Powers to be Discourage Tourists from Traveling in Australia
Arriving at another free camp by river in our self contained van with solar panels on car and caravan
After spending fourteen months traveling around Australia in a self contained caravan we learnt so much. Some towns and governments or powers to be go out of their way to encourage Tourism. Whereas others really act in reverse and turn tourists away from spending time and money in their areas.
The Tourism industry has the chance of making multimillion dollar investments in Australia. Why are the powers to be destroying the town’s chances of prospering and increasing their business turnovers from the people touring through and spending their hard earned holiday and retirement money in those towns?
Parked next to Million dollar ocean view at free camp Camilla Beach
How towns discourage travelers
They are turning hoards of travelers away from the cities and shires by not having convenient parking areas in which travelers can park their car and caravans. If they cannot park, and they have plenty of fuel, travelers keep going to the next town. That is money not spent in their town. We saw this time and time again in fact it is common knowledge and we did it ourselves on numerous occasions.
Many other shires are selling their caravan parks for development, reducing places for travelers to stop.
Most Tourist offices are the first place of call in any new town. When towing a caravan, in many towns we did not stop because we could not get a parking anywhere near the office.
In one place they had good parking. The travellers could not use it as the surrounding office workers parked their cars in the caravan areas. From memory I believe it to have been Moree.
Main roads don't help either make free parking accessible to tourists. Signs for parking bays are missing or placed so close that by the time the traveler sees it, it is too late to stop. Often these bays are placed in quite dangerous areas, where when pulling out you do not have a clear view of the oncoming traffic, or at the base of a hill. What chance has a vehicle towing a caravan have of safely maneuvering up a hill with speeding traffic entering at high speeds.
Eastern Coast of Australia
On the Eastern coast of Australia, government, shires and councils appear to go out of their way to encourage tourists to camp along their rivers and natural bush lands, within reason. Some places do limit access to those with self contained Caravans and RV’s.
We found the Central inland and outback areas of Australia also encouraged tourists to free camp in and around many towns.
Northern Territory would have to be one of the worst states to encourage tourism and free camping; in fact I found one of the staff members in the Tourist office quite rude. I gathered that it was because I was not interested in booking a tour just wanted information.
Most of the state is controlled under the National Parks. And we found people who travel with dogs were penalized. It is hard to find anything worth while visiting unless you can organize somewhere to leave your dog, like a boarding kennel or vet services.
In fact, we tried to see the military museum and could not even drive to that building as there was a no dog sign outside the entrance to the property.
The best Caravan Park in the Northern Territory would have to be Tumbling Waters Caravan Park. They could not do enough for you. They put on a free sausage sizzle and a movie every Saturday night. You needed to take along some protection from the mosquitoes though.
Free Park at St Lawrence
Advantages of Traveling in South Australia
South Australia would have to be one of the best states to appreciate and help the traveling population by allowing travelers to free park along the rivers from 24 hrs - 2-3 weeks. If other towns did this, travelers would spend more money in those towns spending money on food and fuel.
On the whole, many put in Drop toilets and rubbish facilities for the travelers. In fact we found a great place at St Laurence, they supplied free overnight parking,toilets and cold showers and charged a dollar if you wanted a hot shower. These were cleaned daily.
You do not find places like this very often. They even organised one end for tourists without generators and the other for people using generators.
We noticed people stayed and spent money in that town returning the favor tenfold. Why don’t other towns understand these benefits? Often two people in a caravan will spend up to $150 on fuel and $200 on food when they stop, so by keeping the people in or around their towns the town increases their profits.
We found the Central inland areas of Australia also encouraged tourists to free camp in and around many towns. Some charged a small fee to camp around the many lakes, where you could go fishing and boating as well. People definitely spent money in these places because they helped the tourist enjoy their holiday.
I am normally a proud West Australian. Although I am sad to say that Western Australia is so far behind in regards to helping the traveling tourists, they need to do more.
As soon as we crossed into WA in the north of Western Australia, free camps were less conspicuous,and lets face it Western Australia is a VERY BIG State. During our trip we spent time talking to many disgruntled or unhappy Tourists, when asking for their opinions on the best places to stay. Most agreed that Western Australia was the worst. They found many parks were actually being closed all over the South West. They want to use the land to build higher class accommodation. Can you believe it?
Councils and Shires could help their towns
- Keep their caravan parks- then people will stay and spend their money on groceries and fuel.
- Offer reasonable priced sites powered and non powered sites- Nomads do not need playgrounds etc, just somewhere to park overnight.
- Make Vehicle Parking available to shopping centers for large vehicles-If there is no room to park we continue to next town and the town misses out on our money.
- Open their campgrounds - to allow for overflow travelers
- Free Camps - encourage people to spend their money in the towns.
Some Shires have rangers going about moving people on from free camps, in fact at Margaret River they are fining people $100 for camping outside caravan parks. Why don’t they learn to open up show grounds for over flow tourist traffic and charge a $5 fee for un-powered and a $2 shower? And $10 to $15 for power.
Many towns in the Eastern states already do this and they work well.
Why is Western Australia so backward?
Free campsites advertised in the older Camps books are slowly disappearing. When a traveler looks in the current book and sees a free place, they plan their trip to travel there. Once there, they find it has been recently closed and a fine imposed if they stay. They are tired and now forced to travel further.
This not only risks the traveler’s lives, but risk the lives of others on the road because the travelers are already tired and now forced to travel further.
South from Dongara the Camps books showed several free campsites. When we arrived they were all closed, and made into rest areas. The signs said we would be fined if we camped there. Because of this we had to travel onto Gin Gin.
Most comments from visiting tourists to Western Australia and West Australians all said the same. They do nothing to help the traveler with free camping sites. Nor do they have enough caravan parks available for the tourists that want to stay in them.
Therefore I ask you the public, “What is happening in this beautiful State”. And wherever you live, “Do you have a similar problem in your country or town?”
What are you the traveler doing to get improvements to the way your town looks after the travelers by encouraging them into their towns? Yes, you could do your part to promote more traveler friendly places to stay in your town.
If the powers to be continue to try and push everyone into staying in Caravan Parks in their towns, then eventually Caravan Manufacturers will no longer have jobs. Simply because no one will buy a Caravan just to have it sitting in their own back yards.
Expensive Caravan Parks
Everyone cannot afford to stay in Parks while they enjoy a holiday on a budget. Especially some Coastal Parks in the Eastern States as they charge from $60 plus per night for two people in their own Caravan. That may be okay for the rich people, but as the price of fuel and everything else increases, you have to encourage travelers which cannot afford that kind of money for a hot shower and power.As that is all many of them want. If other parks can make money charging $20 to $30 a night, why can’t you?
Caravaners and Tourists cannot support your retirement fund any longer, as we have to look after our own dwindling super, which is at present keeping you in comfort.
Dog Friendly Parks
I have noticed a change in attitudes to dogs in the last 12 months. Many parks that were not pet friendly, now accept pets.
Why? Because they were losing too much money by not being pet friendly as more people than ever are traveling with a dog.
This article is the result of information collected from our trips around Australia. On which we took fourteen months and drove over forty-five thousand kilometers. During this time we talked to many disgruntled and happy tourists. Most were happy to share their opinions on the best and worst places to stay.
We recently did another trip around and some towns are starting to improve their facilities. This time we spent 5 months and drove 17,000 k's and found many new towns to stay in.
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