family, pets included. It’s easy here – we’re the only pet friendly holiday park in Byron Bay – we’ve even got a dog-friendly café on site,” Ms Hansen said.
Ms Hickson said they chose to book Ingenia off a recommendation and are glad they did as the staff have been great through the booking processes.
“My eldest son has stayed at the Ingenia Holidays park in the past when he’s been to Splendour in the Grass – he and his mates loved it, so we knew based off his experience it would be a great spot for both the older and younger ones”, Ms Hickson said. “The girls at reception were fantastic – even though we’ve got quite a few people to coordinate, nothing was a hassle, and they were so friendly.
“It will be our first real break in a while. I had some holidays booked for earlier in the year that I had to cancel, mainly because I work in aged care and we weren’t able to take time off. “Things got busy and we were in lockdown so we couldn’t really go anywhere anyway until recently – we’re really looking forward to it.