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Post Info TOPIC: Caravan Parks vs Free Camping


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Caravan Parks vs Free Camping


Hi all

We have just bought our 4th caravan (over a period of about 20 years) It took me 12 months to convince him in doors (hereafter known as HID) that this was the right thing to do.

As we are now dedicated 'greys' and living on the annuity kindly provided by our super and a little from the government we decided to buy our 4th van as going on a 'normal' holiday (motels/hotels/overseas etc) was out of the budget.

So we bought a pop-top, supposedly, within our budget. Later found out that the old bloke who owned it had stuffed up a whole lot of things. A whole lot of dollars later we have it pretty much set up for free camping indefinitely.

Anyway having spent a small fortune (or a short European cruise - or part of a racehorse as HID says) on having many things fixed and replaced we are now, almost, ready to go caravanning again.

It has been interesting perusing this and many other sites and reading how many caravan park owners are so down on 'free campers'

I understand that it costs money to run a park. I do.

And we do go to parks. But at anywhere from $25 to $45 a night it is not something that we will be able to do often. Hence the free camping.

But we still contribute to the local community by buying groceries, grog, gas, petrol etc (as well as exorbitantly priced wood!)

As a child we went camping quite a bit. Did caravan park owners back then complain about those that camped in the bush for free rather than paying for their parks? I don't think so. Or maybe caravanning wasn't so popular?

I know things are much more expensive to run and maintain nowadays but I'm sure it is possible to have it both ways.

While we love to free camp we do enjoy going to a 'proper'  park occasionally to get that awesome long hot shower and to do our laundry.

But we also can't afford to pay a premium rate for that privilege and nor would we expect to unless we were at a beach side park in prime holiday season (which we wouldn't be)

I have also found it extremely interesting that some parks will charge $25 for a non-powered site and only $2 more for a powered site? That is cheap electricity and I would definitely pay the extra $2 for that!

Just my rant and interested in what others think.

Cheers

Wandererone



-- Edited by Wandererone on Saturday 11th of August 2018 08:36:24 PM

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Love it nice to see a bright funny Post

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Hi Wandererone and welcome.

We are in a similar situation budget wise.  After we built our own van we toured the "lap" around Oz and one night a week was spent in a caravan park for the reasons you have. Mind you, you can stretch that further if you pack a hand turning washer and smart charger off an inverter off your car battery etc. 

A hint, it is much cheaper to tour the great dividing range staying at $5-$10 a night Apex parks or showgrounds and do a trip from there to the coast for  some seachange then  back to the hills. Away from the tourists.

Good luck and dont go north till mid june. We jit Darwin in May and cooked ourselves. Cheers

Tony

 



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We agree with everything that you've written. The only gripe we have is with the idiot that came up with the label FREE camping. INDEPENDENT camping sounds much better. The word FREE puts us all in a bad light.

We've been BUSH camping in various forms for over 40 years. Purely because we enjoy nature based activities rather than being herded into a row of others on a postage stamp sized plot.

Except for a hot shower & washing machines there's absolutely nothing in a caravan park that interests us.

Enjoy your travels the real Australia is out there waiting for your presence, you won't find it in a caravan park. smilesmile

pl (1024x373).jpg



-- Edited by Desert Dweller on Sunday 12th of August 2018 05:55:04 AM

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Gday...

A good and enjoyable read wanderone and you will enjoy it immensely when you get on the road ... even HID.

However, you make the comment "As a child we went camping quite a bit. Did caravan park owners back then complain about those that camped in the bush for free rather than paying for their parks? I don't think so. Or maybe caravanning wasn't so popular?"

Even today caravan parks, and communities, have no issue with carvanners camping in camping grounds - or places that actually are camp spots as distinct from bits of dirt/grass rest areas within or very close to towns etc.

Caravans parked on these bits of dirt/grass within the towns are under the nose of the van parks and people in the communities and are, in my opinion, often made unsightly and untidy by the 'travelling camper'. It is those that draw their ire. Not just the backpackers that are like flies on the proverbial, but also hordes of us 'old pharts' looking to spend as little as possible but be right on the doorstep of the town's amenities.

If you travel up the east coast particularly between May and September you will see how crowded it is. Very difficult to find a spot in one of these bits of dirt/grass near towns after 2pm. They are door-to-door and at least as, if not more, crowded than in a van park.

However, you will find 100s of proper camping places , not unlike Desert Dweller's photo, still existing and welcoming. These places will not be closed down and are worth finding.

Anyway, just my thoughts from observation on my travels. If you stay inland you will find there is very little, if no, complaining about we travellers - we are welcomed and encouraged by the inland towns by and large. Some places only hanging on by the income we help to provide.

[edit: just for interest, I have attached a couple of camps I have enjoyed over the past ten years - definitely beats bits of dirt/grass in or close to towns]

Cheers - stay well and happy travelling - John



-- Edited by rockylizard on Sunday 12th of August 2018 09:06:43 AM

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Desert Dweller wrote:

The only gripe we have is with the idiot that came up with the label FREE camping. INDEPENDENT camping sounds much better. 


 I like that. You're dead right DD. The word "Free" does put a different connotation on it. And lets'a face it, with the cost of everything required to make ourselves self contained to the point where we can so-called "Free" camp, it is anything but free.

Jim  



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Caravan parks are usefull to us as we do like the coastal areas on the the ocean,but the bush camps are great also country towns open fires great scenery .so were not going to restrict ourselves to camping to save money.



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rockylizard wrote:

Gday...

A good and enjoyable read wanderone and you will enjoy it immensely when you get on the road ... even HID.

However, you make the comment "As a child we went camping quite a bit. Did caravan park owners back then complain about those that camped in the bush for free rather than paying for their parks? I don't think so. Or maybe caravanning wasn't so popular?"

Even today caravan parks, and communities, have no issue with carvanners camping in camping grounds - or places that actually are camp spots as distinct from bits of dirt/grass rest areas within or very close to towns etc.

Caravans parked on these bits of dirt/grass within the towns are under the nose of the van parks and people in the communities and are, in my opinion, often made unsightly and untidy by the 'travelling camper'. It is those that draw their ire. Not just the backpackers that are like flies on the proverbial, but also hordes of us 'old pharts' looking to spend as little as possible but be right on the doorstep of the town's amenities.

If you travel up the east coast particularly between May and September you will see how crowded it is. Very difficult to find a spot in one of these bits of dirt/grass near towns after 2pm. They are door-to-door and at least as, if not more, crowded than in a van park.

However, you will find 100s of proper camping places , not unlike Desert Dweller's photo, still existing and welcoming. These places will not be closed down and are worth finding.

Anyway, just my thoughts from observation on my travels. If you stay inland you will find there is very little, if no, complaining about we travellers - we are welcomed and encouraged by the inland towns by and large. Some places only hanging on by the income we help to provide.

[edit: just for interest, I have attached a couple of camps I have enjoyed over the past ten years - definitely beats bits of dirt/grass in or close to towns]

Cheers - stay well and happy travelling - John



-- Edited by rockylizard on Sunday 12th of August 2018 09:06:43 AM


 Love that spot by the river.

I agree with your comments.

Those bits of dirt/grass close to towns that are filled up by mid afternoon really put us off (along with the common name) 'free camping' or what the yanks might call boondocking.

We usually choose CPs on the coast because it's the coast that we like.   Invariably we choose the premium sites ($s) right on the water.

I love the bush but it has no real attraction for SWMBO.  But we have enjoyed some short stays at cattle properties and the like.

I have planned a trip in the new year that will include lots of S western Q bush camps.  Pity about the drought.   SWMBO would rather go down the east coast though!



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There are some very interesting comments here. Having spent the past twenty plus years caravanning (on and off, due to work commitments some of the time) we have done a lot of bush camping. We refined it to the point where we carried an ex paint drum in a corn bag for hot water boiled over the open fire and a pop up shower tent which could be used with a bush shower bag - gives as good a shower as home!

While the coastal parks are very idyllic for the sound of the waves and the ocean views, the prices, especially in peak season place them out of our price range at those times. I do prefer to refer to "free camping" as off grid or bush camping, depending on location. We did spend a number of winters at the Central Queensland Gemfields until 2006 and would always bush camp. A camping permit back then was quite cheap, if one camped at a designated fossicking area. Not sure of the cost now, though.

On our big lap in 2001, we only stayed in (from memory) four caravan parks. The rest of the trip was off grid.

I had a very interesting conversation with a bloke in a van next to us where we are now, and he said he tried every park from Bribie Island down to Oxenford to get a site (just pre Ekka) and this was the only park he could get into. All of the others were full up and booked well ahead. I am seeing a lot of younger families living in vans these days as opposed to 20 years ago as well. So the Caravan Park owners' gripe about what they call "Free" camping may be a sign of the times too.



-- Edited by Dave1952 on Sunday 12th of August 2018 03:41:19 PM

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Hi Colleen
We bought our first of 14 caravans in 1970 ,a 16ft Franklin.
We have stayed in many caravan parks and bush camps over the years.
Have had many enjoyable stays in caravan parks right on the banks of lakes and rivers as we also have done with bush camping.
You do not have to be in a bush camp to enjoy the beautiful country we live in.
After saying that we have had some wonderful times away from caravan parks with our Bird watching friends we travel with.
I have sighted every Honeyeater species that there is in Australia and a lot of these i have sighted in caravan parks,
In most cases on large sites and no generators or noisy neighbours.
In 48 years of caravanning we have only had one bad night in a caravan park ,and that ended at midnight, but have had a few in bush camps with barking dogs and inconsiderate caravanners with generators going all night.
There are Definitely FREE campers looking for FREE camps.One recent example of this was on the outskirts of Emerald in Queensland.
Next to the Highway bridge on the outskirts of the town, in the dirt and dust,were dozens of vans packed in like sardines .Not for us as we had a very good peaceful night in a caravan park.
It doesnt matter if you stay in caravan parks or bush camps either way you can enjoy our wonderful country.
In this day and age the security in some caravan parks is worth considering in my opinion or that could be my age showing!
All the best for your future travelling.
Cheers.





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We love free camping and not just because it saves a bit of money. Most free camp spots are big enough to enable everyone to find a good space and not be jammed in as you can often be in van parks. Also, it's just great not to have to be out by 10am - quite often we enjoy a relaxed morning and wander off after lunch! We find it's good to spend a night ain a caravan park every 3 or 4 days to do run the washing machine, top up water etc.

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I think CP owners have always been vocal when it comes to people camping at little or no cost (call it want you want). In Qld, it used to be illegal in camp within a fixed distance from a CP. It wasn't a small distance, about 25-30miles I believe.

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A few years ago the ''new owners'' of Cobar CP got very upset with people staying in free camps/rest areas.

Cobar has a small free camp & a 24hr rest area in town, it also has Florida RA 50kms to the east & Meadow Glen RA 50kms to the west.

Both of these RA's are very big with unofficial camping areas out the back. Some people stay for 2-4 days as there's no time limit & plenty of space.

The CP owners were counting the number of people staying at theses RA's every night. They tried to get the shire to shut them down but couldn't because they are administered/owned by the RMS.

https://thegreynomads.activeboard.com/t62192740/florida-rest-area-east-of-cobar-nsw/

Great places to bush camp at for a few nights. We stayed 1 night at the CP to shower, do washing & top up our water.



-- Edited by Desert Dweller on Monday 13th of August 2018 06:20:01 AM

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Trip Reports posted on feathersandphotos.com.au Go to Forums then Trip Reports.

 



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What i find interesting about caravan park owner "wingers" are they dont care that they have sent motel and hotel owners broke in the quest to provide "overnight" accommodation, but complain when we want to "free" camp. I have a fully contained van with washing machine etc, and in reality only go into caravan parks to top up water tanks. Yes I know there are places that supply water but they are hard to find in most towns. Hence paying $35 for water is rather expensive as we do not use any of the caravan parks facilities. I have "tongue in cheek" asked if I can stay on a site with no access to any facilities other than water and the dump point and can i have that for $10. I just get a tirade of GN bashing and how we free campers are just ruining their business. I thought $10 is better than nothing but they seem to not want my business unless I pay full fees for things I will not/do not use. Hence I tend to stay away from the Big "family Parks" as at my age jumping castles and games rooms are past my agile ability!!!!!

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Desert Dweller wrote:

A few years ago the ''new owners'' of Cobar CP got very upset with people staying in free camps/rest areas.

Cobar has a small free camp & a 24hr rest area in town, it also has Florida RA 50kms to the east & Meadow Glen RA 50kms to the west.

Both of these RA's are very big with unofficial camping areas out the back. Some people stay for 2-4 days as there's no time limit & plenty of space.

The CP owners were counting the number of people staying at theses RA's every night. They tried to get the shire to shut them down but couldn't because they are administered/owned by the RMS.

https://thegreynomads.activeboard.com/t62192740/florida-rest-area-east-of-cobar-nsw/

Great places to bush camp at for a few nights. We stayed 1 night at the CP to shower, do washing & top up our water.



-- Edited by Desert Dweller on Monday 13th of August 2018 06:20:01 AM


 Hello dd, what does rms stand for?



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the rocket wrote:
Desert Dweller wrote:

A few years ago the ''new owners'' of Cobar CP got very upset with people staying in free camps/rest areas.

Cobar has a small free camp & a 24hr rest area in town, it also has Florida RA 50kms to the east & Meadow Glen RA 50kms to the west.

Both of these RA's are very big with unofficial camping areas out the back. Some people stay for 2-4 days as there's no time limit & plenty of space.

The CP owners were counting the number of people staying at theses RA's every night. They tried to get the shire to shut them down but couldn't because they are administered/owned by the RMS.

https://thegreynomads.activeboard.com/t62192740/florida-rest-area-east-of-cobar-nsw/

Great places to bush camp at for a few nights. We stayed 1 night at the CP to shower, do washing & top up our water.



-- Edited by Desert Dweller on Monday 13th of August 2018 06:20:01 AM


 Hello dd, what does rms stand for?


 DR G says   Roads & Marine Services .... seems like there's one in NSW . 



-- Edited by Cupie on Monday 13th of August 2018 12:22:38 PM

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Hi Wondererone and him indoors

If the truth was to be known, and every traveller decided to use a caravan park, there will not be enough caravan park sites, for all of us

When I travel on my own, I always try and stop at a free camp
If I get caught between free camps, then I will pull well off the road, (not in a built up area), as I am fully self contained

When I travel with the wife, we occasionally go into caravan parks

I would never worry about a business organisation, (such as caravan parks), complaining that I do not spend money at their premises
Life is much too short, to allow others to upset me

I personally try my best to spend money, in the areas where there is a free camp

My opinion is, (so I could be wrong), is that if we do not support the locals financially, or if we do not do our bit, to keep the camp clean
Then there will be no incentive, for the locals to keep their free camp open


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RMS Rest Areas.

secure.rms.nsw.gov.au/roads/using-roads/trip-information/rest-areas/map/

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Hi all

Some very interesting and informative comments here. Thanks folks (Could be a good topic around a campfire I reckon)                                                                                                                                                 
I see no reason why there can't be the best of both worlds when traveling.
I mean, as I stated originally, when you stay somewhere you usually do spend money. Simple.
If there is only one caravan park in a town then they get all the custom.
Might be a strange analogy but if we bring our food from elsewhere does the local supermarket send up a hue and a cry because we did not buy from them? Or maybe we bought it from their local rival?
Or if we bought our petrol in a previous (or next town or the other brand down the road) does that give the local servo the right to have a whinge?
Australia is a big country with plenty for all to go around.

I wonder if the biggest park whingers are also the biggest pain in the a** park managers or just plain rude hosts?
We have come across a few of those as I am sure most of you have.
Seriously, it is not a job I could do as I don't like all people (shock horror) furious But if you are going to do it you should be prepared to be rather tolerant.

So 'Independent' camping it will be! (thanks DD)

We shall try to avoid those 'bits of dirt/grass in or close to towns' as well as the roadside truckie stops and caravan parks with obnoxious managers.

I think that still leaves us with plenty of options biggrin

As I am itching to get away we have decided to take a short trip to Boorowa (about 2 hours away) and spend a couple of nights at the park there (too bloody cold without heating yet) It looks kinda quaint and only $20 a night for a powered site but best of all HID's best mate can come too (I mean the 4 legged one - I'm definitely going!) Give us a good chance to make sure that everything that is supposed to work does work.

Solar panels arrived today so as soon as HID can figure out how to erect the twin shower/toilet tent (could be a while) we will be heading off into the wild green yonder!

I have decided that 'Grey' (in however many shades) is a new adventure!

Cheers

Wandererone

 

 



-- Edited by Wandererone on Monday 13th of August 2018 05:54:01 PM

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Member

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That was very well put , I agree whole heartedly. Good luck in your travels.

Billsmile



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Wandererone wrote:

Hi all

Some very interesting and informative comments here. Thanks folks (Could be a good topic around a campfire I reckon)                                                                                                                                                 
I see no reason why there can't be the best of both worlds when traveling.
I mean, as I stated originally, when you stay somewhere you usually do spend money. Simple.
If there is only one caravan park in a town then they get all the custom.
Might be a strange analogy but if we bring our food from elsewhere does the local supermarket send up a hue and a cry because we did not buy from them? Or maybe we bought it from their local rival?
Or if we bought our petrol in a previous (or next town or the other brand down the road) does that give the local servo the right to have a whinge?
Australia is a big country with plenty for all to go around.

I wonder if the biggest park whingers are also the biggest pain in the a** park managers or just plain rude hosts?
We have come across a few of those as I am sure most of you have.
Seriously, it is not a job I could do as I don't like all people (shock horror) furious But if you are going to do it you should be prepared to be rather tolerant.

So 'Independent' camping it will be! (thanks DD)

We shall try to avoid those 'bits of dirt/grass in or close to towns' as well as the roadside truckie stops and caravan parks with obnoxious managers.

I think that still leaves us with plenty of options biggrin

As I am itching to get away we have decided to take a short trip to Boorowa (about 2 hours away) and spend a couple of nights at the park there (too bloody cold without heating yet) It looks kinda quaint and only $20 a night for a powered site but best of all HID's best mate can come too (I mean the 4 legged one - I'm definitely going!) Give us a good chance to make sure that everything that is supposed to work does work.

Solar panels arrived today so as soon as HID can figure out how to erect the twin shower/toilet tent (could be a while) we will be heading off into the wild green yonder!

I have decided that 'Grey' (in however many shades) is a new adventure!

Cheers


 Hi Wandererone.

I think thats how it works, go where you please, stay where you are comfortable and as long as you can afford.

We have just had 8 days of very low cost camping (donation) as we travelled from one area to another, before that we had a few weeks in caravan parks along the coast and now for next few days will be staying in a small town showground with power and water with some green grass for $15 a night or $70 a week. We will be lucky to spend $20 in this town as we have been stocking up with food over the last few weeks while we have been travelling though larger towns and now sitting back enjoying ourselves here.

Good luck.



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It's funny.
HID's is into the second half of his 60's and I am nearly 60 too (next month aaagh!) but we have been learning so much from our kids lol.
Our eldest son (37) and his wife (35) have done so much travelling, both here in Aus and overseas.
Last Xmas they rented out their house and packed up their Troopy, again, and headed up north.
They have caretaked at a massive cattle station outback, at a B & B in far Nth Qld, a caravan park somewhere else and are currently in Lichtfield National Park 'hosting' for a few weeks.
In between these stays they set up camp 'wherever' and their adventures and photos are amazing - to the point that some of their photos are being used by National Geographic as well as being on TV.
Son is a carpenter so can always pick up a bit of work where necessary.
Everywhere they go is an adventure.
They mostly love to be off grid and miles away from anyone else.
They dig for fossils and they spelunk (caving) They scuba dive and climb mountains and they swim and kayak in pristine waters. They have never paid for accomodation yet.
There is definitely an advantage in being able to do this sort of stuff when you are younger but just as much fun to do it if you are older (maybe just not so energetically lol)

This, however, would not be hard to cope with!

26231837_1791233774515723_2380220332867336446_n.jpg



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