A Case in point with Camp on Allyn
I love getting away and camping, whether it be in our Tvan, a swag, or camping in a tent. I’m happy to pay to camp, but I also really enjoy free camping, and I love finding hidden spots away from everything and everyone, especially ones where there are walks or other outdoor activities and places to explore.
I’ve had the chance to try a few private campsites in the last 12 months thanks to suggestions from some friends, and I’ve actually really been impressed each time I’ve given it a go. I initially thought that private camping was something I’d never do, but I’ve been surprised by my experiences so far.
Despite my initial trepidation, private campsites are now definitely an option when planning my travels. Let me explain my reasons:
The facilities at the private campsites I’ve stayed at were top notch. I’m quite happy without even a flushing toilet, but I can’t argue that it makes life much easier for the kids and also my partner when there are toilets available.
Camp On Allyn (based in East Gresford NSW), was the place I stayed at over the weekend. I have to say that their facilities were brilliant – they had quality toilets, and showers available too, as well as a cool on-site office which sold ice-creams, firewood, cold drinks, and even some basic supplies (note: they accept cash only).
Directions to campsites were easy to follow, and the entrance was easy enough to find. Despite the location, the grass was freshly mowed and the place really was immaculate.
The space we were offered was immense, easily fitting us and any other campers in our groups in. You never felt squished in, despite the place being quite busy being a long weekend. There was plenty of space to throw a frisbee, walk and explore, and setup camp. Campfire sites were ready made with the only restriction on their use being if there was a total fire ban.
The grass in surrounding areas was nicely mowed, and the vistas from your campsite sure beat a holiday park.
Camp on Allyn is right by the Allyn River, so you could access and swim in the river. With temps in the high 30’s every day, we spent plenty of time in the river.
Our group for this weekend included Sharleen and Chris from the Club 4X4 team, both lovely people that really live the passion. The great thing was that we were close enough to all hang out, but with the space you could retreat to your own setup anytime if you just wanted some alone time too.
The people running them
In my experience so far (and perhaps this is because of the way I’ve discovered these private campsites), the people running the private campsites fascinated me with their social nature, and hard work ethic. At Camp on Allyn, the couple that run the campsite are also Cattle Farmers who have been there for generations. They started the campsite as a way to improve their financial situation given their struggles with drought. Their story isn’t unique, and their reasons are similar to many who run private campsites.
On the weekend, I saw both the owners checking the toilets at least 3 times a day each to ensure they were in tip top shape. They also ran a tour around a historic homestead that was built back in the 1800’s, and even setup a fire and encouraged everyone to come and say G’day and have a a drink and chat around the fire of an evening.
I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to have a chat with such lovely people – there’s just something lovely about hearing their stories and understanding what makes them tick.
The point here is that the people are hard working, sociable and down to earth – the kind of people you’d love to have around a campfire. Allowing people to camp on their beautiful properties has helped improve their financial situation, creating a win-win for them and we who like camping.
The cost to camp has been steadily going up in holiday parks and also many a National Park. A night at somewhere like a Big4 Holiday park for an unpowered site can now cost upwards of $45.00 per night, depending on how many dependents you have. Add power to that and the cost increases even more.
The rise of private camping improves the supply of campsites available, which provides options for campers and choice, both factors which help keep the cost of camping down.
I travelled to Camp On Allyn and paid for a weekend of camping during a peak period, and it cost me $30.00 per night for a family of 4 (2 adults, and 2 kids). That’s a saving of 1/3 of the price of a mainstream caravan or holiday Park. And, the kids got to be out with nature and swim in the Allyn river.
Being private property, the rules and expectations are made very clear before you setup camp. This meant that late night noise wasn’t an issue, and people were courteous and considerate of each other (but thats not to say there was a curfew or you couldn’t sit around the campfire until the wee hours). In fact, in both places I woke up during the night to total silence – I know this sounds strange, but total silence is really something special.
I’m sure a not so respectful group must appear here and there, but you’ll find the owners will manage this – these private campsites to succeed, they need clean and tidy campers who have respect for each other and they tend to make and keep rules that ensure this.
By the same token though, if you want enough space where you can play music late at night without bothering others, a lot of these places have quite remote/separate areas that will cater to these needs without impacting others.
If you are considering a private campsite for your next trip away, I can highly recommend it. Make sure you do your research so you are aware of the facilities and previous campers reviews. If you do, I’m confident you’ll have an outstanding time. Perhaps it will prompt some of the National Parks and others to lift their game? If nothing else, it creates more space for people to enjoy the outdoors, which is a good thing given the mass return to roadtrip and camping holidays that is being brought on by COVID.
What is your experience with Private campsites? Are you for or against them and why?