Thursday, 16 May 2013

They've stolen our National Parks

They’ve stolen our National Parks.

Once upon a time, not actually that long ago, Australia’s National Parks were regarded as belonging to the people – places of beauty, part of our heritage. They were ours.  For families who couldn’t afford expensive holidays, there was always the option of a campout in a National Park. It was the one place they could go that costs nothing. Certainly, there were no hot showers, and maybe only a ‘drop toilet,’ (a toilet seat over a hole in the ground) but that was fine for the young and active. A tent, sitting on logs around the campfire, usually too cold the first night, but somehow, the second night always seemed fine. That was how it used to be.

But then they introduced a ‘token’ fee – even just for a day visit. I was very much against this fee, as it violated what I felt was an important principle, that Australia’s places of beauty, the National Parks, belonged to all of us. Not to the few, but to all of us. The small fees were supposed to cover the cost of infrastructure – better toilets, showers, set camping sites, sometimes firewood supplied – all of those things we’d previously managed without.

The fees increased. A few years ago, I wanted to look at a lighthouse and the view from it. Maybe a half hour visit? I forget how much it was, but I refused to pay it.

And now... Here we are at a very nice caravan park, beautiful views, good facilities, not too crowded, $23/night for a powered site. 2 people. Nearby the National Park has some sites where people can also camp if they choose. Beautiful views, ( after a short walk) poor facilities, sites not marvellous, and costs – $10/person, extra for extra people, $7 for the car, for us, it would be $27/night  -  $4 more than the 'for-profit' venture.   Why would anyone pay that to camp? More irksome is that they want to charge just for a visit!  $7 for a vehicle is unreasonable for a ten minute lookaround.

So what happens? We no longer go to National Parks.  They’ve stolen our National Parks.


Nat Park camping ground, $26/night
Nat Park Camping ground,
the beach is a short walk away.

Nearby is a very nice commercial caravan park, price $23/night (2 adults)
good amenities and a great beach very close. 

Looking over the beach from one of the caravan sites.
Brooms Head caravan park, beautiful surroundings, reasonable amenities, and just $23/night.  Why would anyone go to the National Park?

The wildlife?  There is a lot of birdlife at the caravan park, and if you're up early, you can see kangaroos grazing around the vans and units. 

Maybe it's for the perceived prestige of staying at National Parks? 

The caravan park at dusk.
And if you want kangaroos, just get up early enough.
The beach:

Brooms Head beach,  northern NSW.
Look for my books on Smashwords, on Amazon or on other online retailers.

No comments:

Post a Comment