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Caravan Park family scores 5 Star treble

July 22, 2005

A family of Victorian caravan park operators has scored a 5 Star rating treble.

A Welcome Stranger Holiday Park, Ballarat, is now the third park operated by the Watts family to achieve AAA Tourism 5 Star rating status

The other 5 Star family operations are, Ballarat Goldfields Holiday Park and Melbourne BIG4 Holiday Park at Coburg.

A VICparks spokesman said the achievement is a first in Victoria. AAA Tourism confirms it also an Australian 5 star family first. AAA Tourism manages the star rating scheme for the Automobile Clubs of Australia.

All three parks are members of the BIG4 Holiday Park Chain. Des and Margaret Watts, who head the Watts family, are BIG4 'originals'. Their first park was Welcome Stranger which they bought in 1974. Des and Margaret got into caravan parks because 'It was always something we wanted to do', Des Watts said.

'The children took to it likes ducks to water and they are 110 per cent committed', he said. Des and Margaret have owned, leased or been in partnership in eight parks.

Des says the Watts run of parks have included Maldon Caravan Park, Desert City, Mildura, Kerang, Port Augusta, Melbourne BIG4 Holiday Park at Coburg, they built Ashley Gardens and bought Goldfields in 1996. Two years ago they bought back Welcome Stranger.

Annette Terrill Ballarat Goldfields full kitchen facilities

BIG4 Chief Executive Officer, Terry Goodall said: 'We congratulate Chris, Sandra, John and Judy and their team for an outstanding job and achieving their goal to be a 5 star Holiday Park. The result is a reflection of their dedication and commitment to their park'.

Welcome Stranger is managed byDesWatts' son Chris Watts and wife Sandra (pictured welcoming a guest) and Des's brother John Watts and wife Judy.

It is an Accredited award winning park with plenty of amenities for families. The barbecues and camp kitchen are free to guests. There is a family bathroom at the amenities block plus a babys bathroom. Cots and high chairs are available free at reception. Internet, fax, phone and photocopier are also available at the office.

They have raised the star rating of the park through consistent improvements.

These include new pattern paved concrete slabs in the powered site areas and full renovation and updating of amenities blocks to include under floor heating.

The recent improvements also include pleasant esthetic modern colour schemes, new barbecues with wind breaks and undercover eating area.

The interior of the camp kitchen has been upgraded with cooking facilities, fridge, tables, chairs and TV. All areas are finished with quality tiles and the dedicated tradesmanship shows.

A 'swimmer spa' is incorporated within an attractively fitted out spa room, adjacent to the external solar heated pool with outdoor furniture currently in plans for a makeover.All exterior buildings and cabins have recently been refurbished in attractive modern colour schemes.

Probably the biggest improvement of all is the children's playground which incorporates mini golf.

The Ballarat Goldfields Holiday Park team says they retain their 5 star rating through hard work and attention to detail.

They also come across as passionate believers in the satisfaction which goes with their pursuit of excellence.

Carl and Susan Shane and Annette

The overall cleanliness of the park, efficiency and exceedingly good customer service has paid off once again in a multi-award winning park which is notable for its excellent facilities. The park won the 2003-04 Australian Tourism Award for Best Holiday Park. Ballarat Goldfields has a rustic mining theme with all the modern conveniences. It is the closest park to Ballarats major attraction, Sovereign Hill and Ballarat CBD. This is a park run by family people with real family values. There are children and family bathrooms, heated amenities and a coin-operated Laundromat with irons available free from reception. There are sheltered barbecue areas, together with a new alfresco dining area 24 hour STD Gold Phone. Fax facilities and internet kiosk.

Ballarat Goldfields Holiday Park is managed by Des and Margaret Watts daughters and son-in-laws, Annette and Shane Terrill, Susan and Carl Peucker assisted by Jim and Dawn together with Jenny in the office reception.

At Melbourne BIG4 Holiday Park, Managers Margaret and Gunter Trampnau lead a 5 star achieving team which includes Bernard Watts (son) and sister Lisa.

'Reaching 5 star level is a lot of hard work for everybody from managers to cleaners, the park needs to be run very well, Margaret said.

Mini golf & playground at Welcome Stranger

The park has modern facilities which include pool, spa, TV and games room, functions rooms, internet caf, fax and public phones. There is a wide range of cabins available. Powered sites provide travellers all amenities.

The park attracts a mix of visitors to Melbourne ranging from families to retirees. A major plus is the easy access to the CBD and its attractions. There is public transport from the front gate and the Western Ring Road provides an excellent key to access an easy route to Melbourne BIG4 Holiday Park.

Staff training includes informed friendly assistance for people unfamiliar with Melbournes Ring Roads on using the Western Ring to best advantage. It is also a great link for travellers moving on to the Watts parks in Ballarat.

Australias 5 star parks

There are 15 in Australia. Victoria has 7, NSW 4, WA 3 and Qld 1.

Two are in Ballarat; they are Welcome Stranger Holiday Park and Ballarat Goldfields Holiday Park.

Victorias other five star parks are:

Melbourne BIG4 Holiday Park, Coburg.

BIG4 Melbourne Ashley Gardens, Braybrook.

Beacon Resort Holiday Park, Queenscliff.

RACV Club Cobram.

Parkgate Resort, Halls Gap.

In NSW the 5 stars are:

The Gateway Village, Grafton.

North Star Holiday Resort, Hastings Point.

Koala Shores Port Stephens, Lemon Tree Passage.

The Blue Dolphin Holiday Resort, Yamba.

In WA they are:

Mandalay Holiday Resort, Busselton.

BIG4 Perth International Tourist Park, Forrestfield.

Ivanhoe Village Caravan Resort, Kununurra.


Cairns Coconut Resort, Cairns.

Editors note: The listings may not reflect some parks which are waiting on assessment (pending) with AAA Tourism.