No camping sign.
No camping sign. Brett Wortman

Fiery response to 'Grey Nomad' free camping gripe

PASSIONATE debate has erupted on social media today after a touring couple from Victoria told The Morning Bulletin they wouldn't return to Yeppoon due to the lack of free camping facilities.

Grey Nomads Gail and Ian Roche from Melbourne say they left Yeppoon with a sour taste in their mouth after they were forced to spend the night on their boat in Rosslyn Bay Harbour after countless signs around Yeppoon banning camping and overnight stays in public places deterred them from the coastal town.

READ MORE HERE: Why these grey-nomads might never visit Yeppoon again

While many readers have jumped to the defence of Yeppoon 'no free camping' stance, others have shared their free camping experiences and called for more free camping facilities on the Capricorn Coast.

Here's what some of our readers had to say:

  • Peter Fitzgerald: Since when is it Councils place to supply free camp spots at rate payers expense? Is councils job to look after the people that have payed rates and taxes all their lives in OTHER states, or to look after the ones that pay rates here in rockhampton? Why does council insist on competing with local businesses rather than supporting them? These blow ins dont create jobs or employment locally. Look after your own RRC before shelling out our rates to provide for people passing through.
  • Aart Zuidema: Typical Victorians, they have a $50,000 boat and a $80,000 car but can't give anything to a caravan park. They're towing a boat, of course they have to stay in their boat.
  • Marcia Miller: I can not read this article BUT really wonder at the comments listed. Have you people ever travelled? Have you worked your butts off and are seniors? I do not own a caravan and never will but understand that is my option. After traveling considerably between the east coast and west coast of Australia I nearly hate caravan people especially those who drive at 85klms p.hh when the speed limit is 130 (NT) but through communication with some caravan people there is a huge problem with caravan parks. A lot do not cater for a lot of these rigs. A lot of 'southern ' people book parks for eg 72+days consecutively and force the smaller travellers out hence nowhere to go. The pathetic in town park that has been established is just that. These people have worked their butts off all their life and now want to enjoy Australia and yes they do spend money. Wake up Rockhampton and cater for these people and collect dollars in some form. Yes there is a element of tight handed ones but it is a small number
  • Bob Iffinger: You can throw the vitriol all you want and generally make assumptions as the the wealth status of many travellers. The term "free camping " produces a mind set which does not always contain the truth!
  • You are complaining that travellers want it for no cost. This is far from the reality. Many towns have sites that are low cost without the frills and inbuilt entertainment. Small fee or donation, often run by local service clubs . This does encourage a stay in the area , you get to eat and shop locally plus $ spent on fuel and attractions.
  • Go and see for yourself some of the towns and areas embracing this concept then come back and look hard at Yeppoon and Rockhampton. Speak to businesses for their opinions it my change your mind! Or maybe it won't?
  • Terry Hobbs: Too many want to stay in free camps for weeks and leave them like dumping grounds. No wonder they won't allow free camping.
  • Kelly McDonald: We are travelling Australia with our 3boys, originally from Emerald. We are currently in Western Australia. Northern Territory and Western Australia provide many free camps and they co-exist with the caravan parks. We stop in a mix of them both. I can tell you though, we tent to stop and play (spend) more when we are free camping.
  • It really does put QLD to shame. Often we used to go to Coolwaters for the weekend (2nights) and wouldn't mind spending $160 on accomodation as we were using the facilities, like the slides and the pool. There is no way I would stop there now, while we are travelling as it is just unaffordable. If we could jag a spot for a night or two at Beachside caravan park we might stay there otherwise unfortunately we would move on. We know many Nomads book there in advance for the entire winter (gorgeous spot). I agree, encourage the caravaners!
  • Deborah Barton: So, those of us with vans, boats etc have probably worked very hard to be able to buy these vehicles. Most of you on here seem to be jealous of this. I am 62 and still work full time, so I can afford this lifestyle. Yes we do some free camping and some park stays. We buy groceries stop for coffees, bread from local bakery when we can meat from local butcher, sightseeing etc, so don't run us down for wanting a free night now and again! Rant over
  • Scott Lynch: If they love small communities so much, why don't they contribute to some of them?
  • Maria Finlay-Frenken: So much negativity ... it is no wonder Rockhampton is like it is. We should welcome everyone to boost our economy.
  • Rieck Neumann: Theres enough bludgers around here without u clearly wealthy bunch bludging off the town aswell
  • Steve Evans: Why do they think that it is an obligation to have free camping. Put your hand in your pocket and pay the small fee that camp sites charge or alternatively stay at home.
  • Bev Read: We go to Yeppoon for 2 mths a year and find the place so friendly. Sounds like these two people are a bit lousy. It doesn't look like they are short of a quid but are two mean to go a caravan park. I hope they don't go back there because they are.
  • Mick Redrup: They will be missing lots of places then! No such thing as a free lunch. Someone pays. It is unrealistic to expect free camps where ever you go. Lap it up when they are available and pay up when they are not.
  • Saul N Cathie Barnes: Support our local businesses they have families to feed ❤️ stay in their caravan parks and pay the minimal cost they charge to use their amenities.
  • Elizabeth McNally: Stay home then like the rest that can't afford a van and boat or petrol to travel. It is simple. They are not interested in Yeppoon as such, just free camping on their way past. Seriously.
  • Kelly Ramage: I know a couple who are grey nomads and they travel all the time everywhere....they stop at the free camping sites, they stop at the gold coin donation sites....and when these sites aren't available they stay at caravan parks, when they're in national parks they pay the camping fees.
  • Cheryl Dunnett: All of you young adults should look at it from another perspective. At retirement, not everyone has the funds available to holiday at resorts and motels or overseas This offers a cheaper way to still enjoy our country and contribute to local communities by way of shopping, fuel, entertainment etc. I was recently in Longreach and other western towns, and they are so grateful for the caravaners for keeping their communities afloat. Many would have gone to the wall long ago without us. A few provided camp kitchens for caravaners, where local clubs catered for dinner at a cost of $20 per head, as a fund raiser. Over 60 enjoyed the meal, and the local Rotary Club gave a talk on the area, very enjoyable. Some caravan parks are charging up to $50 per night because they have jumping pillows and playgrounds etc. which older caravaners don't want. Perhaps if these parks charged a cheaper daily rate for non-children visitors, they may get more travellers though the gates. I would suggest to all the complainers, think what your retirement will be like after life and unexpected expenses take a toll on your super savings. (such as health issues, divorce, business collapse and many, many others) Not everyone has unlimited funds to enjoy travel. I for one, will continue to enjoy my caravan trips, with both a mixture of free camping and park stays for as long as possible.
  • Daria Hughes: If you don't like it don't go there then. A quick look online and Caravan Park for $30.50 per night with vacancies. Does the world owe you something that everything should be free? Do you think the local families want to go to a park and have 100 caravans and boats taking up all the space?
  • Maureen Weekes: I like to free camp as much as possible BUT if we go to a town that we like and want to spend time there & look around and it has no "freecamps" well we pay to stay in a van park. Dont put a town down because you cant get something for free.
  • Phill Jenkins: They said they didn't want to spend the $5-$50/night for a stay. Honestly what world do these people live in? We clean up their mess after they leave, maintain the infrastructure, supply toilet emptying facilities, water power and other things. Why should our community pay for their holiday, from the picture they appear to be doing better than most in Central Qld at present. Our area need employment and people have to pay as they go like everywhere else! Try parking up in Melbourne in a park and see what happens!
  • Lesley Howard: Spare a thought for the caravan parks they have to rely on the tourist season which up this way is the winter months and school holidays the rest of the year can be very quiet but they still have rates water and power bills to pay.
  • Janice Elizabeth Bruce: We have been caravanning for over twenty years and are now completely self contained,we do not use 'free camps' as in the majority of cases we find that the people that have used them before us leave them in one hell of a mess. Caravan Parks are a hub where people can get together in a generally clean environment bullshit about their travels and be looked after by experts who generally extract a few dollars in return for their service.
  • Glen Troncy Tronc: Not all caravan parks are pet friendly and tell me why they inflate there prices in the tourist season. We generally stay in a district for a minimum of a week so we spend a fair bit of money in each area. A lot of parks can't supply enough sites because of all the cabins they have, every school holidays the prices go up some of them double no wonder people look for free camps.
  • Lee Flynn: I like their comment that they feel obligated to spend in the community. If the majority think like that then that's a lot of money Yeppoon is missing out on regardless of whether they can afford to pay to stay or not. Catering for all types should be the case and as one of the posts states... word is spreading and not in a good way.
  • Betty Catlin: I can't help but comment on some of the narrow minded people commenting here. These so called bludgers and free loaders you are commenting about are mostly retired, they have worked and payed taxes and now are travelling in their retirement. A lot of them are self funded retirees and those that aren't are travelling on their pension and whatever they have managed to save after years of working. That's one of the great things about living in this beautiful country is that we all have choices and this is what these people choose to do when they no longer have to go to work.

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