Fifty nomads take up free overnight camper pitch
Fifty nomads have already taken advantage of free overnight rest areas in Bunbury with campers spending more than $15,000 in the city, according to Bunbury City Council.
A little over a month after the council gave support to a two-year trial on free overnight rest areas at three locations, the intake is obvious to anyone travelling on Ocean Drive in the evening or early morning.
Self-contained RV owners appear to be overwhelmingly taking advantage of waking up to one of the best views in Bunbury and it is all free.
Mayor Gary Brennan said the response had been positive.
“When we made the decision to do this trial I received emails from caravaners that were based in the east coast, saying this is a wonderful thing and word gets around very rapidly,” Mr Brennan said.
“It is good, people who haven’t been here before come and the caravan community is a very well informed community, they talk to each other.
“They talk about Bunbury — that community network is very, very powerful and very effective so the more people that we can attract to Bunbury in that way, the better.”
“And they’re spending money, they’re talking about Bunbury in a positive way, so there’s lots of positives.”
Visiting from Queensland, Alan Barrett told the South Western Times that he was a frequent user of free overnight rest areas and would perhaps not otherwise consider stopping in Bunbury if the option was not on offer.
“Free camps close to town are really great, it makes it easy to get around town and not have to drive to it,” Mr Barrett said.
The initiative has not been without some challenges, with Bunbury caravan park owners initially opposing the concept and rangers having to move on at least 11 non-compliant vehicle owners.
Mr Barrett said self-contained vehicle owners did not want to spend money at caravan parks.
“I set the motorhome up so it is self-sufficient, so having spent the money on that you don’t really want to spend it in a caravan park,” he said.
Mr Brennan said he had received one complaint from a caravan park owner and “a couple” from others about the number of vans parking up, but reiterated it was a trial period.
“Most of the campers are doing the right thing, they are fully self-contained,” he said.
“Our rangers go there every day, seven days a week and those that don’t comply, they’re gently moved on and told that there is caravan parks there that cater for you.”
Vehicles must be fully self-contained and travellers need to obtain a permit from the Bunbury Visitor Centre.
Carparks at Wyalup Rocky Point, Ocean Drive near Scott Street and Maidens Reserve are allocated spots for overnight rest areas.
Statistics from the council show 15 campers stayed for one night, 31 stayed for two nights and the others were undetermined.
Travellers heard about Bunbury’s initiative via websites, camping apps, social media and word of mouth and the reasons for visiting included tourist attractions, family and friends, revisiting or travelling the broader area.
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