Once a year, we meet with family from up and down the east coast, and find somewhere to stay roughly in the middle. Generally, our first port of call is the Big4 website for cabins. We know roughly what to expect of the cabins and the facilities of the parks. After a couple of stays, we ended up joining the Big4 loyalty program. For $50 for two years, we would get 10% off our stay (up to $40 per visit). Especially with our big trip coming up, we knew we would more than get our money’s worth.
So when we packed for our trip, along with maps and notebooks and brochures, the Big4 directory was one of the essentials, and off we toddled. What we found, is that while we were inland, the Big4′s were pretty scarce the further west we headed into the outback, but Top Tourist parks were more common. I did look into joining while on the road, but the program required the physical card to be presented to obtain the discounts. The Top Tourist program is quite similar, a $30 joining fee for 2 years, with 10% off up to the value of $30. We also noted that quite often the Top Tourist parks were slightly cheaper, but also they weren’t the full holiday resort style parks like the Big4′s tended to be.
We stayed at the Big4 in Airlie Beach, and not only were the facilities top notch – mini golf, playground, jumping pillow, kids club, heated pool (hello swimming in July!) – but when we checked in, as Big4 members, we also got a stack of discount vouchers for restaurants, attractions, even the bakery! We were impressed with the park anyway, but that was just the icing on the cake. I will be sure to do a full review of the park later on, because it really was fabulous.
If you are travelling in a camper trailer/caravan, or even doing cabins in caravan parks a lot, I would highly recommend a membership to at least on of the groups. We’ll be remaining members of both, as we travel both inland and out to the coast, so for us, even with twice the membership fees, we will still be ahead. Both websites have maps of their parks (Big4 parks can be found here, Top Tourist here), and there is a bit of overlap, but for the sake of an hour or so poking about on their websites to work out which suits your family best, we find the programs of both groups to be value for money.
I’d love to know your thoughts on membership. Are you happy to be a member of the loyalty programs? Which park is your favourite?