Possum Park, Qld
Enjoy a visit to this unique, themed caravan park.
As soon as you hear the name, Possum Park, you think there must be something different about this place. It is certainly not your average caravan park. Possum Park is located 20km north of Miles on the Leichardt Highway and about 350km west of Brisbane.
On the notorious Brisbane Line, during WWII the secret explosive store for RAAF Kowguran was located on this 360-acre property and it held 2500 tonnes of bombs as well as ammunition. There were 20 concrete underground bunkers and 25 administration and accommodation buildings. It was the main explosive store on the Brisbane Line and supplied the 250 American Flying Fortresses based in Charleville.
David and Julie Hinds purchased the property in 1985, and decided to provide tourist accommodation. They renovated some of the bunkers into air-conditioned, motel-style accommodation, decorated in the style of the era. Each unit is self-contained and has a carport and barbecue. If you walk around the winding road you will see a TV antenna and old vents poking out of the top of a mound, and then you will come to the entrance of one of the bunkers that has been converted into a very stylish unit. The war years’ theme has been continued with historic photos and pictures on the walls. These units are completely private from each other, as there was a need to separate the bunkers for safety reasons.
As you enter the property from the highway, there is a 1km, one-way drive up to David and Julie’s home/office, which is the second bunker you see. Follow the road for another 500m and you reach the van park.
There are a number of reminders of the park’s history, with a replica railway siding (the rail brought the bombs and ammunition here) and troop train carriages converted to self-contained accommodation. Other carriages are now a TV room, reading room and places to relax.
Caravan sites and amenities were incorporated from the early days of Possum Park, and more have been added as word of the place has spread on the RV grapevine. All sites in the van park are drive-through, with power, sullage and bore water to each site. Rain water is also available for drinking, but not for filling caravan tanks. A concrete pad has been laid through the sites, so you can step out onto concrete. There are several large, period decorated ensuite sites if you prefer, and also an unpowered area with set fireplaces for those who do not need power. A separate camping area is available for those with tents. The amenities are modern and always very clean. There is a disabled bathroom, and a dump point also. We had 26 channels on TV and also had good reception for our broadband and mobile phone.
Other accommodation includes a family unit, which will sleep 10 people in three separate bedrooms. This is an excellent choice for family get-togethers or reunions, providing privacy at a very economical rate. Several large, self- contained cabins with carports have been built on site, much more pleasant than the prefabricated ones commonly seen in parks.
David’s pride and joy is the Vickers Viscount plane from the same wartime era, which he and Julie purchased a couple of years ago. They (and their band of volunteers) have spent many hours and a lot of money restoring it. TAA rented a couple of these planes to the RAAF during the latter war years, so this plane is quite relevant to the Possum Park theme. Eventually, the plane will be used for accommodation.
Adjacent to the van park is the camp kitchen, with an old, wood-fired stove and a fireplace, with wood provided, as well as the usual kitchen appliances. There are also several barbecues, both wood-fired and electric, a laundry, a souvenir shop, and a central firepit, which is a magnet for guests in the evenings.
One of the bunkers has been beautifully set-up as a museum of the WWII days, and it is a very evocative place to view the war relics and memorabilia. It is open only by arrangement, and contains such things as one of the 250lb bombs that were stored there in WWII, many rifles of the time, army and RAAF uniforms and many, many other army relics. Another bunker has been refurbished as a tea room and is available for hire by groups
There is an ex-army Jeep and an army Blitz truck and other war relics around the park. A walk around the property will reveal more bunkers not yet used, allowing plenty of room for expansion.
Prior to 1878 the town was known as Dogwood Crossing, but was changed to honour William Miles. He was a Scot who moved to Australia in 1838 and owned local sheep stations. He became the Member for Maranoa in 1865 in only the second Legislative Assembly in Queensland after it was separated from New South Wales. Although defeated in the 1874 election, he held other political and financial offices until he died in 1887.
This small town has a population of only around 1500 and the Historical Village is a real credit to the town.
There are 33 historic buildings arranged as a typical village street, and many of them contain memorabilia of the times. There is also an amazing collection of historical artefacts, including a variety of old horse-drawn carriages and drays. This is one attraction you should make time to visit when you are in the area.
While travelling through Miles, stay a few days at Possum Park for a ‘different’ caravan park experience. All of this is available to you for just $25 a night for a powered site. That’s pretty good value in my book.
Miles is about 350km west of Brisbane. Possum Park is 20km north of Miles on the Leichhardt Highway.
Explore this historic property, enjoy bush walks, fish for yabbies and visit Miles and the Historical Village Museum.
The full feature appeared in Caravan World #547 February 2016. Subscribe today for the latest caravan reviews and news every month!