Caravan Park Etiquette

CookhouseAh! The freedom of the road. The joy of venturing out into parts unknown with complete freedom in your campervan/motor home/caravan. Modern adventurers who hit the tarmac in all parts of Australia, heading out to discover their country and, perhaps, to discover themselves.

There may indeed be freedom out on the road, but if you are travelling in a vehicle which is either self contained for living or is towing a caravan, you will need to access power for most nights during your trip, and for that you need to book into a caravan park.

Caravan park is a generic term, for in reality the caravan parks are each unique.

You would normally expect the best parks to be located close to towns where there is a lot of infrastructure. There are some remote parks in out-of-the way places in Australia where facilities are few, but you don’t just judge a park on its facilities. Brilliant, but remote, location is also an important consideration. You may not have every facility at the these parks, but you may have larger plots or magnificent views, great fishing nearby, or just a great a fantastic ambience which makes getting away from it all totally worthwhile.

The best parks to stay in are the tourist parks, where long term stays are banned. There are many parks which accept permanents. From my experience, these are the ones to stay away from.

At tourist parks, everyone is there temporarily so there is no sense of ownership, and there is more of a sense of camaraderie among the guests as they are all there for the same purpose, to make their own discovery of Australia. Tourist parks tend to be more casual, the guests seem to be friendlier, and campers swap stories about best attractions to visit, road conditions, other places to visit, and their is a wealth of information exchanged.

The worst parks in which to stay are those which accept permanents. When you have a park full of permanents cliques form and the permanents assume ownership of the plots near them, and they have their own rules and regulations. Generally speaking, those parks full of permanents are unfriendly to casual visitors, who are seen as invaders.

Through necessity, those parks that are close to large urban areas are generally busy, plots are smaller, and facilities such as ablution blocks filthier. This is not through lack of cleaning, but through over use. They are also more expensive than the rural parks, the prices based solely on supply and demand.

My least favorite parks are those in large urban areas near big cities, simply because they are not places where you can get away from it all.

Some of my favorite parks are those with few facilities but whose location is superb. These are those that are located in national parks, or on remote coastlines, where there are no crowds and wonderful surroundings. You can do without many comforts when you are staying in a magical place.

Etiquette demands that you acknowledge your neighbours, exchange pleasantries, but don’t invade their privacy. You don’t play loud music, or have a TV or radio blaring loudly. If using the cookhouse, you wait your turn for the barbecue and not push in. You clean up after yourself, and you generally behave in a responsible manner.

Staying in a caravan park is similar to staying in a tenement building, except that you are living closer to your near neighbours and your behaviors can have a detrimental affect on them.

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