Queensland RV travel on the mend from COVID as industry offers a million reasons to hit the road

Richard Dinnen - Queensland Editor |

Caravan and recreational vehicle (RV) travel in Queensland has recovered to better than pre-COVID levels, with many regional parks reporting a strong start to the winter peak season.

Greg McKinnon from BIG4 Adventure Whitsundays, near Airlie Beach, said the season started earlier than usual with lots of visitors arriving from southern states.

“Absolutely fantastic. We’ve had a very early season, which means people are wanting to get out of Melbourne and South Australia, New South Wales, to get away from the cold.

“We’re hitting new records, with occupancy of 80 and 90 per cent. It’s a great start to the season, we’re absolutely loving it.”

Big4 Adventure Whitsundays was one of many RV facilities that closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, as health and travel restrictions took effect across Australia.

 The Caravan Industry Association of Australia says the recovery in Queensland is an astonishing effort, but, with high fuel prices, more can be done to encourage travel.

To that end, the Association has put up one million dollars in prize money to be won by one caravan or RV traveller.

Marketing manager, Keelan Howard, said it will encourage people to travel further and stay longer.

“The further they go, we give them more entries. If you’re from Brisbane, and you go to the Sunshine Coast, you get one entry per night.

“But if you’re willing to go to Longreach, for example, you get five entries per night.

“What we’ve seen in the last two years is the world can change very quickly. Don’t wait. Take those adventures while you can.”

 The Caravan Industry Association estimates there are 840,000 RVs registered in Australia, with almost one quarter of them in Queensland.

Michelle Weston

Michelle Weston, Chief Executive Officer of the Caravan Parks Association of Queensland, said people who hit the road in her state make an enormous contribution to regional economies.

“In the year ending December 2021, the caravan and camping sector in Queensland resulted in $1.63 billion dollars worth of visitor expenditure, with over 80 per cent of that in regional Queensland.

“It does have a massive impact on some of those quite small communities, and most of them have been affected by drought, floods, COVID.

“It can make a really big difference, bringing that money from down south or the big city, spending it with small business operators.

“In Queensland, this is very much about getting people to travel further and stay longer.

“With some of the challenges, like the fuel prices, we’re hoping that by offering the chance to win a million dollars, it will encourage people to get out to places like Burketown and Normanton, maybe head up Cape York or west as far as  Birdsville, or Adele’s Grove.

“We’re just getting people to push out a little bit further, to those communities that need that economic contribution far more than the big cities.”

The national competition runs until October. It includes more than 315 Queensland caravan parks, from the Gold Coast to Birdsville, and from Stanthorpe to the tip of Cape York.