16 Feb 2023
One of the Riverland’s favourite family holiday spots is today welcoming back guests for the first time in three months, signalling a milestone for tourism recovery in the region.
Discovery Parks – Lake Bonney officially reopened today after the property closed in early November in anticipation of flooding.
After closing the property, Discovery Parks constructed a levee on the lakeside of the park to protect it from floodwaters and removed 20 deluxe cabins at risk of rising water levels, moving them to higher ground.
In total, more than 220 sites and 80 cabins were closed to tourists over the peak summer holiday period, with only a handful of cabins utilised to accommodate tradespeople and contractors working in the region to support the community’s flood preparation and management works.
Lake Bonney was spared the worst of the flood impacts as it was sealed off from the Murray River in early December and levee also ensured the property remained unaffected by floodwaters. This ensured the park could be quickly brought back online without any damage.
Discovery Parks Chief Executive Officer Grant Wilckens said that with the park back open for business, the company is now looking forward to encouraging back guests to the region to bring vital economic uplift for local businesses.
“Tourism is such a driver for the Riverland economy during the summer months and it was a really tough decision for us to close over the summer peak period as we would ordinarily be 80-90 per cent full during December and January,” Mr Wilckens said.
“We really feel for the local community, including our own staff, who have been impacted. Our focus now is on supporting the regional recovery by encouraging guests back to the Riverland and sending a clear message to get out here and explore the best that the region has to offer.”
“We know that every dollar spent by a guest on accommodation injects $3 in economic benefit back to the community and local businesses need this support now more than ever.”
Tourism Minister Zoe Bettison said the reopening of the park was a significant boost for the region, and signalled a switch from the emergency response to the recovery of the areas $200 million visitor economy.
“This is such a shot in the arm for the Riverland region, and particularly for the tourism businesses in Barmera, who have been seriously impacted by a lack of visitors over the traditionally busy summer months,” she said.
“The reopening of the park sends a very strong signal that Lake Bonney is open for business and that it now the time to head up to the region, book a cabin or a site, and enjoy some quality time in the Riverland.”
About G’day Group
Founded by Grant Wilckens in 2004 with three properties in WA, the G’Day Group is now Australia’s largest regional accommodation provider with around 300 properties across Australia.
G’day reached $1bn company status in 2020, and is home to three brands; Discovery Parks (owned and managed parks), G’day Parks (independently owned licensed parks) and G’day Rewards (membership program).
G’day is majority owned by Australian Retirement Trust. Founder and CEO Grant Wilckens is also the Chair of the Caravan Industry Association of Australia and Board Director of the South Australian Tourism Commission.