Some of the places we’ve stayed at have been pretty impressive – the park we’re in at the moment, Rainbow Beach, has lots of tropical palms as landscaping, lots of grass and good, clean toilets and showers. It’s a bit inconvenient when you have to visit the toilets in the night with one of the children, but we’ve programmed them carefully over the last three months!
The park has a pool as well, which looks like the kind of thing you’d find at a five star hotel (well, if you ignore the walk past the tents and camper vans to get to it). In the background of this photo are the cabins, which are the alternative to staying in a tent or caravan. The cabins cost about AU$80-100 a night (£40), and have kitchens, bathrooms and one or two bedrooms. Our camper van spot costs us AU$21 a night (£9), which includes a power plug for the camper van (for the lights, fridge, microwave and kettle etc), and a concrete pad alongside the van for the awning (oh yes, we’ve got the works). And every site has a number of communal barbecues with sink and picnic table, which is great for warm evenings.
Some of the other sites we’ve stayed on haven’t been so luxurious. We’ve learnt to try and avoid ‘Caravan Sites’ an instead head to ‘Tourist Parks’. The tourist parks are just used by touring families, whereas caravan parks are also used by people living there long-term. In many ways, it’s a bit similar to mobile home parks in England. We’ve found that they’re full of freshly divorced singles, and couples who’ve fallen on hard times. And because they are staying long term, they build a community on the park, and aren’t interested in the visitors to the site – although you’re in the middle of lots of people, it can be a bit lonely.
Mornings on caravan sites are a bit of a pyjama fashion parade, with people wandering off to the toilets and showers in their pj’s. We’ve seen some interesting brushed nylon ankle-length leopard print dressing gowns as we open our curtains! And there’s an amazing correlation between comb-overs and the tackiness of the caravans. No wonder each evening we settle down with a glass of wine (well, actually a plastic beaker). You may think that we’re being outrageously decadent with wine, but it does come from the wine box that cost us the equivalent of 70p a bottle (still, if we’ve got any left over we’ll be able to use it as vinegar on fish and chips).