WA town rejects plan for free caravan camping area

Published: May 27, 2021
Grey nomads and Albany

The WA town of Albany has rejected a proposal for it to offer free caravan camping areas near the CBD, amid concerns the plan would hurt caravan parks financially.

The Association of Caravan Clubs of WA (ACCWA) had been calling for caravanners to be offered areas for 24-, 48-, and 72-hour stops within a reasonable distance of the CBD, as well as parking options within the town centre.

However, the ABC reports that the City of Albany council rejected the proposal, arguing it already provided free and low-fee camping grounds outside the CBD.

At a recent council meeting, caravan park owners and some councillors raised concerns about providing free sites in direct competition with paid operators, and argued that the provision of an RV-friendly site would be too costly. 

Councillor Matt Benson-Lidholm was one who was strongly opposed the idea.

“We don’t need a stamp that says we’re RV friendly,” he said. “We’ve already got everything.”

The ABC reports that Luke Shuttleworth, who owns Big4 Emu Beach Holiday Park, said his park provided more than 30 jobs. He urged councillors at the meeting to reject the proposal, arguing that Albany was a unique destination.

“It’s not a transit stop,” he said. “They’re not going to bypass with what we have to offer.”

However, the ABC reports that grey nomad Dave Yendell, felt the whole debate had been skewed due to lobbying by local caravan parks.

“This report relies almost solely on submissions made by vested interests who are against RV overnight camping,” he said.

Earlier this year, WA’s Shire of Plantagenet closed its free RV campsite at Mount Barker following complaints from the town’s only caravan park.

However, just a week or so ago the WA city of Bunbury, two hours south of Perth, decided to keep its free RV rest stops … despite strong opposition from the holiday park industry.

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Ian
7 months ago

If caravan parks stopped reducing the size of the caravan sites to fit in more cabins or stopped fitting caravans in amongst the cabins and stopped money gouging on holiday season I might stop at a caravan park. More and more of these caravan parks cater for cabins

Steven T
7 months ago
Reply to  Ian

I agree 100%, the money gouging from Albany caravan parks in holiday season and long weekends is outrageous

Hannu
7 months ago
Reply to  Steven T

This price gouging by caravan parks during weekends and holiday periods is crazy. Their costs don’t increase. It is just profiteering. That is why in many towns, the Showground and Race Couse operators get a lot more business, because their rates remain constant, and hence get more business instead. The other aspect is where some Caravan Parks have all the “kiddie stuff”, they charge huge amounts extra, when we don’t use those facilities at all. We will not stay at any of them, never.

Brian
7 months ago
Reply to  Ian

Absolutely correct

Warwick
7 months ago
Reply to  Ian

Motels need to start complaining about how all the caravan parks are filling up with cabins – motel accommodation is sometimes cheaper option than caravan parks

Colin Penrose
7 months ago

I feel like a stuck record !!! I usually stay in free or donation camps. My choice. I will not stay in overpriced, over serviced CPs I will just stay in the next town.

Neil Cadden
7 months ago
Reply to  Colin Penrose

I fully agree. Bypass these towns and imitation “resorts” and go where you are welcome and not where they only want your money

Jackie Kosky
7 months ago

Don’t agree with this decision we live in our van when we visited Albany last year every caravan park(there are a lot)had no vacancy for our size van and the RV camps out of town were also full as well so we had to keep driving also most towns that provide RV parking only do so for 3-10 vans I really don’t think that will send the caravan parks broke

Andy
7 months ago

Albany said they don’t need to be RV friendly
Well just don’t go
Nothing special in Albany anyway. Much like that of Wa
A whole lot of nothing there

Ray
7 months ago
Reply to  Andy

So nothing special at Albany eh. Clearly you have no respect for the amazing war museum on Mt Clarence, dedicated to those Aussie hero’s who left our shores (for the last time) to represent our country in WW1. What a sad attitute.

Tony Lee
7 months ago
Reply to  Ray

So an unfashionable war museum is the best enticement you can offer?

Garry
7 months ago
Reply to  Tony Lee

Unfashionable war museum. That is an uneducated statement Clearly you have never visited Albany. It is one of the best displays outside the Canberra War Memorial.

robert markham
7 months ago
Reply to  Ray

totally agree,our troops fought for the freedom we have today.

Glen Brooker
7 months ago
Reply to  Andy

Well , stay home then

Gil
7 months ago
Reply to  Andy

Silly comment Andy! You are being narrow minded if you do not think Albany and the rest of WA has anything to offer travellers.

Chris Thaler
7 months ago
Reply to  Andy

There is a lot of unique ‘stuff’ in W.A. if you are prepared to open your mind. Just go to where the ‘good stuff’ is, which is certainly not Albany.

Christine Marriott
7 months ago
Reply to  Andy

You obviously have not traveled in WA too much!

Len Sorrell
7 months ago

We “easterners” have travelled extensively throughout WA and found most places a ripoff run by “take it or leave it” people. Most beauty spots in WA are no where near the towns or cities such as Albany.

hollis
7 months ago

overpriced caravan parks, with the little narrow inadequate caravan and car spaces, are a reason why VISITORS OFTEN GO ELSEWHERE ,This also means Cash is spent at shops service stations and businesses in other towns Albany townsite will lose many dollars as visitors Park out of town and commute for just a couple of days!

Rob Jones
7 months ago

I read on a caravan park brokers site that recently a park in Albany sold for $6.4 million. They have to get their money back somehow.

Ant
7 months ago
Reply to  Rob Jones

Obviously shows plenty a dollar made in C.p

Nick
7 months ago
Reply to  Rob Jones

That is a spurious argument. Just because they paid too much for the park doesn’t make the parking anymore valuable. I’m sure that we are no dofferent to many who choose not to frequent sites that try and charge a ridiculous amount to park on a powered site.

Glen Brooker
7 months ago
Reply to  Nick

Ok , dump the caravan stay in motel or hotel bet u don’t complain then about rates etc

Allan
7 months ago
Reply to  Nick

Nick said: “[…] I’m sure that we are no dofferent. […]”

‘Inn-keeping’ with what you say, Nick…I doff$ me lid.

Allan and Lynn
7 months ago

We are full time travellers in a self-contained motorhome and we seek out free and low cost campsites. I suggest that the majority of free and low cost campers are similar to us and would not stay in full-priced caravan parks and therefore tend to stay for a shorter period of time or just move on to the next town that is otherwise RV friendly. That being the case, anti-free camp lobbyists don’t understand the profile of free and low cost campers. We just rarely stay in a caravan park and your town will miss out on the cash we spend elsewhere in town.

Jane and Ken
7 months ago
Reply to  Allan and Lynn

Exactly. We also are full time travellers with a very low income
We choose free or low cost/donation sites then will wander around town, go for a coffee, pick up something for the grandchildren spending our $ in a town who accepts us. If we stay in a c/park we cant afford to do that. If you work back the price to rent a house per day (ours is at $50/day) its almost the same price for a small site in a caravan park plus you have to be out by 10:00am.
Kalgoorlie was $38.00/night in the only caravan park available. The others dont open their office on a weekend. But Kalgoorlie does have a 24 hour stop on the edge of town plus Queen Bee open a coffee van there early with fantastic coffee. Because of all this we spent 3 nights in Kalgoorlie and spent $+ in town. A plug for Queen Bee and Kalgoorlie. It is nice coffee.

Val Craig
7 months ago

These caravan park owners will never accept that people who use free or low cost alternatives will not be forced into van parks. They do not provide a service these folks are willing to pay. I would like these councils to do a survey of travellers in the surrounding areas asking if they will stay in CP if no free or low cost option is available, then calculate how much money their town is missing out on….they.would get a shock in my opinion.

Maree Murphy
7 months ago

BYPASS these towns. Not RV friendly keep going..
Don’t spend $$ in these towns.. They’ll regret it.

Rob Jones
7 months ago
Reply to  Maree Murphy

I doubt if bypassing Albany will make any difference

Garry
7 months ago
Reply to  Rob Jones

I agree Albany does not need any more tourists, it is already overcrowded and does just fine. I suspect those that say they will just bypass the town are meeting the Councils intent to discourage excessive tourists.

Len Sorrell
7 months ago
Reply to  Rob Jones

Not to the local residents not involved in the tourist industry, Rob

Allan
7 months ago
Reply to  Maree Murphy

Maree Murphy said: “[…] Don’t spend $$ in these towns.. […]”

Yes, don’t spend dollars, but always give those who are gouging a 5 cent piece and tell them it’s to help them buy a horse They will then say to you: ” A horse? What do I need a horse for?” You then tell them that Ned Kelly had need of a horse, and he, just like them, was a bu$hranger.!!! ‘$tand and deliver’ us from evil…

malcolm robertson
7 months ago

If a town allows the council to be dictated to by certian business’s then that town should be by passed until the council , conciders what’s best for the town ,not one or two operators. If a new service station wants to open, does the council stop it to protect the others? Probably not. Boycott the place until the caravan parks go broke.

Lynne
7 months ago

The only reason we even stayed in Albany was because our daughter lived there. When trying to manoeuvre our 25 ft bus around and find a park was just impossible. If you have to pay $60 for a powered site, that does not provide what the older folks need then of course we won’t stay.

The only time we would stay there is if we had a housesit

Glen Brooker
7 months ago
Reply to  Lynne

What do u need

Dicko
7 months ago

Just another Council of deadbeat Councilors succumbing to CP rip-off operators. The Council is in no way assisting the “other businesses” in reaping the benefits of the low cost campers who will now just bypass the town or perhaps only stay overnight.

Peter
7 months ago

There are so many C/Parks that they take business away from each other.

I believe the correct question to ask is, is there A Conflict Of Interest amongst the councillors. I am afraid this the question the other businesses need to ask and very loudly.

John Walker
7 months ago

Councils (and CP operators) need to understand that modern fully contained RVs need very little in the way of facilities. Just a place to park for a night (or 2) and if the town also provides a water filling point and dump point that is a bonus. We have been impressed with the way some towns have provided great facilities and we always make a point of spending money in such places and or make donatiions towards upkeep where requested.
We also happy to use CP if rates are reasonable – again all we need is a place to park for the night.

Hannu
7 months ago

If the Caravan Park prices are reasonable, we don’t mind staying at them. But when they jack up the prices, we avoid them. And we can find alterative places

Steve
7 months ago

When we visited Albany we stayed at the Panorama C/Van Park in Little Grove on the other side of the harbour. The views are nothing less than spectacular ! particularly at night. Their rates were about half the cost of the other parks. The facilities were a bit dated and there was a few permanents but plenty of sites to suit the largest of motorhomes/vans . Management were friendly and obliging. Just got to look around a bit and you will find affordable locations outside the mainstream overpriced caravan parks in Albany catering mainly for young families. And did I say the views were amazing at night.

WanderWoman
7 months ago

I would like to know what the suggested nature/wildlife opportunities to see/do in Albany are, that aren’t anywhere else in Australia, I’m very interested to hear why people go there? Thanks in advance.

Gil
7 months ago
Reply to  WanderWoman

The war museum on Mt Clarence, Frenchman’s Bay, The Gap lookout, Two People’s Bay and the amazing Little Beach, walking around Albany CBD itself, Emu Point and Oyster Harbour, the Chainsaw sculptures and so much more. Denmark, Green Pools, Porongorups and other attractions are also relatively close by. There is much to do if you base yourself in the Albany area.

Evernew98
7 months ago

I wonder why the cafes and pubs don’t get council protection from the “make our own coffee and meals” brigade?

Pat from the Top End.
7 months ago

The discussion and debate about this that and whatever on Caravan Parks is gettin a bit tired.
I’d suggest everyone travel as they want to and do whatever suits them.
We have an amazing country, and that includes WA to see explore and enjoy.
So make your own choices, get out there enjoy the time you have left, laugh and have some FUN.
Cheers

David Innes
7 months ago

Note that the ‘free’ RV sites on Ocean drive are for RV’s that are fully contained. Own toilet, water etc. They are limited to 4 RV’s per night and are not suitable for normal caravan style stays. Permits are required from the Bunbury tourist bureau.

Anthony Canning
7 months ago

Tell em to get stuffed

Bill
7 months ago

WA has succeeded from the country alright Ok Them loose and dont patronise these clowns or their businesses.

Minibus Advetures
7 months ago

When I’m traveling in my minibus, l never stop at caravan parks unless Jack the dog refuses to get into bed because of the smell, then l stop for 15mins fir a long hot shower (usually $15-$20] and l live in Albany….lol

ron brown
7 months ago

Will not visit Albany in future, will by-pass and move on to other free camping friendly towns. Boycot Albany.

Seriosdude
7 months ago

Maryborough and Hervey Bay in Qld – did the opposite. They setup overnight free locations – with a 48 hour caveat, and the Councils own most of the caravan parks – especially at Hervey Bay. The numbers increased dramatically, the income to the local businesses, grew exponentially, and everybody welcomed the low cost campers, as they spent even more. These greedy caravan park owners don’t get it!! Work together – and you all succeed!!

Bill Webbe
7 months ago
Reply to  Seriosdude

This is the only comment in this whole discussion that makes any kind of sense and which I completely agree with.

Dennis Radisich
7 months ago

Caravan Parks are not the only business in town. When we travel we consume goods that are much the same as when we’re at home. The list includes food and petrol of course and anything else that needs to be repaired or replaced from clothing to technology and caravan maintenance. So I have no problem by-passing unfriendly towns and spending to support businesses in towns where we are welcome.

Oxleigh
7 months ago

Why don’t van parks have a block of their property, maybe 6/12 sites, that do not have water and power, cheap o/nite sites, $15, maybe a 24/48 hour stay and have the local business’s sponsor each site and have signs saying so, they can offer a small discount for shopping, food, clothing, repairs etc. If the traveler shows a docket from a shopping purchase the price for the site is $10.
Just a thought.

Allan
7 months ago

The’re only able to succeed in gouging because enough patroni$ing people keep coughing up with whatever amount is charged, so the ONLY way to gouge them back is to simply totally boycott the$e caravan parks and anyone else that’s gouging, then you’ll be able to ‘$ave your whingeing’ right along with that of your hard-earned. If you pay an outrageou$ amount for anything then you are simply telling the seller that it’s OK to charge that amount for it, and they will likely keep raising the already-outrageou$ amount until $ale$ start to dwindle. Don’t buy anything involving a cashback deal because what you are doing is simply overpaying for the item if you are going to get your own money back later…usually MUCH later. Grab a brain and don’t buy into dumb-diddling deals.

Lorraine Blaney
7 months ago

I would think twice before I stayed in Albany again. Very beautiful scenery but I did not meet friendly helpful folk. Seemed resentful of tourists. I stayed at a caravan park out of town on the King River and it was horrible. Camp kitchen was just a roof ,had no sides and was open to the wind and rain. Not fun for a camper.

Dick0
7 months ago

No free camping means no money spent in local businesses.

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