Tourists showing a passion for adventure 

ADRENALINE junkies are opting for more heart-racing activities these holidays, with many of our region’s adventure options pacing to keep up with the demand.

“Port Macquarie’s definitely made a mark for many more exciting things than just lying on the beach,” says Johanna Wainwright from High Adventure Paragliding.

She said the region was quickly building on its reputation as a popular hot-spot for adventure sports and outdoor activities.

From our national parks to extreme water-sport ventures, it seems Port Macquarie’s great outdoors has been a clear winner for visitors the past few days of the festive season.

Since December 27, it has been mayhem at Port Jet, said owner Liz Burt. 

“We’ve been absolutely flat-out,” she said. “The beaches are the main attractions here, but children are demanding to experience some sort of thrill - kids don’t want to just lay on the beach all day.”

She said this season’s takings were on par if not better than in the past, with more people looking for an engaging holiday experience.

“People always want to know what’s next,” Mrs Burt said. “They’re eager to do a lot, especially more active things and not just the usual tame activities.”

Extreme Velocity outdoor vertical wind tunnel is another adrenaline inducing activity noting a steady increase in numbers.

Campsites are filled with families relishing the freedom of the outdoors.

Places like Sea Acres Rainforest Centre have been chock-a-block with visitors appreciating an outdoor trek.

“We’re always busy during the summer period but it’s definitely increased this year,” said Sea Acres information officer Natalie Talbot.

But for some local ventures, the holidays have so far proved disappointing. Judy Hodge said although she believed the Sea Plane was a major drawcard to the area - numbers were poor compared to previous years.

“Sea Planes are so rare, really it’s almost like a once in a lifetime experience – it is so thrilling when the plane leaves the water,” she said.

But despite the lure of the rare opportunity to fly in a sea plane, there seemed to be a different crowd of people this year with their wallets zipped tight and buried deep in their pockets, she said.

Kayaktivity owner Gary Henderson could not agree more.

He said  a lack of large family groups, more willing to spend their money, could be making a difference to the numbers.

“We’re definitely down on last year,” Mr Henderson said. “Maybe other people have gone away earlier in the year because of the high Australian dollar, and they don’t want to spend more now.”

Greater Port Macquarie Tourism Association president Janette Hyde said appealing to adventure lovers was attracting a younger demographic to the area.

She said for a numbers of years now, people were becoming more selective with their spending and some businesses would be noticing the effects of a more credit-conscious country.

As for those who are keeping their hip-pocket in check - fishing, swimming and exploring local nature reserves are keeping holiday makers, without to much of adrenaline addiction, well-satisfied

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