Townsville set to introduce fees at ‘free’ camping areas

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Townsville free campsites set to introduce charges
Camping fees could soon be introduced at six currently free sites.

Grey nomads are being asked for their feedback on plans to introduce fees at six currently free campsites on Townsville’s northern beaches.

Townsville City Council has developed an RV and camping strategy which includes a recommendation to introduce fees at six council-managed parks. In a report, it stated the introduction of a fee was not likely to significantly impact on the occupancy of the campgrounds.

An online booking system is also being developed to prevent overcrowding in the parks, which could also be used to charge a $10 to $15 per night booking fee. There would also be better policing of the campsites to ensure visitors did not over stay the 48-hour time limit.

“While a small proportion of travellers prefer to only stay in free sites, the majority of travellers are willing to pay a small fee to contribute to the upkeep of facilities such as toilets, rubbish bins and potable water, which are provided at all council campgrounds,” the report said.

It says the proposed camping fee has been calculated to provide some cost recovery towards the ongoing maintenance costs attributed to camping.

“For the long-term sustainability of these campgrounds, it is recommended that council introduce a fee for camping, collected through the online booking system,” said the report. “The facilities offered fit within the category of a ‘basic campground’ on the camping options matrix, and a fee in the order of $10-$15 is considered appropriate.”

Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill said the strategy was developed to ensure the city benefited from the expanding tourism industry.

“Council has developed this strategy using the feedback we received from a variety of groups that have an interest in improving our RV and camping opportunities in the region,” Cr Hill said. “This information gives us a valuable insight into what we can do to increase visitation to Townsville and keep people here longer while spending money locally and supporting local businesses.”

Grey nomads can give feedback on the proposals by completing the survey form found here before March 9 this year.

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33 Responses to Townsville set to introduce fees at ‘free’ camping areas

  1. fee ok
    won’t stay with on line booking
    free is not only monetary but freedom
    to come and go with out time constraints
    on arrival or departure

    • We pay rates to cover the cost of maintaining these campsites ,surely the money spent by travelers in townsville is enough ,but No it is never enough is it ,you Councils are again encroaching on my personnel freedom to come and go as I please .

      • It would only be effective if you paid rates in Townsville…If you pay rates anywhere else but Townsville, that argument does’t stick … sorry….

  2. I’d like to know the names of the group’s that Cr Hill is referring to, with regards his claim that the proposed fee was developed after feedback from these groups, that comment suggests that these consulted groups supported a fee introduction because of their interest in improving RV /camping opportunities. Was there a survey of USERS of the free camps?
    If people have a preference to support paid camping and caravaning opportunities there are many existing opportunities in the form of caravan park.
    During our travels over the past 10 months the vast majority of nomads I’ve spoke with have s strong preference for free camp facilities. And we have stayed in both forms of accommodation, free and paid, and I hear the same comments at either location.

  3. Ok with a fee. We have hotspot internet from our phone. No reception except in some large towns. So would not ever book in. Also we don’t plan our movements as tightly as that.

  4. I don’t mind paying a small fee, but as I travel solo it’s very handy to have a solo rate. I also don’t mind having a time limit either, that way everyone gets to use the space, not just people who move in for the dry season & think they own the place.

    • User has to pay nothing in this world is free, on line booking very convenient $10 a night very cheap. Water and a dump point that’s all you need..

    • Agree with time limit, we do free camp mainly as fully self contained, so tend to not stop at spots with toilet/shower facilities, which I think should be paid for, as it does cost for cleaning etc. So free camps also have should be on the agenda with no facilities, for travellers like ourselves.

    • Hear, hear. Lot of singles feel same.

  5. If camping areas have toilets and showers then a fee should be charged. Many small towns have already carried out studies of Grey Nomads and what effect they have on their economies. Fuel, groceries, meals and drinks etc certainly adds up. A lot of these areas are continually looking to improve what they already have.
    On the other hand areas have to be seen as good value to the traveler or they will just bypass areas/towns as happens already.

  6. I don’t mind a small fee providing they provide facilities. However, we generally avoid the Bruce Hwy so probably won’t stay there anyway.

  7. Has 0 affect on us. We bypass Townsville due to the crime.

    • What about Rollingstone Bushy park and Justin st these are the ones it is affecting

  8. I don’t mind paying a small fee to be able to stay In these camps, I have found in the ones with toilets and no fees many are there for weeks not the aloud time which does spoil it for people that need to stop overnight or the hours you can stay!!! I think the system with the ranger collecting the money or go to a place like Information centres and get a receipt to put on your dashboard which does work!

  9. We recently attempted to stay in a spot we had stayed at years ago. We didn’t realize they had changed to an on line booking upon arrival signs alerted us to the fact. Many sights were not occupied when we arrived mid afternoon. Should we set up and risk being asked to move because we were in someone’s booked spot. We finally decided to move on and stayed in a caravan park. The manager said he had been getting quite a few people staying who had done the same thing. Don’t mind a small fee but please dump on line booking.

  10. Free camping gives us much more money to spend in Townsville, we will move on an spend our dollars elsewhere. There are plenty of free camps elsewhere so that’s where we will spend our money. Our son lives at Townsville so we can actually park outside his house but we like the freedom of doing our own thing….

  11. Unfortunately seems to be lot of selfish freeloaders travelling. You don’t get free accommodation in any cities so why should country folk be subsidising the holidays of other People thru their rates when lot can’t afford holidays for their families. If there are facilities being used, you pay same as you do for all other things in life.

    • Unfortunately seems to be lot of selfish freeloaders travelling says Marg ,
      Yes freedom ,very popular here ,I have paid tax all my life have an expensive self contained van ,dont need there facilities just peace and quiet and wont pay for it .They have enough of my money .

    • Whoa Marge, don’t know if your a grey nomad or a Townsville rate payer but to describe Grey Nomads as freeloaders is a bit strong. As a traveller you have no option but to pay your way around the country, not exactly freeloading.

  12. its starts at $10- $15 then next year it goes up. it is just money grabbing

    • Yes it is beau

    • Absolutely. Disgraceful, another way of filling the coffers and shady under handed tactics by local council!

  13. City, Main town areas RELY on visitors to these areas to keep on business. We only do free camping. We spend at times hundreds and hundreds of dollars sometimes in the thousands when we camp, spend money in a town.
    All land is Crown Land and us NOT owned by and local, governing body. I would travel further away to be free of beaurecratic baloney!!
    We are very self contained, do not need toilets or shower facilities. Caravans have these facilities too but are too lazy and do not want to empty the toilet cassette. We have a Camper Trailer and have been on the road free camping mostly all of Australia for the past 4.5 years.
    STOP MONEY GRUBBING the people who keep your towns flourishing..

  14. Why? Can’t even enjoy an age old Aussie tradition like camping
    Shame shame shame

  15. I read Shame Shame Shame but I am hearing Moan Moan Moan.

    • Pay the money or go home, as for spending the money in town everybody supports the town either staying in Motels, hotels caravan parks. tired of hearing people moan.

      • We travel with our cat and many caravan parks will not allow pets or they demand proof of vaccinations. Our cat is kept indoors even when we are camping and we choose not to vaccinate. If we can’t free camp, maybe we should just stay home and spend our money locally on meals and entertainment.

      • The undeniable truth is paying every night adds up. Even 15 a night 5 days a week is 75 a week. Over 6 months that is 1800 round figures. That could be spent in several townships. There are many a town that have woken up to the benefits of free camps

  16. All much to do about nothing really…
    Would not like to read people’s comments If they had do it a bit hard.
    Suck it up and try to enjoy life..!

  17. When Townsville fixes the crime problem people may visit again. Otherwise I will continue to bypass the town.

  18. $10 a night is fine for water, dump point and toilets
    Add $5 if there is a hot shower. Somebody has to keep it clean and the paper topped up. Forget the online booking system go back to the envelope, but also randomly police the place and Fine the over staying freeloaders. We can all move to a free camp tomorrow or the next night to smooth out the budget.

  19. This is all well and good for travellers who know where they’ll be that day and want to book on-line. We sometimes don’t have the ability to choose where we need to stop. One of us has a medical condition (well-managed) which means we have to stop and rest ASAP. We don’t mind the introduction of a small fee but how about the envelope payment system instead?

  20. I have stayed in these free parks in my many visits to the Townsville area and over the years I have seen a rapid deterioration of the facilities not an improvement.. Council have removed the showers from all but one site. The bins are constantly filed to the brim by the locals driving in and dumping their rubbish and fishing waste and then there is the problem with the druggies and the locals driving through at all hours of the night and day on everything from motorbikes , quad bikes and four wheel drives.. Council always like to blame travellers or backpackers but about time they look a bit closer to home…
    Townsville has recently been listed in the top 60 crime spots in the WORLD. maybe the major can address that issue first before once again trying to bow to the whims of local van park owners under the guise of camping reform..

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