Case Study

Caravan & Camping Strategy


The Shire of Northam approached us to support them identify how they could respond to the opportunity to attract visitors to stay in the area longer through the provision of formal free (or low cost) caravan and camping sites.


Tapping into an opportunity

Our client had identified that there were a significant number of caravanners passing through their community but only stopping for a short time owing to no free camping options in the Shire (and no day-use area following the redevelopment of the existing day use area to accommodate a new tourism attraction). They were also aware of travellers using some unofficial locations to camp, with one next to a waterway which was problematic given the caravanners often discharged their waste water while at the site.

On a key transport route, they knew there was an opportunity to leverage economic value from these travellers if there was a location for them to stay.


Evidence-based, practical solutions

To inform our approach, we first undertook a literature review of key camping and caravan trends and strategies, along with case studies of communities of like size and features that had adopted a similar approach to understand the opportunities, benefits and pitfalls.

We then worked with our preferred architectural practice to analyse a selection of potential sites proposed by the local government. Using a site selection matrix, we identified one location to develop a day-use area in Northam, one location in the main town’s centre for a short-stay caravan area and further locations in Bakers Hill and Wundowie for further short-stay caravan areas.

In the next phase, we worked with Slavin Architects to develop concept designs for each site, taking into consideration the needs of the visitors and the local government’s development budget. We also undertook an analysis of the economic, environmental and social benefits of this project, along with management models and revenue generation potential of the sites.


The Shire has since progressed the strategy, developing a day-use area (Northam) and two short-stay areas (Northam and Wundowie) using our recommendations, with the Shire CEO reporting that these facilities have all been a huge success. They have quickly gained popularity with caravaners with excellent Google and WikiCamps reviews, along with a video feature by caravaning vlogger, Peter Hewitson already on YouTube as show below.

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