Sunrise caravanners shine bright light on Nanango
COLLECTIVELY, the Sunrise Caravans Owners Group decides where they want to have their next adventure – the only conditions are that they travel to a regional destination and arrive with empty fridges so their money is spent in local towns.
Sunrise Caravans director Steve Andonovski said that on their last trip, before coronavirus restrictions were enforced, the group of up to 50 caravans stayed at the Nanango Showgrounds and spent $19,350 in the community on site fees, groceries, visiting local attractions, eating out, and buying souvenirs.
“We like to spread the money we’re spending on supporting the shops, the tours, and the pubs so everyone is getting a slice of money that is spent,” Mr Andonovski said.
He said the Nanango trip, from March 14-17, had been “sensational”.
“Our first trip was last September in Maleny and then we went to Stanthorpe in November.
“This is our way to get together and have a great time but also help the local community and local towns.
“If we can do our bit, I’m happy. And as a group, the best way to help is to take our vans there and spend our money there.
“In Nanango, we hired a bus and he took us around Nanango, Kingaroy and everyone contributed on each tour whether we were buying scones, gifts, or wine – everything got contributed into that town.”
Mr Andonovski said the travellers, made up of more than 100 of his customers from the Burpengary business, visited Ringsfield House, Pottique Lavender Farm, Wondai Timber Museum and other local sites.
A dinner was held on the Saturday night with a band and a chance for “everyone to get to know each other”.
Throughout their travels, van owners keep a tally of their spendings so they could be added up at the end to show how much had been injected into the local economy.
They prefer to stay at showgrounds as they can play games, have pets and it also leaves the caravan parks available for others.
The rural and regional areas, Mr Andonovski said, had a “laid-back and friendly” vibe.
“We loved every minute of Nanango. Country people really welcome you with open arms.”
He said people would come and say hello and ask them to come back again.
“It gave you a really good feeling that people are noticing and appreciative. They deserve a helping hand.”
The idea to support regional areas was conceived during the Maleny trip as many parts of Queensland suffered the devastation of bushfires, ongoing drought, and devastating storms.
Mr Andonovski said he planned to organise three or four trips a year, and would wait for restrictions to lift further before organising the next one.
Customers, as a group, research and choose the destinations and local councils are consulted in the process.
“It’s just a win-win for everyone involved.
“Many of them also become friends and go travelling together themselves.”
The van owners become a support network for each other, he said.
He said that on one trip, there were four people all from Bribie Island who did not know each other and who were now able to keep in touch, travel together, and share information about their vans and their destinations.
“They can bounce ideas off each other and it’s helping the caravaners who are new to the market and are looking for support and guidance.”