When the mercury down south starts to dip, it can mean only one thing for most grey nomads … it’s time to head north!
The highways and byways leading up to the tropics quickly start carrying noticeably more caravans and motorhomes as the annual sun-seeking migration hits top gear.
Psychologists have long argued that retirees are much happier when they are pursuing new adventures and embracing new opportunities, and it seems potentially record-breaking numbers of travellers are taking the hint.
The Manager of the Caravan Parks Association of Queensland, Kristy Ponting, says that bookings in the Sunshine State are always strong.
“Queensland is always such a popular destination, especially during the winter season,” she said. “Conquering the north of Queensland is a badge proudly worn by so many travellers, and the range of experiences you encounter during the trip is exceptional.”
And she says grey nomads will be more welcome than ever.
“We hope that the travellers will visit towns they may have chosen to pass by in the past due to the mining boom,” she said. “These towns have missed their travelling friends and would love to welcome them back.”
It’s a similar story in the Northern Territory where grey nomads represent 57% of the drive market Tourism Northern Territory CEO, Tony Mayell, told the GNT that there was a feeling of confidence about the upcoming dry season in the Territory.
“The Northern Territory’s iconic drive routes, spectacular landscapes and fantastic tourism attractions have long been a popular combination for grey nomads,” he said. “A number of commercial caravan operators across the Territory have received grant funding for infrastructure upgrades, which will provide an enriched experience for grey nomads.”
Doug W from Victoria is among the growing numbers of travellers who don’t bother waiting for the mercury to plunge before heading north. One of the side effects of surgery several years ago is that Doug is particularly susceptible to cold, so he is always early to seek out the warmth of the Townsville sun.
“I have been coming north since 2013 as I need to be in a warmer climate,” he said. “I have grown to love Townsville in the winter and enjoy meeting other grey nomads … the camaraderie is a great bonus.”
Like most who come for the sunshine and the friendships, Doug also likes to explore.
“This year I will also be heading to Cairns and Port Douglas to have a look around,” he said. “And one year I will venture across to the ‘Wild West’ and up to their northern climate … travelling north for winter is the way to go for me.”