If the number of caravans and camper trailers in the streets and driveways across the Riverina is anything to go by – camping holidays in the regions are booming!
Thousands are expected to attend the annual Caravan, Camping and Leisure Expo when it returns to The Range Function Centre on Friday for the 21st Wagga show.
Organiser Jeff Leech has been holding expos across the country for three decades and said there had been growing interest in the past couple of years.
“It used to be mainly the 60-plus ‘grey nomads’ that were buying caravans, but we’re seeing a lot more younger people getting into caravaning at the moment,” he explained.
“With the cost of overseas airfares and accommodation and all hotels being so expensive, the younger people in their 30s are buying these caravans with a big rig to tow them and taking the family around Australia rather than going overseas.
“All these new caravan parks are set up for the kids with pools and jumping things and you can hook up to the water and power and you’re all set.”
The three-day event kicked off this morning and promises a broad selection of big-ticket items along with all the bits and pieces you need to set up your home on wheels.
“We’ve got about $4m worth of caravans alone with over 300 set up at the Range now,” Jeff said.
“We’ve got a lot of dealers from Melbourne, Sydney and the major manufacturers from all over with caravans, campers, boats and all the four-wheel drive stuff.
“Your average caravan can cost you $100,000 but we’ve got everything from the beautiful little teardrop caravans right up to the $250,000 motorhomes.”
In keeping with the mobile theme, a food court on wheels will keep the punters fed with a dozen food trucks lined up, while inside the function centre will be what Jeff calls the “gadgets”.
“There’s 128 exhibitors with everything from bed linen for caravans to little cookers, hoses, refrigerators and tow balls and we’ve even got bum bags for utes,” he said with a chuckle.
“It’s a kind of bag to store things in that fits on the back of the cab of your ute or if you’re in a four-wheel drive it sits like a havasack on your spare wheel.
“We’ll also have a lady there who makes these beautiful leads for your dog or your horse, which a lot of people travel with of course.”
As well as offering a peek at the latest gear, the expo is also a great chance to pick up a few tips and to get advice.
“Because of the laws on the roads, we find that a lot of people bugger things up and overfill their caravans and get the balance all wrong,” Jeff said.
“We’ve got a couple of people here who offer a great service where they come to your home and they actually weigh the caravan and help you understand how to pack it up properly and keep things balanced.
The Caravan, Camping and Leisure Expo will run from 9 am to 4 pm from today (9 February) through Sunday (11 February) in The Range Gardens and Exhibition Centre and you can buy your tickets online.