Money rolls in from free stays

Kate FieldingSouth Western Times
Queensland resident Alan Barrett sets up his self-contained RV for a night of free camping in Bunbury in December last year.
Camera IconQueensland resident Alan Barrett sets up his self-contained RV for a night of free camping in Bunbury in December last year. Credit: South Western Times

Free overnight rest areas in Bunbury have injected more than $122,000 into the city’s economy so far, according to the Bunbury City Council.

Six months into a two-year trial of designated rest areas in the city nearly 500 permits have been handed out to travellers.

The council supported the initiative late last year.

It allows free 48-hour camping for fully self-contained RVs in carparks at Wyalup Rocky Point, Ocean Drive near Scott Street and Maidens Reserve.

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According to the council, a six-month review has revealed that 472 permits have been handed out so far with an average expenditure of about $258 per vehicle.

Mayor Gary Brennan said the results showed the “overwhelmingly” positive effect the overnight rest areas were having in the city.

“The overnight rest areas have allowed us to tap into a market that otherwise may have bypassed Bunbury,” Mr Brennan said.

“There is a segment of the RV community who do not wish to use caravan parks and instead prefer to use rest areas to pull up for a night or two.

“This has been evidenced in the results and we have seen an increase in visitation and spend in the city.”

The review also showed that 52 per cent of visitors had travelled from interstate and 30 per cent came to Bunbury from within Western Australia.

It also showed the two main reasons for visiting were travelling and local tourist attractions with most people choosing to stay for two nights.

Expenditure data collected found visitors spent most of their money locally on fuel, groceries and dining out.

Council officers will continue to monitor the sites and respond to any suggestions and complaints before seeking community feedback on the trial later this year.

The council is also continuing to explore options for a dump point in Bunbury.

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