CARAVANS AND CHRISTMAS go together like turkey and ham. But where to indulge oneself?
We all know that foreshore caravan parks have many of the prime positions, but it depends on how neighbourly you want to be.
Here’s our totally subjective pick of places that combine seaside, space and something to occupy the whole family.
Bournda National Park, NSW
Bournda is a special place where ocean beaches, creeks, lagoons and the expansive waters of Wallagoot Lake provide a range of activities to suit everyone.
Situated between the bustling coastal towns of Merimbula and Tathra, Bournda is a jewel of NSW’s Sapphire Coast. The bushland camping area is large with easy gravel road access and many spacious sites, making it very RV friendly. While a national park, the modern facilities here are more in line with a good caravan park than a rustic bush experience with one exception – there are no powered sites.
Not surprisingly, pre-booking for Christmas and Easter dates is essential.
Contact: (02) 6495 5000 or email FSCR@environment.nsw.gov.au.
Noosa River Holiday Park, Qld
Why is Noosa such a popular holiday spot? Let’s start with the enchanting upmarket shopping and dining precinct of Hastings Street, the beautiful walks and beaches of the adjacent national park, easy access to the wilderness of the Cooloola Coast and day tours to the Glasshouse Mountains, Fraser Island and the Coloured Sands.
If there’s a place with more things to do from a comfortable, convenient base we’re yet to find it. The Noosa River Holiday Park is right in the thick of it, sheltered, convenient and just 20 minutes walk from Hastings Street.
With 92 powered caravan and 45 unpowered tent sites it’s not huge by big park standards, but it has all the facilities, from a fully-stocked kiosk, wireless internet, barbecues and a laundry, plus the Croissant Man visits each morning with fresh and tasty treats.
Contact: (07) 5449 7050 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Port Lincoln Tourist Park, Kirton Point, SA
Port Lincoln at the base of SA’s Eyre Peninsula is a wonderful place for a Christmas holiday. For a start the area is never crowded by east coast standards, and on top of that there is so much to do. From boating and fishing on Boston Bay to great walks in the nearby Lincoln National Park, 4WD treks to the Coffin Bay peninsula and surfing at Sleaford Bay, you’ll never run out of ideas.
The four-star Port Lincoln Tourist Park at Kirton Point overlooking Boston Bay is a great base for all these activities, with flat and terraced sites with large concrete pads, a new communal guest barbecue, plus the park's own fishing jetty, fish cleaning area, boat ramp and beach.
Contact: (08) 86214444 or email email@example.com.
Cable Beach Caravan Park, WA
There are some places that live up to their hype and Broome’s Cable Beach is one of them. For some it’s an oasis on The Big Trip, for others it’s a destination in itself. Sundowners on Cable Beach as the camel train plods past is about as good as it gets.
A good base to enjoy it from is the Cable Beach Caravan Park in Millington Road, 5km from the Broome CBD and a 10-minute walk from the beach itself.
Like other caravan parks in the area it is fully loaded with RV friendly facilities including shady powered and unpowered sites, a rock-walled swimming pool, children’s playground, coin laundry and fish-cleaning facilities.
A word of warning though: book well ahead as the Park, like all others in the area, books out completely at many times of the year.
Contact: Broome Visitor Centre on (08) 9195 2200 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Croajingalong National Park, Vic
The UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve of the Croajingalong National Park in East Gippsland, with its natural beauty of coast, rivers and hinterland, offers some of the finest bushland sea-front caravanning camping in Vic.
If you are after a full-featured caravan park, base yourself in Mallacoota, where the Foreshore Holiday Park offers a range of powered and unpowered sites set on 28ha of waterfront crown land.
If you can tolerate drop toilets, our favourite in the park is Thurra River, at the end of a good gravel road south of Cann River. There, the freshwater Thurra River meets the sea, with points of interest including soaring sand dunes, great river walks, kayaking, a choice of beaches and the Point Hicks Lighthouse.
More caravan-friendly is the Cape Conran Coastal Park, 19km east of Marlo, where the Banksia Bluff camping ground offers a range of unpowered caravan and RV sites. The camp abuts a good swimming beach, and offers visitors a range of rock, bush and beach walks.
Contact: Parks Victoria Information Centre on 13 1963 (within Australia) or +613 8627 4700 or email email@example.com.