Former medical administrator Jane Avery proudly surveys her True Blue Northampton Caravan Park, which will officially open with a free barbecue February 20.
“It’s looking so beautiful, just a pretty little spot–we’ve got a new camp kitchen, amenities and the grass is growing really well. Everything is looking really healthy.”
Among the rustic gardens you’ll find a lot of shaded sites that are mainly grassed, “and there is a little winter creek,” says Jane.
A BLIND START
It’s a world of difference to what Jane and husband Phil Avery saw two years ago, when it was overgrown and the main residence ram-shackled: “It took us six weeks to make it liveable.”
In fact, when they purchased it with their son Gavin sight-unseen there was very little documentation, they didn’t know where anything was.
“We started out blind.
“The grass was so high and there were drains sticking out of the ground. We had to get graders in. We did a lot of yard work, there was a lot of slashing!”
A HERITAGE TRAM WELCOME
But, it was perfectly positioned, in pretty, historic Northampton’s heart, with a pub on one side and a bicentennial garden with play equipment on the other.
It’s also next to the state’s oldest tram-way carriage owned by Shire of Northampton, which the Averys are now leasing.
“We’re utilising that as our office. There are Heritage restrictions. We were allowed to paint the walls but not the ceiling. We carpeted it and put in a desk and shelving. It looks really gorgeous.
“The Shire has been really good; they were out the front getting ready for us to open, they came out yesterday, put out fresh mulch and trimmed it all up for our opening weekend.”
COMPLETING THE PICTURE
Northampton has a lot to offer travellers. Everything is within walking distance and there is an old convent, IGA, historic relics, several old pubs and a railway museum.
Kalbarri Skywalk is an hour away and Horrocks Beach is 20 minutes down the road. And for this community, a centrally-located caravan park completes the picture.
“The locals have been fantastic with their feedback … they’re all so excited to have the caravan park up and running again.”
Indeed, the Shire CEO is performing at the caravan park’s official opening, with the Lions Club organising a sausage sizzle.
TRANSFORMING THE PARK
Jane, Phil–a retired ranger–and their army of sons undertook the transformation.
“We have changed all the sites and made them larger and well defined. It was very higglety pigglety. My son is an electrician so that made a huge difference.”
“It was just rock. We had a crowbar and hired an orga. My husband dug 177 holes that day.
“Honestly, he has worked so hard. We are retired so we are not the youngest but we have five sons and the kids have been tremendous.
“One of our sons has come into the business, so he can give us a break now and then.”
Currently, there are 33 powered sites, unpowered sites and no cabins, the couple plan to expand on those–but the next job will be for the winter.
“We are going to put a big fire pit in. That won’t interfere with anything.
FUN AND FRIENDLY
“We’re trying to keep it fun and friendly.
“One of our sons made these beautiful, quirky timber signs, like Tuckerbox for the kitchen, billabong, cobber and Matilda for the amenities.”
Jane has also put up a lot fun camping quotes all over the place, including the new camp kitchen, and painted a tree blue to mark men’s health–which is proving instagrammable.
“We are going to do a treasure hunt for the kids, when families arrive we’re going to say ‘right, you have to find the dots and unscramble the anagram’.”
There are eight dots throughout the park that they then have to find: “Just give them something to do while mum and dad unpack the van.”
There’s the park across the road but the Averys have also installed equipment for young kids.
“We are also planning pancake breakfast on a Sunday, just trying to think of all of these things we can do to make it amazing. Watch this space.”