GREY NOMADS: Ian and Gail Roche had to stay on their boat in Yeppoon because of the lack of free camping areas.
GREY NOMADS: Ian and Gail Roche had to stay on their boat in Yeppoon because of the lack of free camping areas. Shayla Bulloch

Why these grey-nomads might never visit Yeppoon again

GAIL and Ian Roche left Yeppoon with a sour taste in their mouth saying they may not visit again.

The newly retired couple and their dog Bella were travelling up the coast from Melbourne when they were forced to spend the night on their boat in Rosslyn Bay Harbour after Yeppoon's lack of free camping spots.

The couple, in their 60s said the countless signs around Yeppoon banning camping and overnight stays in public places deterred them from the coastal town.

"They gave off a first impression that the town wasn't very friendly," Gail said.

Travellers since July, Gail and Ian said they never encountered a town as strict on overnight camping as Yeppoon.

Gail said all the coastal towns she'd visited welcomed caravans with open arms.

"When you're just travelling up the coast you don't want to pay for camping," she said.

"We are always looking for free camping spots because it's hard to actually get into caravan parks as they're full.

"So sometimes we have no other choice."

Ian said free camping spots also allowed them to spend money in the community instead of their accommodation which could vary from $5 to $50 a night.

"We go in and do our shopping in the towns with the money that we don't spend on camping," Ian said.

"You feel a small moral obligation to do that but Yeppoon didn't give us that urge."

Veterans on the road Tony and Gayle Sherwin yesterday set up camp at the free camping ground at Kershaw Gardens.

They said they had never been to Yeppoon but agreed with The Roche's that the lack of free camping grounds would deter them to visit.

After three years on the road Tony, 71, said if a town didn't have free camping he'd drive straight through.

"Now that a lot of vans have solar panels, there's no need for us to stay in a caravan park because it's just a waste of money," Tony said.

"There's more people on the roads now than there was three years ago and most people would agree that having free camping spots is a necessity."

Yesterday The Morning Bulletin was referred to Capricorn Enterprises by Livingstone Shire Council who both support the Queensland Camping Options Toolkit.

Tourism manager at Capricorn Enterprises Deanna Bowd said the toolkit was developed by the State Government after 18 months of stakeholder engagement.

"The caravan/motorhome/RV market is a significant and important part of our leisure holiday offering in the Livingstone Shire," Deanne said.

"This is reflected in a broad range of caravan/RV/camping options throughout the shire, including commercial parks, bush camping and national park camping.

Along the Capricorn Coast, there are 10 commercial caravan parks, as well as three Byfield National Park camp grounds to the north of Yeppoon."