Town suffers as campsite tape scares grey nomads

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Grey nomads at Theodore frightened away by barrier tape
Theodore locals fear grey nomads are being scared away by barrier tape up at the Junction Park Rest Area. PIC: Central Telegraph

Local business owners in a small Queensland town 550 kilometres north west of Brisbane are panicked that a barrier tape around a camping area is unnecessarily scaring away grey nomads … and they say they are starting to feel the pinch.

A donation-based camping spot at the Junction Park Rest Area near Theodore has long been popular with caravanners, but locals say they are now seeing fewer visitors than usual for the time of year.

The tape went up across a section of the campground about a month ago in preparation for the construction of the extended tourist walkway, but work has been slow to start.

Visitor Information Centre chairman Peter Oelkers told the Central Telegraph newspaper that visitors had misunderstood the barrier tape at Junction Park, thinking the park was completely closed.

And he even offered to put his own phone number on a sign at the park so he could explain the situation to travellers.

“The small towns and the shops and businesses are struggling and we rely on those visitors coming though, and – while they might not spend a lot of money – every little bit helps,” he said. “We want the walkway to happen and we don’t want to disrupt other people’s plans as well … I know it’s not pleasant when you’re camped up in an area with a bit of machinery beside you.”

With the Theodore economy relying heavily on southerners visiting in the winter months, newsagency owner Paul Fowkes told the Central Telegraph he was concerned the current visitor number dip could have flow-on effects for the rest of the season.

“It doesn’t look inviting for tourists to stay there, as soon as one pulls in and sees you can’t park in the donation area … and sees barrier tape, they turn around and go away,” he said. “All these grey nomads they do talk to each other, if they say ‘Theodore might be closed’, others will say ‘don’t worry about it we’ll go to the next location’.”

Mr Fowkes said he was happy the path construction was moving ahead but frustrated it didn’t happen sooner, and he felt there could have been a better communication process.

“We were left in the lurch without information,” he said. “They put the tape up a month ago … and to build it in the height of the grey nomad trek, it got my blood boiling.”

Banana Shire Council told the Central Telegraph that it was moving forward with construction of the pathway to ensure it was completed before the peak grey nomad season.

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8 Responses to Town suffers as campsite tape scares grey nomads

  1. We have been staying at this site for the past week and the barrier has been no “barrierl to our enjoyment of the peace and quiet at this location. The facilities provided are excellent, even hot showers for $1. Theodore is a lovely little town, very clean, neat and tidy.

  2. I feel sorry for the township.
    So much for all the “know it all’s” that say free or low cost camping does not benefit communities.
    Prime example that communities do benefit………….

  3. why has a sign not been put up to tell them that itis still open ????

  4. Doesn’t this prove that towns that provide free camping people spend money in that town

  5. We always make a point of stopping here. We go to the pub for a meal or buy groceries and petrol each time. Facilities are great and town is friendly.

  6. BLOODY TYPICAL of a council.But it will not stop us from staying in Theodore, very nice little town full of friendly people.Council should pull there head out of were ever they,ve got it and help the town.A bit more forward thinking. Stevo

  7. why not ask some off the Nomads for a hand to complete the walkway win win for all. there are enough volunteers for other tasks. just sign a stat declaration for clarity. just a thought.

  8. The disappointment for me driving all the way from Newcastle NSW to Theodore to have my yearly fix of Meat Pies at the bakery on the LHS Just before entering town proper.
    So disappointed it’s now closed.

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