COFFS COAST (NSW) – Kennards Hire Rally Australia host region Coffs Coast has hung out a “no vacancy” sign as the final round of the FIA World Rally Championship gets underway this weekend.
PHOTO: Fans who flock to Rally Australia from around the country and overseas help fill the Coffs Coast accommodation books (Jaanus Ree/Red Bull Media pic)
Whether they are international guests in high-end resorts or staying in local camping grounds, the population swells for more than a week with fans, competing teams and event workers.
The army of volunteer officials numbers almost 1000, with those giving their time free to work on the event coming from as far away as Paris.
Daniel De Bakker and Emily Alexander, managers of The Observatory Holiday Apartments near the harbourside Destination NSW Super Special Stage, say anyone connected with Rally Australia is always welcome.
The property has 21 apartments occupied this year by a range of people working on the event, including medical staff, media, helicopter crews and officials.
“We believe the Rally is a fantastic event for Coffs Harbour to host on the world stage,” Ms Alexander said.
“What a way to showcase our gorgeous location with all its great beaches and the ocean and the restaurants. Rally people are lovely people and never give us any problems and we look forward to this event every year.”
Tanya Watts, sales manager for Opal Cove Resort, is in wholehearted agreement.
The luxury property at Korora Bay, five minutes north of Coffs Harbour, has nearly 200 rooms. Visitors associated with the prestigious international series are occupying 99 per cent of them.
“Rally Australia is such an important event for us and for the region – it is so good for the economy,” Ms Watts said.
“We love welcoming the drivers and their teams and all the officials back year after year. There’s such a buzz around the property when they are here and we all enjoy it.
“The resort has been the administrative and sporting headquarters for the event since 2011 and we’re very proud of that association.
“We also enjoy working with the team at Destination NSW to make it all come together – and we’re delighted that it will be happening again next year.”
Rally Australia Chairman Ben Rainsford says there has been a growing recognition across the Coffs Coast of the benefits the WRC grand final brings to the region.
He’s delighted by the steady growth in support for the event from local business and the wider community.
“WRC TV’s live coverage of the two passes through Wedding Bells on Sunday, plus its daily wrap shows and news feeds, showcases the region to a massive audience.
“Dedicated television coverage of Rally Australia is broadcast to more than 150 countries. This exposure is of inestimable value to New South Wales, the Coffs Coast and our major partners.”
Rally Australia is celebrating its 25th year as a round of the FIA World Rally Championship and is the closing event of a 13-round series staged in 13 countries.