Geraldton’s free caravan bays pay a dividend

Tamra CarrGeraldton Guardian
Sunshine Coast residents Dudley and Charlotte Hollis spent a night in the free parking facility available off Marine Terrace.
Camera IconSunshine Coast residents Dudley and Charlotte Hollis spent a night in the free parking facility available off Marine Terrace. Credit: Tamra Carr The Geraldton Guardian

Travelling families staying in free overnight parking bays say they are spending thousands of dollars in Geraldton.

Sunshine Coast couple Charlotte and Dudley Hollis stayed for a day at the free Francis Street parking near the Esplanade earlier this month.

The pair, who last visited Geraldton 14 years ago, said they typically avoided caravan parks to stop accommodation costs eating into their pension.

Mrs Hollis said while she loved the free overnight parking, she admitted the couple had always planned to visit Geraldton and were not necessarily pulled in because of the free parking.

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“We tend to go to farm stays and cattle stations, not caravan parks,” Mrs Hollis said.

“The free parking is great. More towns ought to do this. It’s safe and quiet here and near the visitor centre, which is great.”

The couple said they had spent more than $700 in Geraldton on grocery shopping, eating at restaurants and buying supplies.

Mr Hollis said Geraldton had changed a lot in the last 14 years and had become an “ideal town.”

“All I can say is, what a difference,” he said.

Carol Marvell, also from Queensland, said she intended only to stay in Geraldton for a day but had booked the previous night at Geraldton Caravan Park.

She said she had spent more than $1000 locally on fuel, groceries, the bakery and servicing her vehicles.

“We always intended to stop here,” Mrs Marvell said.

“But I think having this (free parking) will get people to stay a bit longer.

“Especially as you have your tourist centre right next to it.”

The Witte family, who are also travelling Australia from Queensland, said they would have bypassed Geraldton if not for the free parking.

“We just saw you could park up here near some water and then I went and spent $160 at your (Scrapbook House) scrapbooking place,” Kelly Witte said.

“I know it’s a corporate chain and all, but we also went to your Maccas and went to the park so the kids could blow off some steam.”

Mark Witte said he and his family had never been to Geraldton before and he thought the city was “pretty inviting.”

The Wittes also agreed that having Geraldton Visitor Centre, food and a playground nearby was good for families and would encourage more people to drop by Geraldton.

“I think you can definitely tell when a town isn’t RV-friendly,” Mrs Witte said.

“But this place absolutely is.”

Geraldton Council began offering free overnight parking for recreational vehicles, caravans and camper trailers in 2018, in the CBD, Point Moore and Drummond Cove.

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