Free camping set to return to Kershaw Gardens soon!

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Kershaw Gardens free camping for grey nomads
Changes to the planning scheme may see free camping make a return at Kershaw Gardens in early 2020. PIC: Morning Bulletin

Against all the odds, free camping could be on its way back to Kershaw Gardens in Rockhampton.

Rockhampton Regional Council – which was forced to close the popular spot to campers earlier this year – is confident it has found a way to open it up again, perhaps as early as the new year.

Free camping was banned at Kershaw Gardens from February 12 this year after the council lost a court battle against Caravan Parks Association of Queensland (CPAQ) on the argument that camping there breached council’s planning scheme.

However, the Rockhampton Morning Bulletin reports that the council has now adopted an amendment to another planning scheme which changes the zoning codes, effectively superseding the controversial court ruling.

The planning scheme changes will now commence on December 2.

The Morning Bulletin reports that a report presented at the council meeting states the current planning scheme will be redundant from the commencement date of the new one. This amendment has been signed off by the Queensland Government.

Mayor Margaret Strelow said the amendment contained improvements to the scheme and, while there still hurdles to cross, one of the key changes will allow free camping to resume at Kershaw Gardens.

“I am sure this news will be warmly welcomed by travellers and grey nomads, and once those final hurdles have been overcome we will be sending the word out far and wide Rockhampton is the place to visit,” she said.

The Morning Bulletin reports that the changes zone Kershaw Gardens as a tourist park with the accepted requirement of being undertaken by the local government and on land in the ownership or control of the local government.

The site is limited to 35 self-contained recreation vehicles and is restricted to a maximum of two nights or 48 hours’ duration.

A self-contained vehicle is defined by having the following: water supply, sink/shower, grey water, toilet and rubbish.

There are to be no self-contained cabins or similar structures or amenity facilities, food and drink outlet and managers’ accommodation.

Speaking to The Morning Bulletin about the proposed changes earlier this year, CPAQ general manager Michelle Weston said the organisation would ‘would remain very active and vocal in its determination to ensure fair play for all’.

“It has been proven that high-quality commercial caravan parks not only encourage visitors to stay in the region in excess of 48 hours, but as a result in turn have a significant, positive impact on the region’s economy,” she said in August. “This revised council proposal will in contrast have an overall negative economic impact upon the Rockhampton region.”

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8 Responses to Free camping set to return to Kershaw Gardens soon!

  1. Well done rocky.
    A step in right direction. Once again c.p fail to realise their own failings. Tailor and price a c.p to cater for self contained vehicles and you will have too many customers

  2. Just remember that a large amount of us are retired and on a pension, we cannot afford the said high quality commercial parks and have no need for a lot of there flash facilities. We are much happier sharing what money we have to spend on the basics with a variety of businesses in the community.

  3. How sad for Rockhampton that this site was closed. I know many travellers being one myself and people now bypass Rockhampton because there is no free camping. Good on the council for trying to reopen this site.

  4. I have always said not everyone wants to use a high quality van park, like not everyone wants to use high quality resturants, people like the choice of fish n chips, or low cost /free camps. Hopefully they will put 2 boxes there one for donations another for receipts showing what is or isn’t spent.

  5. As a non free camper and an avid caravan park user, as we find it more convenient for us, I for one would like to see the council increase the time that self contained vans can stay in these areas. I would like to see the overall stay time increased to 4 – 5 days as i believe that this would allow the self contained traveller the opportunities to actually see what is happening in the community, in turn this may encourage these travellers to spend more time in the area and thus spend more money at other establishments. Great move by the council and it would be great to see other councils consider similar plans.

  6. A few years ago I sent emails to the Mayors of Cairns, Townsville, Mackay, Gladstone, Bundaberg, etc etc with the attachment article in regards to Rockhampton Kershaw Gardens 48 hour free camping for self contained R.V.
    Needless to say I did not receive one response to my email.
    Other regional towns should follow Rocky’s initiative and consider same.
    I might also add here that some 4 years ago we pulled into this site and noticed what I would call undesirable living in a couple of tents. Waste water from their sites were not contained, so we moved on, leaving Rocky missing out on our $$$$$.The law of fully self contained will take care of this type of camper.
    Well done Rocky. Take a bow.
    Johnnie Rodgers

  7. With this change, I will now stay a few nights in Rocky, if space available. Would be nice to spend a few more nights but I suppose the limited time enables others to stay. Can always spend more time next time through.

  8. We drove through Rockhampton twice this year and didn’t spend a cent in the town because of the attitude of the caravan parks. I realise it is a blunt reaction to the closure of Kershaw Gardens but there is no other way to voice your disapproval. Greedy caravan parks will be the death knell of many small towns and ultimately their own demise. With so many regional towns now adopting a welcoming attitude word is spreading that the budget conscious Grey Nomad can revive a town because I believe many like us will support a town with welcomes us. Rocky certainly missed out on several hundred dollars because we drove through although perhaps next years we can stop and explore. 72 or 96 hours would be more preferable so you have time to look around and sample some of the local restaurants etc. But the opening of Kershaw Gardens is a step in the right direction and hopefully in time they can open another area for longer stays, even is just outside town. Then the local businesses can start to enjoy increased patronage despite the narrow minded CPAQ whinging.

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