Van park owner hits out at ‘cost’ of free camping

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Is illegal camping losing the Fraser Coast $200,000 ?

There is growing concern over the amount of revenue Queensland’s Fraser Coast could be losing because of illegal camping.

A Hervey Bay caravan park owner is claiming that the problem could be costing the region more than $200,000 a year.

Chris Reeves, the owner of the Happy Wanderer Village, told the Fraser Coast Chronicle he was frustrated by the sight of illegal campers, which he said were an eyesore and a potential health problem around the region.

“It’s not good for Hervey Bay,” he said.

Mr Reeves told the newspaper there were between 20 and 30 people camping illegally around the Fraser Coast on any given night.

But, he said it was the council-owned caravan parks rather than his own park, that were missing out on the fees.

Despite the concerns of some ratepayers, Fraser Coast councillor Stuart Taylor said the council’s role was to educate tourists about the options available to them.

He said the council did encourage campers to use free camp sites in Tiaro and Bauple rather than camp illegally. But said potential money being lost at council caravan parks was not his number one concern.

He told the Chronicle hiss main priority was getting people to the Fraser Coast and helping the region take advantage of the tourism opportunities it has.

“I want to see more people in both private and public parks and in safe, clean areas,” he said.

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25 Responses to Van park owner hits out at ‘cost’ of free camping

  1. If they Provide Free Camping.. they the CP’s might Lose out but the Town’s themselves will win..

    While I toured America.. I parked over night in Walmart’s carpark and I know I went inside and spent at least $20-$40 dollar as a minimum restocking the camper..

    so what if the CP’s Miss out the rest of the town benefits from the free camper’s. Fuel for their transport. Fuel for themselves, and other item’s..

    Maybe if the CP’s diversified and did not grumble, they might be happier..

    If the people went to Tiaro or Bauple Win for Maryborough. closest town..

    Are these guy’s Real..

    J

    • Both camping areas mentioned are over 60 k from Hervey Bay ! Time to have a closer look Counciler.

  2. Caravan parks are ”THE ONLY” businesses that council should look after, As ALL other businesses make enough money and do not need or want the travellers $$$$ ?? YEAH RIGHT” !!! — Just once I would like to read a comment like this made from other businesses in the town, It always seems to be the ”Expensive Caravan parks that are crying ” Poor Me” — My Opinion ?? There is a balance that is fair to all Parks, Businesses, and travellers, ?? Find it !! Talk, communicate, and find that balance, Councils should consider and talk, and get input from ALL Businesses in the Town, Not just the Caravan Parks or the tourist, Find a balanced solution that is fair to all,And implement a plan that is for the good of all not a noisy Minority ?? It’s your Town after all, and there are plenty of Websites around that list Traveller Friendly, OR Traveller NOT Friendly ??? So Mr Council !! Do your research, Implement your Policy, And then choose which of those sites you want to be on, ??? THEN the traveller will know Where they are Welcome, ?? and where they are Not ??

  3. To all caravan park owners – If we choose not to stay at your park, there is a very good reason. Suggest you look at your business model. Grey Nomads have many options, both free and fee paying, where we choose to stay isn’t always about the cost.

  4. They shouldn’t be camping on the side of the road like that and who would want to

  5. It is time for caravan parks to look at their business plan and start to cater for ALL the travelers out there instead of just catering for the ones that want all the bells and whistles..
    Maybe they should set up a next to nothing area to attract those of us that like to free camp and offer some services to gain some income from us..

  6. Now permanently on the road as grey nomads BUT 18 years ago Hervey Bay was the only town where we entered and left a caravan park after they wanted to charge an extra fee for each of the two children’s tents that we wanted to erect on our site. Greedy!

  7. It is not ‘costing’ the van parks anything by us freedom camping, it would ‘Cost’ us to stay there. So it is money in our pockets instead of theirs, that’s the difference. Money we spend elsewhere because we appreciate the welcome we are given by the regions we visit.

  8. Drop your high prices and more people will stay in a caravan park.

  9. Sounds like Mr Fraser has the right idea. He is promoting ‘Freedom of Choice” on the Fraser Coast by providing free and low cost council camps. He sounds as though he knows that the Grey Nomads don’t have to spend their money at caravan parks to bring welcome $$$ to an area.
    Contrary to Mr Reeves statement that the region is losing $200,000 a year because of ‘illegal’ camping, I believe the region is probably benefiting waaaay above that amount because of the foresight of the Fraser Coast council. Is seems odd that caravan park owners seem to think that the local economy revolves around them !!
    Clever councils provide what we need, not trying to force us into what we don’t want. The answer is easy, we put the key in the ignition and move on taking our money with us.
    Congratulations Fraser Coast.

    • Some excellent comments here. I have enjoyed the Fraser Island Hervey Bay area and was made welcome at all times. I don’t like grubs either but not everyone who free camps is a grub, some folks just aren’t as sophisticated when camping/touring but that is no reason to suddenly start herding them into squashed overcrowded parks nurturing unidentified creatures in their shower blocks. Let’s face it Queensland holidays are about life, freedom, sun, sand, great food and the like. Sometimes there aren’t enough dollars for everyone in the town to get some, but the town still wins. Peace brothers and sisters.

  10. As if everyone will meekly submit to Caravan Park coercion. Look what happens when they try to channel everyone into Tollways.

    If its “my way or the highway{, I’ll take the highway.

  11. Every time I see a story like this it makes me more determined than ever to keep away from council areas that allow caravan park owners dictate that you must spend money with them or not come to their area at all. Shame about all the other business that loose out but so be it.. we are currently in Tasmania and completely blown away by the huge amounts of free and low cost camping.. our budget is the same we just eat out and spend more in the local shops.. the people here generally want tourists and we absolutely positivly love being somewhere we are welcome.. Tazzie rocks.. Go ware you are celebrated and not ware you are tolerated!

  12. As we all know this is, and has been a long term ongoing debate with caravan parks operators having a bleat about free camping and how they are losing income.
    It is interesting to note that it is only caravan park operators that seem to be bleating.
    For example how many coffee shops, fuel stations, supermarkets, clubs and pubs, well the list goes on, how many of these operators do we hear bleating about free camping?
    Would I be correct in stating that these operators are more than satisfied with the income generated to their respective business by free campers?
    If free campers are forced into caravan parks then their spending capacity at other business’s is greatly reduced.
    I wonder how many caravan park operators will be big enough to step up to the plate and compensate for the loss.
    It certainly would appear that it is the caravan park operators who are well and truly out of step in this debate. Maybe it is time they got with the program and realised that the world is changing and that perhaps it may be time to move with the times.
    Take a look around and see how many business ventures that we all took for granted that are no longer there, they are no longer there due to change.

    • Ian Ramsay you said it so well. Never in our many years of grey nomading have we ever heard anyone but the caravan park owners/managers complaining about free camping. Deemed grubs by a plethora of caravan park owners, merely simply because they begrudge the fact that we grey nomads don’t wish to be ripped off, they fail to forget what we do for the town in regards to tourism. Often complaining about grey nomads being grubs they often fail to look in their own back yards or should I say caravan parks. Some of them are disgusting, yet still reel in the big bucks for some unknown reason. A host of grey nomads are on disability pensions and don’t have the finances for high fees, others are simply fed up with being taken advantage of. Either way, us grey nomads have earned our place in society and if caravan park owners or managers have no drawcard such as decent fees to lure us, that’s their problem.

  13. I absolutely agree with Pete, Caravan Parks seriously need to drop their high prices, SIMPLE. …..I have just spent a week in a council run caravan park on Sunshine Coast, Non powered site for family of 5 and it cost a whopping $440 dollars to pitch a tent !!!! Never again. Grrrr camping used to be a cheap alternative, not any more, So wise up caravan parks 🙁 and councils 🙁

    • Hi Anne
      We agree but there are options. We are currently on the sunshine coast at Beerwah sports ground just down the road from Aussie Zoo & $120 per week & really good facilities.

      • I’ve stayed twice at Beerwah and it is a great place. Cheap enough with great facilities.

  14. We have been travelling full time for over 10.5 years
    Last Christmas we stayed at a private caravan park opposite the Hervey Bay Boat Club.
    We arrived in November, departed in mid January.
    We were charged $40.00 per night plus $2.00 per day to use the air conditioner ($14.00) plus $5.00 to use our credit card.
    Talking at happy hours with other travellers not permanent’s, everyone was paying vastly different rates to us for the same time frame. Most were cheaper
    After a while we went just out of town but still in Hervey Bay area to see if there were any cheaper and quiter parks.
    After enquiring at a private park if we get charged for the air conditioner we were told, if we see your car not here or a window open and your air cond is still running we will pull the cord from the power box.
    When asked how much to stay there? We were told $56.00 per night.
    I now write letters to other business’s in towns (Just a standard letter and change the date town etc) eg Hotels, Clubs, Grocery shops, those sort of places, telling them they have missed out on our money and we are taking it to a town who wants us there, because of the greedy, whinging caravan parks who are protected by their local councils.

    • I totally agree with your idea of writng letters to various business’s in towns as you have suggested.
      I also submit letters to the editor of the local newspapers and apologies the business’s by naming them stating that due to either Council regulations or some whinging bleating caravan park operator that we are unable to spend money in their business.
      If nothing else it certanly generates some debate in the online comments to my letters.

  15. I agree with all above,the sooner a lot of these over priced parks realise us grey nomads are sick of getting ripped off the better.My caravan for a start is all 12volt as with many vans that are produced today,so you can imagine just how much power we are actually using.I am not going to pay for jumping castles etc.A lot of the managers are rude be it owned or just managed.My generation and most grey nomads have been bussiness people.and know that you had to treat the customer properly or better than these park owners are or they didnt come back.But firstly they want to relalise the power of the grey nomads and just how much they talk.I know that if we feel that we have been ripped off, we go out of our way to tell everyone, I mean everyone in fact I have been to happy hours with 50 people and all passing on information re past parks and towns.I before choosing this fantastic life on the road owned and managed hotels and I can assure you a old pensioner coming in regularly for his couple of pots will make you more money then a couple of young fellas just there to look at the barmaids boobs on a odd occasion. What i am getting at is in reality a regular grey nomad will make you more money then a family with 3 kids on the odd school holiday.So wake up, stop complaining because like they say you had us at the start ,you are driving us away. We are all to old and wise, we wont be back..Stevo.

  16. What, are they starting to feel the pinch, just like the way they pinch the Grey Nomads with over priced caravan park fees, also the fees they charge for family holidays , its no wonder families go os for their breaks.
    As they say, if you aim to high you get bitten,

  17. consider the cost of caravan parks and what you get for your money
    We have a generator or solar panel plus 2 batteries for electric power plus a toilet and shower what do I need from a cp a parking spot for for $20+ a night night I don”t think so

  18. We are travelling from Perth to Albany then to Esperance and have looked in amp 6 book but does not seem to have a lot of free camps for caravans. Has anyone got any suggestions for where to stop it is such a busy time I know. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks

  19. I run a 36 foot M/H, I dont have a Generator, I am full solar,

    I Free Camp every where, Every thing I need, I take it in with me or buy it there Locally,

    Every thing I take in with me, I take out with me, Including ones and two’s,

    Fortunately, I have my own Dump Point connected to my septic system,

    Most Modern Caravans and M/H’s have all their own systems, Fully self contained, Full Tankage, Shower, Toilet, Kitchen, Refrigerator, Solar and Generators,

    They dont need a Caravan Park for any thing,

    Caravan Parks are for the people who like to cluster in crowds, Safety in Numbers, Perhaps, Community Feel,

    But I am a Grey Nomad, Singular, I park where ever there is a good view in the mountains, quiet spot on a river or creek bank, Beachside, any where I can park my 12 tons with out getting it bogged, And its out of the way, Usually no other people around,

    Whether I sit there for a day, a week or a month, The only trace I leave is 6 spots on the ground where the Coach has sat, From the Tyre marks,

    I am out there to get away from the Rat Race, Past Kids, This is Me Time,

    I wont be forced into some Crappy Caravan Park crowded with screaming kids for $40-00 a night,
    With No Views, No Character, No Privacy, And I dont use any thing in the Caravan Park, ???????????

    Are you Stark Raving Bonkers, You Caravan Park Owners and Managers, I am not paying for some thing I get for Free,
    I am also a Rate Payer for my House in the Shire of Yarra Ranges,

    So I am paying for Tourists to come to my own area, Yarra Valley and The Dandenong Ranges,

    My Council actively attracts Tourists, Travellors, Etc Etc, and any one else that wants to come here, And we

    do have the services supplied and in place to implement it. A lot of its Free,

    It brings in Millions of Dollars annually for our Entire Shire,

    I expect the same services we give from other councils when I travel thru their regions,

    Fairs, Fair,, People,

    But I really dont care, I have Google, It will tell me which towns are Crap and unfriendly and to Avoid like the Plague,

    I also dont care where I spend my Money, It has to be spent any way, Even just to live, Food, Diesel, Etc,

    But I wont spend it in an Unfriendly or Ripoff Town, Whats another Fifty Kays to a Retiree, Hahahahaha

    Happy New Year, Hahahahahaha

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