Northern Rivers camping good, great and disrespectful

Submitted: Saturday, Aug 10, 2013 at 17:25
ThreadID: 103705 Views:3469 Replies:4 FollowUps:6
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I have just been kombi camping in Northern Rivers NSW and wanted to share a couple of great places i found as well as a disgraceful story about red tape that turned away a charity walker.

I am not entirely certain if this first place is free camping or the sign has been removed by other campers but it was a wonderful spot. The car park at the end of the Broken Head rd on the northern end of 7 Mile Beach is dirt, narrow and windy so perhaps not so good for motorhomes and caravans but no problem for campers and kombis. You turn off at Broken Head and then turn right just before the holiday park and follow the road all the way across the top of Broken Head and down the other side until you get to the end. There is room for a few level parking spaces and it is very quiet apart from the sound of the ocean. No toilets but i expect fellow ExplorOz members to do the right thing anyway and keep the place clean otherwise council certainly will ban camping in the future. You will need to bring your own water too.

This little Broken Head site had the best sunrise looking down the beach to Lennox. The bird song in the morning was beautiful. Few people came by in the morning, just some surfers, runners and beach walkers but it does get busier during the day.

The next place I stayed and kept returning to was Mullumbimby Showground (not the Leagues Club which was noisy, dusty and unfriendly). I was greeted after dark by very friendly and accommodating caretakers and experienced a quiet night woken by more beautiful bird sing at sunrise. It is mostly quiet but the hall is used for kids groups like martial arts and gymnastics in the afternoons and Friday morning is the Farmers Markets. It is green, the toilets and hot showers are clean, power sites, lots of big old shady trees and a view of the mountain. The Friday Farmers Market is awesome. I woke up to the sound of relaxing live music and the aroma of fresh coffee drifting across the race track so I put my day clothes on and wandered over for homemade breakfast, locally grown and roasted coffee and lots of fresh produce. It is a good price too. My kombi and access to power to recharge my phone cost $15 a night. You can find the showground camping and caravan park on Main Arm Rd heading west out of Mullumbimby on the edge of town.

The last place i want to mention is Ballina Lakeside caravan park. I expect some of you have stayed here and had a great time but this week a friend of mine, Brendon Alsop, who is also walking around Australia, with his dog Jojo, without a support vehicle or crew arrived in Ballina and had booked into Lakeside because they're dog friendly. After another huge day of walking he arrived after dark and the caretaker refused him entry, firstly because they said Jojo was too big but she is 1/2kg within their 15kg limit and then they refused him entry because he didn't have a car to transport Jojo across the park to the restricted dog area. I understand the need for rules in dog friendly parks but to refuse a man and his dog walking around around Australia for cancer research and treatment because he didn't have a car is absurd. It is red tape gone mad. Brendon and Jojo had to find a place on the beach in the dark. The good thing about this event is the council have been made aware of how he was treated, are ashamed and apologised and will be making a report about events at Lakeside. So if you're camping with a dog but don't have a car double check park rules before booking a campsite and don't expect them to make exceptions. He was also treated very badly, the caretaker/owner made him feel like scum.

I know how it feels to be treated like this, in my personal experiences walking solo without a support crew I have been treated like dirt by some establishments, including holiday parks, it is hard and the emotional drain also has a physical impact. I don't expect people to understand what charity walkers minds and bodies go through each day but it saddens me when I hear of another walker being disrespected.
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Reply By: Member - Beatit (QLD) - Saturday, Aug 10, 2013 at 18:52

Saturday, Aug 10, 2013 at 18:52
G'day Terra'Mer,
Sorry to hear what happened to your friend at Ballina Lakeside Caravan Park and it all seems to easy for these places to quote the rule book/legislation or other piece of official rubbish as a means to avoid common sense. Alternatively they just didn't want his business either way lets hope the message gets out there that maybe there are nicer options when considering staying there.

Kind regard
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Follow Up By: Member - Terra'Mer - Saturday, Aug 10, 2013 at 19:02

Saturday, Aug 10, 2013 at 19:02
Just received the latest update from Brendon and he had the welcome mat and red carpet laid out for him at Ferry Reserve Holiday Park in Brunswick Heads today :)
There are good ones and not so good ones. I hope he finds all the good ones the rest of his way around.
He has a facebook page where people can follow his walk
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Reply By: Hairy (NT) - Saturday, Aug 10, 2013 at 19:01

Saturday, Aug 10, 2013 at 19:01
Sounds like he should probably explain his situation a bit clearer when he books ahead.
Like it or not ....rules are rules, and its not always the person enforcing its choice.
Im not suggesting this is the case, but first impressions and peoples attitudes can also play a big part too?
The attendant could be a complete arse too?
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Follow Up By: Member - VickiW - Saturday, Aug 10, 2013 at 20:05

Saturday, Aug 10, 2013 at 20:05
Sounds like the second to me... anyone who won't break the rules for someone alone isn't in the right job.

Hope he finds more hospitable reception for the rest of his walk.
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Reply By: Bazooka - Saturday, Aug 10, 2013 at 20:42

Saturday, Aug 10, 2013 at 20:42
If it's as you say Terra then name and shame the park on Facebook - if the response to the complaint isn't reasonable. Social media is good at getting a response when other avenues fail.
AnswerID: 516193

Reply By: Member - flashcher - Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 14:56

Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 14:56
In the last couple of days I have been looking at caravan parks in Ballina to stay in. Needless to say I came across the Lakeside Caravan Park's website and read the dog rules.
It is the first park I have found that actually lists the breeds of dogs that aren't accepted. In the list including rotties and staffies is also labradors. But yet little yappers and kids are allow.
Besides the fact my dog isn't an accepted breed, he is in the terrible nasty labrador category, I wouldn't plan to stay there with what I think are stupid conditions.
AnswerID: 516221

Follow Up By: Meridith D - Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 19:35

Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 19:35
Since when have Labradors been nasty?
I have never owned one, the only thing they could probably do is eat their way around the campsite.
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Follow Up By: John and Regina M - Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 21:08

Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 21:08
He didn't say they were nasty. He said they weren't accepted.
And you have never owned one so....

Could be because of size.
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Follow Up By: John and Regina M - Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 21:15

Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 21:15
Oops I should have read all the post. I stand corrected.

However, I would never stay where dogs are allowed. Yappy, nasty, noisy.
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Follow Up By: Member - flashcher - Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 21:55

Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 21:55
Calm ya farm.
FollowupID: 795574

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