‘Grey nomad visitors are still valued in the Alice’

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Grey nomads welcome in Alice Springs
The area behind the Gapview Hotel offers low cost camping.

Grey nomads upset by the vocal opposition of some local caravan park owners to the camping offered at the showgrounds in Alice Springs are being urged not to bypass the town.

Last September, the NT Government which owns Blatherskite Park decreed it could accommodate caravanners and campers on up to 30 sites. However, the Northern Territory Caravan Park Association hit out at the arrangement, saying it was operating ‘to the detriment’ of privately-owned facilities.

The dispute has made some businesses anxious that caravanners and motorhomers will be frightened away.

One of them is Diane Loechel, who owns the Gapview Hotel and Campground.

“This is potentially very damaging for our town and leaves other possible visitors a bit wary to come and visit which, for a tourist destination, can be devastating,” she told the Grey Nomads.

Ms Loechel is particularly anxious because – over the years she has owned the business located three kilometres from the centre of town – she has bent over backwards to make grey nomads welcome.

“We are primarily a hotel so we didn’t do anything with the back for many years,” she said. “However, as it became evident that more and more people were travelling around the country and the phrase grey nomad was born we thought we might as well use the rear of the hotel.”

While her early attempts to establish camping at the hotel were met with a good response, Ms Loechel decided to shut down for a short time in order to improve the facilities.

“With the help of the Northern Territory Government, we applied for grants to allow us to install a site office, a boom gate and solar lighting around the site,” she said. “There are now 20 powered sites with water at the site and 20 unpowered divided into two areas.”

And the work has paid off. “The feedback from our park visitors has been very positive and they are pleased to be able to come in for a pub meal or pizza, use the pools if the weather permits, recharge their batteries and explore a bit before they move on,” said Ms Loechel. “We have a seven-day stay policy unless there are unforeseen vehicle problems.”

Visitors are charged $25 per night per powered site and $15 per unpowered site. Ms Loechel says that grey nomads generally mix very well with the locals in the pub, and are happily surprised at what is on offer.

“Whilst we aren’t the Taj Mahal we have meals seven days a week and are dog friendly with full shower, laundry and modest camp kitchen facilities,” she said. “We welcome the overflow and welcome the fact that big rigs can stop in our part of the world … Alice Springs is a tourist destination and should encourage all visitors.”

  • Do you feel like you are warmly welcomed when you visit Alice Springs? Where do you stay? Comment below.
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12 Responses to ‘Grey nomad visitors are still valued in the Alice’

  1. I stayed here, great, oĺder amenity block, but knowing you are continually upgrading. Showers hot. So close to town. Meals were supurb. Recommend.

  2. I stayed at the Gap hotel camp site a few months ago, great stop over, fantastic shower/toilet block, top marks to this establishment, this is the type most pensioners grey nomads look for

  3. We have stayed there on a couple of different occasions, wonderful facilities, great meals & attitude at the pub, we stay an extra week in the Alice now cause we can afford to, great work!

  4. That’s fantastic to hear. We booked 3 sites at temple bar and when we all arrived it was oops we don’t have room for all of you but if you park out on the roadway we might find space tomorrow. We moved on of course wished we known about this as we would prefer to give C/P a miss. They are so unreliable and often a rort in tourist season. We will be sure to call into this pub when we are back.

  5. That will do me. When I am next in the area this is where I will park up. If parks want to try and rip everyone off the get what they get.

  6. Have stayed behind the Gap Hotel for the Finke many times and enjoyed it each time…this year pulled into the showgrounds for a change but for the facilities and a patch of grass to park on I thought the fees where too dear…next year back to the Gap.

  7. Have stayed a couple of time in The MacDonald Ranges CP. Beautiful park and facilities, but i don’t need or use most of them. The last 2 times i have driven straight through and bush camped. Will keep the Gap Pub in mind the next time. Can you reserve a site?

  8. There is always a place for the lower cost parks. Most of the complaints about the lower cost areas come from the overpriced parks saying that it is taking business away from them. They forget about all the trade their cabina afected motels As far as I’m concerned C Ps are to be avoided. What is wrong with competion..

  9. We had a dog so we stayed at the Heritage Caravan Park. It was great and we even met another couple that looked after our girl while we explored the West MacDonnell Ranges for a day. Not sure if the Gap View allowed dogs as our Google searches only came up with the Heritage.

  10. We are just back from a trip in the van to the NT & Alice. It’s a wonderful destination with lots to see. However we normally free camp..not because we are cheap, because as an example we pulled into a van park in Alice and were rudely spoken to by the women on duty who gave us the take it or leave it speech..we can sell this to a hundred vaners by the end of the day…blaa blaa…. some welcome.
    Now that’s why we stay clear of van parks we ..plus we are too old for jumping castles and sick to death of unruly noisey kids and their parents .

  11. Have a great time staying at Caravan Parks in Australia. Recently stayed at the Darwin Free Spirit Resort in Pinelands near Palmerston. Friendly staff. Very accomodating. Excellent facilities, catered for everyone Great entertainment, kids friendy, lots og grey nomads. great public transport on the doorsteps to getaway. Relaxing stay. Thankyou.

  12. If the prices are reasonable we will stay, we dont need jumping pillows, or games rooms but this place looks great with the ability to get a meal and a cold Amber Milkshake
    See you when we get there.

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