24 January 2020

New caravan park near EPIC to boost tourism offering

| Ian Bushnell
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Canberra Park site

The 12 ha Canberra Park site. The caravan park is the next phase of its development. Photo: Supplied.

A new 73-site caravan park near Exhibition Park will boost affordable tourist accommodation in the national capital and increase its capacity to cater for longer rigs.

Work has started on the next phase of development at Canberra Park on Old Wells Station Road, which opened in 2017 and caters mainly for school and sporting groups visiting Canberra.

Canberra Park, owned and being developed by FreeSpirit Investments, has 154 rooms accommodating 408 guests, up to 72 supervisors/teachers and private accommodation for coach drivers, as well as a multi-purpose building that offers dining for up to 300 guests and a flexible meeting space.

Owner Blake Cottle says Canberra Park has set a new benchmark for group accommodation in Canberra and the addition of caravan sites and associated facilities will provide further options for people visiting Canberra.

The new development will offer a mix of drive-through and back-in sites, all with power, and include a camp kitchen offering internal and external cooking options, barbecues, a fully equipped guest laundry and an amenity block complete with a family bathroom and accessible facilities.

Canberra Park manager David Grigg said it was expected the caravan park would open in June, bringing the number of like offerings in the ACT to four (comprising Canberra Park, Southside Village in Symonston, Alivio Tourist Park at O’Connor and Exhibition Park). There are three others just across the border.

Caravan park layout

The plans show the layout of the caravan park. Image: Supplied.

But Mr Grigg said this would be a step up in the level of caravan park offering, with high-end amenities and facilities, and sites large enough to take the longer rigs.

Rather than competing with EPIC, the new park would complement it.

“The aim is to have a property as far as location goes that would actually bring people to Canberra, as opposed to them going through,” he said.

The park would also potentially include self-contained cabins in the future.

The original 2015 plan for the 12 ha site also included a recreation area, water park, a possible athletes village and hotel, but that depended on the shareholders and the government’s tourism market requirements, Mr Grigg said.

He said the idea was to serve multiple markets that would be attracted by events at EPIC, such as the National Folk Festival and the Canberra Show, and other attractions in the capital.

The government has committed to keeping and updating EPIC as an events and entertainment precinct, so Canberra Park fits into the accommodation needs of what will be a developing area.

Mr Grigg said Canberra Park would approach EPIC about pedestrian access through the site to the light rail stop on Flemington Road.

Since opening, Canberra Park has served just under half a million meals in the dining space and welcomed more than 60,000 guests, equalling approximately 160,000 room nights.

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Capital Retro5:14 pm 29 Jan 20

It may have to be acquired to be a coronavirus quarantine centre when the true potential of this problem is realised.

Capital Retro9:17 am 28 Jan 20

For once something in Canberra is designed and built according to the function required. No doubt it won’t win any awards for being edgy and vibrant but the people who follow that creed won’t be using the place anyway.

ChrisinTurner5:14 pm 30 Jan 20

There is already a very nice facility like this called GreenHills out on the Cotter.

Capital Retro1:31 pm 31 Jan 20

Cotter ain’t Canberra.

Capital Retro5:42 pm 27 Jan 20

Is it pop-up or permanent?

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