Caravan Parks

Submitted: Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 at 14:28
ThreadID: 89283 Views:5854 Replies:22 FollowUps:53
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We have been travelling around this country on & off for 36 years. A lot with a caravan and also tenting it. The Caravan/Tourist Parks are NOT worth the money you hand over for a spot to park yourself and your van, tent, camper, bus or RV etc on. We have been on the road this trip since February, travelling through, Vic, SA, NT & WA so far and can't believe some of the things we have had to endure and accept in caravan parks.
OK we have a long caravan 26' + draw bar, saying that on the scale of things it is on the long side but hey so are the buses and 5th wheelers.
So what do we have to endure and accept?
1: The site sizes in many of the parks these days are never big enough to place your van, put you awning/annexe out plus you then have to try and put your 4x4 on the site as well. Packed in like sardines takes on a whole new meaning. How many parks have made two sites from what used to be one site?
2: Uneven sites (most) just to make YOU spend more of YOUR money on levellers etc. Grassed sites are nearly always muddy and as for concrete slabs not many don't have a crack or two in them as well as chunks missing. The ground is sometimes so hard it is near on impossible to bash in a peg for your tent/ annexe, awning ropes.
3: Ablution blocks are so out dated, tiles coming off the walls in shower cubicles, shower heads that spray every which way as they are soooo old, and toilet paper that is so thin you have to use half a roll... Im mean really!
4: No sullage outlets provided ( so next doors comes flowing onto your site and into your Awning/Annexe area).
5: Washing Machines that take up to 1 hour for the cycle to finish because the water pressure is so weak, also the machine's filters are never cleaned so the scum ends up on you "freshly" washed clothes. No wonder I've resorted to hand washing most of the time but the final straw came when grease from the machine ended up on my clothes.. and to think we paid for the privilege for that to happen.... Cycles cost btwn $3-$5.

A lot of the "PARKS" these days cater more for the cabins they have installed within. We think that many Park manager/owners have forgotten who started this industry many many moons ago and that is the caravaners & campers.
Yes it may be still a cheaper option to be in a caravan park than a hotel but you have to ask yourself. "Was the many thousands of dollars invested in the caravan/tent/camper/bus/RV" worth it? Do the Park Managers/Owners respect that.?
Park fees range from $20 - $70 per night for 2 people with the average being around $30-$35.
Free camping is on the rise, but at many of these places you have to be squatted from early in the day, as the demand is getting quite high and some of the popular ones we have noticed now have "NO CAMPING" signs up as they have been over used and obviously abused.
So far this trip we have stayed in about 50 parks and we have also done our fair share of free camps and on the whole we have had leveller, quieter places to plonk the van at the free camps than any Park can provide.

So the questions are:
Are most Parks outdated?
Can't they cope with the current RV, Caravan, Campertailer, Tent, 5th Wheeler setups?
How do we justify the amount that most parks charge and what do you really get for that money spent?
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Reply By: Rob! - Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 at 15:01

Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 at 15:01
Maybe you should sell your van.
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Follow Up By: Ray - Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 at 15:09

Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 at 15:09
Curly man is absolutely right. Get real Rob
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Follow Up By: Tjukayirla Roadhouse - Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 at 15:11

Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 at 15:11
LOL yeah, I'd go with selling the van by the sounds of it.
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Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 at 18:09

Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 at 18:09
Perhaps he should get a reasonable size van, I have no problems getting in parks.


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Follow Up By: snailbait (Blue mntns) - Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 at 18:50

Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 at 18:50
Hi all caravan park owners
Get real and cop the angst from well meaning people who have a real beef with the owners don't hide behind your profile
Terry
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Follow Up By: Penchy - Thursday, Sep 29, 2011 at 21:04

Thursday, Sep 29, 2011 at 21:04
+1 sell the van. Having a whinge and getting people in a discussion about their experiences doesnt change anything. $$$ do all the talking to business owners. If less people stay there then they may just change the way they do things
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Reply By: The Landy - Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 at 15:21

Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 at 15:21
"Can't they cope with the current RV, Caravan, Campertailer, Tent, 5th Wheeler setups?"

I think the aswer is quite simple really, NO, not at the prices people expect to pay.
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Reply By: Member - DAZA (QLD) - Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 at 15:53

Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 at 15:53
We usually check out the Badgers Caravan Park site.
They and other caravaners give C/P ratings.
We also use the Camps 6 book.
Have to expect to pay reasonable $$ these days.
I look at it this way, our Van and Tow Vehicle are over 140k so i'm not going to worry about a few extra $$.
C/P owners have to make a living.
Free camping is the way to go in the Outback.
We also check C/Ps before we book in, we won't stay at dumps, got caught out once and that was the only time, it was at Winton.
I also reported a below standard C/P to a local council health officer once, they made them clean up their act.

Cheers
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Follow Up By: Curlynan - Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 at 16:54

Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 at 16:54
Thanks for the web site we will take a look.
Yes we have the free camps books as we also do a hell of a lot of tenting and outback tracks (store the van).
We know what you mean by getting caught out in dumps, and yes we often check out places before we stay.
We sometimes wonder how some parks are graded under the Big4, Family Parks or Top Tourist chains. A park or two we have been in are nothing but Dumps and they are attached to them. Makes you wonder.
Obviously the caravaners of today have a lower standard of expectations than those of yesteryear.



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Follow Up By: Member - DAZA (QLD) - Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 at 18:52

Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 at 18:52
This was the site at Winton
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Follow Up By: Member - DAZA (QLD) - Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 at 18:59

Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 at 18:59
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Follow Up By: Fred G NSW - Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 at 19:44

Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 at 19:44
Dazza, that looks a bit like a visit to a park at Broken Hill 2 years ago for me. Mind you, I love B/H, never-the-less......
Coming up from Wentworth, thought better ring the park at B/H to ensure a site, as they are always busy.
She...You'll be right, no need to book, plenty of room tonight.
Me....Sure? Ahh O.K.

On arrival, we are put on an asphalt site, not enough hoses and power leads to reach facilities, not to mention sullage. Finally hook up enough borrowed power leads, to get power going, all in ther middle of a b@@dy dust storm.

They forgot to mention they had an "A" Van convention booked in, 50 or 60 of the mongrels, but take our money just the same as for all others. I did'nt feel ripped off, just a bit envious of those enjoying their happy hour on lush lawn.

I didn't go crook on anyone (ok I kicked a stray dog), and we had a sensational 3 days in B/H without moving to another site.

All part of the trip, aye just like life. Crap happens. We had a ball that trip.

Fred



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Follow Up By: Fred G NSW - Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 at 20:35

Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 at 20:35
"Obviously the caravaners of today have a lower standard of expectations than those of yesteryear. "

Not at all Curlynan.....I find that a bit offensive. The truth is, most of us still live in the real world.

I am thinking, maybe, that as caravan luxuries have expanded to most, and more of what we want to leave behind, some of us don't actually want to leave anything behind.....including 5 star luxuries :-(

Maybe I'm wrong. I hope so.

Fred


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Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 at 22:26

Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 at 22:26
From FollowUp 1. "We sometimes wonder how some parks are graded under the Big4, Family Parks or Top Tourist chains."

The parks are not rated by the chains. The ratings come from AAAT (the mob who publish the guides that the motoring organisations sell.)

The management of the various loyalty chains eyeball the parks to see if they fit in their group. You may have seen forum replies from one who has examined parks before they joined OzParks. I know he has expelled parks from the group because they have let their standards drop.


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Follow Up By: Lex M - Thursday, Sep 29, 2011 at 10:24

Thursday, Sep 29, 2011 at 10:24
"Fred G NSW posted:"
"they had an "A" Van convention booked in, 50 or 60 of the mongrels,"

Got something against A Vans have we.
I don't have one, buit I think a few A Van owners might take offense.










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Follow Up By: Member - DAZA (QLD) - Thursday, Sep 29, 2011 at 11:29

Thursday, Sep 29, 2011 at 11:29
There was no Malice in Fred Gs FollowUp, it was Tongue In Cheek.
He most probably had a Beer with them lol.
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Follow Up By: Fred G NSW - Thursday, Sep 29, 2011 at 18:13

Thursday, Sep 29, 2011 at 18:13
Dead right there Dazza. Great bunch of people they were too, mostly from SA and Vic. Was heartily invited (make that ordered LOL) to their evening happy hour at the camp kitchen. In fact some of them helped me out with extra power leads and hoses so as I could connect to the essentials.
We turned what some would have deemed a disaster into a very pleasant 3 nights.

Cheers, Fred.
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Reply By: Member -Pinko (NSW) - Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 at 16:14

Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 at 16:14
Curley man
What gets me is that my camper is 4.5 metres in length, it has one light and a 50 litre fridge. No heater, no air con, no hot water and don't use a dump point.
And guess wha... I pay the same as you.
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Follow Up By: snailbait (Blue mntns) - Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 at 18:54

Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 at 18:54
Hi Curley Man
Where do you put your Grey Water and you waste get real are you a caravan park owner hiding
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Follow Up By: Fred G NSW - Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 at 19:30

Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 at 19:30
Pinko....that's a good comment, and is a point that gets my back up most times I stay at a C/P

I am all for user pays for what they use, not all user pay for what some use.

Fred
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Follow Up By: Shaker - Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 at 23:10

Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 at 23:10
So do the park owners have to search vans to check for appliances?
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Follow Up By: Member -Pinko (NSW) - Thursday, Sep 29, 2011 at 07:47

Thursday, Sep 29, 2011 at 07:47
If you come in with an air conditioner on the roof at Treasure Island you pay for it regardless if you even say your not going to use it !
Living is a journey,it depends on where you go !
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Follow Up By: Member - Shaun & Sarah N1 - Thursday, Sep 29, 2011 at 09:03

Thursday, Sep 29, 2011 at 09:03
Love the Trooper - How do you find it?
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Follow Up By: Member -Pinko (NSW) - Thursday, Sep 29, 2011 at 09:42

Thursday, Sep 29, 2011 at 09:42
Hi S&S
We lust love our truck
Living is a journey,it depends on where you go !
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Reply By: kidsandall - Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 at 16:20

Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 at 16:20
Don't pay there prices. There are plenty of caravan parks that are good and reasonable price. Takes a bit of research. Before you pay go and have a look at the site, if your not happy move on. I hate caravan parks so we free camp most of the time. 3 months in Tassie cost us an average of $3.75 a night. Travelled from Bermagui to Adelaide and never paid for accomodation at all. Very rarely did we have neighbours and was never crowded. The ammenities weren't any worse than what you described. Best we have done is 6 weeks fee camping in the one spot. 35 mins up the road could have paid $45 a night to stay in the crowded caravan park. We had a river front site and closest camper was 200 mtrs away.
These places charge what they want and have bad facilities cause people stay there and pay it.

Josh
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Follow Up By: BrownyGU - Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 at 16:33

Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 at 16:33
kidsandall,

Can you whisper me the location?

Browny
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Follow Up By: kidsandall - Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 at 18:47

Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 at 18:47
Which location you after.
The 6 weeks were spent at a spot just out of wagga wagga, can't remeber the name of it but right on the river and there were toilets there, we had our own shower. Another spot we stayed at was Plushes Bend just out of Renmark in SA.
In Tassie there are plenty of cheap/free spots.
When we travelled we very rarely paid for accom.

Josh
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Reply By: Member - John G- Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 at 16:28

Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 at 16:28
G'day Curlynan

I can't provide detail for how many caravan parks we've stayed in, but I'd estimate only about 10% have resulted in an experience similar to the issues that you have raised.

As perhaps another issue - I do think that many folks underestimate the costs of caravanning.

Keep smiling.

Cheers
John
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Reply By: Stan2.8D - Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 at 16:28

Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 at 16:28
Whinge alert.
I rang most if not all of the caravan parks in the Adelaide area recently and asked them the price of an unpowered siite. Only one of them still offers unpowered sites.
I asked if I could have a powered site without the power: this didnt go down well.

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Follow Up By: Member - Steve & Cecily W (QLD - Saturday, Oct 01, 2011 at 08:32

Saturday, Oct 01, 2011 at 08:32
I think your expectations are unrealistic.
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Follow Up By: Stan2.8D - Saturday, Oct 01, 2011 at 13:34

Saturday, Oct 01, 2011 at 13:34
Is it so unrealistic to hope that caravan parks haven't scrapped all their unpowered sites
and then restrain themselves from charging the same price for a small tent that they do for a 30' caravan: I think not.
......and the last part was meant lightheartedly but that must have gone over your head.
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Follow Up By: Member - Steve & Cecily W (QLD - Saturday, Oct 01, 2011 at 19:03

Saturday, Oct 01, 2011 at 19:03
Too right - didn't get it!
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Reply By: BrownyGU - Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 at 16:30

Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 at 16:30
Curly Nan,

This is our first crack at touring the country, we've only been at it about 9 months and I hear what your saying, we have tried to split the trip with, bush camps, free camps and van parks, I've found that my feelings towards van parks, change from park to park, at the moment we are in a van park in Cairns a Big 4 near Crystal Cascades, it's a beauty with great amenities and a great location, but some we have stayed in have been shockers, and for good money. It's those parks that sour you a bit, but the good ones tend to make you think all is good with the van park world. So I can't put them all in the same basket.

Cheers....Browny

P.S. Don't sell the van stick at it!
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Reply By: Member - Phil B (WA) - Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 at 17:11

Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 at 17:11
Hi everyone,

If you were running a caravan park would would you charge? I bet it wouldn't be less than what it costs you to run the place.

What happened 30,15 even 5 years ago doesn't apply today. there's more travellers, more regulation, higher costs etc.

You can't expect something for nothing. Everyone has to make a living.

cheers

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Reply By: disco driver - Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 at 17:47

Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 at 17:47
Just to put another slant on the ongoing saga of Caravan Parks, their fees and conditions.
A few years ago I caretaked a park for a friend who was stupid enough to lease a smallish caravanpark in the SW of WA. I was only there for four weeks and having seen what the customers do, I know why rates are so high.
In my time there we had to replace basin and sink plugs on a daily basis, on average we lost 2-3 shower curtains a week and a call to a plumber to unblock toilets /showers was at least once a week.
In order to be more civilised, we used toilet rolls rather than those horrible dispensers. Kids and maybe adults too used to fill the pan with toilet paper and then try to flush about half a roll down the loo in one go.
Taps were continually left running, flouro tubes were nicked, rubbish was dumped anywhere despite each site having it's own bin emptied every second day or on site changeovers, the toilets and laundry were cleaned at least twice a day, more if required and we were on call at the office for 18 hours a day.
After all that we still had to keep the park tidy, mow lawns, get wood for the BBQ's provided and try to find a bit of time for the family as well.

I'm not bitching about it, I actually liked it for the 4 weeks I was there but am just pointing out what it's like from the Park owner/lessee's point of view.
Shire rates have increased enormously for sites in prime waterfront/upmarket areasand this has to be factored into your charges as well.

And yes some parks are less than pleasant, but usually it'is despite the best efforts of the owner/lessee rather than because of them.

Disco.
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Follow Up By: snailbait (Blue mntns) - Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 at 19:06

Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 at 19:06
HI disco What a rant you are such a carry on if that happened all the caravan parks would close down because they would not be able tpo survive i have b een around Aust and have not come across this happening this would ruin a business what a cop out if they were not making money they would walk away
i do not believe you
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Follow Up By: disco driver - Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 at 20:18

Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 at 20:18
Terry,
You don't have to.
But in the 4weeks I was there (Leavers week and the next 3) that was the state of play.
Believe it or not, it doesn't worry me, it was a few years ago anyway..

Disco.
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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 at 20:24

Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 at 20:24
Chill, Terry, you'll end up in the naughty chair, the way you're going.

I thought Disco's yarn was typical of life with the population, en masse!!!
Seen the toilet paper caper plenty of times, it's called "nesting", and is used by those who don't want to make a noise while on the throne.

As for missing plugs, flouros etc it even happens with toot paper. The local Main Roads services the amenities along the Landsborough h'way, and were losing too much paper. They locked up the rolls so they couldn't be removed, what happens??? They caught one bloke using his cordless drill to wind off the rolls. Like, how expensive is toot paper?

Gotta agree with Curlynan about toot paper in some places, it's so thin no one would ever bother pinching it!!!

Bob.

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Follow Up By: Tjukayirla Roadhouse - Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 at 20:36

Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 at 20:36
Terry I can absolutly say that what disco driver says would be true.. and that's just the start.
you haven't come across it happening, because the people you come across have been professional, and not whining to you about all the wrongs.. they just smile and give you the service you are chasing..

Cheers
Al
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Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 at 21:54

Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 at 21:54
Terry - if you have not seen that sort of things in parks then it is because the staff have been on top of things. They have cleaned it up before you have seen it.
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Reply By: Motherhen - Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 at 17:49

Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 at 17:49
Hi Curly

Although we don't go to caravan parks all that often (and the ones we have visited are reviewed on Badger's), the majority we went to were quite acceptable. We don't want to pay for the latest decor in a freshly tiled bathroom; clean and serviceable, with the water hot, will do us. The only really poor score i have even given was for one where the amenities block was really lovely and ticked all the boxes. It would have been good if they hadn't crammed in four times as many sites as the facilities could cope with. We were in an unpowered site; our F250 wouldn't have fitted on a regular site and we didn't want to be sandwiched in without room to breath in the main area anyway. It was 250 metre walk to the block taking a short cut through the tents, and 100 metres walk to the one and only tap servicing the whole unpowered section. $28 a night for no more than a piece of dry dirt. We had to stay in town to order and await a car part :(

Rural towns, where low custom is not enough for a viable private park, often have a Shire run caravan park - usually amenities are very good and price low. These and community run basic camps are the ones we seek out when not out in the bush.

We purchased an expensive rig so we didn't have to camp anywhere near towns most of the time. This is our chosen style of holiday.

While some caravan parks have unpowered tent sites only some do have unpowered sites for caravans. Most don't, but worth asking as some offer us the unpowered price in their main camping area. This year we spent a week at a lovely waterside out of town caravan park and couldn't get a discount for unpowered, even though we didn't even have a power lead with us. The view was worth it, and the amenities although old were very well kept; overall I gave this park a high score and complemented the present owners on what they had achieved out of something that used to be a real dump of a place.

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Follow Up By: disco driver - Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 at 17:59

Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 at 17:59
Hi Mother hen,
Was the park the one at the rivermouth or the one further out at toward the inlet mouth.
They,ve both had bucketloads of money spent on them.

Disco,
(who lives there so does't use either park)
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 at 18:13

Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 at 18:13
Hi Disco - the Rivermouth. They certainly have done a lot of work there and the location is glorious. We were lucky to get a site along the inlet edge where there are huge grassy sites, with views like that from our bedroom window. It used to be such a dump, and subject to flooding. Top marks to the family running the park; i hope their investment is repaid.

Mh
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Reply By: The Landy - Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 at 17:51

Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 at 17:51
Taken from the following report...

INQUIRY INTO THE PROVISION, USE AND REGULATION OF CARAVAN PARKS (AND CAMPING GROUNDS) IN WESTERN AUSTRALIA MAY 2009

It is considered that new caravan parks are not being opened because it is not anywhere near as financially attractive as other types of developments. The cost of developing a caravan park is seen as prohibitive by developers, and the period of return on investment is over a much longer period of time.

The cost of developing a single caravan site has been estimated to now be as high as $40,000 and this only accounts for the costs of providing the necessary infrastructure, which includes, cement blocks, power to and underground power within the site, underground sewerage and toilet blocks. Not to mention other additional requirements to meet the Caravan Park and Camping Ground regulations.

This does not include the cost of land, which is the other major upfront expense, particularly on the most desirable locations where land prices are highest, such as along the coastline. Even taking a conservative approach to the cost of developing a caravan site, at approximately $35,000 per site – a caravan park with 100 sites would cost $3.5M just to develop the infrastructure.

So the upfront cost is prohibitive and the return is long term – it could be 7 or 8 years before a developer recovers the cost of the infrastructure and that does not include all the ongoing costs of running a caravan park, such as employee wages, costs of water and power, and maintenance of the facilities.
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 at 18:20

Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 at 18:20
Yep, i reckon if i owned one of those I'd sell the land to developers and retire - go caravanning or something :)

I also overlooked mentioning the skyrocketing cost of insurances these days when talking about counting the costs of running a small park.

Mh
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Reply By: Motherhen - Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 at 18:02

Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 at 18:02
Sorry, i submitted before answering the questions.

Yes, most are outdated. More and more people are purchasing bigger self contained rigs, with the intention of paying money up front then reduced camping fees later, or simply to get away from it all.

Many older parks still have pocket handkerchief sized bays as they were built when caravans were small. Their cost structure is set on this, so are justified in charging double for someone taking up two bays.

If we can't justify the price, we can go elsewhere or not go caravanning at all. The owners have to justify the value to them. I would not like to spend my life working seven days a week year round cleaning toilets and dealing with the inevitable grumpy customer (every day brings one) for such a little income. I used to drive past as caravan park daily on my way to work, and counted the income from that day (like three or four caravans at $20 each), against the cost of overheads; common area power and gas, water, rates, building maintenance, etc without even bringing labour and profits into it.

Mh
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Reply By: Member - MUZBRY(Vic) - Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 at 20:10

Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 at 20:10
Gday
Oh man,, have I got all this to look forward to??


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Follow Up By: Member - Michael J (SA) - Thursday, Sep 29, 2011 at 11:07

Thursday, Sep 29, 2011 at 11:07
Nah, not at all Muzbry, just take little Wes with you to sort it all out while
you take it easy;))

Cheers
Michael
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Reply By: Meggs - Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 at 20:12

Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 at 20:12
You can do a lot of free camping but from some of the posts I see on other forums some people are paranoid about free camping thinking it is there right. For this privilege they well and truly overcapitalise their rig on both solar and goodies then need a big vehicle to tow it. In addition I can't find any interest in watching grass grow just because it is free to stay there I would rather do something otherwise I move on.

To do this is all very well but when you got to any towns bigger than 3000 and the east coast you end up in caravan parks other wise you can say Gee I free camped 30 k or more out of town and didn't pay the greedy caravan parks anything but forgetting it costs $50 to travel back and forwards not including the security of the van.

I have found a couple of parks like you mentioned but they were very cheap and we put up with it. As for packed in that is what happens during peak times in winter and the parks must make their money. Go back to any northern parks in summer and it will be empty but the rates, insurance etc go on.
As for free camps being closed well you can blame Camps Australia for that I will never list with them any free /cheap camps I find as I know what will happen, abuse then closure.
As for caravan parks charging it is a bit like everything else supply and demand and you can charge what you think the market will pay.
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Follow Up By: Fred G NSW - Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 at 20:48

Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 at 20:48
Meggs, can't disagree with any of that ;-)
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Reply By: JimDi - Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 at 21:04

Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 at 21:04
We do a bit of both.That is free camping and staying in caravan parks. Some parks are good some not.
I was in a country caravan park a few weeks ago. Nothing flash and it seemed to be doing a good trade due to a couple of highways intersecting there. It was a good size town maybe 4/5000 people and more than one caravan park etc. Park cost around $27 night from memory for a grassed powered site. Amenities...well.

A walk thru the main street whilst waiting for a chinese takeaway revealed in the real estate agents window that the park was for sale for well over one million dollars. Now could that have a bit to do with standards in caravan parks?

I guess it would be hard for any enthusiastic purchaser to then improve facilities and get a return. Just happy that its not my problem.
We will just continue to travel and camp and have the occasional winge. But the real beauty of all this is that we just hook up and go and leave it to the caravan park owners to figure how they can get us to stay.

Jim
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Reply By: The Landy - Thursday, Sep 29, 2011 at 09:06

Thursday, Sep 29, 2011 at 09:06
I’ve followed the general Caravan / RV / Caravan Park story with interest because it is going to have a substantial impact on tourism infrastructure in this country. And worth noting, with the Australian dollar at current levels, there is a higher proportion of people travelling overseas and less inbound tourists; this will eventually lead to less capital investment in tourism infrastructure, which is not good for any of us.

The issue is a fundamental shift in what a caravan park is today, what it offers, and the price at which it can do this. On one hand, increasing land valuations, and council rates means that they can no longer survive the old style model of mum and dad and the kids holidaying for 4 weeks a year at $10 per night. To attract a wider audience they have had to make substantial improvements and become resort style parks, providing a wider range of holiday inclusions apart from a toilet and shower block. For some they have been able to make this transition, for many (perhaps most) it hasn’t or won’t be financially viable to do so, and perhaps these are the ones often referred to in these types of posts, the ones in their death throes. And it is worth noting the cost of developing one site within a park is estimated at around $35,000/$40,000 and that is just site costs, not the capital investment required to purchase the park.

On the other hand we have a developing RV/Caravan industry selling people on a complete package of vans and vehicles that can self-support for extended periods, and consequently many are not willing to pay the price required to stay in the caravan parks, and nor do they want all the frills, but they still have a requirement to be able to service their vans and RVs in terms of black and grey waste, replenish supplies, and in some cases access an area where they can stay and have ‘safety in numbers’.

The RV Association has been quite vigorous in terms of its promotion of the benefits to local councils and the need to be an ‘RV Friendly’ town in order to gain their support and endorsement. This means providing services that in many ways are in direct competition to caravan parks, but based on a model of ‘rate-payers’ subsidise in return for spending money in your town. I’m not sure what studies have been done on the cost/benefit of this, but I suspect there will be a huge discrepancy between towns based on their size. The larger centres that provide access to the major super market chains, and have a large number of service stations providing fuel price tension might do okay, but the story for smaller country towns might be completely different.

Already there is a declining investment in caravan parks generally. In fact it is hard to find any new ones that have opened in recent years that service the tourism industry solely. Consequently, pressure will increasingly be placed on local councils to provide facilities for caravans and RVs, but I doubt this will continue to be offered on a no-cost basis. I’m not sure what the model will be going forward, but caravan parks as we know them will all but disappear overtime, and eventually the cost burden of this will shift to the RV and caravan community in other ways.

But I suspect until the ‘new’ model can be worked out the divide between the vested interests will simply get larger, and the vocalising on both sides will get louder...

I’m neither an RV’er or Caravan Park owner...

Good luck out there...
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Follow Up By: new boy - Thursday, Sep 29, 2011 at 09:39

Thursday, Sep 29, 2011 at 09:39
The Landy heard the same cost for establishing a site last week in Perth played with a calculator at $35 pn thats 1000 nights ( at a 100% which is rare) just to get capital back so no power,water, staff,insurance ect ect let alone the hard work of pleasing EVERYONE .Maybe that's why parks are becoming scarer to long to get money back.
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Follow Up By: Member - John and Val - Thursday, Sep 29, 2011 at 16:54

Thursday, Sep 29, 2011 at 16:54
Hi Landy,

Thanks for a well reasoned and thoughful contribution - spot on.

Cheers,

Val
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Follow Up By: Curlynan - Thursday, Sep 29, 2011 at 20:55

Thursday, Sep 29, 2011 at 20:55
Thanks for your thoughtful reply Landy... a great debate is always an eye opener as well as more food more thought.

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Reply By: Member - John and Lynne - Thursday, Sep 29, 2011 at 09:56

Thursday, Sep 29, 2011 at 09:56
Like many of us, we prefer to camp in quiet places rather than staying in caravan parks. We are willing to pay a mosest fee for a campspot with some facilities. When we stay in a park, like Motherhen, we look for the small no frills style parks, usually run by councils. We expect to pay a fair price for clean amenities, room to put out our awning, and a friendly welcome.
The whole issue is becoming complicated as costs and expectations rise. Councils generally do not see caravanners as a good source of tourist income and seem blind to the numbers of vans driving through. Parks must disappear if councils continue to rate the land as development sites, instead of having a separate zoning and rate for CPs. The same councils are often banning camping in quite suitable locations and generally cost cutting on rangers, garbage collection etc. Then also, many councils are selling off their little parks, either to developers or to individuals who cannmot make a decent living because of the high rates and other charges imposed on them.
This is amazing when you consider that more RVs are being sold every year! No one seems to be asking about where they will all stay! The tourisism industry continues to chase mythical big spenders from overseas and to ignore the growing numbers of campers and caravanners out there keen to travel around in Australia. Even many foreigners are looking for this style of camping holiday.
There is a serious mismatch somewhere! Lynne
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Reply By: Alloy c/t - Thursday, Sep 29, 2011 at 11:13

Thursday, Sep 29, 2011 at 11:13
You all seem to forget that there is no such thing as a 'FREE' camp , you may not be paying a $1 for where you decide to park but someone else has paid and continues to pay ,that being the ratepayers in the shire , you all want water/toilets /toot rolls/ sullage points / garbage bins emptied etc at so called 'FREE' campsites and you try to justify your demands by the cry of "we spend money on fuel etc in the town" , Get real , if you spend $200 on fuel in a small town how much of that $200 actually benifits the town ? Less than $5 of the $200 when costs and overheads are taken into account .
AnswerID: 466319

Follow Up By: Meggs - Thursday, Sep 29, 2011 at 13:41

Thursday, Sep 29, 2011 at 13:41
I should have put free as "free" as I was not referring to nothing I believe in the user pay system but cheap camps commensurable with facilities provided.
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Follow Up By: Member - John and Lynne - Thursday, Sep 29, 2011 at 14:16

Thursday, Sep 29, 2011 at 14:16
I did not suggest that we do not want to pay anything to camp! A moderate fee if some facilities are available is quite resonable for us and the ratepayers concerned! We do like a bit of space and peace and quiet. We do not want to pay a high price for elaborate resort facilities when we are virtually self contained and have no children with us. However, we do spend money in towns which make us welcome! Like everyone, we eat in cafes, buy groceries, clothes and presents for grandkids etc - this all adds up! Lynne
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Follow Up By: JimDi - Thursday, Sep 29, 2011 at 18:18

Thursday, Sep 29, 2011 at 18:18
Alloy,
I dont get your point. We travel full time and have done for some years now. What are you suggesting? Stop travelling and spending?
We still have overheads eg food fuel etc. I still have a home base on which I pay rates etc.
I have never understood the emotion generated when someone mentions free camping? as I said in an earlier comment, we do both free camp and van parks.
I still spend all my yearly income whilst travelling.

Travelling is not free. It requires a substantial financial outlay in most cases and I wish the tourism/CP operators and town councils could appreciate that.

I am sure most towns are aware of the likes of grey nomads and what they bring. Otherwise I would suggest that they simply would not cater to us eg; caravan parking,dump points etc.
Jim
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Thursday, Sep 29, 2011 at 19:56

Thursday, Sep 29, 2011 at 19:56
Those like Alloy who say there is a cost to someone for us parking 'free' overlook that these same facilities such as rest areas, parking areas and public toilets are provided free to everyone. Why should it suddenly be that those in a caravan or camper are taking advantage and shouldn't get it all free. What is the difference?

Motherhen
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Follow Up By: Meggs - Thursday, Sep 29, 2011 at 20:32

Thursday, Sep 29, 2011 at 20:32
Rest areas are overnight rest areas not campsites.
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Follow Up By: JimDi - Thursday, Sep 29, 2011 at 21:04

Thursday, Sep 29, 2011 at 21:04
Meggs,
Correct, rest areas are not campsites. The overnight part is not true ,some go as long as 72 hours. Check your camps 1,2,3,4,5,6 book if you have one.
By the way Di and I often camp in roadside Roads and Traffic disused gravel storage areas ,country side roads, droving reserves and so on. Which dont seem to have any written laws,bylaws,rules etc. Not that I can find anyway. And we do not get disturbed except by the flora and fauna occasionally.It is a very rewarding lifestyle. It has taken both of us a lifetime of hard work to reach this point in our lives and believe me it will take more than a few conscientious bureaucrats and do gooders with their bylaws etc to ruin it.

Kind Regards
Jim & Di
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Thursday, Sep 29, 2011 at 21:18

Thursday, Sep 29, 2011 at 21:18
I'm with you there Jim and Di :)

My nearest neighbour is around one kilometre away from my home. If i take holidays to get away from it all, i don't want neighbours much closer than that.

I still have cynical amusement that people think it is OK for the ratepayer's and taxpayer's purse to provide public conveniences, parking and rest areas for for everyone - except caravanners and motorhomers.

Mh
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Follow Up By: JimDi - Thursday, Sep 29, 2011 at 21:51

Thursday, Sep 29, 2011 at 21:51
Hi Motherhen,
We have been on the road for a few years this time around and I am continually amazed at the amount of people who continually try and herd us into the "proper" areas. I still think this is a large country with a small population but we seem to have more than our share of people "who know best". We normally live in the heart of "the valley" in Brisbane and whilst we love it we enjoy our time on the road.
And bugger me what is wrong with just driving into the bush and staying the night or two. Swaggies used to do it and I dont think anyone rolled up and suggested to them that they think of the local ratepayers and proceed to the nearest hotel.
Anyway we love the road so to speak and intend to continue as long as air is "free".
Did someone mention carbon tax?
Jim Di
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Follow Up By: Alloy c/t - Friday, Sep 30, 2011 at 07:46

Friday, Sep 30, 2011 at 07:46
Just because someone so called invests in a vehicle and mobile bedroom it does NOT give them the "right" to bludge on the ratepayers of a shire ,
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Friday, Sep 30, 2011 at 10:41

Friday, Sep 30, 2011 at 10:41
Curlynan, with apologies for this section of replies being totally off your topic

Allay, so you make a generous and unsolicited donation to the Shire funds every time you park your car in the street or town car park, or use a public toilet, in every town or Shire you go to? Nobody else does and it is not asked for. Just because someone is on holidays they should not be treated any different.

Now back to Curly's topic, if there is anything further to discuss on poor quality caravan parks.

Mh
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Follow Up By: Meggs - Friday, Sep 30, 2011 at 12:04

Friday, Sep 30, 2011 at 12:04
Mh drawing along bow there!

Yes JimDi there are some Rest area's that are longer than overnight but you will find these are managed by local councils and they can change the restrictions whenever they like. I was working at a site for 2 years and I used to go to a recreation area where locals could camp for the weekend but free campers came along courtesy of Camps Australia and well and truly set up for unlimited stay.

I was speaking to one group who I noticed had been there for months and they thought it was their god given right to camp there. Well the following year No Camping signs went up. The locals still camp there on weekends and are not worried but the free campers are gone.

There was another free camp I used to go to and still do where you got power for nothing but was ruined by some deadbeat in a 60's vintage clapped out bus staying indefinitely using the power to build a trailer now no power.

Where I live there was a shower and toilet block that was built for a special group of people and it was unlocked. Well campers were using the showers leaving rubbish everywhere and camped there so now the showers are locked and the group who the showers were built for now have a key.

As I said before if you want to go around Australia and free camp you can but if you want to go to anywhere with a population of over 3000 then you must pay for caravan parks.
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Follow Up By: JimDi - Friday, Sep 30, 2011 at 12:27

Friday, Sep 30, 2011 at 12:27
Crikey Meggsy after reading that post I am not sure that as a grey nomad I should even venture out from the caravan park I am in now. I would be frightened of doing something" wrong. Believe me my original intention as a grey nomad was to enjoy life, but now I can see that I had it all wrong.
Jim
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Follow Up By: Meggs - Friday, Sep 30, 2011 at 12:39

Friday, Sep 30, 2011 at 12:39
Jim don't take it to hard as I am a grey nomad myself and I have seen a couple of the worst examples and I'm sure there are many more.
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Follow Up By: JimDi - Friday, Sep 30, 2011 at 12:59

Friday, Sep 30, 2011 at 12:59
Fair enough meggs,will leave it at that. happy travelling.
Jim
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Reply By: Curlynan - Thursday, Sep 29, 2011 at 21:09

Thursday, Sep 29, 2011 at 21:09
Thanks for all the replies and "Tongue in cheek" remarks. We are living on the road and yes enjoying it very much. We do FREEEEEEE camp often mainly for a bit of quiet time and to be able to enjoy this great country that we can boastfully say we have see more of than most... We do use a tent and get out there that's for sure.
So this certainly isn't a one off novice trip. We are well and truly seasoned traveller both all over this country and abroad.
No we don't have a caravan park but yes 30 years ago we did manage one. (that by no means makes us experts on our opinions)
A lot of my post has come from coversations we have had with many other travellers and the points we have raised have come up on many occasions.

So IS IT ANY WONDER THE FREE CAMP IS WIDELY DONE.....

Yep we will continue to travel this great country & have the odd WINGE about handing over our money for crappy caravan parks..... and if a park is one we don't think is worth the money then there will be no return visit from us.

Have to say that we have stayed in quite a few great ones and one we paid $50 per night for and was worth every cent!
Cheers and happy travels to those who do get out there. Enjoy this country while it's still affordable!!!
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Reply By: myaussieadventure - Friday, Sep 30, 2011 at 12:25

Friday, Sep 30, 2011 at 12:25
I completely agree and it's nice to hear that other people have the same opinion.
We are also on the permanently at the moment and do all we can to avoid caravan parks. Usually when your on the coast or in cities, we don't have much choice.
We have a small camper and have the opposite problem, cause we have a small camper we often find ourselves squashed in a corner somewhere or in-between the big caravans.
I have probably only stayed in maby 2 or 3 places that I might actually recommend.
We also have a dog and so we are limited on where to stay and so many caravan parks don't allow dOgs either.
But the number of places of old and dirty amenities - most without hand wash too!
Unmaintained swimming pools, ridiculous sized sites ( once we were squashed into a designated 'parking lOt'), etc

It almost feels like they are doing you a favor to stay at some places!
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Follow Up By: Member - blackbird1937 - Friday, Sep 30, 2011 at 20:02

Friday, Sep 30, 2011 at 20:02
Some parks are good and others are well overpriced . Xmas 08 we were arrived at Pt Macquarrie and went to book in for 1 night for just a powered site . We paid $85 for 2 adults and 2 teenagers , as we did not have time to go to a park further up the road , we stopped there but it is the last time there as it was a cramped site as well and the facilities were not very good . The only good thing about it we had a quick look at the town . When we got to Hervey Bay we paid $38 per night that left the facilities at Pt Macquarrie for dead . That was one time the old adage " you get what you pay for was wrong ."
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Reply By: Member - Steve & Cecily W (QLD - Saturday, Oct 01, 2011 at 08:47

Saturday, Oct 01, 2011 at 08:47
We've been on the road for a bit over three months this year and we've stayed in CPs most of the time. I just asked the accommodation director and in her opinion there have only been two parks which come colse to that described by curlynan. I keep a spreadsheet of our costs and so far our average cost per night for this trip is $23.64 - the most we've paid is $30.00 and the least was $15.
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