Back in the day, the Aussie caravan park was a symbol of the classic Aussie beach holiday: BBQ’s, fishing, endless summer days spent lazing around and a permanent perfume of coconut oil mixed with that unmistakable toilet block smell.
These days you can still do all of that (hopefully minus the coconut toilet aroma), but it comes with a big pricetag. A deluxe cabin in a caravan park on the Central Coast, a two-hour drive from Sydney, will set you back around $500/week in winter or $1,500/week in summer. A powered site costs around $200/week in winter and $500/week in summer. Admittedly these prices are for caravan parks right on the beach, but so what? It’s an Aussie beach holiday, if you wanted to stay in a outter suburb, then there’s a word for that: Staycation.
I know that inflation has moved on a little from the seventies, and I know that caravan parks are nothing like the order of dagginess from the seventies. You can stay in luxury cabins, self-contained cabins or even glamp. You may never even need to use the amenities block, which has in itself moved on. These days the pool areas are cut and pasted from a Gold Coast resort (no higher commendation can there be!) and the laundry facilities are clean and bright. There is landscaping, cafes, activities and well-maintained BBQ’s. Thing is, it’s still a caravan park!
You are still right on top of your neighbours, you still have the problems of noise and possibly other people’s pets. If the weather turns nasty, it could still be a bit of a soggy depressing holiday, even in a cabin.
So where do you go if you want a cheap holiday? Backpackers? Bush camp?
Or do you go back to Square One: Staycation?