General News

4 June, 2022

Grey nomads flock to region

MAREEBA is due to be packed to the brim as migrating southern visitors flee the bitter cold of Australia’s winter months, triggering the start of the annual grey nomads season on the Tablelands.

By Rhys Thomas

Mick and Leanne Sucevic are travelling to Cape York with Cathie and John Karrasch, using Mareeba as their staging pad as they tackle the tip.
Mick and Leanne Sucevic are travelling to Cape York with Cathie and John Karrasch, using Mareeba as their staging pad as they tackle the tip.

An annual Christmas in July celebration hosted at Mareeba’s Davies Park, draws nomads from across Australia to share in the weekend long festivities, with this year’s event due to be held on 22-24 July. 

During the winter months, nomads inject much needed funds into local cafés and businesses as they fill their caravan with supplies for their travels. Mareeba Chamber of Commerce president Joe Moro is welcoming the shire’s annual visitors. 

“The grey nomads come in and they spend a lot of time in the area and they use Mareeba as a base,” he said. 

“At the same time, they have been travelling a bit and they might need some repairs, personally we have seen a lot at Moro Auto Repairs. 

“They inject a fair bit of money into the region and sometimes they hang around right up until it gets hot which is September-October – during that time they not only spend in Mareeba but in a lot of towns across the Tablelands.”

Tourism Atherton Tablelands chair Eddie Nye said grey nomads were a welcome sight around the region. 

Unlike conventional tourists who spend their money at tourism-focused businesses, grey nomads act as an influx of temporary residents as they use and enjoy the same amenities as permanent residents. 

“This time is incredibly beneficial to the community because grey nomads tend to stay longer in the area, their spend is spread out rather than the conventional trickle-down effect,” Mr Nye said. 

“The grey nomads tend to spend more time in the community and the financial contribution to that community is more direct – they are spending money at shops that your traditional tourist would not be going to. 

“The industry has benefited off the grey nomads coming and spending an extended period of time here and they have been extremely beneficial to caravan parks – the longer they stay the more money and contribution they make to the community.” 

An event that never fails to attract hundreds of nomads is the annual Christmas in July celebration at Mareeba’s Davies Park, and this year will be no different. 

Christmas in July organiser Maureen Lane said people did not need to book for Christmas in July, with the grounds are open to anyone as long as they are a Campervan and Motorhome Club member. 

“All the wheels are in motion, all the bands are booked for another successful Christmas in July,” she said. 

“There is more money that comes into the town than people realise, the nomads support the towns that support them. 

“The people who come into town, they have still got to live, so they get their fuel, beverages, food. 

“When we travel as well, we may need a new tyre as we have punctured a tyre, so you still need to maintain your vehicle.” 

The grounds at Davies Park and other areas of the Mareeba Shire will be overflowing with caravans and motorhomes as they prepare for their Christmas celebrations in Mareeba and further travels.

“The grey nomads come in, they spend a lot of time in the area and they use Mareeba as a base”

Mareeba gateway for travellers

MICK and Leanne Sucevic have travelled with Cathie and John Karrasch through three states to arrive in Mareeba in preparation to tackle Cape York’s “unconquered territory”. 

The caravanning couples hail from Melbourne and spent recent days in RV-friendly Mareeba, staying at Kerribee Park as they stock up on gear and supplies before their trip north. 

Mick, an experienced caravaner and traveller, has caravanned in every State bar Queensland and NSW and now, he plans to visit the tip. 

Before setting off on their travels, the couples budgeted for rising fuel prices and expected to be paying upwards of $2 a litre in some areas. 

What they did not account for however, was the extra kilometres they needed to travel due to the floods in southern parts of Queensland. 

Now safely in Mareeba, the couples are using the town as their home base as they refuel, resupply and enjoy the area before heading north. 

“This place (Keribee Park) just sets it apart from a lot of other places,” Mick said. 

“We budgeted for fuel prices, it was pretty high in Victoria but we did not budget for was the extra kilometres because of all the flooding. 

“Businesses here will be happy to know that we will be fuelling up here and taking extra up with us, so we are trying to support the local community.”


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