AMAZING MEALS AND LIVE MUSIC IN CARAVAN PARKS
Can a caravan park’s meals and entertainment be enough to draw visitors? Tony Allsop lists his favourites destinations.
Many van parks provide some form of entertainment through the tourist season to attract more guests. This is particularly so in western parks, where travellers may stay an extra day or two to listen to a bush poet, bush band or enjoy a camp oven dinner around a camp fire.
The tri-weekly dinners at the Charters Towers Tourist Park, a member of the Top Tourist Parks group, are very popular. These dinners are run by charity groups and are very well attended, and the travellers are pleased to help raise funds for local charities. As a bonus, there can be entertainment by a bush poet and a singer/guitarist.
Julia Creek Caravan Park, also in western Queensland, has a very popular weekly dinner evening with a local guest speaker in the touring season. The council started these Monday evening meals, run by community groups last winter as well as putting free Wi-Fi through the van park. They also provide a free bus service to the billabong free camping area for the dinners. Mayor Belinda Murphy told me the dinners were very successful and they actually won an innovation award at the Caravan Parks Association awards.
Another popular event is held at Flying Fish Point Caravan Park in Innisfail, with a free happy hour on Wednesday with chicken wings and other goodies followed by a free raffle. Saturday is roast night, with very generous helpings and seconds always available. Entertainers like singer/guitarists often attend, which often means a great night is had by all.
When going up to Darwin we always stop overnight at the Daly Waters pub for their fantastic multi-award-winning beef and barra evening meal plus entertainment.
One of the first van parks to have a free morning tea every day and a guest barbecue every Saturday night was Travellers Rest Caravan Park at Midge Point, Qld. Bill and Heather Caldicott started offering these the day they opened their park somewhere in the mid 1980's. They kept offering them until the day they sold the park a few years ago. Denyse and I often attended and some readers may remember I played guitar and sang many a Saturday night. Southerners came up for several months during the winter and formed their own band with musical instruments supplied by Bill and Heather.
YOUR SAY: Is there a special caravan park that you visit for the food? Has the entertainment at a caravan park ever induced you to stay longer?