AN Indigo Valley bed and breakfast run by a former nanny to pop star Madonna is among those that have seen bookings skyrocket in the wake of coronavirus restrictions being lifted.
Angela Jacobsen became proprietor of Koendidda Country House in October and had no reservations in February after shutting up in January because of bushfire smoke.
She estimated the fires destroyed $30,000 worth of bookings and she was looking forward to $10,000 in Easter income when COVID-19 halted travel.
"March was really starting to get some momentum and Easter was solidly booked and it was all set to go again and then all these bookings got cancelled," Ms Jacobsen said.
Such was the gloom, at one point Ms Jacobsen told owner, Wodonga lawyer and developer, John Potter, she would not be able to stay.
"I gave notice and suggested I had to leave because it's too extravagant for a single mum living at Koendidda and luckily John was good about waiving the rent," Ms Jacobsen said.
Now after having promoted the 1858 homestead online at Luxury Escapes, with a $399 per night deal, Ms Jacobsen saw interest boom following travel restrictions being eased from June.
"I only had 30 bookings from October to April and I've had 200 this week for the rest of the year," she said.
"They're people that have just been cooped up for months and they now want to get out."
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Amid the fires shutdown, Ms Jacobsen began offering breakfasts for locals and has also had a pop-up bar to make Koendidda accessible.
In summer she plans to have an outdoor cinema on the property which was built after settler Humphrey Pooley became rich when he found a gold nugget.
Ms Jacobsen grew up in Melbourne and tasted the life of the jetset while nanny to Madonna.
"I'm used to grand big houses and that lifestyle as a staff member," she said.
Relatives drew her to the North East and she ran a guest house at Mount Beauty before arriving at Koendidda.
Across the region, Bright is heavily booked and Rutherglen visitor centre manager Nadine Simpson reported accommodation was close to full in her area.
She said it was "very important" restrictions were eased for the long weekend which is usually a peak for Rutherglen because of the Winery Walkabout.
"We've got tourist operators that need people and then we've got the community saying we don't want people coming here, but the Indigo Shire put out flyers to help ease that concern," Mrs Simpson said.
Eighteen of the area's 21 wineries are open but patrons need to prebook, with tastings seated.