Fur-baby dollar sparks rise in pet-friendly van parks

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grey nomads travelling with pets
The 'fur-baby dollar' is having an impact.

While many pet-owning grey nomads occasionally express frustration over the challenges and limitations of travelling with a dog or other animal, it seems the ‘fur-baby dollar’ is slowly forcing change.

With Australians having some of the highest rates of pet ownership in the world – almost two thirds of people owning a pet – it’s no surprise that more caravan parks are seeing the business sense in rolling out the welcome mat.

In New South Wales, Ingenia Holidays South West Rocks is the latest to respond to demand by opening its boom gates to fur babies.

“There’s a real gap in the South West Rocks market for pet-friendly accommodation, and we’ve made all of our camp and caravan sites pet friendly,” Ingenia Holidays South West Rocks Park Manager, Alison Evans, told the Macleay Argus. “Since making these changes we’ve seen a significant uptake in people staying with their pets, especially among ‘grey nomads’, with at least 17% of these guests bringing a pet with them on their travels to South West Rocks.”

Ms Evans said the park had fully embraced the pet-friendly trend and she now even brought her own dachshund-foxie cross, Pretzel, into the office as the unofficial park mascot.

“As a popular ‘stopover’ destination on the east coast, catering to holiday makers who travel with pets has opened up a whole new segment of the market,” she told the Argus. “As many of our staff here are animal lovers, we get great satisfaction seeing people coming and enjoying holidays with their pets, and we think that the animals enjoy the holiday just as much as the people.”

While it seems some caravan parks are now changing their attitude to welcoming pets, as we reported earlier this year, it still appears highly unlikely that there will be a re-think of the longstanding policy of excluding them from the vast majority of Australia’s national parks.

  • Have you noticed a more welcoming attitude to pets while you travel? Do you think more should be done to life easier for grey nomads with pets? Comment below.
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16 Responses to Fur-baby dollar sparks rise in pet-friendly van parks

  1. I wouldn’t travel without my Boston Terrier , she loves camping as much as I do, it can be challenging finding campsites & eating/watering holes that are dog friendly but it’s worth it. It would be good to have a fb page or something for dog friendly facilities around the country.

  2. We recently stayed at The Gateway CP outside Broome, and they were not only pet friendly, but provided a large grassy fenced area with paddle pool for dogs to run free, chase balls etc. AND they looked after our pooch for the day while we did things in town. Leash free areas and pet sitting would certainly attract more pet owners to caravan parks!

  3. If you are thinking of coming to the Moreton Bay Region and have a pet, don’t. None of the Council caravan parks are pet friendly. Actually, there are very few pet friendly parks in Brisbane and this capital city certainly has NOT got the message that we love our animals with us while travelling.

  4. My problem with people that travel with dogs is that most not all dont do the right thing in cleaning up after the dog. They also let the run through/around other peoples camps. We had a couple let their dog out after dark to do its business. It did it in the middle of our camp. When told to keep dog away the got offended. Like i said not ALL but most!

    • Sorry, some might but not most.

  5. Been to the caravan park in Sawtell, near Coffs Harbour in the past, 2 years ago actually and it was pet friendly. Tried to arrange a week in August this year but they have now changed their policy. NO PETS. Our furbaby is a 4.6 kg, miniature Jack Russell.

    I have heard that some parks have a 10 kg weight limit, weighed at the check in.

    If they don’t like my dog, they don’t like my money.

    The Caravan Park in Coffs Harbour near the show grounds IS pet friendly and from the sound of it, love to provide fur baby mums and dads with a site.

    • Yes, have stayed several times (Coffs Harbour) they do accept dogs and is within the town itself, there are several other parks on the Coffs Coast that also accept dogs.

  6. I wish ‘so called’ pet lovers would understand not all people want THEIR pets. Yapping, slobbering and dirty paws, Oh, and you must admire their perfect animal/s. Having endured all this and today a dog urinating on our wheels while the enamored owners stood by I’m afraid we are grey nomads who hope not all parks are lost to this current trend.

    • I agree with way2go, as much as I love dogs, I don’t want to camp with them, not everyone is a diligent as needed in cleaning up after their pet. Or controlling the barking and yapping. As caravan park sites get smaller, and rigs get bigger, the space is not there to allow a pet friendly environment that doesn’t impact on your neighbour.

  7. You need to check with Ingenia, when booking, as I stayed in one of their parks recently and they only allow dogs up to 10kg, so small ones only.

  8. Have stayed there in Feb this year with our fur baby. They were lovely.

  9. As much as my wife and I would like a small dog we dont have any pets because we find it too restrictive with respect to caravan parks, national parks and the like. I think it a case of a few irresponsible pet owners spoiling it for the majority of pet owners.

  10. We always travel with our small dog, each year we have noticed that more parks have become pet friendly, in towns that have more than one park at least one is usually pet friendly. Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast being notable exceptions although in the case of the Sunshine Coast there are several parks just off the coast that do accept dogs.
    We have been caravanning for around 4 months each year for the past 7 years throughout the 3 eastern states and the NT, we have never had a problem finding a park that does accept dogs nor have we ever witnessed any bad incidents in parks involving dogs.
    If a park does not want our dog they don’t want us either, likewise for those travellers that don’t want dogs, find a park that doesn’t allow them.

  11. I’m glad to see that there are places for people to go that can’t travel without their animals. And, I hope all places will post if they are pet-friendly or not, as we avoid any place where pets are allowed. While there are many exceptions, generally, pet-lovers have little or no regard for the feelings of those who don’t share their enthusiasm. Animals are typically allowed to run with little supervision. Everyone else is expected to make allowances for their special pet that is different from all the others.
    This isn’t just a pet-hater’s rant. I also avoid family-oriented places that cater to small children, smokers, and wild party places.
    Businesses that jump on the pet-friendly band wagon need to understand that there are many that will see that sign and drive on…

    • I totally agree with Darrell, and I always seek out parks with “no pets”.

    • Couldn’t agree more. We avoid pets and children because for some reason their owners are in some misconception that everyone else wants to see, hear and smell those disturbances. We want to enjoy the scenery and peacefulness, not other people’s pets and kids.

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