Walking around the van park at happy hour, it was very pleasing to pick some parsley from the herb garden near the camp kitchen: it really added something to the chicken casserole we were having for dinner that night.
In fact, the herb garden at the McLean Beach Caravan Park in Deniliquin (NSW) is the best we have seen. A large range of herbs including two types of parsley, mint, sage, oregano and chives was growing luxuriantly in a raised tank.
Obviously catering to the tastes of today's caravanners a number of parks are introducing edible plantings of various types. The first herb garden we saw in a caravan park was at the Conway Beach Tourist Park in the Whitsundays. In keeping with the theme of the park, it was planted in an old wooden dinghy and a sign said that everyone was welcome to help themselves and to put on a bit of water when needed.
The Jacaranda Caravan Park at North Haven (NSW) has its herb garden right beside the barbecues: perfect for adding as a final touch to an al fresco barbecue meal.
On our current trip, we used rosemary from the garden at Top of the Town park in Stanthorpe on a lamb roast and put basil into pasta at the Warrego Riverside park in Cunnamulla. This park is a standout for produce: The owners have grown a large variety of herbs and fruits in gardens between the sites. While we were there the baby capsicums were in full production (delicious on a barbecue) as well as a variety of citrus.
A number of years ago, Andre and Nita Nurzenski at Flying Fish Point Tourist Park (NQ) planted fruit trees for the enjoyment of guests and these trees are now in full production, as Andre was happy to show us on our last visit. He even picked choice fruit for us as we walked around the park with him.
While some caravanners try to grow herbs in pots while they travel, this is not usually very successful and the range of available herbs is very limited. Buying herbs in supermarkets is expensive, and they do not keep well particularly out of the fridge. Frozen herbs do not compare to freshly picked ones in flavour and aroma.
A lot of us enjoy cooking outdoors when the weather is conducive and fresh herbs and citrus in particular can lift a meal to a special level. These little touches add to our enjoyment when staying in parks; We'd like to see herb gardens in parks in future, rather than more games rooms and jumping pillows.