‘We offered free camping, and grey nomads came!’

Published: July 22, 2015

Port Hedland’s decision to offer free camping for fully self-contained vehicles has already been declared a massive success.

Last month, the free site – with three new dump points – was opened next to the local turf club and the numbers of grey nomads taking advantage has skyrocketed.

“The first night there was one van, the second night there were five and the third there were 30,” local councillor, Julie Hunt told the West Australian newspaper. “And that’s just word of mouth out on the road.”

Mrs Hunt said that – with Broome to the north and Karijini to the south – grey nomads had long been bypassing Port Hedland.

“They have to go through Port Hedland but they usually buy their fuel and food and go on,” she told the West Australian. “But this has absolutely taken off. Now they’re staying three or four days, doing tours and buying goods they may not have bought here before. The feedback I’m getting is really positive.”

Mrs Hunt hoped some businesses would see the increased trade as an opportunity to open new shopfronts, particularly in the town’s relatively quiet western end. And, she said, industrial tourism was proving really popular with grey nomads, with many enjoying looking at the hulking vessels in the harbour and the three-kilometre-long freight trains.

“Most of these tourists are from the east coast, so they’ve read all about Port Hedland and the Pilbara and how it is the economic powerhouse keeping the nation afloat,” she told the West Australian. “They stop and see these giant ships and trains and then go ‘Oh yeah, now I understand’.”

  • Will you take advantage of free camping in Port Hedland? Are you an ‘industrial tourist’? Comment below.



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7 years ago

We would stay over, good to see WA getting its act together

John B. Rodgers
7 years ago

Most certainly we would like to visit THE PORT. Would be great to see many other regions follow suit.
What with the huge increase of new caravans which are mainly fully self contained, the tourist industry will be in good hands going forward.
My guess is the the Caravan and Camping industry would be perhaps the no 1 provider of tourism in the regional and out back areas.
Most Hotels and Motels in the capitol cities and large tourist areas ie:- Cairns Gold & Sunshine coast etc etc rely heavily on international tourists.
Let’s be honest, when was the last time we saw a Travel Agent or even the holiday section of any major newspaper promote and advertise the Caravan and Camping industry.
Give me that back top and dirt roads any day as against air travel and hotel / motels.

free range chooks
7 years ago

We where going to bypass as last time stayed at caravan park itwas a dust bowl and expensive but found out about free camp from fellow travellers and stayed a couple of nights. Spent in a lot of different shops, eg. electrical, haircuts, doctor Appt., emporium, cafe, liquor, groceries, bottle gas, fuel list goes on. Thank you it changed our minds about Port Hedland and would now recommend people to visit.

Suzanne Campbell
7 years ago


7 years ago

We were going to bypass port hEdland but now I’ve seen this we will definetly be going and checking it out. We always spend our money in the towns that offer free camps instead of the big tourist places as we believe that it’s worth spending a bit more in these towns and make sure that free camps can keep going especially once the Caravan Parks set up.
Great Stuff port Headland

Erin Marshall
7 years ago

We will stop over when we r in the west Love free camps and always spend money in the towns that offer free or low cost camping

Norman parker
7 years ago

Are dogs aloud

Bill Devine
7 years ago

Am going there in a couple of days. Alas it is closing from.the 31st July due to racing calendar starting. Do not know how long.

7 years ago

We are camped there at the moment, we have bought food, wine, fuel, books and souvenirs. We only stopped because we heard about the free camp. We had not planned to stop here because of the prices charged by the caravan parks.

Suzanne Campbell
7 years ago

Passed through last time (didn’t buy a thing) but will DEFINITELY stay next time if they allow dogs on a leash. Could Mrs Hunt let Broome know the benefits of allowing self contained RV’s to stay without having to go to overpriced caravan parks? It would also be nice to be able to stay longer in than 7 nights in Broome if you have a dog instead of being thrown out of town !

Jenny Mackay
6 years ago

We stayed there a few weeks ago on our way up the WA coast from our hometown in the Midwest, drove out to Marble Bar and came back for another night. Bought heaps, saw heaps. Thank you Port Hedland.

6 years ago

I so love camping with friends. How we wished to get here soonest as we could so we can avail you free camping in Port Hedland.


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