This post was “sponsored by” Barcaldine Tourist Park’s Free wireless internet
(a highly recommended practise and a good Caravan Park)
I find the inland caravan park culture very different from the coast. Semi-permanent residents often dominate coastal caravan parks, with their onsite vans set up as pseudo beachside holiday homes. No longer mobile, their vans accumulate all the defensive markings of suburbia with gardens, fences, BBQ’s and a bit of an attitude towards transients like us. Family groups (like we used to be) are also common in coastal parks in the warmer weather, with children from babes to teens, gathered for a few weeks of holiday fun. Even if it rains there can be a gathering for games or a just a chat. Then, of course, every summer beachside parks acquire swarms of hired mini vans full of northern hemisphere tourists, escaping their cold winter for the warmth of our summer and the attraction of our surf and sand. They make the laundry and bathrooms an absolute United Nations every summer.
Gathering for a cuppa and a chat of an afternoon are the “grey generation” You wouldn’t find this on the coast.
Inland parks are so different. Camping season tends to be any season except summer, when Australia’s blistering inland heat and the monsoon in northern regions makes travel either impossible or just plain unpleasant. The park’s population is almost all made up of travelers, staying for a couple of nights, seeing the sights and then moving on. During the school holidays, like now in Queensland there are families with young children, but almost no teenagers. Traveling with teens in a car and a caravan is apparently too painful for any family to bear. The enormous distances required to see inland Australia makes tourism in these areas by air much more popular with overseas visitors so no mini vans and less of a cultural mix.
The overwhelming majority of the inland camping population is the “grey nomad group” from the pre-retirees, trying out the independent, traveling lifestyle, to the octogenarians, anxious to fit in just one last trip. In general they are a very friendly bunch, taking any opportunity to share the excitement of their traveling adventures, past and present with others, and always ready to help out others.
Sharing Experiences is a highlight of the day for experienced Travellers
In Queensland, parks like this one at Barcaldine, 1500 km from Brisbane and the coast, the social nature of travelers is encouraged by providing a “happy hour” with Billy tea and cakes provided, BYO chairs, cups and optional alcohol and a local pair of bush balladeers to provide music from “our” generation.
I’ve experienced both cultures, in many parks over 50 years of camping and have found the experience altogether to be recommended. Five Stars it isn’t – but you can’t get closer to the beach or the bush than when camping.