articles and blog
Staying in caravan parks
Category: Overnight stops. Published: 10 Aug 2009 (first published 23 Jun 2009)
There are a wide variety of caravan parks in Australia. In America it seems there are differences in parks that are used for permanent occupation (referred to as "trailer parks") and those used for temporary stays ("RV parks"). In Australia's caravan parks there are often sections for permanent or long-term occupants that are separate from those areas for overnight or short-term stays, while many caravan parks have no "permanent" occupants.
Caravan parks provide powered or unpowered sites for all types of homes-on-wheels as well as tents. Many now also have on-site cabins that are taking over many of the former powered or unpowered sites. Some, although a reducing number, also have on-site vans available. There are also a number of caravan parks that have motel-style accommodation.
Powered sites generally include power (surprisingly!), fresh water connections and grey-water sullage. Some have en-suite shower and/or toilet facilities. Non-powered sites generally are a patch of grass!
All parks have shared toilet, shower and laundry facilities and many have a dump-point for emptying on-board toilets. Most have a camp kitchen and/or outside cooking and eating facilities such as barbecues.
Other facilities that may be provided by a caravan park include a convenience shop, restaurant, swimming pool, spa, exercise equipment, children's play area, tennis court and/or a games room, and an increasing number are providing wireless Internet. In some of the more popular tourist locations a range of entertainment may be provided in tourist season.
Cost and booking
The cost of a powered or unpowered site varies between caravan parks, and also depends on time of year, number of people and length of stay. Some parks charge more for a powered site while some parks charge the same for powered or unpowered. Visiting during busy, peak tourist seasons will attract a higher fee, and during these periods you may need to book ahead. You can expect to pay anywhere between $20-$35 per night for one or two people, with more for each extra person.
Caravan park membership groups
There are a number of caravan park membership groups that provide discounts for staying at their parks -- the three biggest are:
I'm a member of each and have found it to be well worthwhile, but it depends on how often and for how long you stay in their parks. I'm also a member of the Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia (CMCA) which also has its own caravan park listing.
Single-rate caravan parks
One thing that always annoys me about caravan parks is that most of them charge the same for one person as they do for two people. Yet if there are more than two they charge an extra amount for each extra person. Using this logic shouldn't they charge less for one person than they do for two? More information and a list of those caravan parks that do charge a lower rate for a single person.