Some people love Caravan Parks and won’t stay anywhere else. We love some of them, and don’t like others at all. In general though, we’d much, much rather be out in a National Park, or on a Station, or in the middle of the bush, with no one else around.
Now, that’s not to say you’ll never see us in a Caravan Park, or that we have anything against them. Some are brilliant, and there are a couple that we regularly recommend, but have designed our setup in a way that we really don’t have much need to use them on a regular basis because we prefer more isolation away from the crowds.
Here’s 9 reasons why we avoid some Caravan Parks:
Noise, in both directions
Caravan Parks by nature are noisy. Some are relatively quiet in the scheme of things, and some are noisy, no matter how you look at it. I’d rather hear the birds chirping, or the fire crackling than my neighbour rattle on (or have two people yell at each other all night like a recent stay).
On the flip side, out of respect for others, you too have to limit your noise. When you have young kids not sleeping well, there’s no worse place to be than a Caravan Park. That feeling of ‘how can we stop bub crying so the neighbours don’t get upset’ isn’t an easy one to deal with. I prefer to be at least 100 metres away from other people, so when they cry at night, no one else has to deal with it.
Small sites and limited options
Some caravan parks are not very generous with their site sizes. You get a little box, and you can’t step outside of it in any direction. In Katherine, our Camper trailer physically didn’t fit in the site given to us. It was too long from draw-bar to kitchen, and we had no choice but to stick partially into someone else’s site.
It makes setting up a pain as you have to be exact in where its parked, and there’s no room to enjoy yourself without upsetting the neighbours. When you have another Caravan or tent only 2 metres from where you are sleeping, its not very pleasant.
Another thing that is annoying with sites that are small is you are extremely limited in how you set up – for us, having decent sun from either the north, west or east for at least a couple of hours a day is pretty important, and when you are limited to a tiny area it makes setting up for solar very hard.
To be fair, some Caravan Parks offer good size sites, and a big congratulations goes out to them!
Average quality amenities
If you are going to pay to stay in a Caravan Park, you expect some reasonable amenities. No soap, cold showers, full rubbish bins, filthy amenities and the like are just a few of the things that you shouldn’t have to put up with and we’ve witnessed our fair share of poor quality amenities around Australia.
In saying this, a lot of Caravan parks are spectacular in this regard, and should be congratulated for keeping up such a high standard each day.
Caravan Parks used to be a cheap way to have a holiday. Today though, the prices in many parks are up there with what you’d pay to rent a house for a week.
If you are getting value for your money, then I don’t have an issue with it. If there’s amazing playgrounds, water parks, kids entertainment and more then maybe you can justify the price, but for a bit of grass with access to the toilets and showers its not fair.
I’ve seen Caravan Parks charging $200 a night for a family. You have got to be flippen kidding, right? Not at all – genuine as. $1400 a week for a patch of grass?!
To be fair, some caravan parks are not what they used to be. Some are full on entertainment centres, with everything from swimming pools and water parks to cinemas, restaurants and bars, kids rooms and the whole works. The problem arises when someone wants accommodation with out all of the fluff; where do they go?
Heavy fire restrictions
Now, this is a generalisation, but we’ve found a lot of caravan parks often don’t like people having fires. Obviously, you’ll find exceptions, but its just another thing they have to manage, so they rule it out completely. For us, its a pretty important part of camping, and we’d always prefer to stay somewhere that allows fires.
A large majority of Australian’s don’t smoke, and the laws are making it more and more difficult. However, when you are packed into a caravan park, it becomes very easy to have to breath in someone else’s smoke. Now, you can get this anywhere, but Caravan Parks seem to be limited by the fact that you are so close to each other, and I despise my family having to breathe in cigarette smoke.
Difficult permanent residents
Quite a few caravan parks in Australia allow permanent residents, in that they live there and call it their home. Most of the time they are fine, but we have had a few run ins with people who are just plain rude, or unreasonable. I guess they become self entitled and protective, and that hurts the overall caravan park’s feel.
If you talk to those who’ve done a lot of travel, you’ll find that thefts most commonly happen in caravan parks compared to free camps, stations and national parks. I feel much more comfortable leaving a Weber out in the middle of the bush than I would at a Caravan Park, and that’s pretty sad, but its how life is.
We’d rather be closer to nature
Now, there are a few caravan parks that buck this trend, but a national park, or station stay or private property will often get you closer to nature, which is a huge reason why we head away in the first place. There’s nothing better than seeing the local wildlife fly, slither, swim and run around, or admiring the amazing flora, or just scenery in general.
Buildings, other campers close by and traffic all break this, and you only get part of the experience.
Our ultimate camp site
We are 100% self sufficient. We can literally park on a beach in the middle of no where for a couple of weeks at a time and enjoy ourselves. We have a toilet, shower, plenty of water, food and gear to be comfortable on our own. This, to us, is the best setup; when you rarely see other people except those you choose to travel with.
Second to this though, is station stays, where there’s heaps of room, no designated sites but still toilets and showers that you can walk to. We enjoy camping around others, but not when you have to be within a couple of metres of them!
That said, if the Caravan Park meets most of the above, we will happily stay there for a few nights, especially if they are quiet.
Caravan Parks we highly rate
We’ve stayed at a lot of Caravan Parks, and rate a number of them:
Duke of Orleans near Esperance, Nannup, Tathams Caravan Park, Cable Beach Caravan Park, Boat Harbour Camp and Chalets, Bremer Bay Caravan Park, Fonty’s Pool, Coalmine Beach near Walpole and I’m sure plenty more. All of these are quite spacious, well priced, and are brilliant spots to spend time away from the big smoke!
I won’t name the ones we haven’t enjoyed, but there’s been quite a few!
What do you reckon? Where’s your ultimate Camp site? Do you prefer Caravan Parks?