WA town hopes free camp will attract more nomads

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Another West Australian town has been persuaded of the economic benefits of offering free camping in order to attract grey nomads and other travellers.

The local council at Waroona, 120km south of Perth, has voted to move the present overnight-camping trial site at Drakesbrook Weir and the showgrounds to the unused recreation reserve on Fouracre Street.

The Harvey-Waroona Reporter reports that the council’s decision will allow RV vehicles to stay at the camp site for up to 72 hours at a time.

Waroona shire president Mike Walmsley said he hoped bringing the overnight camping spots into town would entice self-contained visitors to stay longer.

He told the Reporter that the new site would be more user-friendly to the campers, and would prevent overlapping needs between the RV campers and local families wanting to use the showgrounds for parking during football season or community events.

“They might spend a bit more time and a bit more money in town,” Cr Walmsley said. “The idea of an RV is that they are self contained … once they roll out of town again, it doesn’t even look like they’ve been there.”

Shire staff will now approach the Department of Lands and Heritage to gain approval to use the Fouracre Street site.

The Waroona decision was made just days before the City of Bunbury released statistics from a survey into its own 12-month trial of free overnight camping for RVs.

A figure of $227,000 had been spent by 823 people who had received permits for the overnight rest areas, according to results from the Bunbury survey.

According to the survey more than 69% cent of the Bunbury visitors who used the overnight rest areas were from interstate and almost 40% were 65 years of age or older.

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7 Responses to WA town hopes free camp will attract more nomads

  1. Another enlightened town seeing the benefits of nomads, have stayed there previously & will do again, only for a longer stay

  2. Great news Waroona, another town on our list of places to stay, and yes it is where we will spend our money.

  3. Slowly but surely the tide turns. Towns realise that they have far more to gain by encouraging the Grey Nomads than they could possibly lose by catering to the noisy caravan park operators. Sure many many people will still patronise the caravan parks and now the self contained travellers can contribute to the town. I have no doubt the violins will be out blaming rates and other costs for caravan parks to justify their greed but in the end, the whole town benefits from the grey nomads in a way that a caravan park operator would never contemplate helping fellow business owners. Bring it on.

  4. No wonder Waroona is desperate to encourage free stays. The existing caravan park is an absolute dive. Bring on some alternatives!

  5. Yes the town will have our support and dollars if and when we pass by.We make a point of returning something to the local businesses. Stevo.

  6. The comment by Cr Walmsley that an RV is self contained, when it rolls out of town, it doesn’t look like it’s been there…not everyone can have a very modern van….ours is older, we carry a toilet tent with us for the porta-potty, and find showers usually within a town at roadhouse or another spot. We leave no mess behind us…So why aren’t we called self contained by some of these stopovers?????

    • you are absolutely correct Rosslyn, as long as everybody leaves nothing behind then they should be welcomed as well.

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