Overly dramatic media reports during a cyclone event in North Queensland in March, when there was no widespread damage, set us wondering about how RV'ers respond to these events. Loss of income from cancellations of bookings after natural disasters can add insult to injury and reduce the ability of the town to bounce back.
The town of Coonabarabran is still badly affected by the devastating bush fires that occurred in January 2013. A lot of the Warrumbungle National Park was burnt out and over fifty farm properties were completely destroyed. This national park has been on our 'to do' list for years, but usually we are on our way to somewhere else when we pass Coonabarabran. This time we decided to stop over and visit the park.
We booked in to the Getaway Caravan Park on the southern side of 'Coona' without knowing that the owners had lost their home, vehicles and farm machinery in the blaze. It was very fortunate for them that they had sold all their cattle before the fire and invested in the caravan park, which was in a very run down condition. They are currently renovating the amenities and cleaning up the park, and what they really need now is for caravanners to return and stay in the town.
Often, cyclones occur not too long before the start of the touring season on the North Queensland coast. Park owners who have been affected by cyclone damage, particularly after Cyclone Larry, have told us of the huge effort made to have parks ready for the season and to honour bookings.
While not in any way minimising the awful effects of storms and fires, visiting afterwards can have special rewards. On our recent visit to the Warrumbungle, it was heartening to see that nature had begun to restore the area. Large groves of wild flowers were seen on our walks, and many of the trees were sprouting. The lack of dense vegetation allowed us to see in detail the craggy peaks in 'the crooked range' which is truly spectacular.
Do you put off visiting an area that has been affected by a natural disaster?