FOLLOW EUROPE: John Sellentin says Australia should be more motorhome friendly.
FOLLOW EUROPE: John Sellentin says Australia should be more motorhome friendly. Warren Lynam

Allow self-sufficient vans to stay in parks for free

A MALENY man who has spent more than 10 years driving his mobile home through Europe has backed calls for the provision of more "free camping" sites on the Sunshine Coast.

German-born John Sellentin says the region's caravan parks are forcing travellers to pay for services they don't need and there has to be a change of attitude for the region to attract world travellers like himself.

Mr Sellentin moved to Australia almost 45 years ago and since going into semi-retirement in 2000 has returned to Europe many times for motorhoming holidays.

He keeps a self-sufficient motorhome in Germany for his European explorations.

His calls for more facilities follows a story in last Sunday's Daily, highlighting the number of budget travellers choosing to park their vans and motorhomes in public car parks, rather than pay for a caravan park site.

Some travellers defended their actions, claiming it would be too expensive to travel if they had to pay for park sites.

Caravan park managers said the "freeloaders" should pay, like everyone else.

But Mr Sellentin said that for self-sufficient motorhomes there was no such thing as "freeloading".

"In my view Australians are forced into submission to pay no matter what they do," he said.

"For the last 10 years I have spent every single year for five months at a time in a motorhome travelling around Europe and they are a lot more accommodating to free overnight stays.

"People pay from $150,000 upwards for these motorhomes that come with their own shower and toilet and kitchen. So why should they pay to be in a caravan park like sardines for facilities they already have?

"If people don't have their own facilities on board I agree that they should be paying to stay in a facility. But for those who can be self-sufficient, they should be allowed to park."

Mr Sellentin said that countries such as Germany had areas where motor-home travellers could park as long as they needed, for free.

"A few years ago I was in a very rich suburb in Munich next to an English garden that had been planted in the 1800s and stayed next to that garden for two weeks and no one even bothered me," he said.

"They left me alone in the car park."

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