Overnight Rest Areas provide economic and tourism boon to the City

Thursday, 20 June 2019 

More than $122,000 has been injected into the local economy as a result of the City of Bunbury’s trial of overnight rest areas.

A six month review into the two-year trial has revealed 472 permits have been handed out to travellers with an average expenditure of $258.53 per recreational vehicle (RV).

The trial which began on 1 November 2018 allows self-contained RVs to stay in three designated areas in the City of Bunbury for up to 48 hours.

The locations are Wyalup Rocky Point, Ocean Drive at Scot Street and Maidens Reserve with users obtaining a permit from the Bunbury Visitor Centre where they were also asked to complete a short survey about their stay.

Information from the survey discovered 52% of visitors travelled from interstate and 30% came to Bunbury from within WA.

The majority of visitors heard about the rest areas online or via an app with 21% finding out through word-of-mouth.

The two main reasons for visiting Bunbury were travelling and local tourist attractions with most people choosing to stay for two nights.

Expenditure data collected found visitors spent most of their money locally on fuel, groceries and dining out.

Bunbury Mayor Gary Brennan said the results showed the overwhelmingly positive effect the overnight rest areas where having in the City. 

“The overnight rest areas have allowed us to tap into a market that otherwise may have bypassed Bunbury,” Mayor Brennan said.

“There is a segment of the RV community who do not wish to use caravan parks and instead prefer to use rest areas to pull up for a night or two. 

“This has been evidenced in the results and we have seen an increase of visitation and spend in the City.” 

Overnight rest area users Gary and Jill Murfet said they enjoyed staying at Maidens Reserve immensely and thanked the City for the initiative. 

“Although there are only two allowable free-camp spots at any one time, at this location, it's a great place to recharge our batteries,” the Murfets said. 

“Thank you, the City of Bunbury for offering the camp spot - and we certainly hope the invitation to stay is continued after the trial period, and we Grey Nomads continue to be encouraged to support Bunbury businesses and to use the public-offered dump point located in the Discovery Bunbury Village Holiday Park (corner of Bussell Hwy and Washington Ave) for a small fee.” 

City officers will continue to monitor the sites and respond to any suggestions and complaints before seeking community feedback on the trial later this year. 

The City will continue to explore options for a dump point in Bunbury for the City to achieve RV FriendlyTM status.