Grey nomad rush expected as Kimberley ‘opens up’

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Grey nomads can visit the Kimberley
Broome is back on the agenda for West Australians.

It’s been a long wait for West Australian grey nomads who had planned to spend the dry season up north … but they will soon be free to travel to the Kimberley region again.

From midnight tonight, access to the Kimberley, parts of the Shire of East Pilbara and the Shire of Ngaanyatjarraku, will be allowed … some of the last closed areas of the state. Access to 274 remote Aboriginal communities will remain restricted.

For tourist-dependent towns such as Broome, the changes can’t come soon enough.

Places like Cable Beach Caravan Park are normally jam-packed with grey nomads at this time of the year, but owner Ron Beacham told the ABC that there are currently about 35 guests there out of a possible 500 spaces.

“Everyone’s just sitting on their hands. If there’s no people, there’s no money,” he said. “A big part of Broome is tourism, and the tourists can’t get here.”

Mr Beacham was hopeful the final intrastate borders going down would get things moving.

“There are people now rebooking and a lot that wouldn’t have even booked, may have gone to Bali or wherever, who may now travel within WA,” he said.

Mr Beacham told the ABC the success of the remainder of his park’s season could depend on whether the interstate border comes down in the next few weeks.

“If it goes much longer than that, travellers are not going to drive 6,000 kilometres to come over here and 6,000 kilometres to go back a couple of weeks later,” he said.

Australia’s North West Tourism chief executive Natasha Mahar told the ABC that the Kimberley border reopening ‘couldn’t be better news’.

“Wet season generally kicks in about October, so we have a few short months to try and salvage something from this season,” she said. “We thought there was no chance for a season, but thankfully there now is, which we’re incredibly grateful for.”

Caravan Industry Association WA chief executive Craig Kenyon said he expected the initial surge north to be significant with intrastate travel restrictions easing.

“You’ll start to see all the way up the coral coast, up to Exmouth, and then across the Pilbara into the Kimberley, you’ll see the nomads in particular, the road trains of nomads travelling up there,” he told the ABC. “They’ll be getting up to Broome, places like that, as soon as possible. A lot of those parks and accommodation providers will get really busy.”

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7 Responses to Grey nomad rush expected as Kimberley ‘opens up’

  1. Hi,I would just like to inform you the shire of irwin has closed all free camps o/night stops within the shire to force people into caravan parks.The shire includes cervantes to greenough on wa’s west coast.
    regards frank

  2. I’m not there, but if I was that wouldn’t stop me from pulling over in the bush or a sidetrack somewhere for the night….or two. They can take my plate details if they want… but I will just keep going and free camping out of the way..and out of sight if possible. Cheers.

    • I have done that many times in the past Pat. Long way out of towns though. Used to be able to use old roads where a road has been realigned or bends widened but in the last few years, the councils have been ripping them up to stop overnight camping.

    • With you on that Pat.

  3. Gee that’s not clever.

  4. So we stay away from Irwin then.

  5. Hi, just a few comments before you all head ‘up north’ (W.A).
    I know this may seem obvious, but please service your caravan/camper trailer/R.V + car/4×4 etc, etc – before you set out – i have seen too many times now, bonnets up, wheels missing or worse, bits of peoples holidays scattered across the road! Also, please keep in mind, other road users who want/can drive at the speed limit of the road, let them overtake safely!

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