If you thought you noticed a lot of caravans around town for this time of year you're not wrong - Cootamundra caravan park managers John and Bruna Nicholson are reporting their busiest June since they took over managing the park six years ago.
Consulting his books in the office on Sunday, Mr Nicholson said last year the park had 291 powered sites occupied in June last year, but this has jumped to 389 this year, expected to reach more than 400 by month's end.
As well, the cabin occupancy rate this winter has been 60%, compared with only 36% last year.
"June July and August are usually quiet for us, but this year it's been brilliant," Mrs Nicholson said.
"People are just so happy to be out on the road again, to get out and touring again, even if it's just around NSW.
"And we're finding they're staying longer, some four days, some even a week.
"Even today we had a couple who said they always drive through Coota on their way or way back from somewhere else, but now they're glad they stopped.
"We encourage them to use Cootamundra as a base from which they can go exploring Junee, Temora, Young, even Wagga."
Visitors are coming mostly from NSW, with the odd one or two from northern Victorian country towns.
In a good omen for the town's future, the couple have learned a surprising number of visitors are buying homes in the town.
"Some have come especially to look for a place, while others have started to look while they're here - they all say what a nice town it is, clean and tidy and friendly," said Mrs Nicholson.
Mr Nicholson said now was a golden opportunity to advertise Cootamundra more, to take advantage of the large number of people who will be touring and holidaying locally in coming months.
"I don't think Cootamundra is advertised enough now - when people come here they say they didn't realise how nice it is - there should be TV ads telling them."
The occupancy increase can be attributed partly to workers in essential industries (in particular railways) who've stayed throughout the pandemic, as well as 5-6 caravaners with no fixed abode who were allowed to stay.
"This kept us going, in contrast with many other parks that were forced to close entirely," Mrs Nicholson said.
Cootamundra's best-known tourist attraction, the Bradman Birthplace Museum, has not had any dramatic uptick, although there's been reasonable visitation for mid-winter.
Brian Noble, who works at the Museum for one full weekend and one Sunday a month, said early Sunday afternoon he had already had 10 people call through, six from Canberra, two from Sydney, and one each from Mildura and Bendigo.
Mr Noble, a member of the tourism action group, moved to Cootamundra from Penrith 13 years ago after retiring from work as a storeman at the Army camp at Holsworthy, and "wouldn't move back for quids".
He and other weekend workers are paid by council, whereas during the week the attraction is kept open, 9am-5pm daily, by volunteers.
Volunteer and local cricket identity Eric Thorburn said the cottage had been open for the past fortnight and had six visitors during his shift last Wednesday afternoon, almost entirely NSW people.
"We've had the normal covid regulations there, where people who come in have to sign their name, address and phone number and we can only have six in the place at once."
The Museum has 12-14 volunteers on its list rostered for half-day shifts.
The Visitor Information Centre and Heritage Centre has also been re-opened, with a growing number of visitors.
Last Sunday the Herald met four visitors from Canberra who came to Cootamundra on Friday especially to give their support to a country NSW town.
Brett and Janinne Monger, of the Canberra suburb of Conder, and Rhys Evans and Lanne Harkin of Gordon, stayed two nights in a "lovely" B&B in Burns Street, and enjoyed their meal at Central Hotel on Saturday night.
"We just wanted to spend some time in a regional town and show our support by spending some money there," Mr Monger said.
"It's so good to have a chance to get out at last."
Keen walkers, they enjoyed the view of Cootamundra from the top of the hill during a two-hour walk in Pioneer Park, and also doing the Captain's walk where a local woman also doing the walk introduced herself and talked about the district's history.
"She went out of her way to make us feel welcome - it's such a friendly town," said Ms Harkin.
While staying at Coota, the visitors also had a half-day trip to Junee, where they took in the Licorice Factory.
They were impressed with the district's attractions, less than two hours from Canberra, and will be telling friends and coming back for another weekend when the weather gets warmer.
The council's tourism and economic development officer, Jeana Bell, said the Bradman cottage and heritage centre had both been open since June 1.
"We've lifted stage 4 restrictions on both locations, but we're revising whether to go to level 2 at the moment," Ms Bell said.
"We're trying to hold off to see what plays out down in Victoria to whether or not we will ease our restrictions.
"I personally am really impressed and thankful for how diligently the volunteers have responded and worked during these current times.
"Everything I have asked of them has been completed to a high standard and really reflects their passion and enthusiasm for Cootamundra.
"Numbers have been down compared to previous years, but this time of year it is a bit slower due to the colder months.
"We are excited when more restrictions lift and we can welcome more individuals into our lovely town."