Grey Nomads or Geriatric Gypsies?

A friend of mine sent me a link to a Sydney Morning Herald article that she thought I’d be interested in: an interview with caravanners John and Elaine Tickner. They say they think of themselves as ‘geriatric gypsies’, rather than ‘grey nomads’. The difference, in their eyes, is that they ‘go bush’ rather than travelling from one caravan park to the next.

Here’s a brief quote from the article (I’ll add the full link at the bottom): 

“He says there is a battle brewing for the caravan dollar and it’s getting ugly, with caravan parks lobbying governments to restrict “freedom camping” – forcing more people into the parks.

Mr Kipping says it has backfired in Tasmania, with caravaners heading to other states and bypassing the Apple Isle, taking its toll on the caravan parks in the process.

“Tasmania has pretty well shot itself in the foot, they’ve closed a lot of their freedom camping. People are now voting with their wheels.”

Very interesting! Rob and I have been adding more free camping stuff to our supplies – notably the ArkPak to charge up our laptop, phones etc, and a couple of solar panels that will power either the caravan batteries or the ArkPak.

Our ArkPak being charged by our solar panels.

Our ArkPak being charged by our solar panels.

We spent more time in free camps on our last trip than we ever had – and we plan to do more. We’ve been watching with interest the pressure being put on local councils to close or limit free campgrounds, but we didn’t know about the Tasmanian result.

Any comments? 


Grey Nomads or Geriatric Gypsies? — 12 Comments

  1. I guess our generation have benefited by having a choice of the good & plentiful things in life but do they have to get at us baby boomers every chance they can. What next, they start charging for firewood, caravan prices will go up… oopps too late.

    • Things have been changing, that’s for sure… caravan parks building more cabins and calling themselves ‘resorts’; having to book ahead at busy times… it’ll be interesting to see how things develop with free/cheaper camping areas!

  2. We were in Tasmania from mid January to mid May this year and did not go to a caravan park at all.

    There is a great deal of speculation about the situation in Tasmania but we had no problem finding free or very low cost camps in some incredibly scenic areas. The only time we had to pay more per night than I would have liked was in Hobart but that was to be expected. We stayed at the show grounds there.

    So I am not too sure where specifically in Tasmania is being closed to free or low cost camping. Keep this wonderful state on your to do list and don’t allow scaremongers to prevail.

    • Great feedback, Jan. We certainly wouldn’t like to see Tassie taken off anyone’s list because of this article. The thing that makes us think twice is not the question of camp costs in Tassie – it’s the cost of getting the van over there. Cars are cheap enough on the Spirit of Tasmania, but vans – now that’s another issue. (That’s what might get me into a tent – if we take the 4WD to Tassie and just camp. Eeek.) Be brave, Marg…

    • I would love to go to Tasmania, but have heard terrible stories about lack of free spaces and the cost of travel for my twuck and van to cross the sea is just too much. The pension is not that much so I look for cost cutting at all times. I travel alone and enjoy meeting all the lovely gypsies around the country.

      • I think people tend to book longer visits in Tassie to make the ferry costs worthwhile, and I think there are quite a few free camps to make up for it. Maybe we’ll meet you on the road one day, Red!

  3. Hi Marg, we did see this, does make you wonder and stop to think about all this, in our trips we have noticed the ‘resorts’ coming up.

    • The scene is changing, for sure. It’ll be interesting to see how it develops. (In our favour, we hope, whether you class us as grey nomads or geriatric gypsies!)

  4. We travel as a couple. We like to walk, cycle fish and kayak etc. We don’t use jumping castles, tennis courts, water slides or swimming pools….thus we don’t like paying for them. Why can’t van parks charge on a fee for service used basis? Policing this…well, different keys could be issued depending on the services chosen. If you only want to use the laundry and ablutions block that is the key you are given. Just a thought.

    • You are echoing the sentiments of many, many older people on the circuit, Judith.
      Since we have a shower/toilet in the van, all we really require is power and water. (Although we haven’t yet used the onboard loo for solids: we go places where there are toilets for that reason.)

  5. Marg, yes the cost of taking the van over is outrageous but if you work it out on a per night basis, then the longer you stay the cheaper it becomes!

    Tent? Noooooooooooooooo!

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