Blatherskite Park Camping Under CP threat

Submitted: Monday, Sep 30, 2013 at 11:26
ThreadID: 104534 Views:3739 Replies:10 FollowUps:10
This Thread has been Archived
G'day everyone, my apologies if this has already been raised.

I have just read this on facebook. see article here:

Amazes me how the caravan parks think they "own" the caravan/camper users and can force all of us into their overpriced parks.

I always believed that Australia was a free market and if you are in business then you can offer a product or service to the marketplace at whatever pricing you like.

So if we have a local showground trust able to offer camp sites with minimal facilities at a price of say $15 per night for 2 adults for a site with power/water/amenities. Why then is the local caravan park able to complain about unfair competition with their sites being priced at say $35 for 2 adults with power/water/amenities/swimming pool/playground/spa/shop/tennis court/jumping pillow/bike hire etc etc.

Surely these are two different products/services and will be utilised by two different market sectors.

I do not believe the competition is unfair.

just my little rant for today


Back Expand Un-Read 0 Moderator

Reply By: Member - Toyocrusa (NSW) - Monday, Sep 30, 2013 at 12:02

Monday, Sep 30, 2013 at 12:02
Hi Frank. Some of your comment may be valid but where you say "their overpriced parks" I feel is a bit of an over generalisation. We have found many good value for money cheaper parks in our travels,along with showgrounds and free camp spots.
The park we are in at present has power ,water and good amenities and facilities (even a pool) for $20 a night. Granted, it is inland and the expensive ones are usually coastal but the cheapies are still there for us. Cheers,Bob
AnswerID: 518943

Follow Up By: K&FT - Monday, Sep 30, 2013 at 17:14

Monday, Sep 30, 2013 at 17:14
thanks Bob,
I think some of them are overpriced for what they offer the traveller just like some servos are overpriced or some corner shops

many showgrounds are on crown land and operated by a trust so nothing really to do with councils.

What about the situation with YMCA and Hotels? two different markets and two different prices.

there are as you say some real gems to be found in smaller towns and inland areas and we support them whenever we can because we feel we are getting value as well as just the sort of service we need without all the bells and whistles.

I do not believe caravan parks are doing themselves any favours with this ongoing campaign.
IMHO anyway
FollowupID: 798913

Reply By: member - mazcan - Monday, Sep 30, 2013 at 12:04

Monday, Sep 30, 2013 at 12:04
hi frank
I don't know the full facts but how i see it is this
if the show ground you speak of is owned by the council and they allow cheap camping /caravans fees
and the caravan park is privately owned
the council would be charging the park owners big rates for the park to operate so imho there lies the conflict
and this would give the private park owners the right to complain about unfair competion
just my angle on the topic and I except that i may be wrong
AnswerID: 518945

Follow Up By: olcoolone - Monday, Sep 30, 2013 at 12:18

Monday, Sep 30, 2013 at 12:18
Agree, what people forget is private caravan parks are a business who has a right to make a decent profit, they don't do it for the love of it nor are they good guys and girls offering it cheap for the hell of it.

There are many underlying costs of running a business and especially a caravan park that many will not know or don't care to know.

I can see why they are getting cranky with the council.

Councils like government are not there to run businesses, if the do run a business then there is a BIG conflict of interest.

Some travellers have to stop being cheap skates and learn to pay market rate for services.

It's a funny world........ most people working want decent pay and conditions, retirees what a decent return on their investments BUT on the other hand many are not prepared to pay for services and feel ripped off.

I went to a funeral a few years ago and the son made a comment about his dad... he said " he loved ripping people off but hated being ripped off"...... sound familiar!
FollowupID: 798899

Follow Up By: K&FT - Monday, Sep 30, 2013 at 17:25

Monday, Sep 30, 2013 at 17:25
I agree that anyone in business is entitled to make a profit. I cannot agree they are at any more disadvantage than any other business.

Councils are there to provide services to the community and its visitors. They should be providing what the ratepayers want.

Why do caravan parks not compete with showgrounds and provide basic camping at the same or better price point? They are in business so they should be addressing the available market not whinging because people don't want all the facilities they offer.

Not much different to choosing the local independent motel over the 5 star international hotel. If I don't want all the luxury it is my choice to seek more economical accommodation. If that means moving to another town who loses? not me, I may have found just what I was looking for and that was not a 5 star cp but I have found it in another town maybe.

I think we all hate being ripped off and I don't see cp pricing as a ripoff I see it as the price to pay for the service you want. I just like to use a more basic cp/camping ground and I have no objections to paying a fair price.

FollowupID: 798914

Follow Up By: olcoolone - Monday, Sep 30, 2013 at 18:41

Monday, Sep 30, 2013 at 18:41
Councils and not for profit organisations don't have to really make a profit plus they usually get other incentives or grants for so called community driven projects..... something small business find hard to get.

There is a difference in addressing the need of a market and keeping profitable and if it doesn't give a return on investment only a very stupid business owner would pursue it further.

Then you have to other case of manufacturing a market that wasn't there in the first place.

Caravan parks make their money from people using the parks for staying in, not from running royal show, food markets or getting money from ratepayers or government loans.

It's hard when you only have one income stream coming in and you have to compete with others who have multiple income streams.

So it's not OK for BIG supermarkets and hardware stores to knock the little guy out but it's OK for councils, not for profit or member driven organizations to do it.

Do you think once the private caravan parks have all closed down, the others are going to keep their price low and offer the same service.

FollowupID: 798919

Follow Up By: Ron N - Monday, Sep 30, 2013 at 19:02

Monday, Sep 30, 2013 at 19:02
Many councils have always been a PIA to local businesses by providing unfair competition. In a previous life, when I lived and worked as an earthmoving contractor in a small country town, the local council saw fit to hire out council plant at ridiculous rates to local farmers - my clients - and thereby pose unfair and un-needed competition to my business (which never made vast profits, anyway - thanks to tight-fisted farmers).

When I complained about the cheap equipment hiring,the councils answer was, that - as the ratepayers effectively owned the plant via the council, they were entitled as ratepayers, to hire it.

My beef wasn't as much about the farmers hiring the graders, loaders and dozers from the council - it was the exceptionally low rate set by the council, that gave all the hirers an idea that plant cost very little to run - so therefore I could operate for the same prices!

If a council wants to compete with town businesses that have to run at a profit to survive - then the council needs to ensure that whatever they are hiring out, is done at "commercial rates" - i.e. equal to any other equivalent business in the area.

If the councils are dumb enough to keep hiring out facilities for low rates - then they only have themselves to blame, when all the town businesses depart, and the town goes backwards.
That is precisely what I did - I took my business to the Goldfields and never looked back.
FollowupID: 798921

Follow Up By: The Landy - Tuesday, Oct 01, 2013 at 14:26

Tuesday, Oct 01, 2013 at 14:26
Here is the question for Frank and others...

Utlimately, there is little or no value in caravan parks providing caravan sites alone, the cost of developing one site in a coastal region can be as high as $50,000. That is a lot of overnight van stays to recover the cost and the reason why they need to diversify to attract a wider range of visitors to cover costs, including a return on the capital invested.


If caravan parks continue to close or seek better use of their land through property development because they cannot provide the service at the price people expect to pay for a caravan site will you be happy that increasingly you will become more reliant on Government Agencies (and local ratepayers) to provide the infrastructure or be crammed in to the “free sites” with all the white confetti blowing around?

Utlimately, the is way this is heading and ensures we will be the losers in the long run...

And on disadvantage...of course they are disadvantaged when in competition with showgrounds et al providing services, for the most part they are not required to meet the same regulatory requirements – a key point that Caravan Parks have a right to argue against.
FollowupID: 798968

Reply By: Motherhen - Monday, Sep 30, 2013 at 22:33

Monday, Sep 30, 2013 at 22:33
Yes Frank, as you say showgrounds with lesser quality amenities and a lower price to match meet a different market to caravan parks who are required to have a higher standard of amenities. At 1st September, rates at the Alice Springs showground Blatherskite Park put fees up to $40 - probably more than most of the caravan parks in Alice Springs. What more do they want?

While I feel some political undercurrents going on in Alice Springs, I have been unable to find anyone there willing to talk.


Red desert dreaming

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

AnswerID: 518974

Reply By: John and Regina M - Monday, Sep 30, 2013 at 22:49

Monday, Sep 30, 2013 at 22:49
Interesting you mentioned 'whingers'.

However what most forget is Councils exist to service their ratepayers and maximise returns. If they can do that better by allocating funding elsewhere than competing with a local business, then so be it.

Additionally, if people don't like it they can go somewhere else.

So many nowadays want something for nothing. Pop the latest egt gauge, Scangauge, satelite tv and loads of booze in the bus then complain about paying an extra $20 a night for good surroundings and amenities.

They're the people I call whingers.

AnswerID: 518977

Reply By: Member - Ups and Downs - Tuesday, Oct 01, 2013 at 08:12

Tuesday, Oct 01, 2013 at 08:12
Isn't the issue that too many caravan parks have become Tourist or Holiday Parks and supplying all sorts of frivolous amenities?

Whereas most travellers only require and prefer basic clean and tidy facilities.

As there aren't many parks to choose from, we have to go to the fully optioned places and our attendance is then given as 'proof' that this is what we want. Or go to the Council place and apparently cause the park financial grief.

Then the caravan parks wonder why they have customers vandalise and not respect their property.

AnswerID: 518981

Reply By: The Bantam - Tuesday, Oct 01, 2013 at 09:40

Tuesday, Oct 01, 2013 at 09:40
As far as the concept that councils are there to provide a service and not make a profit.......that idea went by the board long ago.

Anybody remember "the national competitiveness policy" that forces governments for good or bad to compete with private enterprise....but in many cases not on the same footing....sometimes it works out in the government bodies favor others against.

A lot of what councils and other government bodies do in this day and age, is very much done " for a profit". Governments in general continue to jack up fees and fines with the sole purpose of generating income.....ya think that the QLD government doubling regestration fees for trailers is not about profit.
Many government operated business and ventures are expected to make money or they would not exist.

Now to this supposed "unfair competition".

It does not matter if it is Gerry Hervey or the local cleaners, there are people who will complain and point to someone else who charges less and being the source of all their woes.

If you are running a business, you have to consider your position. what you charge and what service you provide...there will always be some one who charges less and some one who charges more......if there isn't you have a problem or shortly will.

We have plenty of people complaining about the lack of free camps and others complaining about the lack of services and crap left around at free camps.

These low price camp grounds serve a need and a section in the market.
One hopes that they take a lot of free campers that "can not afford" or aren't prepared to pay, high priced resort prices and puts them where there are services and those that run them can deal with the waste and other issues.

Those who run higher priced or competing facilities need to look at how they are operating, what services they are providing and how well their operation is presented and sold.

There will always be those who seek to exert their own political agenda for their own benifit....remember Gerry Hervey and his rant about "on line imports"....a man who owns one of the most profitable appliance sales groups in the county who uses his market power without hesitation to crush competition complaining about someone having a unfair advantage.....My heart bleeds for you Gerry.

If all those popular free camps became $5 and $10 sites maybe the councils would have enough money to maintain some basic facilities, clean the toilets and collect the garbage.

I doubt that they would take any business away from full blown caravan parks that offer a full range of well maintained facilities at a reasonable price.


AnswerID: 518984

Reply By: R Send - Tuesday, Oct 01, 2013 at 10:12

Tuesday, Oct 01, 2013 at 10:12
We stayed in Alice in May this year along with our dog. We stayed for 4 days in a caravan park that had one ablution block, a swimming pool, shop/kiosk and a dog bath. We had power, water and sullage for $38.50 a night. The park was pretty much full with relatively small vans - our 7.5m van was a tight fit.

For the following week we stayed at Blatherskite along with 8 or 10 others. The vast majority were big vans or large Winnebago type vehicles. There was one toilet block and power and water. We paid $25 a night.

The differential in price seemed reasonable to us given the facilities offered at each place.

We have found that entry to some showgrounds is based on the size of the rig and/or dog ownership - this seems reasonable given the difficulty of parking up large vans and campervans in caravan parks, and the number of parks that don't take dogs. Maybe that should be the criteria to use all showgrounds rather than putting up the fees. In that scenario the showground would be catering to a group of travellers that are not necessarily well catered for by the caravan parks.


AnswerID: 518986

Follow Up By: Member - Scott M (NSW) - Tuesday, Oct 01, 2013 at 11:33

Tuesday, Oct 01, 2013 at 11:33
"In that scenario the showground would be catering to a group of travellers that are not necessarily well catered for by the caravan parks."

Classic case of where this works is Kununurra. Ivanhoe exists happily across the road from the Agricultural Showground. Ivanhoe CP doesn't cater for dogs and very big rigs, but will happily recommend the Showground. Facilities are far more basic there, but long term stayers and dog owners are catered for. Mind you, I don't think the showground prices are that much cheaper...
FollowupID: 798947

Reply By: Hairy (NT) - Tuesday, Oct 01, 2013 at 10:23

Tuesday, Oct 01, 2013 at 10:23
Bugger.......Ive just got back from the Royal Perth show and payed an arm and leg for accommodation and parking! Silly me......I didn't even think about rolling the swag out in the show grounds to save a few bucks!!!
Oh time I guess.
AnswerID: 518987

Follow Up By: Hairy (NT) - Tuesday, Oct 01, 2013 at 10:28

Tuesday, Oct 01, 2013 at 10:28
Forgot to add.....Have a look at Thread.104171
FollowupID: 798946

Reply By: The Landy - Tuesday, Oct 01, 2013 at 10:38

Tuesday, Oct 01, 2013 at 10:38
This is not an issue that is going away anytime soon and I have written on the topic many times, and you can look into my blogs for some of the issues that I have canvassed previously, especially on “free camping”.

The reality is we have caravans and motor homes that are fully self-contained and looking for somewhere cheap or for free to stay. On the other hand we have caravan parks that are evolving to try and deal with this new breed of traveller, but it won’t happen overnight.

In fact, one of the greatest risks those travelling have is more and more parks will close. Where will we accommodate all those travellers – in free camps subsidised by the local rate payers?

Many communities are already questioning the benefit of subsidising the travel holidays of others. Yes, I heard the arguments of money being spent in the communities, but there is also plenty of anecdotal evidence of this perhaps only occurring in larger centres with the large supermarket chains, and shopper docket service stations. Not the one pump servo, or local corner store in the one street towns.

And hands-up if you think governments, whether they are Federal, State, or Local do a good job of currently managing your tax dollars that they collect from you weekly. Private enterprise is best geared to run business as it is their many in “the game – in the ring, so to speak” not taxpayer dollars collected by Government that is often subjected to waste and mismanagement. This usually (usually) means private enterprise will do it far more efficiently, and reflective of the “real” cost of providing it, not a tax payer subsidised cost.

I often see people posting that caravan parks overcharge, are overpriced, but there never any detailed analysis of the cost of running a park versus the return required to achieve this provided to support these claims. I’d like to see people do that before making these claims – show objective, rather than subjective arguments.

There is some very good objective analysis out there. A recent study by Rodney Caldicott and Pascal Scherrer and published in the Journal of Vacation Marketing in April 2013 is a great example of studies available. They have spent time studying the inverse relationship between downward-trending park capacity and upward trending recreational vehicle/caravan registrations and the significant issues it raises for leisure accommodation.

It also looks at both sides of the equation. Most of the focus is on the “demand” side created by “the travellers” but very little attention is given to the “supply” side.

The study found that traditional site infrastructure, geared towards mobile accommodation forms of caravans and tents, is giving way to fixed forms of relocatable homes and ensuite cabins. In an environment of increasing demand for the caravanning experience but decreasing parks, and thus decreasing total site capacity, the contrasting trends are predicted to create a serious accommodation shortage for the caravanning sector if the tourism industry.

So I come back to my earlier point, are you happy to rely on Government bodies to pick up the slack? I wouldn’t be as they have a woeful record on infrastructure investment.

In the end, a resolution to the impasse needs to look at both sides of the equation, both supply and demand – currently many are being short-sighted with one eye on the wallet, this will only be resolved by longer term solutions otherwise we will continue to lose more and more caravan parks, providing the travelling public with less and less accommodation options.

As a footnote, the number of caravan parks has been declining over the last 15 years, despite this the caravan park sector provided 50% of total domestic tourism bed capacity in 2009, generated over $1.1Bln in annual takings and provided direct employment to over 3,500 full and part time employees.

These figures highlight the importance of caravan parks to the Australian Tourism Industry...
AnswerID: 518988

Reply By: Hairy (NT) - Tuesday, Oct 01, 2013 at 12:16

Tuesday, Oct 01, 2013 at 12:16
This doesn't apply to all tourists, so don't jump up and down if your not one of them, but it does apply to a lot of people I come across.

There seems to be a misconception that the poor simple country people are there to supply a service and holiday destination for their more intelligent and privileged city dwelling cousins? LOL

I couldn't count how many travellers stopped at my place in Alice, got there oil changed, borrowed tools, got me to do welding repairs, got me to organise CHEAP mechanical deals through mates, accommodation, use of sheds and hoists etc....all sorts of favours. People Ive never met until I offered or they asked for help.....(Im not talking about people Ive met on here).....complete strangers.

I now live in WA.......can you imagine if while in Perth I stopped someone on the road and asked if I could come and use their shed to do an oil change or put my camper trailer up on their lawn because the local places where to dear??????
When I go to Perth I pay an arm and a leg if I want to stay as a tourist!

I know Im getting a bit off track here, but Its getting more and more common on here that people are complaining about the services provided by small towns and what it costs them while they are there yet when I go to the city I don't hear to many rate payers and local businesses lobbying their councils to provide cheaper places for their country dwelling cousins to stay????

I have lots a travellers stay at my place and have a granny flat with toilet, shower and power and a place to park a couple of vans and in return, when I travel, I can usually find a place to stay with people Ive helped over the years..........
I just think if people started to offer help a bit more rather than expecting help, a lot more cheaper options in general may come available......otherwise its just the society a lot of people live in and it will only get worse.

Ok Im ready for the abuse!!! LOL

AnswerID: 518997

Follow Up By: Lyn W3 - Tuesday, Oct 01, 2013 at 20:38

Tuesday, Oct 01, 2013 at 20:38
Well said Hairy,

Bit hard to find a free campsite in downtown Brisbane as well.
FollowupID: 799006

Follow Up By: Tjukayirla Roadhouse - Wednesday, Oct 02, 2013 at 12:22

Wednesday, Oct 02, 2013 at 12:22
Well said Hairy.
One of my faves is the price of fuel.
Travellers more often than not act surprised at the price of fuel out here.. It shouldn't be a surprise, it costs us a lot of money.. but that's only a small portion of the expense.
I'd hate to count how many times people scoff at the cost, and then go into the campground, and quite happily fill from jerry cans in our campground.
Sort of like going to a restaraunt in town and taking your own dinner. LOL
Also happily carrying a shed load of extra weight in full jerrys, using extra fuel, rather than support business' that rely purely on passing trade.
Then you have the ones that set up to free camp in the driveway .. love that .. LOL
FollowupID: 799040

Sponsored Links