All over! Gladstone set to end showgrounds camping

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Gladstone Showgrounds
The Gladstone Showgrounds has been a popular spot for grey nomads. PIC: Mike Richards/Observer

It was good while it lasted but the Gladstone Showgrounds looks set to no longer welcome visiting grey nomads.

The local council plans to close the grounds to caravans and campervans, and it appears ready to cop the backlash from the travelling community.

Mayor Matt Burnett told the Observer newspaper that the Gladstone Regional Council  had ‘investigated and acted upon complaints’ about the showgrounds operating as a commercial caravan park.

“The showgrounds do not have the necessary planning approval to provide a commercial caravan park amenity,” he said. “Council holds public safety in the highest regard and is obliged to ensure that the appropriate safety measures, such as sewerage and water capacities and traffic implications apply as part of any planning approval process.”

However, there is a real belief that the decision could mean long-term travellers will simply bypass the town, and Gladstone will lose out on the grey dollar.

“Ninety-nine per cent of the people I spoke to won’t come into town (if the showgrounds aren’t available to camp in),” the president of the Gladstone Show Society, Noel Reddacliff, told the Gladstone Observer.  “Somebody put the showgrounds on WikiCamps and then it snowballed … with the cold down south we’ve been hit with all the people.”

The Show Society currently charges campers $25 per night to camp, which includes access to bathrooms, power, hot water and rubbish disposal. However, Mr Redacliff said the council had told the society it could operate as a camping site as long as it didn’t charge a fee to campers.

“My question then is who pays for the water, the sewerage, the cleaning, the gas facilities (used to generate hot water for showers), who is going to pay for that?” he said.

Lyn Ley and her husband Des Kennedy are pensioners and have been travelling Australia for a decade.

“When the mines were all going people bypassed or stayed out at the river but now people are coming here,” she told the Observer. “For $25 a night, it’s brilliant, people won’t pay another $15 a night to go out to caravan parks, they’ll go out to the river and free camp or bypass Gladstone altogether.”

  • Have you stayed at the showgrounds? Is Gladstone still on your ‘to visit’ list if the showgrounds camping is stopped? Comment below.

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35 Responses to All over! Gladstone set to end showgrounds camping

  1. Gladstone can not afford to lose the grey nomad dollar. country Australia are now seeing the benefits of our dollar and are catering for the future of their towns

    • Lol
      I’d bypass Gladstone for sure! So many nice places to be.

  2. Easy answer. A $25 donation to the Show Society. No GST need be paid. Some wont “donate” most will to keep the showgrounds available.

  3. This would have come about I reckon from pressure by the the rip off operator of the caravan park at Kin Kora.
    During Gladstone’
    s boom the show grounds were full and council under Gail Sellers was there to rip off all the companies involved in the GLNG market. I used to run an accommodation business in the town and during that boom the council never put money back into the town. Now the boom is over and including ourself we have since stayed in the show grounds and enjoyed it. However now the council is hgoing to close the show grounds we will bypass Gladstone so there goes our dollars out of the town, like many others.
    Wake up council why buckle under pressure from owners like Kin Kora park who ripped every body off during the boom and also has not put a cent back into the his park.
    Council gets some B . ..LS! And assist the struggling show society and help Noel the care taker.

    • I would say that the Show society owns the showgrounds and if the show society doesn’t tow the line there will be trouble. Councils whether they are right or wrong will mostly stick up for small businesses in a town. Most small town caravan parks are owned by the local council and will allow parking at their showground as it’s not in direct competition . Wagin here in WA is an example. You have to have your own toilets and showers and don’t have to contain your grey water but they have power for an extra fee. Works well.

  4. Ha, have always by passed Gladstone since being told they didn,t need us grey nomads when the mining boom was on. Of course a different story now.I should think the council would be doing everything to get us back,not still driving us away.Funny how they think hey. Cheers Stevo.

  5. Ive been visiting my kids for twelve yrs in gladstone and the caravan park was always way to dear, the showground isnt ideal as its not very level. It is in a good location . The better caravan park at barney point became a cabin only park yrs ago . The only caravan park remaining isnt really up to scratch, every time we went there you had to ring a number so we lost interest in it. I cant believe there is no dump point in the town either. You have to go to caliope or boyn river to empty your loo… Forget the place ,the town has nothing to really offer anyway.. just another place full of empty houses, no one wants to live there ,let alone holiday there….

  6. I only ever stay in showgrounds and never at van parks. The whole atmosphere is completely different. Guess ill be bypassing Gladstone then.

  7. I’m staying at the showground today.
    Good price and convenient.

    I will by pass Gladstone from now on. The other van parks aren’t worth it.

  8. Just another town to add to the bypass list.

  9. Hi sad to hear council is closing gladstone show grounds down to the grey head nomads. I do casual leasing in shopping centers and have witnesed the amount of revenue that the retailers pick up from the grey hair nomads.
    Why should 1 caravan park in town be the only business in town to benifit. I think council should work for all business not just one very run down caravan park.
    I hope grey hair nomads avoid gladstone until the council decides to look after all busineses in the region

  10. For every council who does not want the grey nomad dollars, there are several wishing we would go there.

    Over the years I have found that there will be somewhere in the district that will allow grey nomads who are self contained. The CMCA have the gadgets to make a non self contained van into a self contained one, so there is no reason to be relying on councils for facilities.
    Most big shopping complexes and club car parks have been helpful and allowed overnight stops with no dumping of water or waste.

    • Well said Lanock. We are currently at Karumba (at a caravan park) after traveling up from NSW. So many towns are bending over backwards to offer free camps. This is the first caravan park we’ve stayed at and we understand that they have a very limited season to make their money. Still, at 38 per night it is quite reasonable. The ones on the east coast are just too expensive now. Gouging really.

  11. When Showgrounds are not in use it is viable for the Gladstone community 2 give access to the Grey Nomads and the City of Gladstone would be better off financially

  12. Will bypass Gladstone from now on

  13. Typical! Do yourselves a favour and avoid over priced coast of Queensland completely. If you’re heading to the Atherton tablelands or the cape, take the inland road up through Emerald, Roma and Charters Towers. Many more options for free camps by the road side(in disused gravel dumps etc) and many other good places to stop. Prefer the inland run over the coast.. To finish guys, it’s rural country Australia that needs also your the nomad dollars(nomads of ALL ages), not just the quieter coastal regions. Consider the rural drive, you’ll thank me later!

  14. Do not understand that the showgrounds does not have the necessary planning approval. The showgrounds were shut down by council and then reopened. Why did the council allow reopening then?
    We are here at present to visit family and come twice a year. The amenities are clean, the caretaker wonderful, this is what we can afford. We have to leave. My grandkids will be devestated. With 20 to 30 vans here, thats a lot of money going into businesses. We normally get our car serviced here and the gas fridge needs fixing. Another town will now get our business. People near us are having there car fixed as well. Just shake my head.

  15. this Town needs all the help it can at the moment,JUST WALK AROUND AND SEE HOW MANY SHOPS HAVE CLOSEDDOWN!!!HOW MANY HOUSES ARE NOT BEING SOLD!!!!!to the people or person who thought of this!!!

    • Gladstone needs as much money as it can get . Its true the town is going down hill and fast Shop really need a boost before we lose them all .5 years i see Gladstone a ghost town …

  16. I was always under the impression that the showgrounds were owned by us the general public and mantained by the local council and could be used by one and all when and if travelling/ not a place to stay for the school holidays but somewhere to rest up overnight

  17. Currently at gin gin show ground been here 3 days will extend. Been to the tip this trip, if it wasn’t for free camps and show grounds we would of left later and arrive home earlier. $55 / nite at puhsan bay cape york , no thankyou, cairns sorry, townsville $20 /nite we stayed for 7 . Inland australia is a hell of a lot cheaper than the coast we avoid it if we can. 2 points arn’t the caravan parks doing the same to motels by putting in all these cabins and 2 the days of using the “we only have 3 months to make our living”are over. Yes we bypassed gladstone.

    • I like Gin Gin show grounds. Stayed there a few years ago with the Army coming back from exercise and noted the vans parked up for the night.

  18. Councils need to update and improve their business plan / model to be able to accommodate the tourist dollars.
    It will be of very little benefit to any said Caravan Parks, as there is a huge majority of travelling public who will never visit a C.Park.
    We use them if and when we need to.
    In such a huge and progressive industry there is a need for greater consideration re how to handle and satisfy all segments of the market.
    There is certainly a need for great infrastructure planning in this industry.
    A friend of mine just returned from a road trip by car to Winton / Longreach.
    His comment to me was that he has / had never seen so many caravans using the outback roads. It is going to get even more traffic as more and more people enter the retirement stage of life.

  19. The grey nomad dollar is a myth, my wife and I (in our 40’s) travelled around Australia for 14 months,. We always tried to buy fuel, groceries etc in country towns only to hear the nomads brag about getting it cheaper in the big towns. We even heard about them bragging about stealing toilet paper from caravan parks!

    • Christian you are right, some Nomads do steal and brag but on the whole most of them just want a fair go. when i was about 30 years old I drove past Rosebud in Vic it was summer, I looked down from the main road and saw all these campers jammed into an ever decreasing area 30 odd meters from the water and wondered why!!! Why would any one leave the space and freedom of their own home to be jammed up like cattle in a crush to spend their holidays?. Same today we are being fenced out with fences flanking the roads and stopping anyone from free camping, councils are herding us into regulated areas. What has happened to the wide Australia that I used to know. Then and think about it !! Toilet paper blowing in the wind and along country roads rubbish and over filled parking bins etc. Yes we are all at fault.

  20. And again another place we will skip.
    Plenty of other places to be seen

  21. Myself and my partner are staying at the showgrounds whilst working at the local hospital on short term contracts, we have been here for 11 weeks.

    If the showgrounds closes down we will be forced to cancel our contracts and head somewhere else. There are no other facilities in the area able to accommodate our 40 foot bus.

    Happy to come back and work once this gets resolved.

    Oh well.. not missing much.

    • You have a beautiful dog.

  22. It would seem another council trying ti justify its ignorant and arrogant existance.

  23. Simple. Give Gladstone a miss and go where RVers and their dollars are welcome.

  24. Do yourself a favour and just bypass it. I lived there for too many years and have to say the place is a dump full of small minded yokels. In fact do yourself a favour and give all of Queensland a miss.

  25. Might explain why the free camp at the Boyne River is packed. We stayed there a couple of times a few years ago and you would be lucky to have a handful of neighbours.

    I was told by one traveler he counted over a hundred campers when he over nighted there recently

    Have anyone heard the free camp at Rifle Creek near Mt Molloy is being closed??

  26. We were treated with total contempt on our 1st visit to Gladstone in 2012 and haven’t been back there since. The mining $$ was all they were interested in and they weren’t ashamed to show it! Gladstone can implode for all we care – we’ll stop at the freedom-of-choice camp spot out by the river and do our spending elsewhere.

  27. Are the showgrounds closed ? Hopefully stopping over in August?

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