Beechworth Lake Sambell Caravan Park works with CMCA to provide $5 a night Leave No Trace responsible camping

October 04, 2012
Beechworth Lake Sambell Caravan Park works with CMCA to provide $5 a night Leave No Trace responsible camping

By Bob Farmer

Roger and Sue Humphris of Lake Sambell Caravan Park, Beechworth, Victoria have a $5 Leave No Trace orientated camping initiative which has been in place with the Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia (CMCA) for about four years.

The Lake Sambell Caravan Park team offers the Leave No Trace (LNT) basic camping facility to CMCA members at $5 per person a night. There are also powered sites or unpowered sites at the properties commercial rate.

To date, the $5 per person initiative has not been used as anticipated.

At check-in we always ask CMCA qualifying Leave No Trace members would they like to stay $5 per person or a powered / unpowered site, most, 19 out of 20 take the powered site, Roger told GoSee as we talked about Lake Sambell's commitment to provide basic camping for CMCA's Recreational Vehicles.

Many caravan parks don't have a dump point, but Roger paid for and installed an effective Dump-Ezy product at Lake Sambell which CMCA members are welcome to use free.

The Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia is the biggest Recreational Vehicle Club in the country with 63,500 members and 97 Chapters throughout Australia.

The CMCA Leave No Trace scheme is a self-containment code of conduct which was established to show the club's commitment to the environment. The CMCA is a long-term leader in promoting environmentally responsible camping and overnighting.

The Leave No Trace code of conduct has 11 check-points.

The 8th takes a responsible position on caravan parks. To quote the code it requires that (8) not park overnight or camp within line of sight of a caravan park unless in an approved overnight rest area.

Caravan parks are an important part of the RVing way of life. It is essential that we (CMCA) support caravan parks whenever it is possible. However, we need to realise that not all caravan parks support stopping in locations other than in a commercial park. Please do not provoke any adverse response by parking where this may happen, the LNT code says.

Roger and Sue Humphris have responded with a good management attitude, to present a very clean and safe property. Lake Sambell Caravan Park aims to offer good value for a sustainable and fair price.

Drive-up access to Dump-Ezy point Beechworth Lake Sambell Caravan Park
Drive-up access to Dump-Ezy point Beechworth Lake Sambell Caravan Park

There is plenty of room for big rigs here, 3.5 acres and it is dead flat and plenty of shade, Roger said. The key word in Rogers approach is 'responsible' camping. He had the space at Lake Sambell and thinks more CMCA members visiting Beechworth will be good for the historic town which relies heavily on tourism.

Apart from the dump point installation, we aim to keep our costs at a minimum, whilst providing a secure and responsible camping area, to CMCA members, within walking distance to town. The LNT scheme for us will never be a revenue stream for us; however it does allow CMCA members to advertise our park to perhaps non-members for future stays.

We like to see responsible camping, with options for CMCA members and benefiting Beechworth. Really in the first place it was all about helping Beechworth, Roger Humphris said.

Lake Sambell's $5 per person a night camping asks that campers are CMCA members, fully self-contained, and Leave No Trace certified by CMCA.

Additional services, like showers, firewood and fire drums must be paid for if required.

CMCA says that over the past decade the Self-Contained RV tourist market has continued to expand, and has now emerged as one of the most important and sustainable sectors of the tourism industry.

The self-contained RV, whether towed or self-propelled, has its own toilet, shower, grey water tank, and fresh water tank, fridge, solar panels and/or generator, allowing RV tourists to disappear out bush for up to a week. Mobile phones, GPSs, air-conditioning and computers are the other items frequently found on board these vehicles.

When they visit a region, the only extra services they require are a dump point, a water tap, somewhere to dispose of their rubbish, and somewhere to stop and shop, the CMCA says.

Beechworth is a CMCA RV Friendly town.
Beechworth is a CMCA RV Friendly town.

The Caravan Recreational Vehicle Association of Australia Ltd (CRVA) sourced Industry Pulse, caravanning and Holiday Parks Industry News reports that CRVA has no desire to take away freedom of choice or 'freedom camping', a privilege enjoyed by Australians for many years.

But where governments, councils, community / charity groups, or entrepreneurs look to develop new or manage existing RV infrastructure, or manufacture, distribute, or import RV product, it must be within the laws of the land, and meet the same compliance burden that commercial operators are required to meet irrespective of the planned cost to the RV traveller, free or otherwise.

This is for the safety and enjoyment of the RV traveller and the sustainability of caravanning and camping as a whole the Enews letter says.

Recently, the Australian Caravanning Club met with CRVAs CEO, Stuart Lamont and CCIA NSWs President, Theo Whitmont.

Stuart Lamont said: CRVAs view towards the industry is expansionary rather than that of retraction, and where as an industry we can get involved in the consultative process to ensure compliant activity, we are happy to get involved.

Our industry should be interested in opening and cleaning the industry up, not close it down as is suggested (by some critics). In a fair go Australia, competition with compliance should not be too much to ask for, he said.

Campervan at home Beechworth Lake Sambell Caravan Park.
Campervan at home Beechworth Lake Sambell Caravan Park.

GoSeeAustralia has an RV Friendly logo which participating caravan parks carry with the maximum size RV they can accommodate on it.

Many RV Friendly Parks are in the GoSeeAustralia database. Many of these caravan parks have an area suitable for motorhomes, campervans, 5th wheelers and bigger vehicles which need more than a standard size campsite.

Their pricing off-peak is particularly attractive for those who can choose when and where they travel.

GoSee also finds that inland caravan parks are an interesting and economic alternative to coastal caravan parks during peak school holiday periods.

They are often remarkable in their own right.

For example Beechworth, in Victoria's Indigo Shire, and the heart of the North East, between Wodonga and Myrtleford marks the past with more than 30 buildings classified by the National Trust.

Bushranger Ned Kelly is part of the history of the Old Beechworth Gaol and courthouse, where he faced charges in 1880 for the murder of police at Stringybark Creek, near Tolmie.

The courthouse is now part of Beechworths Historic and Cultural Precinct, which offers a fascinating insight into the activities of a 19th century government centre. Multi media techniques now illustrate the themes of law and order, bushrangers and gold. Stage one of Beechworths Historic and Cultural Precinct opened in September 2001 after a $2 million restoration.

Built from local honey colored granite, the key buildings include the former telegraph station (c1858), courthouse (c1858), sub-treasury and gold office (c1858) (police station), Chinese Protectors office and Gold Wardens office.

12.19 metres at Lake Sambell.
12.19 metres at Lake Sambell.

Also part of the Historic Precinct is the Burke Memorial Museum, named after another legendary character, Robert OHara Burke, leader of the fatal Burke and Wills trans-Australia expedition, who was superintendent of police from 1854 to 1858, and bushranger Harry Powers cell.

The Burke Museum houses an excellent collection of gold mining and Ned Kelly memorabilia, rare Aboriginal artifacts and a recreation of Beechworths 1850s main street shops.

More places of interest related to Ned Kelly are located on the Kelly Trail, which passes through Avenel, Euroa, Benalla, Glenrowan, Beechworth and Mansfield.

The Murray to the Mountains Rail Trail which was once the railway between Wangaratta and Bright is now an interesting cycling track. 'Railway grades' make the ride a fairly easy experience for the moderately fit.

While the grades are generally gentle the stretch from Beechworth is best taken downhill.

If you have doubts about your fitness arrange to be picked up. Local operators, with customised trailers, will take you and your bike back to Beechworth. The Trail is bitumen sealed and follows 98 kms of historic railway lines, from Wangaratta to Bright, via Mytleford, connecting with Beechworth.

From Beechworth the Everton Pub is a popular destination, but take care not to miss the turn off the trail to Everton. Overall the trail can be ridden in stages, which stop at watering holes, accommodation, and natural and developed attractions.

Crystal clear  camping night Beechworth Lake Sambell Caravan Park.
Crystal clear camping night Beechworth Lake Sambell Caravan Park.

Beechworth Lake Sambell Caravan Park is the only caravan park in historic Beechworth, located within walking distance to the centre town. It is also close to the Murray to Mountains Rail Trail and Mountain Bike parks.

There is only one caravan park in Beechworth, Lake Sambell Caravan Park, with another at Silver Creek, Beechworth Holiday Park which is about three minutes drive from the town centre.

Local wines range from robust red, through to crisp whites, sparkling and world famous fortified varieties, like the Glenrowan and Rutherglen muscats.

Freshwater fish comes from the King, Ovens and Murray Rivers. Trout, Chinook Salmon, Murray Cod and yabbies are part of the local menu, and cheese and bread from local bakeries provide a gourmet selection.

Food and wine maps, trail maps and gourmet guides are available from local information centres.

Beechworth and nearby Yackandandah are fertile touring territory on the edge of Victoria's Kiewa Valley. The scenery in the surrounding countryside offers plenty of variety.

Editors note: www.GoSeeAustralia.com.au and www.GoSeeNewZealand.co.nz are freeroad touring websites set up by the Canberra based website building company ContACT Internet Solutions.

Both websites are designed to provide an easy to use free national source of information for travellers and the caravanning industry to assist drive tourism in Australia and New Zealand.

Easy access for Big Rigs to Beechworth Lake Sambell Dump Point
Easy access for Big Rigs to Beechworth Lake Sambell Dump Point

Our company policy is to recommend caravan parks for the security of travellers.

GoSee staff members are lifetime caravanners and campers. The company has two dedicated Jayco caravans a camper, various tentsand four tow vehicles. Our staff members include long-term caravan park owners.

GoSee free camps when and where appropriate. GoSee will not free camp to the detriment of a caravan park. GoSee pays its way when travelling. Usually this is at the commercial rack rate.

In 2009 a GoSee survey of road travellers and caravan parks produced positive information on camping needs in Australia and New Zealand.

Formed road access Beechworth Lake Sambell Caravan Park
Formed road access Beechworth Lake Sambell Caravan Park
Dump-Ezy point is free to CMCA members at Beechworth Lake Sambell Caravan Park
Dump-Ezy point is free to CMCA members at Beechworth Lake Sambell Caravan Park
Lake Sambell Beechworth, Victoria.
Lake Sambell Beechworth, Victoria.
Natural beauty Beechworth Lake Sambell Caravan Park
Natural beauty Beechworth Lake Sambell Caravan Park
Motorhomes  at Beechworth Lake Sambell.
Motorhomes at Beechworth Lake Sambell.