Happy Hour vs television! Will Netflix tip the balance?

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Happy Hour under threat?
Cheers! Grey nomads chew the fat and raise a glass at Happy Hour. PIC: Kurramine Beach Holiday Park

Happy Hour is perhaps the most sacred grey nomad tradition of them all … but is the trend towards ever-more luxurious rigs sounding the death knell of the under-the awning ‘social’?

Born in an era in which watching TV in the bush was an impossibility, campfires were more widely allowed, and caravans were far more basic, Happy Hours were once as much a part of the Big Lap as filling up at the bowser.

So, are times a-changin’?

Grey nomad Alan Hunter from New South Wales certainly thinks so. He says that on a trip up the Centre and down the coast of Western Australia he was stunned by how ‘day-centric’ his fellow travellers were.

“As soon as the sun sets they disappear … they seem to have lost the ability or interest in sitting around the fire interacting with their neighbours or enjoying the beauties of the night sky,” he said. “I realise some go to bed early but, judging by the flickering in the windows, a lot are watching TV or videos … it seems to us they are missing a good part of what exploring the country is about.”

At the Kurrimine Beach Holiday Park in northern Queensland, the daily Happy Hours that run from approximately 4pm-6pm are part of the fabric of park life, especially between June and October. On-site manager Brad Davis says the social event is always kicked off by someone ringing a large cow bell and then people start to congregate to enjoy nibbles and a few drinks.

“I wouldn’t say they have become less popular on the whole, but I would say there are maybe a few more people coming through with the huge luxury set ups that are a little less likely to get involved,” he said. “But all are welcomed and encouraged to the gathering to swap stories about being on the road and just enjoy each other’s company.”

And veteran traveller David Metcalfe also believes that news of the death of Happy Hours has been greatly exaggerated.

“Happy Hours are still very popular and are a great way to get to know fellow travellers and to obtain information about the area you are in or going to, and any great ideas about caravan modifications or gadgets,” he said. “From our experience, Happy Hours can go on for several hours and cover a wide range of topics and we find that sitting outside of an afternoon will regularly attract others to come and have a chat … and we will put the kettle on or share a glass of wine.”

While David is a huge fan of Happy Hours, he says he prefers ones with smaller groups and admits they don’t always work out.

“I hate Happy Hours that turn into booze and brag fests,” he said. “And we have asked people to control the language before, but this doesn’t usually cause a problem.”

• Do you think Happy Hours are becoming less popular? Comment below

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6 Responses to Happy Hour vs television! Will Netflix tip the balance?

  1. I do hope HJ is alive as when I get out there that is what I’m looking for

  2. We love nothing more than a great Happy Hour with friends and it’s the best way to meet new friends. It will never die.

  3. I agree as soon as the sun goes down they are gone, as I stay in a park for a couple of months on end then go somewhere else but during the day the people are all away checking out what’s in the area which is great

  4. Love happy hour. It’s one of the big distinction between caravan parks and freedom campers. I free camp 95% of the time and find the type of nomads there are generally more social and are not overly interest in chest beating and comparing who has the biggest……….. Happy hour is a great way to meet and learn. I find people in all sorts of rigs will get involved and the only issues I’ve experienced is foul language, perhaps drinking too much and those who are takers rather than sharers. I believe the perception that happy hour is dying is probably more a reflection on society changing rather than the introduction of more luxurious rigs. Too mant people these days look to take more than they give, which ultimately is a downward spiral.

    Happy hour, anyone? Cheers

  5. Can anyone please tell me why a large number of caravanners insist on leaving their external light on while they are inside watching TV. Some travellers (like us) like to enjoy the outdoors and watch the night sky. The external lights from vans can be blinding. If you want to sit inside your van and watch TV, by all means do so, but please consider others and turn your outside lights off.

  6. Happy Hour is not the most sacred grey nomad tradition but the most scary tradition.

    For the non extrovert among us it is difficult to break into a group who seem to have known each other or some time.

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