‘You can stay here – if your rig meets our standards!’

Published: March 20, 2015

The trend towards more luxurious motorhomes and caravans might be having an unexpected side effect in caravan parks and camping areas … rig discrimination!

While it is easy to understand the logic of allowing only self-contained rigs at ‘basic’ campsites with limited facilities, it is less easy to follow why some fully equipped parks issue blanket bans for certain types of vehicles. At some spots, for example, all caravans are excluded, while in others it is just poptops.

In the US, the ‘fussy’ approach is being taken to new levels. The Angel Fire RV resort in New Mexico is soon to open to doors to a very discerning class of recreational vehicle traveller. Set on 35 acres and with facilities including hot tubs, a private clubhouse, and a dog park, the park lists the classes of RVs it will accept. And its website makes it very clear that standards are high.

“If RV is more than 10 years old, pictures must be sent to manager for approval,” says the park’s website.

“We will continue to work on the resort until it exceeds the expectations of today’s passionate RV travellers,” said the resort’s manager, Jim Anderson.

Back in Australia, Tasmania’s Waratah-Wynyard council upset some grey nomads when it decided self-contained mo­torhomes could camp free overnight at its showgrounds but that, at the same time, it would rigorously enforce a no-caravan rule.

“Due to approval guidelines that allow Council use of this site, only self-contained motorhomes are permitted,” it said. “Caravans, campervans and tents are not permitted at this site.”

When caravanning grey nomads, Kerri and Ron Patterson, tried to stay last year, they were asked by a council-appoint­ed security guard to leave the showgrounds.

“We feel like we are being discriminated against because we are not in a motorhome,” said Kerri. “We would like to know: what is the differ­ence between a self-contained caravan and a self-contained motorhome?”

Up in the Northern Territory, the Robbie Robbins Reserve near Darwin is happy to welcome caravans … as long as they aren’t poptops! Rooftop campers, camper trailers and tents are also excluded. Apparently, the reserve had previously had complaints that these sorts of vehicles were too ‘untidy’.

* Do you feel your vehicle has been discriminated against? Do you think caravan parks should enforce certain ‘standards’? Comment below.

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7 years ago

Re Self Contained in Tassie. I don’t think it is discrimination, I would assume it is the holding tanks which are not commonplace on caravans. Self Contained RV’s can hold their fresh, grey & black water usually for about a week. So no hoses, buckets etc. My thoughts only on the subject.

7 years ago

I imagine the fact that most caravans & campervan do not have grey water tanks is the issue here. If a caravan comes along with a grey water tank and is allowed to park other caravan owners will say “Why not us?” To stop the obvious flood of discontent, they have said only self contained motorhomes. Makes sense to me. What doesn’t make sense is the reluctance of caravaners to install grey water tanks, they prefer to just let their drains run onto the ground and flow under other campers.

Shirley Gray
7 years ago

Don’t know about discrimination at C.Ps., or campsites but traveling in a Coaster we have certainly found that to be the case with other travellers in more upmarket vehicles.
We did stay once in a C.P. In Qld & the owner would not allow us to stay unpowered unless we parked on a grass section along the front of the park at the edge of the road, the wife intervened & directed us to one of the many empty powered sites, we only stayed the night felt most unwelcome.

7 years ago

C.P. get a LIFE. No wonder we see more more staying at bush freebies.

Bob McKerrow
7 years ago

Ben, well said. First off we have caravan park owners wanting free camps closed. Now we have caravan owners not allowing caravans in, only Motorhomes, because they are not “Self Contained”. We have recently taken delivery of a new van and deliberately and with thought , fitted a 60 litre grey water tank. The problem with a grey water tank is that after 24 hours, that water is now considered Black water. Unlike the toilet cassette which is easily disposed of, we now need to move the van close to a Black Water deposit or use a bucket to clear the tank. A bit of water that was used for bathing on the ground is surely better than turning it into black water? Bring on the Free Camps.

7 years ago

It seems that councils and caravan park owners don’t really want us grey nomads. Maybe the time has come to give Australian holidays the flick and spend our money os.

Terry Renford
7 years ago

To Gypsy & TommyG. Get a life & don’t worry too much about others.
In my travels over the last few years I have found a good deal of disregard shown towards caravaners by a number of the motorhome fraternity. From what I have seen it tends to be shown by those of a certain club or group.
Upon hitting the road some 5 1/2 years ago I naively expected to find cheer amongst all, (or at least most), like minded travelers. In many this has been the case. But I find it disappointing when I come across a them and us mentality found amongst some groups.


7 years ago

I don’t understand what the fuss is about a bit of bath water. Half the showgrounds you go to need a damn good drink; the grass doesn’t seem to mind what colour it is as long as it’s not black.
You don’t need to go to great expense for a grey water tank just use a pole carrier

7 years ago

Travelling and camping is all about freedom. The only rules should be those of common sense e.g don’t litter. Not everybody follows simple things like this so beauracratic clowns can make up their own rules for different places. Bit of a power trip. My brother has had enough after travelling in oz for a long time. He says too many new rules and regulations plus the increasing costs of fuel and CP fees. This year,he sold his van and spent his money in New Zealand and next year he is going to Canada(already booked and paid for) .That’s a lot of money being forced overseas.

6 years ago

I feel grey water is like a generator, be considerate of others but can’t see the harm in discharging grey water in a responsible manner.

Ian Reig
6 years ago

A couple of things first, is there a regulation size for a grey water tank, correct me if l am wrong, there is no designated place to dump grey water, you can’t dump it in the black dump, correct.
Anyway we did a 4 week trip last year from Brisy out to Nindigully down the Newell to Dubbo on to the Murray then on to the Mighty Great Ocean Rd across to Portland up wards to Mildura, followed the Darling to Broken Hill and all the way back to Brissy, out of that trip we stayed in 4 caravan parks none of which had grey water points at your place of park, in fact the ask you to just put your hose on to the grass, just like Nanna did, any bits of rice or vegs the birds come down and have a feed. The rest of the nights stay were at free camps where we had a longer hose and either directed it towards a tree or a bit of grassy area. l can’t see a problem with this as long as you do the right thing as we all know the out back needs all the water it can get, so maybe all these people that are jumping up and down are the big C.P. and the city campers. Do the right thing, think about it, maybe even grap a Coles bag, and a stubby pick up a bit of rubbish, which is always around , unfortuneatly, and have a chat to the neibours.
by the way it was a Great trip, again.

6 years ago

What is the big issue with grey water anyway, we use it to water trees, lawn, vegepatch etc. on our rural residential property, this is all getting out of hand. I’ve stayed at caravan parks in western areas and they want you to put the hose on their grass, trees etc. This is becoming ridiculous. Most people do the right thing in free camps, the minority who don’t are stuffing it for the majority as usual.

6 years ago
Reply to  Ross

Totally agree. I have been motorhoming for 13 years in a basic small vehicle, and collect my grey water in a suitable container. I try to empty it on some sorry looking plant – figure we need to recycle as much water as possible in this dry country of ours. And if trees could talk, I’m sure they’d say thanks. Now the CMCA RV parks are saying we need to buy special covered grey water totes and that other containers will not be accepted!! Fine, but with limited storage, where on earth am I supposed to store such a big thing when travelling?

Owen Russell
6 years ago

We went to a motorhome rally 2015 and we were supplied with a gauze bag on entry to place over the end of the grey water hose to catch the small bits and pieces. It was easy to empty and kept the grass watered but clean. Perhaps some of these anti grey water people could adopt that idea.

6 years ago

I live in South Australia driest state etc. We are told by the authorities to recycle our grey water, showers and put the washing machine water on the garden. SO it’s ok for them to tell me to put grey water on “my garden” but heaven forbid if any goes on their precious ground. I can understand if water run off was detrimental but as yet I have not seen any plant life that does not like water. Just a little common sense from the power mad would go a long way.

edmond morris
6 years ago

interested in this topic as we are about to dip our toes in the free camping water9sorry bad pun) we have a van with all the whistles and bells except grey water and was tyhinking of buying one of the 40ltr wheeled grey water tank.will tyhese comply with most authorities? any feedback welcomed

Mike Forrester
5 years ago

Is it mandatory or law to have a gray water tank fitted to a caravan in Australia now. What are the rules

Bewildered camper
5 years ago

How about a camper who pulls up gets out a bucket and has a wash down between the car doors or where ever in one of these fully contained camp spots?
Does grey water only come from the interior plumbing of a van eg sink, internal shower?

Bewildered camper
5 years ago

How about a guy or a gal grabs a bottle of shower gell, the hose off tbeir van and has a quick clean up or has a quickie without the gell?


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