Why grey nomads are flocking to this Mt Larcom caravan park
Kev and Del Smaldon are pretty excited - and with good reason.
Their business, Mount Larcom Tourist Park, has just been named a finalist in the national Grey Nomad Awards.
The news further cements the Gladstone region's reputation as a bucket list destination for mature-age tourists.
The Mt Larcom Tourist Park has been shortlisted in the 2020 Best Grey Nomad Small Caravan Park category.
The winners will be announced on March 2 at a celebratory event on the Sunshine Coast.
Conveniently located on the national highway west of Gladstone, the Mt Larcom Tourist
Park at Balfour St offers nearly seven acres of manicured lawns, stunning gardens or bush in a multi-tiered setting.
Purchased by Kev and Del Smaldon in 2018, the park and its 10 powered sites and 15 unpowered sites has been transformed into the perfect place for an overnight stop when traversing the Queensland coast.
Working from top to bottom, and front to back, every aspect that affected the guest
experience has received the couple's attention and care.
The Mt Larcom Tourist Park, which is a member of the nomad-friendly Kui Parks groups, now boasts a newly-refurbished amenity block, contemporary camp kitchen, renovated barbecue area, log fire pits, sunrise viewing area, solar lighting, plus an outdoor bistro setting on every powered site so travellers need not pull out their own tables and chairs.
Awards director Kim Morgan said the Grey Nomad Awards provided vital, credible
information to mature-age travellers while supporting positive ageing through soft adventure and social inclusion.
"The COVID situation has meant that some older Australians felt uneasy about travelling in 2020, with health and safety becoming an even greater factor in their decision making," Ms Morgan said.
"That is why the Grey Nomad Awards' criteria focused on the actions that tourism operators, caravan parks and unique campgrounds like Mt Larcom Tourist Park took to make the lives of grey nomads happier, healthier and safer.
"In this way, the awards are fostering a better lifestyle for over 50s by providing verified information that will guide their decisions on where to travel safely in 2021 and what to experience along the way."
Ms Morgan said that with a 31 per cent decline in overnight trips within Australia for the year to September 2020, compared to the same period to September 2019, it was even more important that mature-age Australians had somewhere to turn that inspired and encouraged them to travel.
"Tourism is pivotal to many regional economies, with money from visitors supporting local
businesses and generating employment," she said.
The Grey Nomad Awards are judged by mature-age tourism professionals, some of whom have experienced the grey nomad lifestyle personally, adding weight to the Mt Larcom Tourist Park's success as a finalist.
The judges commented how they loved the quirky aspects of the caravan park including:
- the purpose-built sunrise viewpoint that boasts "The Big Picture Frame" which perfectly frames Mt Larcom in the distance;
- retro-themed shower curtains that are a real talking point;
- cheeky hen and rooster murals identifying the amenities entrances;
- a shabby-chic book swap corner;
- a sunrise over Mt Larcom mural;
- and an Australia map in the camp kitchen where grey nomads are encouraged to "pin their home" on the map as a conversation starter.
"These facilities are matched in quirkiness and quality by homely, genuine and impeccable customer service, witnessed through little touches that surely bring a smile to grey nomads' lips, such as fresh fruit grown on site or eggs from the owners' chickens in a bowl on the camp kitchen table for guests to enjoy," the judges said.
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