From the road: Victims of noise in van parks
Invasive noise can spoil van park atmos. Tony Allsop discusses the worst noise pollution suffered by travellers.
We have friends who do not mind noise at all, and can sleep through most types. Let's discuss the various issues.
A couple of years ago, we had settled in to a great camping spot at Abergowrie State Forest, 45km west of Ingham in Qld. We cut firewood for our evening camp oven cookout, put up our awning and decided to do the major river walk. On our return we discovered a bikie group had set up camp right beside us.
There were heaps of them. They had set up a large marquee and made a great start at demolishing many dozens of cans of bourbon and Coke. The language was flowing and one of their group suggested that we move, and not very politely at that. Where, oh where are the rangers at a time like this? This was going to be noise at its worst.
We left the campground, taking our wood and our camping permit with us.
Loud parties under van awnings, or in offroad camps, can become annoying for neighbours if they carry on into the night. If I go out and ask people to quieten down, I could end up buying a fight. This is where Denyse braves it out. She will say something diplomatic, like: "We have tolerated your noise for the past five hours, could we please have some respite now?" This often works, and she has not been king hit yet.
TALKING & TV
I have been in caravan parks where overseas travellers gather in the camp kitchen, talking, laughing and phoning home until the early hours, keeping nearby campers awake. At other times our neighbours go to sleep with their TV on quite loud. As it gets later and quieter, the TV becomes more apparent and the ads more irritating.
This is a completely different issue. Once again, I do not like being forced to listen to other people's loud music for very long. This is particularly important to me when camped in a national park, or other particularly quiet, peaceful place. Some campers insist on playing loud music, which upsets the quiet ambience of the bush and birds.
On the other side of the coin, many vans these days feature external speakers and outdoor television provision. To me, this is fine, as long as I don’t have to listen to it for long periods. If the volume is turned down so your neighbours are not disturbed, there is really no problem.
While camped at Mary Pool, NT we had a camper pull in beside us. He immediately pulled out an old, loud generator, started it up between our sites, and left to go to his friend's caravan for dinner. We had to contend with fumes and noise for hours. Yes, I know generators are legal there, but some consideration would be appreciated.
We have also come across people using generators in national parks where they are not permitted. "Just charging my batteries..." is the usual excuse. It is interesting how many people feel a notice stating "No Generators" does not apply to them. Some national parks, mainly in the NT, do allow generators, but often they are restricted to a designated area.
The noise children make can annoy some folk. I am not particularly bothered, as I love to see kids having fun. That said, there is a time of night when kids should quieten down and let the neighbours have some peace and quiet. Many parents do quieten their kids after about 8pm.
Swimming pools can be a problem area late at night, especially in the north on hot days. Although most van parks have pool hours, these are not always observed, particularly if people have been drinking.
As well as being a noise problem, late night swimming can be dangerous. I have seen a case where a drunken reveller dived in at around 11pm after a party and hit his head. Very nasty.
The vast majority of van parks have "quiet time" listed in their park rules, for example between 10pm and 7am. If travellers obey these rules, there probably would not be a problem.
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