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LETTERS: Free camping issue is a complicated one

Free camping by grey nomads has become a contentious issue.
Free camping by grey nomads has become a contentious issue. Contributed

HAVING spent some time travelling around Australia in our self-contained caravan, we would like to make some comments on the free camping issue.

We love arriving at a new town, locating the Information Centre and finding out what is available in the immediate vicinity. Using the caravan park as a base, we explore the area for anything from two days to 10 days. Our washing was done in van parks, leaving it to dry while we spent the day out.

We have visited many local tourist attractions - some were free, but others we were happy to pay the entry fee.

Many of the facilities were run or majority of the staff were in fact volunteers (many older than we were) who did an amazing job giving information, acting as guides and keeping the facility open to the public.

Without the volunteers, many would not exist.

Exhausted from our hectic schedule, we looked for somewhere quiet to spend a day or two. The Camps 8 Book provides excellent information on free camps - places off the roadway, often in bush areas - no electricity or water and sometimes not another van in sight.

These are the free camps we loved! Time out to catch our breath - catch up on cleaning out the van or vehicle - do some reading - sort out those hundreds of photos you have taken and save some money. You don't leave your van out in the bush and take off in the car.

This is a time when you just stop - enjoy the wildlife and save some money. Not travelling for two or three days is a big saving in fuel in addition to van park fees. Everyone has a budget - you can't spend more money than you get and every pensioner out there knows that they can only afford a certain amount for fuel, accommodation, food and medications. Having a large caravan does not mean we are wealthy - just careful with our money.

By staying at a free camp for a few days, you can then go on to the next town, stay at the van park and visit the local sites. One big factor in deciding where to stay and for how long depended on finding a pet friendly van park. We estimate about 90% of grey nomads travel with a pet and that limits where you can stay. One town had no pet friendly van parks, but we could go to the golf club who did allow pets.

They were full, but the parks in town had very few vans. Records from our trips show that we stayed at free camps for about one tenth of the time spent in van parks.

We have never stayed at a free camp in a town.

We feel that your perception of 'free camps' is different to ours and most of the 'grey nomads' we spoke to. With our own shower, toilet, washing machine, solar panels, and generator we found the only thing we really needed was a constant water supply. By being very careful, we are able to go four days maximum before needing to fill our water tanks.

Coober Pedy had water available for sale - put in your money and pump out the water, just like a petrol bowser. Everyone was happy to pay the reasonable price for a product so necessary.

We have not used the facilities at any of the van parks and object to paying inflated prices for swimming pools, children's play equipment and other add-ons. Perhaps van parks could offer a two tier price range - those simply requiring power and water on a base rate, with a higher rate for those requiring use of the facilities. Rockhampton is not classed as RV friendly, nor does it have many pet friendly van parks.

Most caravan owners carry their own rubbish swag and do not leave rubbish at a free camp. Many young people hire a 'wiz-bang' vehicle with no toilet facilities, limited cooking and little water. They pull into the free camp area, head for the bush and leave their mess and toilet paper behind them. Often they light a fire to cook sausages or something and sit around drinking and talking until late into the night. In the morning they get into the vehicle and leave with bottles, papers and anything else they don't want left behind. If rubbish bins are supplied at free camping areas they are often over-flowing and attract a large fly population. We often wondered how regularly the bins were emptied by councils.

"Wandering Nomads”

Name witheld

MP favoured SR1,

not Esperanto

SORRY Robert Schwarten, I have to disagree with you on one point of your memoirs of Dr Doug Everingham (RMB 5/9).

I was his electoral secretary in Rockhampton from 1970 to 1975.

In that time, Doug was a devoted member of the Spelling Action Society which developed Spelling Reform Step One (SR1).

This society was started by Harry Lindgren of (I think) South Australia.

SR1 is a phonetic spelling system and Step One focused on the "e” sound. For example, "bread” was spelt "bred”. SR1 is totally different to Esperanto.

As his secretary, you could imagine the difficulty I had in producing a letter on Doug's behalf using SR1.

And yes Robert, Gough did not agree with Doug's spelling system. However, it was easy to read in that words looked exactly as they sounded.

Gaye Schneider (Tarlington)

West Rockhampton

Government must have a great printer

THE government says they will send out the postal ballots within a week of the High Court decision on the Same Sex marriage debate.

Does that mean they know a printer who can format a paper and have same ready (talking millions here in quantity) and deliver these to the government in a few days?

That is one hell of a service.

Alex Hawkins

Koongal

Topics:  doug everingham free camping grey nomads letters to editor same sex marriage


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