Following a report in the Daily Telegraph declaring holidays in Bali to be cheaper than camping in some South Coast towns, the News Weekly asked visitors and caravan park operators alike if they thought Bali was a better deal.
The report listed costs of camping sites from towns along the coast at up to $96 per night for a family of four, while the same family could stay at a Bali hotel from as low as $57 a night.
The claims have resonated with some visitors, but left a bitter taste for some local park operators saying they offer more than just a piece of grass to pitch a tent or park a caravan on.
Canberra resident Graham O’Neill thought anything more than $50 a night for a powered caravan site was ridiculous.
Mr O’Neill said he knew how cheap it could be to visit Bali, but enjoyed the Far South Coast’s atmosphere and people too much to take his holiday elsewhere.
“I prefer to come here over Bali, I understand how cheap it is over there and it is another country to travel and discover - I’d be more than happy to go and visit Bali, but I’m an Aussie and I love my land, the beaches here are amazing and I’ll be visiting again soon.”
He said the price he paid to camp on the Sapphire Coast was more than he liked, but the places and people made up for it.
“The prices of sites along the coast are just like everything in this country – the prices keep going up, but the wages stay the same and it gets harder for ordinary people.”
Tathra Big 4 operator Greg McKay said it was outrageous for the Telegraph to consider camp site fees on the South Coast to be just a ‘patch of dirt or grass’ and that the journalists should substantiate their claims, taking into account costs of flights and travel overseas.
“It’s certainly not just a patch of grass,” Mr McKay said.
“We have solar-heated pools to rival any resort, we offer children’s entertainment, camper kitchens, TV rooms and amenities that are closely monitored and maintained two-to-three times a day.
“We’re focused on our tourist trade and bringing visitors to the Far South Coast, it’s one of the sparsely populated areas on the NSW coast and it’s in pristine condition,” he said.
Meanwhile Milly Chifley, Jim Horvath and his four children couldn’t be more pleased with their visit to the Sapphire Coast, staying in Pambula over the holidays they said the fees were reasonable and the locals had been a delight.
“You can pay up to $160 for a cabin in this kind of peak season which is quite expensive, but here in Pambula our fees are low and the owners are taking really good care of us,” Mr Horvath said.
Ms Chifley said that it was Christmas holidays for Mr Horvath’s four kids who live in Melbourne and that a trip overseas hadn’t crossed their minds.
“We wanted to take the kids on a bit of a holiday and a trip to Bali was never really in our plans.
“The Far South Coast is great, the amenities here are enough for us, the kids might enjoy a pool, but we can walk to the beach,” she said.
Mr Horvath said that he adored the river mouth at Pambula Beach and the local people and places would keep him coming back time and again.
In the Bega Valley the News Weekly found powered sites for a caravan with a private bathroom attachment could be had for $110 a night and plain campsites ran as low as $16.50 a night depending on season and park.