Greenacres Motel & Van Park, Benaraby

BQ: Roughly a week ago, I came wandering up the path here at Greenacres Caravan Park and Motel, singing, “Greenacres is the place to be…!”

And there was a tall streak of pelican shit we’ll call ‘Les’, and he was there by the pool. He turned around and he saw this bloke walking up his drive and probably thought, ‘What fresh hell is this?’

He’s shaking his head and saying something I can’t repeat on tape!

Les from Greenacres, g’day and how’re you going?

LD: I’m very well, thank you.

BQ: Now Les, tell us about Greenacres Caravan Park and Motel, and how long you’ve been here for.

LD: Greenacres is a lovely place to relax. It’s 22kms south of Gladstone. It’s probably half way between Brisbane and Mackay. We’ve been here two years now (as of May 2017).

We kicked out a lot of permanents, a lot of dogs and a lot of cats.

BQ: So, it’s more of a tourist park and not so much a residential place, yeah?

LD: That’s right mate, yeah. We got rid of all the residentials!

BQ: Let me start by saying what I’ve observed from being here for a week. I have never spoken more Dutch in my life as this week. There was a family of three, then there were a couple of footballers from the south of the country, and then most recently, a lovely young couple were here the other night.

So, are they mostly backpackers? Are they travelers? Are they Aussies? Who are you getting in here?

LD: This time of the year, the last few months. It’s backpackers. And overseas people of different nationalities. And at the end of July, we’ll start getting all the grey nomads heading north.

BQ: And do they already know about you when they come here, or are they like me and come walking – or more likely driving along the road; not everyone’s mad enough to be walking around the road! Are they driving along and see that you’re here, or they know about you and they’re coming back?

LD: Because we’ve only been here two years, mate, we’ve had to change the reputation of the park. It didn’t have a very good reputation. So now this year, we’re starting to get bookings from people who’ve been here before. Some people are just driving past and then all of a sudden, they think, “We’ll just pull in here”.

And we also have a couple of websites like WikiCamps and all that kind of stuff where people can find us.

BQ: One thing that I saw that resonated with me, because it has to do with what I do in housesitting is “pet friendly”. That’s a bit rare for a caravan park.

LD: We like to pick and choose what pets come in here. Mate, we don’t encourage permanents anymore. But we have pets. It’s mostly just people passing through. A lot of people travel with their small dogs or cats, whatever they’ve got. We’ve seen birds as well.

It’s up to our discretion really.

BQ: How does that work if somebody comes in with Foofy the small poodle that’s going to run around and yap all night? Do you just say, “Look, sorry; no good”?

LD: We tend to put those down the back, the yappy ones! I know it’s hard to tell which ones are yappy and not. But we do tell them that they must be on a lead and under control. Not roaming around.

BQ: How about the yappy people like me? Do you put them down the back as well?!

LD: No, we love yappy people, mate! That’s what caravan parks are all about: talking and mingling with other people, learning different stuff. It’s great.

BQ: You said that when I turned up, and I must admit, I was very attracted to this area that we’re sitting in. And I must admit, it’s become a bit like my home for the last week: I’ve just perched here and have hardly moved.

It’s a beautiful spot. We’ve got two BBQs, we’ve got a roaring open fire, dartboard. There’s a fridge, a microwave, a grill, double hot plates. It’s well set up as a camp kitchen, isn’t it?

LD: Yeah, it’s good for travelers and backpackers like yourself that don’t have anywhere to cook. There’s room to put stuff in the fridge, and as long as people keep it all nice and tidy – which most of them do – it’s a good place to hang out.

BQ: And it’s one thing when I go camping I like to get away from, but this week it’s been good that there’s a little TV in the corner.

LD: Yeah, that’s to watch the AFL, mate!

BQ: And when we’re watching the AFL, Les, who are we barracking for?

LD: We’re barracking for Port Adelaide, mate! They come from South Australia. Best team!

BQ: Port Power, who I believe had a little win over in China, is that right?

LD: Yes, they did, actually. Did you watch the game?

BQ: I saw a little bit of it. Your lovely partner Sue was there and she had it on. And as I said, there’s a blood bath over there with the Gold Coast Suns not doing too well, and I went back to watching my late father’s Parramatta Eels getting on the end of a smacking around too.

LD: It was Mr [David] Koch, the president of the Port Adelaide football club, he started organizing that match a few years ago, and it’s finally come true. Getting everyone together, and the Gold Coast Suns jumped on board, and I think it was very successful for the team and the game.

BQ: Well, hats off to Mr Koch. I can’t watch his breakfast program, but good on them, they do some wonderful stuff and if they’re opening up markets for our sports people…

We seem to have wandered off caravan parks, haven’t we?

Tell me about your lovely pool.

LD: You did that!

The pool. I love my pool. It can get a bit chilly this time of year, but people like yourself don’t seem to mind it.

BQ: People from places that, this time of year, are gearing up for -6C or -7C?

LD: Yes, because I believe that you’re from Canberra, so you’re used to those temperatures.

My pool’s not quite that cold, though!

BQ: I was just saying to somebody yesterday that in this region (Boyne Island, Tannum Sands, Benaraby, Calliope) I have actually stood and shivered at night in 20C+ temperatures. It gets that way, doesn’t it?

LD: Yes, in July it can get down to 8C at night.  But then we have fine, sunny 26C days. It’s beautiful.

BQ: Well, I can tell you that the pool is big enough for doing lap swimming. I’ve done lap swimming twice a day some days, and at least once a day the other days. Ten strokes will get you from one end to the other. It’s a lovely clean pool, and you can stand there drying yourself off while people are passing by in their cars.

LD: I notice someone had been in my pool because I had to keep topping the water up! The tide was down a bit.

BQ: I do draw a bit of a bow wave!

So Les, if someone’s trying to find Greenacres Caravan Park and Motel online, where would they find you?

LD: You can Google Greenacres Motel Van Park, Benaraby. You can find us on Facebook. You can find us on WikiCamps. And GeoWikiCamps as well.

BQ: And just for those playing at home, spell Benaraby for us.

LD: [Well, this is the printed version, so let’s not bother spelling that out again, shall we?!]

BQ: Benaraby: south of Gladstone, north of Jin Jin, and just about as close to paradise as it comes.

LD: That’s it, mate! It’s what it’s all about.

BQ: Les, thanks for having a chat.

LD: Thanks, mate.


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