Master Plan recognises value of protecting number of casual camping sites

Published: August 28, 2023

Grey nomads and other travellers are being invited to have their say on a newly released Caravan and Camping Parks Draft Master Plan for Victoria’s Barwon Coast.

The 10-year plan will set the direction for improvements and infrastructure priorities for the caravan parks and campgrounds the council manages in the beautiful coastal area on the Bellarine Peninsula. These include the Breamlea Caravan Park, Barwon Head Caravan Park, Riverview Family Caravan Park, and Riverside Campground in Ocean Grove.

The Barwon Heads Council says that pressures like population growth, ageing infrastructure, sea level rise, and demand for camping opportunities has meant a clear vision is required.

It says the Master Plan will guide the long-term mix of accommodation types and sites available to ensure a range of accessible camping and visitor experiences.

“We are pleased to invite the community and campers to look at the Draft Master Plan and have their say,” said Barwon Coast CEO, Gary McPike. “Input from these groups is a vital part of the process.”

He says the draft Master Plan has been developed with the intention of protecting and enhancing the cultural and environmental values of Barwon Coast caravan parks and campground, while making sure they stay special places to visit into the future.

While some of the parks have a significant number of cabins and sites on 12-month leases, there is a recognition of the importance of casual camping.

“Over the longer term (next 15 years) in alignment the guiding principle ‘Support affordable holiday options that can be accessed in a fair and equitable manner’, there is an intent to increase the number of casual camping sites across all of the parks … to enable more people the opportunity to camp and connect to the coast,” the plan says.

Among the proposals in the Master Plan is to improve the camping infrastructure at Breamlea by refurbishing the camp kitchen, upgrading the toilet block facilities, and potentially building some new cabins.

Similarly, at Barwon Heads, the Master Plan says there are opportunities to optimise the built accommodation throughout the park, including one or two additional beach houses, and some new smaller cabins. It also there are also opportunities to improve camping and community facilities, including the camp kitchens, upgrading the playspaces and the barbecue area, and redeveloping the toilet blocks.

The Master Plan says there are currently 235 casual camping sites available at Riverside, and that the area offers an important affordable camping experience so there are no proposed changes to the accommodation mix there. It says the most urgent action required at Riverside is decommissioning the septic systems, putting in a connection to the town sewerage system, and replacement of the toilet blocks.

Riverview contains approximately 500 camping sites and seven cabins, with about 70% of the sites being 12-month permit sites and the other 30% being for casual camping. The Master Plan proposes gradually making a clearer distinction between the two types of users so that each will be more effectively grouped together.

While the plan notes that, over the next 10 years, there will be opportunities to build some new cabins, it says over the longer term, the intent is to increase the number of casual camping sites at Riverview. This will be done gradually as opportunities arise, for example, there is currently a natural movement in the use of 12-month permit sites as individual circumstances change and permits are no longer required. This natural change is expected to continue organically and provide opportunities for a transition to more casual sites.

The community consultation period on the draft Master Plan will run until October 2.

The final Master Plan is expected to be released, along with a Community Consultation Report, in late 2023.

The draft plan can be read here.

Feedback can be given here.

  • How important do you think it is that council’s and caravan parks recognise the importance of keeping a significant percentage of sites for casual campers? Comment below.


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There needs to be at least one place to be dog friendly. There is nowhere near Barwon Heads that allows for dogs. As we all know lots and lots of Grey Nomads have dogs and cats travelling with them.

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