They might not be staying at the caravan park, but they’re visiting

November 16, 2011

Bingara’s many attributes are becoming increasingly recognised around the region. Visitors might not be staying at the caravan park but they are definitelyvisiting the town.

Visitor numbers are up significantly compared with previous years and a number of tour groups have been in town in the past few weeks, keeping Tourist Officer, Jennifer Mead very busy.  Jen told the Advocate that in November so far, four groups have made Bingara their destination, touring the Roxy Theatre and Café as part of their day out.

They were members of the Gunnedah Men’s Shed, the Gunnedah/Narrabri Probus Club, a group of visitors to Moree who were on a day tour from that town, visiting the attractions of the local area and a group of 26 Gunnedah people who were on a “mystery tour” organised by their local bus company. 

According to Jen, most of the groups have lunch in Bingara and some take a town tour, which is escorted by Jen, who gives a commentary on the places of interest along the way.  The tour, which takes about an hour and a half, provides plenty of information about the history and roles of a number of buildings and constructions in Bingara.

One of the travellers on the “mystery tour” told the Advocate that she thought she was heading to the Hunter Valley for the day.  She was pleasantly surprised to find that not only was she visiting Bingara’s Roxy complex but that she actually was about to see the final matinee performance of the North West Theatre Company’s two outstanding plays.

In the coming weeks, the Tamworth Cottage Garden Club will visit Bingara, with a tour of the Roxy Theatre and Café already arranged. The Club Coffs Travel Club has also organised a visit, with Jen to provide a town tour.  Another group of public servants is coming to Bingara for a two day meeting to be held at the Roxy.  The visitors, who will be staying overnight in town, will all be provided with an information kit that will hopefully inspire them to return to Bingara for a weekend or a longer holiday. Bookings extend out to next March when members of St Mary’s Anglican Church, Ballina will visit Bingara.

Figures, provided by Jen, show that the number of tourists visiting Bingara is increasing at an amazing rate. March’s figures are up 300% on the previous year, with August and September showing a 200% increase on last year. November is showing an almost 100% increase already.

Council staff also report that recently Brian Ball, the proprietor of Reef ‘n’ Hinterland Bus Tours, of Cairns brought a busload of seniors through the Gwydir Shire.  The tourists stopped in both Warialda and Bingara.

Mr Ball was so impressed with the Tourist Information Offices and the friendliness of the Staff that he was moved to call in at Council’s office and comment.  Mr Ball said that he had been taking people on tours all over Australia for over two decades and yet he was amazed at how fantastic Gwydir was, and how, he and his passengers enjoyed their short visit immensely.  He said next time he comes through this area he will be staying overnight because the Gwydir shire has so much to offer.

Since the opening of the new Warialda Tourist Information Office there has been a dramatic increase in bus tours.  Mandy Pilon of Council said that during last month they welcomed five bus tours and have also seen soaring numbers of visitors dropping into the centre with an average of more than 500  each month.