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Thursday, 10 Jan 2008

With Patrick on puddle prowl caravan park cabins answer family needs

Lisa and Patrick share the sunshine on the  cabin porch
Lisa and Patrick share the
sunshine on the cabin porch


Caravan park cabins and children are a natural fit. Deluxe cabins come with everything needed to handle "happy little disasters". Patrick (Paddy) O'Shannassy and his family fit in fine, but more of Patrick later. 

Caravan parks welcome children in Australia and throughout New Zealand's parks in the North and South Islands. 

That extends to something which is not found in many hotels, motels, B&B's or guesthouses on both sides of the Tasman. The caravan park culture, facilities and ambience suits kids. 

Good caravan parks in Australia and New Zealand offer facilities which are better than most children have at home or at school.
Cabin and Magna Ocean Grove Holiday Park
Cabin and Magna Ocean Grove Holiday Park


Secure enclosed space, family friendly people, a place where parents get their space too because caravan parks naturally attract adults who can remember the pure joy of being a camping kid. 

There is a subtle difference in the respective approaches to the caravan park culture in Australia and New Zealand. 

Chalets and motel units are the New Zealand Holiday Park version of  the  popular cabins in Australian caravan parks and  there is no drop in the delivery of "fully equipped" by the  leading New Zealand Holiday Parks when  compared with Australia's cabin product.

Good parks  make children kings with excellent facilities and services on both sides of the Tasman.

Ocean Grove Holiday Park is in Wallington Rd., Melway Ref: 483 f10
(turn right towards Wallington coming  from Geelong) on route to Victoria's world class scenic surf-side drive the Great Ocean Road.   

It  is one of the recent better examples of cabins with home comforts we have tried on regular editorial tours in Australia and New Zealand in 2006 - 07.

In fact we deliberately took a family cabin on December 23. It wasn't about us doing a Scrooge. We went back to Ocean Grove after many years drawn by good memories of caravan park time (with child).

But December 23 is in that "shoulder" time, just before Christmas, when prices are easier on the hip pocket. The great migration from city and suburbs to beach and bush campsites which follows Boxing Day is still in that place we call Future Shocking.
Hmmm, mum cant reach me in time so...
Hmmm, mum can't reach me in time so...


It is also the period when some grumpy Grey Nomads take cover until the school holidays pass. This has direct benefit as it means less chance of a War of the Worlds - we are sure parents get the point. 

Despite there being some truth in the general publicly held belief that journos never pay for anything GoSee makes a point of paying full fare. Unless, and it happens, it becomes rude to refuse the generousity of industry friends.

But we make a point of finding a way to make it up when that comes up. Mostly it is the GoSee budget being hit and that focuses our initial search for a good deal.

To give balance to that attitude "good deal" does not translate into "cheapest" with us. There are many elements of a good deal which have nothing to do with money. 

Cabin quality is No 1.
Look mum I am making  a splash
Look mum I am making a splash


There are also many practical benefits for GoSee site visitors in this approach. Within the limits of good taste, fair play and the law we aim to report what we find. 

Another is we see the real accommodation as the traveller finds it, not as it is presented "packaged" by some forewarned caravan parks to an accommodation Star rating inspector.

So when owner Steve Smith asked why we had chosen Ocean Grove Holiday Park we said we came to relive happy beach memories of Ocean Grove caravan parks.

Steve and Joan Smith are new to the world of the Web and it impresses that they are right on the money with their online customer market research.

So for $A92.50, plus $A6 for linen, we took the key to the comforts of Deluxe Cabin 31 and settled into clean, fresh fully self-contained comfort.
Puddles are  great fun
Puddles are great fun


It was a long way from the tired onsite caravan which housed the first stay at Ocean Grove.

GST on Cabin 31 was $A8.41. Arrival time is after 1.30pm.

In our case that came after a wonderful GoSee pre-Christmas Lunch watching the waves through the floor to ceiling glass of nearby The Dunes Cafe and Bar.

Departure from Ocean Grove Holiday Park is before 10am with late check out available for $A35, subject to availability.

The weather was wild and woolly, with wind and rain so we turned up the gas heater and kicked back on the twin sofas.

Later, after dinner, we hit the big comfortable bed with our hired fresh linen and it was not until next morning we met Patrick, his brother Jean-Paul, mother Malinda and dad Paul.

The sun was out and it was playtime - cricket to be exact, with some spot-on deliveries to the plastic stumps. 

Come on time to get into some cricket
Come on time to get into some cricket
Paul likes cabins. He particularly liked the well-appointed cabin next to ours as its facilities, TV, DVD, space and fully-equipped kitchenette had kept the family friendly through the recent bad weather.

Now he noted with satisfaction the secure fencing around the grassed sheltered central barbecue area with a father's eye for safe play space.

In addition Ocean Grove Holiday Park runs to a camp kitchen. Not as good as the top examples we  have used in New Zealand, but right up there by Australian standards. 


The recreation room opens from 9am to 10pm each day. There is a solar-heated swimming pool, a playground for children under 12, tennis court ($5 an hour) racquet $1 ea plus a $5 key deposit. There is also a good  laundry.

The tennis court is available from 9am to 10pm. The spa is a 9am to 10pm experience too at $8 for half an hour for two plus $5 deposit on the key.

But Paddy O'Shannassy didn't need any of that. The sun shone, he was on the prowl and he felt fine.

He turned bright eyes on Lisa and won her heart. He sat with her in the sunshine and laid on the blarney.
Children have play space inside a safe high fence
Children have play space inside a safe high fence
That led to climbing chairs and verandah rails,  opening big books, exploring new places,  greeting new people, and adventures on the big spread of grass.

But it is tough being a mum. Kids are so quick. Paddy found a puddle. Not just any puddle. A beautiful puddle.

Delighted he jumped and splashed in it. His dad Paul sounded the alarm, but too late Paddy, rejoicing, sat in it. 

He was among friends and we all enjoyed his puddle pleasure. Mum Malinda, resigned to the coming clean-up, allowed Patrick to wade into the experience until, enough fun, and Paddy was retrieved for re-cycling in the home-comforts of the big Deluxe cabin.

As we said at the start of this little tale caravan park cabins and children are a natural fit. Particularly for parents. 

We wonder - maybe when Paddy is older good memories of a beautiful puddle at Ocean Grove Holiday Park will bring him back with his own family?

Editor's Note: Also see -

These features are related to the family cabin  and camping culture in both Australia and New Zealand.


Kids are kings when they GoSeeAustralia

GoSeeAustralia finds One Mile Beach, Port Stephens a caravan park paradise

Meet Luke, the future for caravan parks in Australia

Ballarat Goldfields Holiday Park enters Hall of Fame

Families fuel drive to quality time in caravan parks

Camper family four wing north by Swan

Families keep 310,575 caravans on freedom road

Cabin alternative wins Aussie family vote

Hook up and tow

Heritage Lifestyle Park concept puts more holiday quality into time-out

Guthrie touch lifts Family Parks Trans-Tasman chain to 203 member parks

New Zealand leads Australasia with its dazzling camp kitchen culture

Family Parks named New Zealand's most hospitable Holiday Park experience for 2nd year

Significant jump in Australian off-peak tourism to New Zealand minister tells Holiday Parks

Holiday Parks pick up accommodation improvement pace at 50th Conference in Hamilton

Motorhome adventures in North and South Island of New Zealand - Part 1 Practical motorhoming

From sex crazed super prawns to spin-outs on the Waikato - sweet as!

Errol Flynn's ghost sails Australasias biggest volcano lake

Motorhome adventures with children - New Zealand South Is tour

Editor's  note: Key the word children into the multi-search box on the GoSee  Home page or into the multi-search box at the bottom of an Information feature page and read related information in GoSee unique cross-linked files.

For more information
contact: Garth Morrison
Editor Go See Australia and Go See New Zealand Directory
Email: garth@contact.com.au
Breakfast cooks on the Camp Kitchen barbecue
Breakfast cooks on the Camp Kitchen barbecue
At Ocean Grove Holiday Park children are a spectator sport
At Ocean Grove Holiday Park children are a spectator sport
Cop this dad. Jean-Paul bowls to Paul O
Cop this dad. Jean-Paul bowls to Paul O'Shannassy
Happy snaps from the  barbecue shelter table
Happy snaps from the barbecue shelter table
Hey mate this puddle  has real potential
Hey mate this puddle has real potential
Jayco flight on site Ocean Grove Holiday Park
Jayco flight on site Ocean Grove Holiday Park
Jayco Outback Expanda spread out at Ocean Grove Holiday Park
Jayco Outback Expanda spread out at Ocean Grove Holiday Park
Joan and Steve Smith (left) Ocean Grove Holiday Park
Joan and Steve Smith (left) Ocean Grove Holiday Park
Malinda helps Patrick with his bookwork
Malinda helps Patrick with his bookwork
Pam and Lisa see the funny side of life over lunch at The Dunes
Pam and Lisa see the funny side of life over lunch at The Dunes
Playtime gear  for under 12s Ocean Grove Holiday Park
Playtime gear for under 12s Ocean Grove Holiday Park
Point Lonsdale  lookout and The Rip are a short drive from Ocean Grove
Point Lonsdale lookout and The Rip are a short drive from Ocean Grove
Spirit of Tasmania powers through Port Phillip Bays Rip swell
Spirit of Tasmania powers through Port Phillip Bay's Rip swell
Take five while the tent goes up
Take five while the tent goes up
The playroom at Ocean Grove Holiday Park
The playroom at Ocean Grove Holiday Park
Wild weather view of The Rip from Ocean Grove
Wild weather view of The Rip from Ocean Grove


Ocean Grove Holiday Park
Ocean Grove Holiday Park
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