Want to go free camping? You may need to book!

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Grey nomads and free camping in Townsville
Free camping sites can now be booked in advance. PIC: Townsville City Council

While free camping typically conjurs up images of travellers spontaneously deciding to stay a night or two at a beautiful – or at least a well-located –spot, it seems that times they are a-changin’.

Townsville City Council has just launched a new system that allows grey nomads and others to book a spot in advance at any of the council’s free camping locations in the northern beaches area.

Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill said the booking system would ensure visitors were doing the right thing and being respectful to fellow campers.

“The free camping locations in our northern beaches are very popular and a booking system will ensure that campers are moving on when they should be, giving others a chance to stay there,” she said. “It also provides us with another way to easily manage Covid-19 contact tracing and compliance of campground rules, especially as we move towards the summer holidays where we may see an increase of travellers.”

Local councillor Margie Ryder said transitioning the free camping grounds to a booking system was a key recommendation of the RV and Camping Strategy that was recently finalised.

“The RV and Camping Strategy outlined that a booking system was needed to more efficiently manage the free camping sites in our northern suburbs,” Cr Ryder said. “It’s great that this system is live now and can be used by our grey nomads and travellers looking to explore North Queensland and Townsville.”

Cr Ryder said the council was aware that travellers would be unable to book online, so phone bookings would be accepted through the Customer Service Centre.

The booking system is currently accepting reservations for the free campgrounds in Balgal Beach, Bluewater, Rollingstone, Saunders Beach and Toomulla. It is expected that Paluma Dam will be bookable on this system next month.

Campgrounds can be booked by clicking here.

  • Do you think a free camping booking system is a welcome development that will help minimise ‘issues’, or will reduce the spontaneous element of taking the Big Lap? Comment below.
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8 Responses to Want to go free camping? You may need to book!

  1. Anything that helps Grey Nomads and the local community

  2. I believe the Townsville Council has a lot more anti social problems than a few grey nomads. I’ll take a guess that grey nomads are not the problem.
    Just more intrusive interference by local authorities.

  3. Sorry, not going to book with out seeing it. However I’m happy to log on and confirm I am staying the night if I decide I like it.

  4. Still won’t stop the deliberate late arrivals /early departures.
    Just another way to control people.
    Next there will be a booking fee, then charges for a ranger to police the grounds, etc etc etc.

  5. Not going to book a spot without seeing it, also what about people booking a spot and not showing up.

  6. Will only work if everyone plays by the rules but sadly as we see in national parks with online bookings only this won’t happen. The other area of concern is what will happen when you turn up at one of these locations with a booking but there are no spots? Once again we are being ruled by the minority of people who don’t o4 won’t abide by the rules.

  7. I had not thought about booking a site without seeing it first, potentially an issue, maybe, but who is policing the site to stop the rude ignoramus who is already parked in your booked site. and who is going to throw him out.

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