$10 fees introduced at popular ‘free’ camp areas

Published: November 30, 2015

Two popular free camping areas near Warwick in Queensland is to begin charging $10 for an overnight stay … but local businesses are not happy about it.

Allora’s Dalrymple Creek Park and parkland at Dalveen are both well used by grey nomads who have long been able to stop for free for a maximum of 24 hours. However, Southern Downs Regional Council has just voted to introduce a charge, which campers will have to pay via an honesty box system.

Melissa Jones, who owns a caravan parts and accessories business, told the Warwick Daily News that the decision could force her to close her doors.

“Most of them are just old grey nomads who treat the park with respect and want peace and quiet … they won’t stop there if the council starts charging them,” she said. “They spend thousands in local businesses – the IGA, the bakeries, mechanics.”

Ms Jones also fears the site could be targeted by vandals and thieves if an honesty box is placed there.

The plan was passed by the mayor’s casting vote at last week’s meeting, with Cr Peter Blundell saying the council needed to recoup the cost of on-site facilities.

“We have an enforcement role in camping whether we have an honest box or not,” he said.

Allora-based Cr Glyn Rees also supported the move, stating there had been issues with migrant workers living in the park.

However, the Warwick Daily News reports that Cr Jo McNally thought a $10 fee was excessive.

“Considering there is seven months of the financial year left, we should charge $5 and trial it,” she said. “Given that there’s no power or showers, I think $5 is a good start.”

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Jan
6 years ago

There are so many fabulous places to stay in Australia that we really are spoiled for choice. So, when councils make decisions such as those that described in the above article, we can happily cross that area from our list! Go for it Warwick, we love your plan. Our trip choices have just become easier. Sadly for you, you are not included.

Kate
6 years ago
Reply to  Jan

That’s a bit sad Jan that you’d quickly wipe an area because they are considering or going to charge a small fee for providing you a lovely secure spot to spend sometime. You make us real grey nomads (on the road for 5 years) look stingy.

Jan
6 years ago
Reply to  Kate

Hi Kate, there was nothing in the article that said anything about security being provided, nor are there any facilities. Stingy? No, I choose where I will get best value for my money. Just as an aside, a grey nomad is not necessarily defiined as someone being on the road full time.

GarryLee
6 years ago
Reply to  Jan

Girls, girls, girls, we all have the freedom to stay and camp overnite where we choose, whether we pay or not. it is not worth nit picking at each other over what was said or implied. we are supposed to be a chilled out group living the life, see you all out there, Garry “one for the Road”

Lyn
6 years ago
Reply to  GarryLee

I’m always interested in other people’s opinions and don’t consider this to be nit picking at all. If anything, I find your comment “girls, girls….” insulting, implying that you need to adjudicate women.

Philby
6 years ago
Reply to  Kate

Ouch ,this is why a discussion should never get personal. Stick to the issues it is much safer

Pip Brown
6 years ago
Reply to  Kate

Yes Kate I agree. $10 is a very small amount to contribute.

Phil
5 years ago
Reply to  Kate

“A lovely secure spot” ? Dump point, showers etc? Just what do you receive for $10?

Dave Crump
4 years ago
Reply to  Phil

exactly what do u get for $10 toilet and a bin???

Fred
4 years ago
Reply to  Kate

The problem is that as soon as genuine travellers decide a location is good for stopping to shop, take a rest day and maybe have a meal at the local pub someone decides they are a cash cow. I have no problem with councils forcing people into expensive campgrounds and caravan parks if they want to stay more than 48 hours, but someone, state government or council needs to recognise that we pay taxes and contribute to the roads. you aren’t supposed to drive tired but there is always someone wanting to make a buck out of travellers stopping overnight.

Dave Crump
4 years ago
Reply to  Jan

we are citizens of australia and these are public areas to rest and not drive tired. what right do these councils have to charge for the countrys citizens taking a reast stop and enjoying seeing australia?? personally i dont have trouble with a gold coin donation to help with regular rubbish collections and toilet “hose out’ nad maybe a mow when road mowers are going past, but to set $10 charge with noo showers or hot water come on – dont u want nomads to spend $$$$ in our country towns ??

Linda Harrison
2 years ago
Reply to  Jan

That’s fair enough to charge $10.00

william wicks
6 years ago

I would not mind paying if there were some facilities, but paying for nothing gets my goat.Look at Babinda. they have a free camp acroos the rail line out of town with showers for $1.00, and everybody goes into town to buy supplies and fuel. everybody wins.

Jim
6 years ago
Reply to  william wicks

The council says the fee is to recoup cost of facilities? A bin? Do they install an honesty box to charge the public users of bins around town – or in local parks and picnic spots? Why pick on us – just because we are not locals and easy targets. I’ll pay if they also charge the users of bins in local parks and picnic spots!!!!!!

Jim
6 years ago
Reply to  Jim

Councils have parks and gardens and free BBQs open to the public – no charge there – what’s the diff? We RV travellers pay our way by spending an avg. $100 per day on the road (plenty of stats to support this) and this and other Council’s local businesses get the benefit. So let them start charging the public to clean up the parks and gardens and free BBQ areas they use. It’s easier to charge us that’s why they pick on us.

Phil
5 years ago
Reply to  Jim

I know it was a long time back Jim, but you hit the nail right on the head. My taxes may have paid for their hospital or medical facilities, but I don’t intend using it, so maybe they could let me use their town facilities in exchange.

Bob Marsh
6 years ago

Well said Jan. A greedy council that just doesn’t get it. We often spend several hundred $$$s when staying at free camps. Groceries, fuel, haircut etc. Time to bypass Warwick.

Jenny woodhouse
6 years ago

I feel more annoyed that now we have a fully self contained caravan and don’t use any facilities that we have to pay fees. The reason we stay for 24-48hrs is because of the natural features and we spend up visiting local festivals, farmers markets and grocery stores. We are of the belief that it’s important to support local business so buy most food etc there. The result of the introduction of fees means that we will stay somewhere else.

Bardos
6 years ago

Well said Jenny, that covers it all.

Darryl
6 years ago

Well typical of Southern Downs Council These people forget who put them there. When businesses start to fold they will ring their hands and say why. I have noted this accordingly

Dianne Lewis
6 years ago

If this fee is to supposedly deter the migrant workers living in the park,i am at a loss to see how this will work. I really think it will be the grey nomads who put the money in the honesty box,not the backpakers.
And they will still stay there for free,how would this be monitored.

Philby
6 years ago
Reply to  Dianne Lewis

Spot on.

Dennis Mitchell
6 years ago

$5 would be more realistic for what you get, $10 would be good if you had some basic services. Nearsighted councils?

Colin
6 years ago

Paying for no services at all ? This does nothing but drive the dollar away to somewhere else. Perhaps the Councillors don’t do any traveling around OZ.

I wont spend nothing in Warwick..

Dave
6 years ago

One wonders how the Council was maintaining it prior to allocating a camping fee? If no one comes then they will still be in the same boat, having to maintain the area or will they let it revert to bush and then the town cannot even use it. Everyone loves something for nothing but in this case (and possibly others) the “nothing” is offset by what is spent with local businesses.

George Cunningham
6 years ago

We have stayed at both spots mentioned. A toilet & rubbish bins. That’s it ! Dalveen is handy to “Do” the wineries etc but that is about it. Allorah has little to offer. The local showgrounds are $18.00 a night but you get drinking water,showers & toilets. Better value in comparison. Also about 15 minutes towards Toowoomba is Clifton Recreation grounds. Power,showers,toilets & a dump point for $10 a night. Clifton gets my vote & the town gets my fuel,grocery etc. money. Small thinking council.

Hunter
6 years ago

The councils decision to use an honesty box system proves have naive they are to the realities of the free camping public.

Firstly only honest travelers would pay and secondly some backpackers have become masters of robbing the boxes.

One box in question in South West WA was filled with water so they could fish the notes out through the slot with a piece of wire.

And don’t mention the honesty boxes to fruit and vegetable growers who have roadside stalls. They get a double whammy, stolen fruit and stolen money boxes.

charlie
6 years ago

I have no problems with fees as long as you get a good deal for what they expect you to pay , just because we choose to live the dream their will always be money grabbers out there for a bit of dirt as most of the early post say no stop no money spent so sad

Robert
6 years ago

Guess i’ll just pass through and spend my money elsewhere.

James
6 years ago

This is a great move by councils and as a permanently on the road (for a year or two) nomad of the junior variety I find $10 per day a perfect win/win solution for everyone. Although there needs to be some kind of self-registration system as a simple donation box may not work as they will not be able to tell who has paid and who is not. People who are too cheap to pay $10 are not worth worrying about as nothing will please them except a hand out…

Margaret
5 years ago
Reply to  James

I am happy to pay $10 per night but then should be able to stay longer than 48 hours

Allen
6 years ago

Town Councils responsibility is to maintain and promote the town and local area to encourage and support the viability of local businesses therefore providing employment and ratepayers, (less ratepayers equals less revenue for council budgets) the per head contribution of ratepayers funds spent on providing areas that encourage passing trade should be near the top of the list for a responsible Council. Examples of this is often found when the Federal Govt. spends xx amount of taxpayers $ on facilities to promote International tourism and trade, all taxpayers contribute. Visit any McDonalds store and look at what is provided to encourage custom, they provide playground equipment and a pleasant place to stay awhile. This attracts customers and $ spent. what would happen if they adopted the Council attitude and charged those who are spending money for the privilege to stay awhile at their playground facility. A walk out of patrons would occur. this Council and others are very short sighted. Also many travellers are residents of other towns and i am sure that they would welcome their Local Council to promote and encourage visitors to their region by providing attractions for visitors thus creating a more vibrant society.

Yvonne
6 years ago

I won’t pay for nothing either. It is a sad attitude that some councils rule by. Wait till they have to live on pension. Backpackers are a huge part of decision made like this one. They live in their cars so have no equipment so they make their camp around the picnic tables all night so you can’t even use them

Mrs Wombat
6 years ago

I would like to know how the council will monitor those who choose to stay. So, you put your $10 in the box, but do you get a tag or ticket to say that you have paid to attach to your van. a council worker then comes round and checks to see who has paid. how can you prove it if you don’t have a tag/ticket? Will you be forced to move on if you cant prove payment? this whole scenario has just exhausted the $10 you put in the box with wages. hmmmmmmmm

DOREEN
6 years ago

$15 a night at the showground at Allora with hot showers toilets and power why pay $10 for a small basic road side camp with very limited facilities.

Bardos
6 years ago

HMMMM does the $10 cover free toilet paper, perhaps they could put a vending machine in and sell it for a $1 a square. Chill out just by pass it. Try Chinchilla weir, free power, free camping, free toilets ( with free toilet paper), beautiful spot not far from town with every thing in there that you need to stock up on. Yu might even catch a yellow belly.
CHEERS NEV

Lloyd
6 years ago

Australia is a huge country, its easy to just bypass the towns that charge too much and do not supply some sort of service for the fee. the townsfolk will soon change the councils attitude when the dollars stop coming in.

Rod Booth
6 years ago

Unfortunately , this is probably another Town off most peoples list. Very sad though.

Phil
6 years ago

The residents of both Dalveen (Jim Mitchell Park) and Allora are incensed by this ill considered decision by council. The original motion was only won by the casting vote of the mayor, with one dissenting councillor away at a funeral. There is a rescind motion to be put at the next council meeting on 16th December. The numbers are looking positive at this point. Don’t desert us yet.

Galore777
6 years ago

We love free camping! However we mostly end up using CP as we stay longer than planned! We went to a freecamping spot near Albany with a 7 day limit. We remained the 7 days and moved on to another freecamping spot within the same shire jurisdiction! The free camper where made feel welcome as free water are being provided ” with compliments from the shire” no payments asked and no limits on quantities! We ended up three weeks free camping as that area is just so beautiful! As photography is our hobby we took 1000’s of pictures and spend in excess of $2000 in just under a month whilst being there! Surely a feather in the cap for the shire who doesnt charge a single dime and send a ranger around just to make sure everybody feel safe!

johanna secreve
6 years ago

What a load of whingers! Go overseas and find how much they,
even public toilets in town cost an euro. I am a solo elderly person and have much pleasure in travelling in my trnasit, meeting people at free camps whom some of homeless alcoholic and great to talk to ,they shared their heater and i shared my chicken pieces, he had had no meat for 2 weeks. No I am not complaining and if it is more then I thought, wel the next stop is free. My decision to stay in that lonely spot was ,1 there was washing hanging from the treelines, clean person..the guy spoke very well and offered hot water for a cuppa., and finally my 2 big black dogs loved him. so i had no problem sleeping in my transit. they are the judges.

Magda van Jaarsveld
5 years ago

Maybe Southern Downs Regional Counsil should listern to voters and not just for their own back pockets. So over all the lies to get the job. Maybe dont do a wage increase as one of the promises and support the parks like that. Dont take what you think you can from the grey nomads.
They do support the towns

Magda van Jaarsveld
5 years ago

Maybe Southern Downs Regional Council should listen to voters and not just for their own back pockets. So over all the lies to get the job. Maybe don’t do a wage increase as one of the promises and support the parks like that. Don’t take what you think you can from the grey nomads.
They do support the towns

Lorraine Drost
4 years ago

We have been charged $25.00 for a night at Warick showground there were 2 vans & we could power but water is at back of horse stables. So we had to connect our van to another van & get water that way& of course when first van uses water you get very little. No lights on amenities & not clean . In short pay the few dollars more & go to a van park which was $30.00

Lawrence Boland
3 years ago

Money hungry councils.
If there are migrant workers living in the park
Then make them move.
People who enforce the charges will be retired and old one day and might want to be a grey nomad. Will you want to pay these fees.

Shane knix
2 years ago

The council are full of it another money making scheme ii am home less I m haveing trouble to find some were in Warwick the Leslie tourist is a rip off now nearly 1000 dollars per week the rest of them in Warwick ain’t much beta the council is a rip off so are there parks thy wonder y people don’t stop

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