NARACOORTE is proving to be a "must see" destination for holiday makers, with the iconic caves in particular attracting thousands to the town.
The Christmas and New Year period saw tourists from SA, interstate and overseas flock to the world heritage listed site as well as other attractions such as the swimming lake and MiniJumbuk.
Naracoorte Lucindale Council's tourism and venues coordinator Vicki Modistach said Naracoorte's Visitor Information Centre had been very busy.
"We have had really good numbers coming through," she reported. "People seem to be happy and enjoying themselves."
Data revealed visitors had come from far and wide including countries such as Canada, Europe and Asia as well as closer to home.
Over the month of December, 1028 visitors stopped by the centre, down only 14 from last year.
Europeans and Asians were the most common nationalities to walk through the door with 135 and 91 visitors respectively.
The majority of tourists were day trippers followed by those staying for one night.
"The caves is a must on their list but there are other things they are wanting to see too," Ms Modistach said.
"I had a man come in from Sydney who was gobsmacked by the lake - the fact that it was there, free and as clean as a whistle. It's great."
Mrs Modistach added that she knew of a family from Adelaide who booked into the Big 4 Holiday Park purely because it was next to the lake.
"It's a big thing for the town and generates a lot of money for local businesses," she said.
Holiday Park owners Marj and Mick Sanderson said there had been a lot of backpackers recently from places like Switzerland and Belgium.
"We are also starting to get some from Asia and Singapore which is a fairly new country of origin for travelling to Australia," Mrs Sanderson said.
"I think Naracoorte probably doesn't realise just how many outsiders come to visit.
"We are known as being a really nice spot to stop."
The couple noticed a increase in people camping and large family groups travelling together, while cabin bookings remained on par with last year.
She added that next week would probably be very quiet because of the fires burning in Victoria.
"I don't think there will be much traffic from the Great Ocean Rd which will affect Naracoorte and Mount Gambier."
Disappointed with the demise of Limestone Coast Tourism, Mrs Sanderson said the park would have to rely more on the Naracoorte Lucindale Business and Tourism Association to promote the local area.
"They will need to have more of a tourism focus and we will continue to look for opportunities ourselves."
Naracoorte Caves manager Deborah Carden said the holiday period had been as busy as they had hoped it to be.
"There were lots of visitors from Melbourne and Adelaide, particularly new Australians, and lots of domestic visitors, families and kids.
"We were really steady the whole time."
In the month of December the caves had 5056 visitors, comparable to last year's 4965 visitors over the same period.
Over 7000 cave tours were booked - 624 more than last year - which Ms Carden said was most likely due to a few new incentives including free tours and free coffees when booking several tours at once.
She said everyone loved visiting the caves.
"We are lovely and cool on a hot day, have interesting things to see and do and have great food in the cafe."
Colin Qu, his six-year-old son Charlie and Cindy Zhang travelled all the way from Beijing, China and enjoyed stopping in Naracoorte for a couple days.
"It is very hot here," Colin said. "It is something like 16 degrees below zero in China at the moment."
Luckily for them, the caves offered some cool relief as the trio took their time walking through the Wonambi Fossil Centre and going on a tour.
"Few people from China get the chance to travel here to Australia."
Naracoorte Lucindale Business and Tourism Association president Judy Johnson, who is also manager of The Veg Shed, agreed there were plenty of new faces in town over the holiday period.
"Customers were commenting there had been a lot of tourists around and I think business was certainly very busy," she said.
In previous years the trend has been for everyone to disappear to the coast, but this year it did not seem so obvious, she added.
The Veg Shed opened for extended hours on the weekend before Christmas and Ms Johnson said it was "well worth opening" for the extra trading.