Occasionally we tries me hand at being organised to the point of looking up caravan park locations in advance to plan me stopover point. On a visit to the Hunter region of New South Wales fer a show in Largs we Googled caravan parks to come up with two in Maitland. One of these had two reviews. The first one, from three years ago read –

“the park at 25 high st is a filthy place, the vans are all falling apart, the bathrooms are disgusting, the manager lives in total squalor and walking in to her room to pay rent each week was like dicing with death, the smell emanating from her office is beyond belief. stay away from this overpriced disease-ridden hole at all costs.”

followed by, from one week ago

“Stayed at this caravan park recently and found management to be helpful and friendly and the unit we stayed in was clean and tidy. Would definitely stay there again.”

The Captain is not one to shy away from a challenge and we likes to see fer ourself before we forms an opinion. With that in mind we plotted a course to Maitland Caravan Park 25 High St Maitland. Into the GPS it went and off we went in search of a resting place.

Sadly the GPS were convinced the park were in the middle of the shopping centre and couldn’t be persuaded to change its mind so we abandoned the search. The ships navigator Leiutenant Google found a short route to the…….

Coachstop Caravan Park

Below is the text of a conversation through an intercom the Pirate had with the caretaker of the Coachstop as he tried to check in at around 6.15pm and found the office closed.

The first time we buzzed the intercom no one answered. Then a friendly local pointed out the caretaker were in a highset house roughly 100 metres away and blow me down “there he is now…quick… hit the button.”

PPete: “Lookin fer a powered site fer the night”

CTaker: “um…ar…mm…mumble mumble…Harry!…Harry!!!…..HARRY!!!!…Fxxken Ignorant Bxxch!…yeah mate park next to that ‘Royal Flair’…yer see it? Fix us up in the morning”


Encounters such as this keeps life interesting..

Springsure Showgrounds Caravan Park

Springsure Showgrounds looking west

Another camping experience worthy of mention – Springsure Showgrounds.

Springsure is located about 60 km south of Emerald in Central Queensland.

No caravan park signs but the seasoned traveller gets a feeling and knows to look around. Showgrounds are often an unadvertised source of basic facilities camping. All this traveller is looking for is a power point and on occasions access to water.

Find yerself a spot near one of the many power points spread over the grounds (Tip: make sure yer power point has power before you unpack – not all power points had power when we was there). Basic but clean and spacious toilets and showers.

The Parks Manager does the rounds on sunset collecting the very reasonable $17.50 per vehicle per night.

We stayed two nights to beat the bun fight fer accomodation in Emerald to the north.

On the northern fringes of the town is the free park beneath Springsures tourist lure – the virgin Mary in the cliff (floodlit at night). However the likeness that once existed was washed away several years ago.

Canowindra Caravan Park

Occasionally we comes upon a caravan park that is worth writing about. These noteworthy establishments tend to reside in smaller towns. Such is the case with Canowindra (can-oun-dra) Caravan Park situated 30km from Cowra along the track to Orange

A Council owned park with non residential management and around 20 powered sites. Signage at “The Office” ask guests to phone the management and a representative will be along shortly with a key fer the amenities (which aren’t locked but propped open fer the convenience of resident backpackers).

We sets up camp at the first site, avoiding the sites with concrete pads which stain from coffee grounds dumped out the window and opting fer a nice grass/sand site close to amenities anticipating a few days of solitude to recharge.

Before long Neil arrives in 4wd ute. “Cash only and I can’t find my pen. Free use of washing machine and dryers – here’s the key to the amenities – I’ve got to clean them – I hope the backpackers haven’t made too much of a mess”.

Neil looks for his pen while I break camp and head into town in search of an atm to raise the $38 its going to cost fer three nights we have to wait before the next show in Canowindra on Tuesday. Did he really say $38 for three nights? Three doesn’t go into 38…I must have heard wrong.

Its not hard to find the only atm in a desolate one pub town.

Upon return to the carapark we approach the office door which is strangely locked although Neils ute is parked right next to it and noise can be heard inside. Knock on door and wait. More rustling in side and eventually door opens as neil, holding a pressure can of what we figured to be air freshener in his other hand lets another blast go in the general direction behind him. “The Office” has more the appearance of a storeroom.

“I forgot about you – I heard your car come back – I’ve got to clean the toilets – can’t find the cleaning stuff – where’s me pen.”

Almost walks past his ute then says “Oh thats right we’ve got to sort the paperwork out….I forgot….where’s me pen? Here it is is. Oh look I’ve already written it out”.

We managed to do our business, $38 it was then chatted.

He almost apologised  fer having backpackers in the park. “They’ve been behaving themselves” he continued to reassure me. Then he asked the obvious question with the passengers seat taken up with an old keyboard we carry around fer those brief moments of creativity when we write and computerise music with it. “Muso?”

An affirmative response gave him the go ahead to expound his views on music. “don’t like bands….like music…don’t like everything one band does and I’ll smash up my own speakers rather than listen to something I don’t want to hear and I’ve done that when my brother was staying with us and he had it up too loud. I smashed up the speaker cause I didn’t want to hear it so loud.”

Haven’t had to kick any one out except fer an old bloke the other week. Lived a bit rough which we put up with but when he started knocking up the other guests around mealtime trying to sell them stuff but really looking fer a feed he’d stepped over the line and had to go. Neil sounds to me like he might be a really tough little teddy bear.

Neils business was growing organic veg fer Woolworths and others. Lots of leftovers than the corporates didn’t want. If they ordered 300 ton thats what they would take and not a gram over. Neil was happy to spread the leftovers around caravan park guests and said he would return later with free veg.

An hour later a caravan arrives and sets up in the next bay…..so much fer solitude….then the backpacker hoard descended from wherever they had been haunting all day and set theirselves up in the camp kitchen directly on the path to toilets preventing access without conversation……I’ll burst first!

Neil returned just on dark with plastic bags of brocolli, silver beet and oranges. We traded him a couple of Pirate Pete CDs fer his kids.

There is a good deal more character in the caravan parks that reside in smaller towns.


Wyoming Caravan Park

Drove in…. lots of shady looking characters coming and going….quite the hive of activity…mainly single men of varying ages. Waited ten minutes at check-in to see if someone would answer my bell ringing then gave up and left. Googled caravan park near Gosford and the top 8 responses were for Wyoming. Great, no other caravan park fer 50 km.
The number two response caught my attention “Wyoming Caravan Park – worst caravan park in Australia.”
With that endorsement I could not deny myself the experience. Found the phone number and called. Site available, price reasonable and people in reception now…all I needs.
Squeezed in between two vans that obviously had not moved in a good long time. Two feet clearance on one side and four feet clearance on the other…no problems yet. Power close by and works…no immediate threat of electrocution. Already I’ve seen worse than this.
Amenities close by. Perhaps that should be amenity singular. One pedestal and no trough between how many people I don’t know. Its my own fault I didn’t check for toilet paper when using the night before…must have missed the bring yer own toilet paper sign. Seat was dry bowl was clean….seen worse.
Three showers…so what if only one works,…only need one…blow me down it has hot water and cold water and sometimes they even both flow at the same time.

Caravan Parks

Pirate Pete spends a lot of nights in Caravan Parks. Some is good, some is better and some isn’t.
How we rates Caravan Parks is probably a little different to how most folk might.
The Captain likes a Carapark that has a power point – which is all he really needs. Access to water is good too.
So we rates parks with a skull and grossed guitar fer each facility we likes.
Categories is:-
1. Amenities
2. Staff
3. Price
4. Showers
Other categories may be added at whim..

Tuesday March 15 2011  —  Caravan Park next to Nowra bridge, The Willows, opposite helicopter wanted to charge $30 fer a powered site PLUS $10 per head. Thats $40 to park on a little piece of grass from sunset till just after sunrise. No thanks! They earnt theirselves a big thumbs down from Pirate Pete and he didn’t stay there and is unlikely to go back there in the future. He opted for rest area near McDonalds Sth Nowra.

Monday 21st March 2011  —  In contrast Rivergums Caravan Park, Strafford St, Manilla (45km nth west of Tamworth) gets theirselves a double thumbs up and five skull and crossed guitars. $15 absolutely reasonable. No one at check in but sign says find yerself a site – any site is ok- and we’ll see you later on when we return. Perfectly happy to wander down to reception and pay. Friendly service when you do. Amenities what they should be. Situated beside river/creek with loverly outlook – river gums funnily enough ….Very happy pirate tonight

Wednesday 23rd March 2011  — Something a little bit different always attracts Pirate Petes attention. Here we are in Mullumbimby (northern NSW). At $25 yer paying a few dollars fer the uniquity of the camp site but the lady who takes the money is very nice and friendly. Clean showers and toilets are under the clubhouse and always open. Power comes from sockets on the grounds 4 lighting poles – plenty of space fer unpowered camping. Pirate Pete likes a bit of distance between hisself and his neighbours so this site rates highly on his register  –  no laundry which wouldn’t have even  been noticed except it were that one day a month he washes his clothes… aaarrr! Another day wearing them won’t make any difference. .

PS if yer there on the right night yer might get to watch the footballers train.

Mullum Footy Club Campground360 degree video