Travel & Touring | Camping & Caravanning

6 August, 2021  By: Vanessa Pogorelic

Boats, bikes, caravans and camping gear were in high demand and short supply in 2020 and since then they’ve been given a good workout by West Aussies looking for new adventures.

With caravanners and campers fanning out across the state, squeezing their new toys into every available site, caravan parks and campgrounds have been buzzing with activity.

But as holiday parks and camping areas have filled up, camping etiquette has sometimes been in short supply as well, according to RAC’s recent Caravan and Camping Survey.

The survey uncovered some of the behaviours and camping faux pas that were considered the most inconsiderate by others, in addition to some skills gaps in those towing caravans.

Messy holidaymakers were particularly called out, with 34 per cent of caravanners and campers saying they regularly observed others not leaving shower and toilet facilities clean after use.

Leaving rubbish behind at a site was the behaviour nominated as the most discourteous, with 92 per cent saying they considered it ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ inconsiderate.

Not respecting personal space was also an issue, with 31 per cent reporting frequently seeing people walk through other’s camp and caravan sites.

Almost a quarter complained about noisy guests disturbing the peace and 40 per cent said they often observed children not being supervised by adults onsite, which more than half also called out as being ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ inconsiderate.

A couple sitting outside a caravan

Caravanners high on confidence, low on skills

Some novice caravanners also fell short on technical skills. When asked how much research or training they had done before towing a caravan, 22 per cent said none at all, with 26 per cent reporting that they had done between one to five hours.

Nearly one in three don’t feel confident reverse parking a caravan or camper trailer.

RELATED: Reversing a caravan »
RELATED: Road rules for towing your caravan »

Despite the low experience and training levels, 84 per cent said that they did feel confident towing a caravan or camper trailer.

Since June 2020, RAC has been conducting the Safe Travels caravan safety training workshops, teaching new and experienced owners the essentials.

Trainers found that difficulty in reversing a caravan and a lack of understanding of towing weights and weight distribution were among the technical skills most lacking among caravan owners.

The sessions have been in high demand with more than 1,600 participants attending during the program’s first year.

With WA recording the country’s biggest rate of increase in caravan sales in 2020, it’s little wonder there are many new caravanners on the road who may be short on the skills needed to correctly hitch up and safely tow and handle a large trailer.

There are now nine caravans per 100 dwellings in WA, according to data from the Caravan Industry Association of Australia.

In 2020, the Mandurah region recorded the second highest number of registrations nationally. The previous year it had the highest number.

Armadale and Bedfordale recorded the highest absolute increase in caravans nationally while Albany recorded one of Australia’s highest percentage increases in caravan registrations.

Being a significant investment, caravanning will no doubt remain a popular activity in Western Australia in coming years as owners seek to make good use of their caravans and camper trailers to explore even more of the state.

The rear of a parked caravan

WA’s camping and caravanning hotspots

RAC’s Caravan and Camping Survey also asked participants about the destinations they loved most or would most like to visit.

When asked what influenced their selection of caravan parks and campgrounds, 43 per cent said that proximity to water, including beaches, rivers and lakes was the most important factor when choosing where to stay.

Among the most popular spots nominated by participants as places they most want to visit, destinations in the north of the state topped the list.

Broome was overwhelmingly the number one choice, with caravanners and campers also nominating Kununurra, Exmouth, Coral Bay and Karijini as places they particularly wanted to visit.

RELATED: 12 best beach camping spots in WA »

WA’s 8 favourite ‘bucket list’ destinations:

1. Broome

2. Esperance

3. Kununurra

4. Exmouth

5. Kimberley region

6. Coral Bay

7. Busselton

8. Karijini

The survey also found more than 90 per cent of respondents are planning to continue travelling throughout WA in the next 12 months.

When asked about the one thing that they couldn’t live without when camping and caravanning, the most popular responses included: toilets, showers and coffee.

RELATED: Camping gear essentials »

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More than 900 people participated in RAC’s Caravanning and Camping Survey with all survey respondents having either camped or stayed in a caravan in WA in the last 12 months.