‘The Great Outdoors Package’. This phrase may conjure a bearded demi-god, rolling in on his hi-lift 4x4, arm dangling out the window, with a mean-looking camper trailer following along behind him like a loyal rottweiler.
But it actually refers to an exciting $107.2 million investment by the Victorian Government, with the aim of helping locals and visitors to better enjoy the outdoor world.
The really eye-catching part of it is that, since July 1, camping fees in state and national parks have been reduced by 50 per cent. On top of this there will be upgrades to 30 existing campsites and the introduction of 30 new ones, as well as improvements to walking trails and 4WD tracks.
While ‘permanently fixed, roofed accommodation including cabins, lodges or huts’ do not benefit from the reduced fee, that matters not for our towing community.
Victorian Premier, Dan Andrews, had this to say: “Camping is more than just a great hobby, it’s big business for our regional and rural towns. It’s more customers for our shops, cafes and tourist attractions – and that means more jobs for Victorians.”
Parks Victoria says that anyone who has paid full price for an advanced booking of a campsite for after July 1 will be refunded.
While the reduced fees may increase the popularity of camping in Victoria, the demand versus supply equation will be weighed up and reviewed by Parks Vic as time progresses. The addition of 30 new campgrounds over the next four years ought to cater to increased visitation.