Discover the best winter migration destinations from seasoned grey nomads

Apr 26, 2023
Australia's backyard has long been the domain of the Grey Nomad. Source: Getty

As the winter season approaches, many grey nomads start to feel the familiar itch to pack up their caravans and hit the road to explore new destinations.

For these seasoned travellers, caravaning and exploring new places has become a way of life. With decades of experience under their belts, they have amassed a wealth of knowledge on the best destinations to visit during the winter migration.

From the sun-kissed beaches to the rugged wilderness, grey nomads have seen it all. They know where to find the best campsites, the most picturesque scenery, and the hidden gems that only the locals know about.

So, to help you get out and about to experience all that this beautiful country has to offer,  Starts at 60 spoke to Gill Johnston, a long-time grey nomad who has been living life on the road with her husband for four years, to get her top recommendations for must-visit winter migration destinations.

So buckle up and get ready for an adventure, as we explore some of the best places to visit on the open road!

Top grey nomad winter destinations

Charleville, QLD

While the grey nomad community can be found scattered almost anywhere in Australia, Johnston says most Nomads head up North for the winter when the weather is at its most benign.

For the Johnstons, they generally head out to Charleville first.

“Our top winter destination would be the Evening Star Caravan Park 8 kilometres west of Charleville. On 30000 acres of Thurlby Station, the Caravan park has a Woolshed, lots of red soil, and entertains nomads every evening,” she said.

“One of the best features is the enormous fire Craig the owner builds daily and all the nomads sit around the fire and are served damper and treacle every night.

“Craig is involved in growing rare and endangered plants and there is a vegetable garden where you can pick fresh.  There are morning tours through the farm where Craig tells the environmental history of the land and identifies the plants and trees, and also, Craig offers star gazing tours in the evening.”

The Evening Star Caravan Park also offers a bar and boasts a massive entertainment space perfect for those looking for a late-night boogie. Johnston says Craig is every bit of a character as much as the caravan park itself and has entertained Nomads more than once with his dancing and Running Bear duet with his sister.


Atherton Tableland, QLD

Next on Johnston’s list is Walkermin on the Atherton Tableland, where Mount Uncle RV Retreat holds special memories for her from last winter.

The park is located on a large property that has become a banana plantation, and agave plantation- used to make tequila- and includes Mt Uncle Distillery with their award-winning liquor and spirits.

“When we were there last year there were about 70 peacocks, 20 pea hens, a racehorse, ducks, and a turkey wandering around the RV park and nearby pond with scrub turkeys often seen in the banana plantation.  There are also alpacas, a cow, a few sheep, and some geese,” Johnston shared.

The distillery has a large history display of the property just inside the door, and there are tastings of their already famous award-winning gin, rum and tequila. To top it off, the park is also dog friendly and features its own dog exercise yard.


Alva Beach, QLD

Tucked away in the small coastal village of Alva and just a 15km drive from the town of Ayr and Burdekin Shire is, Alva Beach Tourist Park. Located a few hundred metres at the back of the dunes of the beach. The park consists of 5 acres of tropical grounds with park sites and cabins set amongst coconut palms and hibiscus hedges.

Johnston suggests visiting the area during September when it’s mud crab season.

“We stayed at Alva Beach Caravan Park and started fishing with a normal fishing rod and line, and started to pull in mud crabs. Each day we caught enough mud crabs for a feast and went back to the caravan to cook them up,” Johnston recalled.



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Goodwood Island, NSW

Just a short trip from Yamba and Iluka, travellers can visit Browns Rocks Caravan Park on Goodwood Island, NSW.

This island is in the middle of the Clarence River and the Caravan Park is located just beside the water.  There is a narrow road around the island but the water is only about 20 feet from your caravan and according to Johnston, “the fishing is excellent.”

“The views are superb, and people sit in the evening looking at wonderful sunsets on the river and often have a fishing line in the water as well.  The park is peaceful being out of the main busy tourist area and yet still convenient for shops and entertainment in Iluka or MacLean,” Johnston said.

The river has never been commercially fished and is full of many different varieties and sizes, perfect for fishing aficionados.



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Lara Wetlands, QLD

Lara Wetlands is a 15,000-acre station stay and is 28 kilometres south of Barcaldine. The area offers caravanners and campers a truly unique bush camping experience by their lake. Lara also features a thermal pool, camp kitchen, showers and toilets, grass sites and plenty of bird life.

“It was such a peaceful environment and you can just back your caravan up to the edge of the water and sit and watch the birds or go on a walking track around the area,” Johnston shared.


Ilfracombe, QLD

Ilfracombe is located in the heart of Queensland, Australia, between Longreach and Barcaldine. This area offers Queensland’s most authentic, untouched wilderness and award-winning cultural and heritage experiences.

Although the sites at the caravan park itself were a little tight, Johnston says the entertainment in the area is sensational.

“The owner of the park is a bush poet and storyteller and everyone was entertained at happy hour by her Australian bush stories and poems.  This was quite unique and well worth the stop,” she said.

For those looking to visit the northern regions of Australia, Johnston says winter is a “lovely time” to do so but does advise travellers to stay safe when travelling in this region.

“There are a lot of non-friendly animals you will come in contact with so follow the advice of locals.  Do not approach wild kangaroos or animals, they are not friendly and be wary of crocodiles, snakes or spiders.  If swimming in the north, also be wary of deadly stingers,” she explained.

“Every place is different so read up the information on what the hazards are. Be safe and enjoy your trip.”

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