Grey nomads give Rockhampton a miss and drive on by
TONY Fuhrman and his wife Colleen have travelled the highways and byways for the past 12 years in their motorhome and for nine years they'd spend five or six days in Rocky.
But not anymore, and Tony says they aren't the only ones.
The Fuhrmans were regulars at the Kershaw Gardens camping park where they'd spend a couple of days enjoying the gardens and stocking up for the forward journey.
"We always did a big shop there, groceries and meat, once new tyres, visits to the cinemas, fuel, a night at the dogs and a day at the races, meals and visits to the bowls club for dinner and pokies," Tony said.
The Kershaw Gardens free camp site opened in 2004 and has been a bustling pit-stop for travellers who could stay for a maximum of 48 hours.
But Rockhampton caravan park owners weren't happy, claiming the site was taking their business, and they pushed for legal action against Rockhampton Regional Council, through Caravanning Queensland.
In February last year the Planning and Environment Court ruled in their favour and now the caravans and motorhomes no longer have access to the park.
Tony and Colleen were in South Australian recently where they met another grey-nomad couple who said they'd also been bypassing Rockhampton since then.
Their reasons are not out of spite or protest, just simply because they like to support the RV friendly towns who make them welcome and appreciate their custom.
"We've discussed this with many other nomads and the overwhelming response is the same as ours - continue past Rocky," Tony said.
"The loss of business for the town will be many tens of thousands of dollars a year.
"Each time we stopped we'd spend at least $500.
"It's a shame, it was a great spot, really well-run and managed.
"The ranger came around took a photos of number plates to make sure no-one stayed longer than two days and we had to be self-sufficient with grey-water and black water tanks.
"Occasionally one of the Wicked vans would come in and the ranger would move them on."
Caravanning Queensland general manager, Michelle Weston, told The Morning Bulletin she was disappointed to hear grey-nomads were bypassing the city but stood by the decision to challenge the council in court.
As for Tony and Colleen, they're currently at home in Victoria for a week before hitting the road again, but they won't be leaving any of their 'hard-earned' behind in Rocky.