The Most Instagrammable Outdoor Shower in Australia – and what you can learn from it for your Tourism Business

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After being on the road travelling Australia with my family for nearly 18 months already, it’s fair to say I’ve picked up a few good ideas for holiday parks along the way.

Working in tourism for such a long time before hitting the road, most of what I knew about tourism was through experiences I’d had in my home region or by working with tourism operators in all segments and recognising patterns successful tourism businesses share.

It’s been uber cool though, being both a visitor to destinations, tours and accommodation, as well as reverse engineering my experience through that lens of a Tourism Brand Strategist and Marketer.

Here are three things that stand out from the 80 (or so) holiday parks I’d estimate we’ve visited in the past 18 months.

The Most Instagrammable Outdoor Shower – at Bullara Station.

Just out of Exmouth on the North West coast of Western Australia, you’ll find a station stay known as Bullara station. It’s full of quirky ‘Instagramable’ details people love to discover. Click here to see what people are sharing on Insta.

You’ll see that the content people are sharing is varied and wise. However, one little particular experience that shows up frequently (and is loved by visitors) are the outdoor bucket showers.

They’re rustic and seem like they would have been knocked together in a weekend. But the use of the space is clever, and the devil is in the details.

I’m guessing it wouldn’t have cost much to put these together. They use a boiler running on wood to heat the water. That’s probably the highest cost.

People love it, though. They sit outside waiting for their turn to experience the showers and get their photo for Instagram. A photo that becomes the inspiration for visitors dreaming of travelling the West Coast one day too. If they do, guess where will be on the hit list to get to?

Things don’t have to be expensive to be remarkable. They have to be different and thoughtfully designed.


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The Most Instagrammable Outdoor Bath – at Julia Creek.

A caravan park in the middle of the Queensland outback, in a town with barely 500 people. That’s the Julia Creek caravan park.

Yet when you see the images of the baths, looking out over the never-ending outback sunset, you’d think they belong in a five-star resort.

They have built the bathhouses on the edge of an otherwise wholly ordinary caravan park. A potential weakness (lack of visitation in a remote tiny town) is turned into a strength. The bathhouses face East. You’re not even watching the sun go down. You’re watching the sky gradually get darker, and the hues of the sky change.

But people book well in advance to stay at the park and happily pay the premium to bath here at dusk. It’s a remarkable experience, created in an otherwise utterly standard setting.

It drives visitors to the park and, even better, makes a destination of this tiny outback town.


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You won’t find a better Holiday Park business add-on than this Bar and Pool – at Free Spirit Resort Darwin

Located about 10km out of the CBD of Darwin is Free Spirit Darwin, a huge holiday park situated on the main road on the way in and out. It’s a busy road with relentless white noise you mostly tune out to but occasionally notice more than you like. It’s with much experience I can testify to that after staying there for nearly three months.

If they had any typical holiday park pool, your experience in the park as a whole would be pretty underwhelming. As a guest, the park is not maintained well and feels tight for space.

The bar, restaurant and pool, on the other hand. That’s where the money is.

They’ve invested in making it a great place to sit and relax (for hours) and they invest in creating a vibe and constantly having offerings (reasons) to come back.

The pool is available to anyone drinking or eating at the café/restaurant, as well as guests. In dry season when the sun is high, the skies are clear, and the vibe is peachy, it’s a gorgeous place to kick back with a cold beer or cocktail and waste some time away with new and old friends.

Arrive early afternoon, and there’s a $10 lunch meal that’ll blow your socks off. But of course, just one cheeky drink with that. Happy hour every night lubes you up. You hang around for dinner –  because who can be bothered cooking after you’ve relaxed next to this pool with a couple of mid-week pints?

Every night (in the dry season), there’s live music kicking off from about 6pm. There’s a nightly special. Some of which you can’t get your head around just how they do it – $20 for steak AND ribs AND a beer.

If you’re a guest staying at the park, you find you have to check yourself and limit your time and spend there. It’s that good. I’m not kidding.

I’ve never run a restaurant, and I hear it’s tough to drop a profit. But any layman can see these guys are killing it and it’s because they deliver value, quality, differentiation, and invest in the overall experience for guests of their pool/bar.


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