Tourism Greater Geelong and The Bellarine Staff Experience ‘The Camping Life’
With Roger Grant, Executive Director
The team at Prestige Jayco promised us a weekend to experience the ‘camping life’. When you consider that our region has more ‘family parks’ than any other destination in the southern hemisphere, how could we refuse such an invitation.
For most of us working at Tourism Greater Geelong and The Bellarine this represented a new experience. As one of our more ‘pampered’ staff members commented ‘I have never stayed anywhere overnight where you can’t order a club sandwich from room service at 2am!’
However, you could hardly call our weekend ‘roughing it’. Firstly a very impressive Mercedes gleaming white Jayco motor home was delivered right to the office door and I must say driving this ‘beauty’ was no more difficult than driving a very large family car. The fact that after we arrived at our campsite you could expand the sides of the van by the flick of a switch still brings a smile to my face.
A large number of staff and their families had already arrived at the camp site so we were greeted into the circle of camp chairs for the traditional welcome drink. This is clearly a feature of the ‘camping life’ as promised. We were soon joined by our neighbouring caravan and motorhome owners not to mention the resident ducks and sulphur crested cockies who added to the sense of excitement and welcome.
At first the kids started to explore the various Jayco vans and motor homes but soon their territory extended to the playgrounds and play equipment located a short distance from our now well marked ‘home base’ that included a circle of eskies, bbqs and camp chairs ‘a la stone henge’.
Clearly a feature of the ‘camping life’ is that kids soon become kids forming groups with older kids in charge of the young ones and all smiles as they move freely in the safe holiday park environment. The old ‘tribal ways’, that still exists in our DNA, kicked in as our tourism tribe collectively ‘keep an eye out’ for the ‘kid’s gang’ and both parents got to sit back and enjoy a short break so rare in a busy working life. The art of conversation hasn’t been lost, just pushed out of the way as technology dominates our daily life.The simple act of chatting with friends and work colleagues is very much a joy of the ‘camping life’.
After the sun sets and the kids finally ‘hit the hay’ the adults come out to play particularly when your group includes a master of the Mojito. The Park’s security guards are there just to remind everyone that noise travels on a still night. Its not a bad thing when that’ noise’ is laughter and the merriment of people enjoying life in the company of friends and family.
The smell of cooking bacon beats the usual screech of the alarm clock to know the day has started. Things are quieter in the morning as we sip our tea and watch those departing Jaycos head off to their next destination.
To a ‘camping life’ novice like me, I can now better understand the dream of this life style. Its obvious lots of grey haired couples and families are quicker learners than me and have fully embraced the opportunities to explore Australia with all the creature comforts that modern vans and recreation vehicles provide. We welcome this growing army to the many quality parks in our region and are grateful for the small taste we experienced of the ‘camping life’.