Baby boomers love their holidays on wheels
Australia’s Baby Boomers grew up with a passion for caravan holidays.
As a family car became affordable for most Australians in the reviving post-war economy of the 1950s, towing a caravan provided a cheap holiday option.
Initially, the hire caravan sector was strong as families booked vans for their holidays and took off to their favourite destinations by the sea, along the river or in the hills.
But as the popularity of caravan and camping trips began to grow, people increasingly sought to buy their own vsnd, which in many cases also doubled as an extra bedroom in the backyard between holidays.
From bondwood to aluminium, the caravans of the 1950s and 1960s were very basic by today’s standards with a small sink, gas burner, timber cupboards, a fold-down table and beds.
It was the humble beginning of the caravan boom that today sees millions of Australians spending their holidays on wheels.
Naturally, many of the Baby Boomer generation have fond memories of their family caravan holidays.
While the facilities at caravan parks and camping grounds have improved beyond imagination, little has changed in terms of favourite caravan and camping destinations in South Australia.
Latest research by the Caravan and Camping Industries Association of SA (CCIASA) shows that the most popular places for self-drive holidays are the Flinders Ranges, Yorke Peninsula, the Riverland and Eyre Peninsula with the Clare Valley, Adelaide Hills, Fleurieu Peninsula and Limestone Coast also ranking highly.
Baby Boomers towing caravans and campers today are known as the Grey Nomads. Industry sources say around 1.7 million caravanners and comfort campers are in the 50-plus age group.
Many of them are on the move constantly travelling around the nation staying where and when they fancy.
CCIASA President, Mike Griggs, said the global financial crisis in 2008 kept many Baby Boomers grounded from their regular holidays.
“The economic downturn and its impact on superannuation and investments kept many regular grey nomads at home,” he explained.
“But with clear signs of economic recovery and stable fuel prices, it is evident that the older self-drive holidaymakers are back on the road.
“We are seeing many of the traditional caravanners back in the market for new products and upgrades.
“High attendance figures at caravan and camping shows around the nation this year demonstrates that people are continuing to chase the dream of holidays on the road.
“Retirees tend to focus on a major interstate trip each year during our winter months to chase the sun, and plan regular shorts to South Australian parks at other times.
“Over the summer holidays and into autumn, we’ll see lots of younger family groups at caravan parks around the State, particularly the favourite seaside locations.
“But there will also be plenty of over 50s caravanners enjoying the quality of our parks and diversity of tourism experiences over the coming months.
“Caravan and motorhomes offer the most luxurious way take off and have a break.
“Offering the least amount of set-up time, it’s almost as easy as pulling up at your favourite site, breaking out the chairs and sitting back to enjoy your surroundings.”
Mr Griggs said there was so much valuable “mileage” to be gained from meeting and sharing experiences with others who share a passion for caravan holidays.
“That’s why caravan clubs, formed by like-minded people in the early days of the industry, continue to prosper around the country,” he said.
The Association of Caravan Clubs in South Australia was formed more than three decades ago. Today, it represents 17 clubs around the State with close affiliations with similar associations and membership clubs across the nation.
The Association of Caravan Clubs in South Australia shares ideas of common interest and mutual benefits and fosters friendship among members here and across our borders.