Is a 24 hours stay enough?

We have been free camping a lot since we were introduced to this lifestyle some 7 years ago and we love the freedom it gives us to come and go without have to plan and book days and weeks in advance. We would love councils and shires to consider longer free camping for the reasons we listed below. We recognize that businesses aka caravan parks need to have people pay to stay in their parks. However this post isn't about supporting free camping verses caravan parks. Maybe we will do a post in the future about our take on this part of the debate. However this post is limited to the recognition shown by some shires and councils to allow limited free overnight stops.



We felt strong enough about to this topic to send a  much shorter letter to the editor of Australia's largest motorhome & RV club (CMCA) magazine, The Wanderer, which was subsequently published in the March 2018 edition (Vol 33 no 3)



Our original unedited letter

I am writing in regard to free camping and how many towns and regions are offering places to camp for free or at low cost. I am especially grateful for these camps that offer 48-96 hours stay. Frankly I am puzzled by towns and councils putting in only 20-24 hour stays. By the time we arrive, settle down after the drive, cook, sleep, it is time to move on again, leaving no time to explore and look around your town, do some shopping and visit a restaurant or club etc.


Personally for my wife and I, we tend to move onto an area where we can stay a minimum 48 hours as we feel it is just not worth the effort of stopping for just one night.

I would like to suggest a minimum 48 hour stop would benefit your town so much more. Let's face it, every RV, if given enough time will spend more dollars at a more relaxed pace. We are not the group that just need a quick stop for break and to get a few basic supplies before moving on to our destination. For many of us, it is a lifestyle thing, where we are not necessarily on a tight time frame. We would like to experience what your region has to offer and we would like more time to do this.
 

Sure I can understand that a 24 hours limit is easier to control for councils, but at the same time it makes it easier for RVs who are self sufficient to not stop for long if at all.

There will always be a certain group that will only stop and stay within a caravan park. There is another group that can only free camp for a limited time often 2 or 3 nights before they need power etc. There is a growing number of dedicated free campers who can and do travel long term (and a small but growing percentage that chose to live in their RV permanently). 


By catering for longer stays you will attract more spending across a broader spectrum of businesses. I am reasonably sure the CMCA (Campervan and Motorhome Assoc) will have proof of how much spending occurs in towns if you need to back up what I say with proof.


Free camping at Joe O'Connor Park within walking distance of Yass where we often stop and relax & shop.

I am also very grateful for these free camps, not just because it is just that, free, but because it attracts a totally different sub culture of travellers whom we enjoy the company of and the second vitally important reason is because of the freedom it gives us when travelling. We do not have to plan ahead just where and when we are going to be at a certain place. If we like a place or meet wonderful people then we are very likely to extend our stay on the spur of the moment. We can't do this if we are restricted to caravan parks.

We all need fuel, food, water on a regular basis. Then there are miscellaneous expenditures from restaurants, pubs and clubs, motor vehicle maintenance and repairs, laundromats, camping and fishing supplies, hairdressers, pharmacies &/or doctors, books, magazines, etc. It is up to each council to decide how much they desire to attract such people, many of whom are baby boomers with the majority of debts paid off and now reaping the benefits of hard work by relaxing and buying things they couldn't or wouldn't spend in their earlier years. 


Free camp within walking distance of Hopetoun, Vic

Just as an example: On this trip to Adelaide we decided to see some of the painted silos. Because we were able to free camp at Lake Lascelles, we ended up staying and enjoying there 3 days using this place as a base to go sight seeing and visiting nearby silos. We also went into Hopetoun several times. We used the laundromat, bought lunch one day and a dinner another day there, visited the garage (for advice as they were unable to assist us at that time) and bought some groceries at the local IGA. Had we not been able to stay the 3 nights, we may have bought 1 meal there at the most but I doubt it.

Our lovely panoramic view from our motor home free camping at Lake Lascelles
 

2 comments:

  1. We have yet to find such Free Camping places in towns we have traveled but have heard that the exist. You are very right in your presumption that being able to stay a few days would benefit the entire community, something of "Sharing the Wealth".
    When we stay overnight at a Store, Restaurant or Truck Stop we patronize their businesses as a means of Thanking them for the Courtesy.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

    ReplyDelete

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Michelle