When I think of caravan parks… I think of trailer trash.. of Joe Dirt and the Southside Trailer Park at Riverdale.. But the reality is, in New South Wales so far, they’re nicer than most of your average hotels – even without the mini bar! The poo paper is softer, the facilities are cleaner and your neighbours are definitely nicer…
I’m currently perched up on my chair, legs crossed, listening to the gentle buzz of the ever-poppy ‘We Found Love’ by Rihanna echoing from our neighbour’s caravan as Ben munches on crackers and we enjoy the cool breeze of a Friday afternoon in Tamworth – hosted by Paradise Tourist Park.
One week. One week of living on the road. One week of setting up and packing down our trailer, of baby wipe baths and drop toilets, of dirty floors, no running water, tangy sunburn and gritty fingernails. One week of embracing what it means to be outdoors – indefinitely.
We haven’t roughed it all week, of course there was Tooloom Falls and Clarence River, and even the Tia Falls, but since then – we have discovered the humble caravan park – a rare luxury we have treated ourselves to on two occasions.
Yes, these temples for temporary living do not come cheap – hence why we’re free camping as much as we can (Wiki Camps has been an absolute SAVIOUR). Nevertheless, our first luxury stop at Grassy Head cost us $29 per night for an unpowered site. Here in Tamworth, we are paying $38 per night for a powered site (Luxury! I got to charge the Macbook!) But in both cases, this expense came with extremely clean shower and toilets, laundry, kitchens, TV, and in this case a pool! Plus of course the people. As aforementioned, it’s always the people.
Ben has resorted to switching on the J’s to drown out the neighbour’s So Fresh mix which is now featuring ‘Dirty’ by Christina Aguilera (18yo Emily would be crumping hard RN). We are wedged between a couple travelling Aus for six weeks with their two sets of twin boys. You heard me – two sets of twin boys – and on the other side, another family that has a caravan the size of a semi trailer and triplets – two boys and a girl… They sold their home on the Central Coast to travel and they are currently grounded because their super hectic-looking rig is too heavy… All lovely people and all with a tremendous story to tell. All with multiple kids under the age of 5.
I stop and ponder for a second – how on earth are both families doing this? It’s expensive enough for just Ben and I to be staying in a caravan park, let alone a family of five, or six! I throw my head back and chuckle a little – here I am downing a Great Northern doing what I love in complete peace next to Benny boy who is down the deep, dark hole of Facebook videos. Despite the stresses, for us, it’s EASY.
I whinge about the setup, about the pack down, about doing too much, about doing too less, about how we’re going to make the money last, about where we’ll go next and how I’m going to deal with the cold… But’s just US. Just Ben and I – I could not imagine bringing little ones along too – merely watching both sets of neighbours gives me anxiety. I guess that’s why these caravan parks are so great for families – it’s a small price to pay for comfort, and a fabulous opportunity for families, couples and even individuals to connect, for kids to play with other kids and to feel like you’re living in a community – even if it’s a temporary one.
We’ve seen so much and I could bore you with the details about how amazing it was – how spectacular the sunsets and sunrises have been, how beautiful the scenery has been and how lucky we are… but I’d rather leave you with this…
Next time you visit a regional place or even a city if you so wish, consider dabbling in the world of caravan parks. You don’t need to rough it, these meccas have fancy cabins as well, and a bunch of people from all over who’d just love to get to know you – and maybe if you step out of our comfort bubble of complementary bath robes and pretzels, you might discover something far more amazing…
…. And here I am an hour and a half later – still not finished these few words. I had been greeted by one of the neighbours which turned into a drink together, which turned into drinks with the other neighbours, which turned into drinks with all the neighbours while the kids played nearby. Now we’re all off to the pub together. This is what life on the road is all about and I’d recommend it to anyone.
A lover of the written word.
Journalist by trade, writer by hobby. Writing fuels my soul and I promised myself I’d string words together more often, so here I am.
A collection of pieces that describe the inner workings of my mind.