Good quality basic parks win more friends on both sides of Tasman

February 29, 2008
Good quality basic parks win more friends on both sides of Tasman

By Garth Morrison Editor GoSeeAustralia & New Zealand

A strong demand for good quality, but basic caravan park accommodation is on the grow throughout Australia and New Zealand.

More caravan park users than ever before are now interested in a stay at caravan parks which rate at between three and three and half stars under the Australian Automobile Clubs AAA Tourism assessment citeria.

The Public Forums of popular caravanning websites show the strong interest in basic caravan park accommodation. Cost is the issue. Lack of site availability in some areas in peak periods is another consideration which is now a challenge for the caravan park industry. This particularly relates to Queensland caravan parks during the cooler months in southern Australia.

Noel Guthrie of the Family Parks chain told GoSee today that Family Parks is experiencing a big increase in the use of caravan park cabins. More Family Parks guests are opting for cabins over towing their own caravan. Again cost and convenience is the driver, he said.

During a March 2007 editorial tour in New Zealand's North Island GoSee evaluated the real costs of using a motorhome against a hire car and chalet/cabin stays over about a fortnight and found that the hire car and chalet/cabin option cost about NZ$70 more.

Of its 162 Australian caravan parks Family Parks has 115 which rate at between three and three and half stars. In New Zealand the Trans Tasman chain has 35 holiday parks which are of a similar AA standard.

On both sides of the Tasman the demand for good basic caravan park accommodation shows in a big response to Family Park's VIP Member Club particularly its 24 Month Membership for $25.

Beds for five chalet 2nd bedroom Miranda Holiday Park
Beds for five chalet 2nd bedroom Miranda Holiday Park

Once the VIP Member Club was almost specific to caravanners or camper owners. Now it is popular public property across the whole range of caravan park regulars and now finds favour with people new to the world of camping.

The VIP Card Holder Benefits are -

10% Discount all year to a maximum of $20 per stay on sites or a maximum of

$40 per stay in cabins/chalets/units. (No other discount or commissions apply.)

A chance to win $250 of Holiday Vouchers every month just for staying atFamily Parks. Free book ahead service.

There are conditions. They are -

Tourist use only. Not applicable to permanent, annuals, long term or storage patrons. Not transferable.

To illustrate the caravan versus cabin point from GoSee Forum comments here is a question from Kelley -

Hello I just want to find out where will i get an idea for cost petrol to tow caravan (Camper trailer) from Brisbane (Doolandella) to Melbourne (Kilysth).

GoSeeNZ cook in action Miranda chalet
GoSeeNZ cook in action Miranda chalet

As we have very short budget. Try to work out if it worth to take the caravan or leave it home . We arent sure at the moment as we leaving this tuesday early morning . Hope to get help to give us an idea .

GoSee's response was -

Hello Kelley.

You have not said what you are towing with so

We assume at least two drivers.

We recommend that no driver be at the wheel for more than 500km (absolute max with breaks every two hours) a day.

We assume one of the popular bigger petrol towing vehicles.

It will cost about 14.2c a kilometre to run a 6 (4litre) or 8 (4 litres and above) cylinder petrol vehicle towing.

If you hit headwinds or push hard you can double the cost per kilometre.

So on average it will cost, at current prices, about $110 to cover 700km.

You will drive (fastest route) about 1669km with about 20.5hrs behind the wheel.

Fuel budget is about $270 - $300 for bigger tow vehicles.

GoSeeNZ gets online in a two bedroom chalet Miranda Holiday Park
GoSeeNZ gets online in a two bedroom chalet Miranda Holiday Park

As this is about tight budget we suggest you cook for yourselves buying or pre-preparing food and drinks from (Australian) supermarkets.

Use the fuel save receipt to cut your fuel costs by 4c a litre.

A standard cabin at Westview Caravan Park, West Dubbo (946km from Brisbane) for one night $40 to $50.

Take sleeping bags and pillows.

These numbers are based on GoSee experiences which can be picked up in our info Articles.

Knock towing, LPG or Cairns into the Multi-search box at the top right of the GoSee home page

The actual cost will rise or fall depending on driver habits, vehicle type, tuning and condition, tyre pressures, use of cruise control, head winds, hilly country, the weight of the camper, load in the tow vehicle and roof racks and open sunroof or windows.

Via Dubbo is the popular route. Again we have assumed you will go that way.

Or - on the subject of caravan park site availability (or lack of) in peak periods.

Comments: Each year the problem increases, and that is the number of parks, mainly in Qld that do not have vacancies during the June-Aug period.

Last year I visited a park in Qld and enjoyed it very much. I asked to make a booking for a longer period during the following winter (2008) but was told that until the 'regulars' had confirmed their sites - about February of the next year - that I would have to go on a wait list.

Barbecue area Bowentown Family Holiday Park
Barbecue area Bowentown Family Holiday Park

I can appreciate that park owners want to look after their regular guests, but how does one even get an opportunity to become one?

What's more is that if I have to wait until February to know, then I have no chance to get a site anywhere else giving the scarcity of popular venues.

The spontanaeity of just taking off and driving somewhere, finding a spot and getting a site seem to have disappeared.

Is this just an isolated complaint or do others face the same situation? What is the answer?

In GoSee's daily experience as constant travellers and Moderators on internet Forums this unfortunately is not an isolated peak period situation in caravan parks in popular areas.

Editor's Note: We include a run of related images from typical New Zealand Holiday Parks of a good standard with all basic requirements -

Bowentown Family Holiday Park has room for BIG rigs
Bowentown Family Holiday Park has room for BIG rigs
Camp Kitchen Bowentown Family Holiday Park
Camp Kitchen Bowentown Family Holiday Park
Kick back with the Biguns parked Miranda Holiday Park Waitakaruru
Kick back with the Biguns parked Miranda Holiday Park Waitakaruru
Laundry at the ready Redwood Family Holiday Park Rotorua
Laundry at the ready Redwood Family Holiday Park Rotorua
Real space on camp sites Miranda Holiday Park
Real space on camp sites Miranda Holiday Park
Gleaming Camp Kitchen Miranda Holiday Park
Gleaming Camp Kitchen Miranda Holiday Park
Room to move Miranda Family Holiday Park
Room to move Miranda Family Holiday Park
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