Caravanning around Australia is more than a holiday, it's a lifestyle.
Australians love holidaying in the great outdoors. A whopping 85 per cent of the population has gone camping or caravanning at least once, according to the Caravan Industry Association of Australia.
Travelling by caravan is not only a popular holiday option; for some people it’s a new way of life. Terry and Mary-Anne Oliver from Carrum Downs in Victoria had always dreamed of caravanning around the country. The couple had been on countless short trips over the past 10 years, and since retiring have begun taking longer trips.
“It started as camping and grew from there,” Mary-Anne says. “The whole lifestyle is amazing. We don’t want it to stop.”
The adventurous couple has been on the road since June 2015 with minimal time spent at their unit. They travel in their self-sufficient, 6.5-metre caravan with their Staffordshire bull terrier, Zeba. The trio loves life on the road.
“We love the relaxation, the lack of stress and meeting people. You meet the most amazing people,” Mary-Anne says.
“We’ve made friends with about 40 or 50 other couples,” Terry says. Terry says the nomad lifestyle is never dull. “Everything’s new. We’re having new experiences every day. It never gets boring. And if it does, I go fishing, or golfing, or pack up and go somewhere else,” he says.
Seventy-three per cent of new caravan and motorhome owners say they want to see more of Australia. A 2015 survey by the Caravan Industry Association of Australia found there were 528,210 caravans registered across the country, a five per cent increase from the previous year.
Debbie Ebsary, the Manager at Kookaburra Caravan Park in Busselton, Western Australia, says she sees between five and 15 caravan arrivals every week during Winter.
“Some people have sold their house, so caravanning is their lifestyle. Many of them are grey nomads and they go around and around. The caravan is their home,” Debbie says.
Debbie meets the passing travellers and says most of them are lots of fun. “They’ve got no worries, they’re laid-back, they enjoy fishing, sometimes they’re just happy to sit in the sunshine and read a book,” she says.
The Kookaburra Caravan Park is a block from the Busselton Jetty and has 150 powered van sites. The park is on level ground and has a disabled public toilet and a wheelchair-accessible cabin.
Mary-Anne says she and Terry have met people travelling with motorised scooters and have noticed that many parks have all-abilities access.
“Most places these days have wheelchair ramps and disabled toilets and showers, even at the roadside stops in some places. Western Australia is fantastic for that, especially north of Geraldton,” Mary-Anne says.
Main Roads Western Australia has built rest areas that offer amenities including waste stations, shelters, picnic areas and toilets.
When Marcus and Kay Kitchen, owners of Kurrimine Beach Holiday Park on Queensland’s Cassowary Coast, recognised the need for better facilities, the holiday park went through major renovations. The park has won tourism awards for its well-maintained disability access facilities and quality customer service.
“We met guests who had disabilities and they told us about the things they actually needed and wanted, which were different from the basic requirements,” Kay says.
When a guest broke his leg during his holiday recently, he was able to use the park’s waterproof wheelchair and beach buggy and still join in with his family.
“We’ve tried to include things that will enable everyone to be included in normal activities, whether they are able-bodied or have restricted mobility.”
Images courtesy Tourism WA; Visions of Victoria; Alamy
Kurrimine Beach Holiday
Park, Kurrimine Beach
Beach house and shacks
with wheelchair access.
1300 725 525 kurrimine.com.au
New South Wales
Tathra Beachside Holiday
Park, Tathra, South Coast
Water park. Great for
families. Pet friendly.
(02) 6494 1302 tathrabeachside.com.au
Brighton Caravan Park,
cabins and facilities, plus a
walk-in swimming pool.
1800 444 567 adelaideshores.com.au
Camping and Caravan
(03) 5356 6309 grampiansparadise.com.au
Taunton Farm Holiday Park,
facilities. No dogs.
1800 248 777 tauntonfarm.com.au
Kookaburra Caravan Park,
Camper’s kitchen, undercover
BBQ areas and disabled
facilities. Dogs welcome.
(08) 9752 1516 busselton.wa.gov.au