Healthy holiday trading

By Emma Prior

The Christmas New Year break saw thousands of people visit Yarrawonga Mulwala enjoying the festivities, weather and all that the twin towns have to offer. 

Many businesses once again reported strong trading figures, although multiple days of excessive heat saw quieter trading for businesses in the main street.  

Yarrawonga Mulwala Tourism Executive Officer Noel Wright said official figures hadn’t been returned yet but there had been a large number of people come through the tourist centre and many accommodation facilities had been booked out. 

“Christmas trade seems to have been pretty busy. All reports at the visitor centre are positive,” Mr Wright said. 

“Visitor numbers have been strong for the past 10 days or so and camping by the river has been popular again – visitors are taking advantage of the river beaches and the proximity of those beaches to Yarrawonga Mulwala during the holiday period. 

“This is a growth area for local tourism.  The houses and units managed by the visitor centre have been completely booked either by the owners or other visitors over the past two weeks.

“Aquazone appears to be very busy, we are advised that the Farmgate Trail operators have been experiencing good visitor numbers through their gates and the clubs are doing good numbers during this time. 

“We encourage businesses to take advantage of the visitor numbers by staying open seven days and into the evening. 

“We think evening trade offers great potential growth for our Belmore Street and Melbourne Street traders and encourage retailers to explore this possibility to increase sales.

“We expect the volume of visitors will drop back from capacity next week and peak again over the Australia Day weekend.” 

Judd’s Yarrawonga owner Michelle Clark said the holiday period has been good for her store, but the excessive heat has also been an issue.

“The Christmas period was really good and we had plenty of people in, New Years has still been good but not as much as we’d usually expect,” Ms Clark said.

“The heat has been an issue with not as many people down the street and shopping.

“We adjusted hours and opened earlier which worked really well and we made a good number of sales in that earlier timeslot.

“The past weekend with Classic Hits Live was also a good one.”

Mulwala WaterSki Club CEO Peter Duncan said the 2018 Christmas period was great for the club and numbers were up from last year.

“Christmas has been great for us and our figures are up on the previous year which is always fantastic,” Mr Duncan said.

“Hot weather can do two things and luckily it drove people into the establishment this year and our entertainment has just been great.

“The ski shows always bring people in and we have had great crowds with more to come.”

Burkes Hotel Yarrawonga owner Andrew Curran said both the hotel and motel had been very busy over the festive season, which was fantastic to see for the new owners.

“It has been bedlam for us, really busy,” Mr Curran said.

“Being new to this business I can’t quite compare it to last year but our numbers have been fantastic, it’s terrific to see.

“Our accommodation was full over Christmas New Year but it is beginning to lighten off a bit however the weekends are still strong which is also great to see, not just for us but for the town with so many people visiting.” 

Yarrawonga Mulwala Golf Club Resort (YMGC) Acting CEO Peter Savy said the festive period had been a positive one for YMGCR with a great number of people enjoying their facility.

“Trade over the Christmas and New Year period has been a very positive one here at YarraGolf and while figures are still being finalised, all indicate to being well and truly in front of the same time in 2018,” Mr Savy said.   

“We have been able to provide refuge in the clubhouse from the extreme heat for our guests and visiting families to the towns both in the clubhouse and in the cinema.   

“Keen golfers have still played the course, but with very early starts and then enjoyed a cold beverage or two back in the clubhouse in front of the TV screens in the afternoon. 

“There have been many who have enjoyed the selection of live entertainment provided and New Year’s Eve was once again an outstanding success with an increase in numbers from last year.  

“We have noticed an increase in families coming into the clubhouse too to eat, play and stay enjoying the music provided into the evenings.  Overall it has been a great start to 2019 at YarraGolf.” 

ClubMulwala was also bustling with a number of events held including the Kids Christmas Party, the bull ring and gone surfing, New Year’s Eve dinner and show, Toby the T-Rex and a number of great artists and entertainment. 

Local police also reported having a reasonably quiet Christmas New Year period with only a few incidents.     

“We conducted over seven hours of random breath testing over the holiday period with almost 650 drivers tested with no positive tests recorded,” Mulwala Police Sergeant Grant Churchin said.

“The patronage through the clubs and pubs in Mulwala late at night appeared down on previous years with the crowd being very well behaved.” 

There was only one minor assault in Melbourne Street, but the persons involved declined to report the matter to police.   

“We were extremely happy with the behaviour of our visitors and continues a long tradition of Mulwala being a safe place to visit,” Sergeant Churchin said.