Is ‘grey nomadding’ about to boom in popularity?

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With travel restrictions easing around the country, there is growing optimism in some quarters that Australia is about to see a caravanning and camping boom.

Discovery Parks chief executive, Grant Wilckens, has predicted a ‘gold rush’ as excited Australians flock back to the open road.

“We’re quite confident we’re going to see a renaissance of the Australian road trip,” he said. “We will see new people experience our sector … they will try it and go ‘wow, this is an affordable way of seeing the outdoors’.”

The CEO of BIG4 Holiday Parks, Steven Wright, was equally upbeat, with the company seeing a surge in bookings after a 90% drop in revenue of April and May.

“With cruises and international flights a long way off, and other countries in a much worse position than Australia, there is a real incentive to holiday at home,” Mr Wright told 9News.com. “It can become addictive. There will be no stopping the nomads – once the border to the north opens, they will be in their vans ready to escape the south’s winter chill.”

However, some in the north have been caught out by the speed with which travel has opened up … particularly in Queensland.

John Young, the manager of the Blacks Beach Caravan Park in Mackay, said the public needed to realise that it’s not like flicking on a light switch and going back to normal.

“Eighty per cent of our bookings at this time of year are from interstate travellers … we are usually booked out by now,” he said. “And we’ve not only lost the southern trade, but the money that we’ve had to refund people has been astronomical … if the borders open soon we might be able to get a season out of it.”

  • Do you think the grey nomad lifestyle will be even more popular now as people shy away from holidaying overseas … even when allowed to do so? Comment below.
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9 Responses to Is ‘grey nomadding’ about to boom in popularity?

  1. Gosh! Some caravan parks gave refunds? I had bookings and had paid my one nights deposit at several caravan parks when Covid restrictions came in but when I called to get a refund none of them would give me my money back. I was told I could “apply it as a credit” to my “next stay” which didn’t suit me at all as I had only booked at those places and times to coordinate with events with friends. I lost about $200 in booking fees.,
    I know caravan parks are complaining about how much income they’ve lost to Covid but it’s not like they are the only business to suffer extreme hardship during this time. Why should the onus be on us caravanners to save them? What about the thousands and thousands of people who’ve lost their jobs for good? Let’s face it, we’re all struggling in one way or another as a result of this situation.

    • I agree with you Lisa. Some parks are just greedy and can’t see the forest for the trees. I am in the same position as you and the park in question can only see it their way. I have heard many stories about greedy parks. I do feel for them but they need to show compassion and understand the whole story

  2. Absolutely there will be a BOOM. People will far more likely travel domestically now not go overseas. Camping caravaning will explode in Oz. People want to get away from it all, do activities that gets them away from crowds

  3. Could not agree more Lisa, a good example is the Irwin Shire (Dongarra etc) WA. They have closed all free camps at the request of the local caravan parks. I bet the caravan parks will not reduce their rates while showers etc are closed. We had planned to stay there in August /Sept and use both the caravan park (for a week) and a couple of the free camps in the area. The stores will miss any spending we planned to do there. Good on you Irwin miserable council.

    • Feel exactly the same. 3 types of ‘vaners. Those who mainly prefer free camping, those who only/mainly go to parks and then those who mix it up roughly the same. We are keeping a list of those who are trying to make you only stay in van parks. We will organise our driving so we can pass through those towns thus spending our money in free camp welcoming towns

    • It would be interesting to see if said caravan parks are owned by the council in one form or another, whether they operate them themselves, or lease them to operators.

    • The caravan park in Gympie Qld is council owned & there are also 2 free camps with toilets, 1 south & 1 north, No restrictions that I am aware of & no whingeing from the lessees of the park. The weather is nice here too.

  4. It hasn’t taken long to get back to the same old same old.Caravan parks manipulating local councils into thinking they are the economic backbone of all communities with a “to hell with the rest” attitude to the rest of the businesses. They are forgetting many Nomads have lost a considerable chunk of their savings also and this will have quite an impact on travelling numbers

  5. What happens when the caravan parks are full and free camps are closed?
    Then the move on notices and fines are handed out

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