NT’s grey nomad ‘season’ gets off to a flying start

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Grey nomads in caravan parks
At peak times there are often queues to get into NT caravan parks.

Like many towns in the north, Katherine is already analysing early grey nomad arrival numbers to try to get a sense of what sort of season it is going to be.

And it’s a case of so far, so good.

The Katherine Times newspaper reports that, following a good shoulder season, most caravan parks are still experiencing tourist numbers on par with last year.

Riverview Motel and Caravan Park manager Wendy Batten said their 100 powered sites are currently at 85% capacity.

“We find the grey nomads down south wait until after Mother’s Day to leave, then they hit the road,” Mrs Batten told the Katherine Times. “We have had a very good shoulder season and that has continued on, but June and July are our busiest seasons. At that time we will be at full capacity … we sometimes even have to turn people away.”

However, with prices commonly upwards of $40 per night for a powered site caravan, the costs site in the Territory are raising eyebrows with some travellers.

Brian Hill, owner of Manbulloo Homestead, 12 kilometres from Katherine town centre, told the Katherine Times he charges about $10 less than the other campsites, but has still had some complaints about high prices.

“The NT is more expensive than southern states, but what you have to understand is caravan parks in the NT only have about four to five months to make an income,” he said. “Caravan sites have expenses all year round, but may only be filled for half that time.”

However, Mr Hill believes visitor numbers will continue to rise over the next 10 years as more baby boomers hit retirement age and join the ranks of the grey nomads.

“The medium-term prospects are looking good,” he said. “We have just added another 20 powered sites as we had to turn people away last year in the busy period and I’m expecting to see more tourists on the road with the baby boomers retiring and buying up caravans.”

  • Are you heading north yet? What is the most you have ever paid for a caravan park site? What is the most you will ever pay? Comment below.

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14 Responses to NT’s grey nomad ‘season’ gets off to a flying start

  1. Caravan parks are too expensive to use all year round ,LET ALONE AT HOLIDAY PERIODS! If you are liveing fulltime in them You might as well be in a house for this amount of $’s! We aways support the affordable places,like showgrounds otherwise we stay at free camps . We will not pay a rediculous price so we will put $’s into the small &usually more friendly places e.g. pubs & shops. Thank you Bud.

  2. Nixons crossing been taken off the camping sight $10 $15 night we sighned a petition to get it to stay an we stsy there up an back fro kimberleys wonderful spot an spent a lot of money in the town as it was a good price for camping. Why do this to the town an grey nomads cv park are above the top up there money hungry dosent do town any good. Grey nomads will still do free camping when can .

  3. We have been to Darwin 7 times and have seen the site costs increase to the point we feel we are being ripped off so now we have a new van which has solar power and ensuite so we can free camp most of the time. When in Darwin we stay at the showground good value for money.

  4. I am sorry but $40 outrageous. Most of the time we are usually only there overnight then more on. Noddy’s a lot of us self sufficient anyway. At these prices do not expect to see me or many or most travelling friends
    I’m in Tasmania at present the parks are reasonably priced and they are almost empty in winter
    There is also lots of free camping which is excellent

  5. Caravan parks are rip off merchants. Avoid at any cost!

  6. $40 PN is too expensive when you’re on the road for long periods More self contained caravaners are looking for more overnight sites
    More forward thinking councils are offering this alternative Caravaners are more likely to spend more in these towns

  7. Have paid $50 a night worst. Best powered sight $20 in Vic. As income barely above a pension we aim for about 50% free camps. Often the higher prices mean smaller sights.worst for small sites and high end prices were Onslow and Marble Bar. Both places surrounded by empty desert! Coastal camping grounds generally rip offs not that I’m picking on WA bet Kalbarri comes to mind. On the better end showgrounds e.g. Chesterton Vic was basic but brilliant as was Millicent SA. A farm stay near Katherine NT was brilliant. Cheers….

  8. have only ever paid 28.00 for a piwered site only for safety.would never ever pay 40.00 just for a bit of powrr.

  9. How many days should we plan to travel from Townsville to Broome with time to explore.

  10. If they think $40 p/n is a lot in the NT then don’t bother going to the Sunshine Coast in Qld where you can pay up to $50+ per night. We are heading to the NT in June and would be happy to pay $40p/n

  11. Ah yes the grey nomads head north for winter and all the caravan parks see is the $ sign and think beauty heres our chance to make some money

    • How much dough do you think the parks make in the northern summer Mick. Get real you guys. the season lasts 5 months at the most before all you lot head back down south. there are 12 months in a year and the park operator has to make most of his income I 5 or 6 months. ! comment said the parks in Tasmania are almost empty in winter. they make their dough in the warmer months. I f they only charged $20 a night like most of you would like there wouldn’t be any parks, FACT

  12. Many caravan parks are connected to Park chains, which offer a discounted price to Members, and due to this the Park owners end up paying a joining fee, and then must contribute a certain percentage back to these companies for advertising etc. annually. This is why prices are on the rise. One Park owner who was connected to Top Tourist told me it was costing them over $40,000 a year, and with them being the largest park in that particular town they have severed their ties! These Parks have been happy to offer a Senior’s discount instead.

  13. We avoid paying for extensive use of van parks by housesitting and volunteering through ads we find on the GN website. Last year, we spent six months as caretakers at Batchelor Museum. So we basically had a free powered site for that time. We had two days off each week to explore the Top End, which we did do death, in return for around six hours of very light duties each day. This year, we have three months looking after a house, a kelpie and a few chooks, just outside Perth. We can come and go as we please. Even have the luxury of staying in a house. Well worth considering if you think staying in van parks is too exxy.

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