“I DON’T expect anything,” Philip Singleton says, a twinkle in his eye.
“They just start coming.”
He is talking of the holidaymakers — hordes and hordes of holidaymakers — who from this week will start descending on the Border, particularly Lake Hume.
And from his perch behind the counter of the Kangaroo General Store, Mr Singleton is in a good position to judge.
From yesterday, caravan parks and campgrounds started filling up for the post-Christmas holiday season, while those already here enjoyed a lazy Boxing Day outing on the region’s waterways.
The attraction, says Mr Singleton — who has owned the general store for 23 years — is simple: “The lake. That water is the greatest asset Albury-Wodonga has got”.
The Comans and their extended family are inclined to agree — it was the first time in many years Veronica and Patrick Coman had managed to get all their children and grandchildren in one spot for Christmas, and yesterday was spent on the banks of the dam before they all scattered their separate ways again.
The couple moved to Wodonga a year ago, partly because it was a central location for their three children, who live in Geelong, Canberra and Sydney, to reach.
“You’ve got the snowfields to one side, the wine regions all around, and then the lake,” Mr Coman said, nodding at the blue expanse before him.
Their eight grandchildren certainly weren’t complaining, barely stopping their splashing for a bite to eat.
“I like it here, the scenery is so beautiful,” said the Comans’ daughter Sharyn Laughlin, of Canberra.
“The kids really enjoy it because they don’t get to see their cousins that often.”
Closer to town at the Oddies Creek playground, it’s a similar story for the Griggs, Tyrrell and Collins families.
The adventure playground is the perfect spot for a Boxing Day catch-up — particularly when there’s 12 kids between them.
While Kerry and Tony Griggs live in Albury, their friends Jo and Richard Tyrrell have been living in Melbourne for 18 years.
The Collins family come from Brisbane to visit.
Christmas is one of the few times their children, all aged between 15 and five, get to see each other, as do high school buddies Tony and Richard.
The local Griggs family value the local area just as much.
“It’s quite nice to stay local, and have a break form the everyday routine,” Mrs Griggs said.