A bit about Campground Hosting programmes

What is it ?

The Campground Host programme we are involved with is run by Parks South Australia. Here’s a link to the South Australian programme. All states have similar programmes.

Even though we live in Victoria we are involved with the South Australian programme as this is the first programme that Jenny stumbled across. We have found that the programmes in other states with the exception of the Northern Territory are much more difficult to sign up for. Signing up for the SA programme is easy and a read of the info in the link above will set you right.

In short, you’ll need a National Police Check, a SA working With Children’s Check and a First Aid Certificate. There is also some online training to be done. To do a placement you’ll need a means of getting there and back and somewhere to stay. We use our trusty Land Rover and our equally trusty camper trailer.

Why do it ?

We enjoy staying in National Parks and the Campground Host programme gives us a chance to be more involved with the parks that we stay in. We get to interact with the park rangers and the park users. We also get to meet people and we are able to help people enjoy our National Parks.

There are a whole lot of benefits to being part of the programme. We have a campsite for any number of days, we usually have facilities quite close by and we are made to feel as though we are part of a larger team running and maintaining the park.

We get all that, and more, for doing a trivial amount of work – picking up rubbish, cleaning toilets, checking in on campers to make sure they in the correct site, etc. The work takes a couple of hours each day but that’s all.

We also get to enjoy the park and the people.

A cold, wet and windy Campground Host placement

Deep Creek National Park in winter

We have just completed a couple of weeks of Campground Hosting at Deep Creek National Park in South Australia. Here’s a map of where we were.

You may need to drag the map around a bit to see where we were in relation to the rest of SA.

As well as plenty of wind and rain and cold we had a great view from the front of our camper.

The trip over to South Australia

Anyway – I’m getting ahead of myself a bit here.

The trip over was pretty uneventful. We went via Great Western and Strathalbyn. Here’s a map of the route.


As you can see we made a direct line to Stringybark Campground in the Deep Creek National park.

Great Western and Strathalbyn

At Great Western we camped at the community managed recreation reserve and racing club. Great Western is a food and wine village in the Grampians area of Victoria.  Because we left ourselves only time for two overnight camps on the way to our Campground Host commitments we didn’t have the time to dally in and around the wineries and cafes of the area. Rest assured that at some stage of the future we’ll be back to sample the local wares.

From Great Western we went to Strathalbyn. This was our second stay at the caravan park there. The first time we stayed there it was wet. Very wet. This time was no different. The less said about our Strathalbyn experiences the better. It can be summed up thusly. Unpleasant.

After a wet pack up we made our way to Stringyback Campground for our Campground Hosting duties. When we got there we found out that we were to set up behind the Pack Office whee we had access to flushing toilets (luxury) and power (even more luxury).

Our Placement

Here’s a screenshot from Google Maps. The area bounded by the shakey white line is the actual campground. There are 15 individual campsites in all. The area bounded by the red line is where we were camped behind the Park Office.


The general layout of Stringybark Campground and the Park Office

We were very fortunate with our allocated spot. We had OK mobile phone coverage and there were toilets for our use at the end of the park office closest to the trees. The really big advantage was that we had access to power to keep our battery charged. This meant that we didn’t need to mess about with solar panels in very marginal weather conditions and that the generator wasn’t required at all. The last big advantage we had was that in the public toilets in the middle of the camping area had nice hot showers. This made us very happy.

What did we do while we were there ?

First up, every morning before even coffee, we put our sandwich board out. On the board was a quick spiel about who we are and what we were doing there and where we were. The board was placed so that anyone entering the campground would be forced to go past it. Some people even read it.

Next on the agenda was coffee and breakfast. After about three hours we brought the board in and went to do other stuff.

So what was the “other stuff” I hear you ask. Well the first thing to do was to get a copy of the visitor manifest from the ranger. This bit of paper showed us which camp sites should be empty, which camp sites should be occupied and the arrivals and departures for the day. It also listed the car registration plates as well as phone numbers and surnames. While we’re walking through the campground we’re on the lookout for any rubbish that may have been left behind which we’ll go around and pick up about lunchtime after the ones who were due to depart have gone and before the new arrivals have arrived. Then it’s back to our camp to get the rubbish collecting stuff as well as the toilet cleaning gear. After a spot of lunch it’s time for about an hour of generally cleaning – toilet cleaning and collecting any stray rubbish. It has to be said that people are generally pretty good. The toilets usually only need a quick wipe down and a sweep out and the rubbish usually consists of the odd stray tissue or bag tie. Maybe a bottle top or two as well as the inevitable cigarette butt.

Once all that’s done the rangers may have tasks for us such as weeding or other park management tasks. A couple of hours later our sandwich board goes out again for about three hours which lets people know that we are available.

Of course while we are on foot around the campground we are talking to people and answering any questions they may have.

And onto the weather

So now you know roughly what we did. As well as all that we endured the weather.

On the Friday when we arrived it was windy, very windy. So windy in fact that it caused a bit of a tear in the canvas of the camper.

This is what a bit of wind can do

Apart from the wind there was plenty of rain but we were nice and dry in the camper. We had to time our walks around the campground pretty carefully to avoid the worst of the rain and wind.

Overnight was pretty cold so the diesel heater came in very handy. At night before we went to bed we were nice and snug and warm. Jenny had the foresight to bring a thick wool doona so were were warm in bed too. The only bugbear was having to get up for a pee during the night. That was cold.

Having said all that about the weather we had a few glorious days. Pretty cool but sunny and with only a light wind.

So there you have it

At the end of our time there we looked back and felt that we really enjoyed it. Wind and all.

On the way home we went via Bendigo so we could see our grandson and the two great grandsons.

Here’s a map of our route home.


We basically headed straight to Bendigo with one overnight stop at Keith in South Australia in a delightful little caravan park.

When we got to Bendigo we had no choice to pay an exhorbitant fee. The caravan parks are all chain operated parks and they are the most expensive. We thought that a place like Bendigo would have a couple of cheaper parks or that either showgrounds or bush camping would be available but it seems that the big chains have got into the ear of council and places where we used to camp a couple of years ago have either closed the gates to travellers or there have been “No Camping” signs put in.

Oh well, strike Bendigo of the list of places to stop.

From Bendigo it was just a straight drive down the Calder Freeway to Melbourne and then on to home.

Holiday over…