Shellharbour Mayor Marianne Saliba was one of thousands of Illawarra people playing tourist and exploring their own back yard on the weekend at the Shoalhaven Coast Winter Wine Festival.
She joined Sharon Pannewitz, of Specialty Tours and Travel, and Karen Meiring de Gonzalez, of Skin Correctives and more than 100 Wollongong, Shellharbour and Kiama people on two large Premier coaches for the festival.
When they arrived at Crooked River Winery at 10am on Sunday it helped kick-start day two of the festival with a bang for the vineyard.
Nicole Mallos said it definitely a record year with many visitors coming by train and bus.
“We estimate we had approximately 14,000 people attend the Festival which is 4,000 more than last year. A great result for us and the region, with a huge influx of tourists,” she said.
Two Figs Winery welcomed thousands of visitors on Sunday alone and vigneron Shane Bricker said the festival was growing so fast and getting so big it was not easy to manage.
Rajarshi Ray at Silos Estate wants to implement a new traffic control plan by running a shuttle service so cars and buses park nearby to help ease traffic congestion.