Caravan Park Clubs in Australia

Andrea Beattie — 18 July 2022
Most major caravan parks offer benefits and discounts to keep your camping costs down!

Caravan Industry Association of Australia CEO Stuart Lamont says these types of memberships followed on from the introduction of park chains, when like-minded caravan parks joined together to collectively market their properties under a larger consumer brand.  

“As these networks grew, loyalty cards appeared providing an incentive (starting with caravan park discounts) to book your next caravan park stay at another member of the same caravan park group,” he says.  

“Over time these loyalty cards have morphed increasing in their access to discounted or value added products and services, including fuel, attractions, repairs, food on top of the accommodation discount.”  



Lamont says that while there are many caravan park users who are attracted to an individual park chain due to their level of service or product offerings, based on research conducted in 2019 by Caravan Industry Association of Australia, still only 13 per cent of caravanners travelled with one loyalty card with 44 per cent of these having multiple cards to take advantage of the different benefits each card provides.

But despite this, Lamont says that those who use loyalty cards do seem to get great value out of them.

So what are these membership programs all about, and how do they work? What do they cost, are they worth it and most importantly, do they suit the way you prefer to travel? 

Here we look at the most popular park memberships on offer across Australia, the perks and pitfalls of each, and everything else you need to know to decide if they’re for you.

BIG 4

With 181 parks dotted all over the country from Devonport in Tasmania to Katherine in the Northern Territory and way out west to Geralton, BIG 4 parks have a mini-resort vibe, catering mostly to families and as such, some have swimming pools, water parks and even restaurants. The BIG 4 loyalty program, Holiday Perks+, costs $50 for two years’ membership – and you’ll only pay $40 for two years when you renew. The main bonus with this membership is that you get 10% off stays up to $50, which will pay for itself if you stay for around two weeks over the two-year period.

Other perks include early check-in, late check-out, free wifi, and member-only deals and offers. If you stay at two or more parks and spend $4000 within two years as a Holiday Perks+ member, you upgrade to VIPerks and can access additional benefits. This membership is great for regular travellers, or those who like the added perks that come with resort-style accommodation.

G’day Rewards

In 2018, Top Parks and Discovery Parks collaborated to produce the G’Day rewards program, which now covers more than 300 parks across the country. 

It’s $50 to join for two years’ membership and offers 10 per cent off up to $50 in accommodation costs and like BIG 4, the membership would pay for itself if you stay for around two weeks over the two-year period. The longer and more frequently you stay, the more benefits you unlock.

With the basic ‘Mate’ membership, you’ll get the choice of early check-in, late check-out or a free bag of ice, and free park equipment hire (one per year). 

If you stay at least 10 nights per year or stay three separate times, you’ll automatically upgrade to ‘Great Mate’, and unlock more benefits including site upgrades and additional equipment hire perks (up to three per year).

For those long-term and frequent travellers, if you stay at least 20 nights or stay six separate times you’ll be a ‘Best Mate’ and qualify for 10 per cent off all stays, plus a free bag of ice and early check-in and check-out on every stay, free park equipment hire up to six per year, free upgrades up to two a year and and extra free night, once a year. 

G’day members will also get additional benefits from the program’s reward partners, which include FlyBuys, Coles Express (handy for fuel), Good Guys and even Velocity.

This membership is great for frequent stayers as the more you stay, the more you save, but it might not suit those who don’t travel often. 

Family Parks

The Family Parks travel rewards program is $40 for two years and gets you 10 per cent off all stays up to $20 on sites and $40 on cabins at all parks located in South Australia, New South Wales, Tasmania, Queensland, Victoria and New Zealand. You’ll also get a ‘third night free’ voucher, but some conditions apply. 

This program also has a swathe of local rewards partners, which can help you cut costs with discounted fruit and veges, meal deals, attraction entry, tours and adventures.

Kui Parks

For those less enthusiastic about bigger or more family orientated parks, Kui offers an alternative.  With a network of more than 70 parks across the country (with the exception of Tassie), Kui Parks are a collaboration of smaller, mostly owner-run parks which are generally a little more affordable – they market themselves as being clean, friendly and value for money. 

Kui Parks membership is $40 for two years (or $25 for 12 months) and offers a 10 per cent discount to a maximum of $30 per stay. Frequent stayers go into the draw to win one of 10 $50 vouchers up for grabs each month. This option is great for those with pets as most are pet friendly, and they usually waive any seasonal loadings for members. 

Reflections Holiday Parks

With 37 locations across NSW, these holiday parks are all located on Crown Land, in some of the best spots in the state. There’s coastal havens in northern and mid NSW, the south coast, and Coffs Harbour and inland retreats in the country, including Burrinjuck Waters and the Upper Hunter.  At present, 28 of their parks are also pet friendly so there’s no need to leave your four-legged family members at home.

The Reflections Holiday Park membership is free and when you join, you’ll get a $25 guest credit off your next eligible stay of $100 or more which is the top way to start your holiday. If you go on to spend $1000 at any Reflections Holiday Park during the year, you’ll get a $100 guest credit to use within 12 months. With membership, you’ll also get access to members-only benefits and special offers.

TAWK

If you’re travelling with children, TAWK Membership could be perfect for you. An initiative of Travelling Australia with Kids, TAWK membership has a one-off joining fee of $40 and when you stay at an affiliated caravan park, farmstay, station or camp site, you can get up to two nights of free camping for your kiddies. There’s plenty of locations to choose from too with more than 100 sites Australia wide, from Mount Gambier to Darwin, Bunbury and Bundaberg and loads of places in between. Membership also gives you discounts on various goods and services and on entry to attractions and activities such as learning to surf, horse riding, cruises and more which is an added bonus when travelling as a family. 

Van and Auto Clubs

Complimentary to the caravan park club rewards there are a handful of van and auto clubs that offer discounted stays and perks with membership. They include:

CMCA

The Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia Limited has membership for $44 a year on top of a one-off joining fee of $16.50. 

Membership to this club gives you access to fellow members’ private properties so you can stay in a friendly, non-commercial  environment and also to low cost, no frills accommodation for members with self-contained vehicles in a safe and relaxed environment.

With over 300 participants around the country, CMCA friendly caravan parks offer members 10 per cent or more off their current rates and the CMCA dollar wise park network gives members affordable accommodation options (around $10 or less per night, but some conditions may apply).

With CMCA membership you also get a six-monthly subscription to The Wanderer magazine – a monthly mag which features a mix of RV, travel and member articles as well as club, industry and technical news, and the opportunity to join in club events.

NRMA

NRMA’s roadside assistance membership includes access to their Blue program, but if you don’t need the assistance, you can just join the NRMA Blue program for $5/month or $60 a year. Blue membership will give you savings on holidays and accommodation as well as discounts on attractions, fuel, parts, servicing, shopping and food.

With Blue membership, you can stay for four nights and only pay for three (or get 10 per cent off shorter stays) at more than 30 NRMA parks and resorts, scattered along the east coast and SA. The parks are in a variety of locations including plenty of inland and beachfront spots, so you can use this offer as a quick getaway, a handy stop on your onward journey, or a relaxing way to end your trip back home. 

RAC

Western Australia’s RAC Rewards is an included benefit of full RAC membership, but for $29 per year, you can sign up to just the RAC Rewards program which will give you up to 20 per cent off accommodation at nine iconic WA locations such as Esperance, Broome, Busselton and Shark Bay. It also means you’ll get free late checkout (subject to availability), save 4 cents per litre on fuel at Puma and Better Choice petrol stations across the country, and be able to access member specials and discounts on RAC products and at various local businesses. They estimate that you’ll save $250 per year if you spend more than $1000 on accommodation at RAC Parks and Resorts which is perfect for frequent travellers.

Membership To Suit

With plenty of park, van and auto memberships on offer, there’s bound to be one – or more – that suits your needs, and will be well worth the outlay. Remember though, if you’re booking a spot at any park, try to call in or at least phone and chat to the owner/operator about what you’re after. You may find that in addition to any membership offers, you might be able to snag a deal through low-season discounts or specials that aren’t advertised online, or as part of the membership. Most parks would rather fill the spot, especially at short notice, than have the site sit empty. Some auto clubs also offer reciprocal benefits to members, so be sure to give them a call to see what they can do for you. And happy discounted travels!

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Tags

Caravan park BIG 4 Camping G’day Rewards Kui Parks Family Parks

Photographer

Andrea Beattie