Airbnb For Camping Is Here
- All Ages
By: Phoebe Ackland, ellaslist
Youcamp is the new Airbnb-like website that connects campers-to-be with owners of beautiful, camp-able properties. Offering campers the safety and seclusion of private land, minus the noise and commotion inherent in most popular camp sites, we think Youcamp might just be the next big thing.
Couple James and Prue Woodford came up with the idea whilst camping in their own backyard, they told Broadsheet. James said: “We used to love sitting around the campfire on our land and realised all around us were other private properties with beautiful potential campsites. All that was needed was a way to bring landholders and travellers together.” Thus far, there have been 90,000 Aussies who have gone adventuring with Youcamp.
The Three R's
Youcamp says they are able to give families and holiday-goers a chance to "recharge, rejuvenate and reconnect" with the simple elements "scientifically proven" to restore people and make them happy: "Fresh air, tall trees, campfires, clean water and time spent with those we love." This handy website could indeed be just the trick we needed to book that simple, great-value-for-money, family-bonding holiday.
The Possibilities Are Endless
So, what kinds of campsites are available? The Woodfords told Broadsheet: “We find people are particularly interested in properties that are dog-friendly and allow campfires. We’re no longer surprised by the variety of special requests or the offerings that hosts make available – everything from tarot readings to reiki massages.” Once a landowner lists their property (which can be done for FREE), they can then add activities to the agenda including horse-riding or cooking lessons, meaning a holiday booked with Youcamp can turn into a full on Aussie outback experience.
So far, there are properties listed all over Australia, including Amalua Farm in Queensland where families can horse ride, feed the farm animals and get taken on a guided tour for just $20 per person per night, as well as Ambrosia Park in Gundaroo, NSW where experiences include horse riding, cattle feeding, farm tours and tractor rides- tents and RVs welcome, and cabins available.
Councils Getting In The Way
Youcamp offers families an authentic bush camping experience, without the typical dirty-toilet-block and overcrowded campsite experience. However, they have experienced a number of roadblocks, with some councils including Shoalhaven attempting to make property owners submit development applications to allow campers onto their properties. Woodford told the Canberra Times: "We're saying that is excessive because no one is going to recoup costs doing that. The NSW government came out earlier this year  saying they want to embrace the shared economy. We are saying that's great, but you are going to have to put in place more nimble planning regulations to allow that to happen. The fact it has become so popular, and people are enjoying this type of camping, it shows there is a market for it. Not everyone wants to be herded into a packed van park or crowded public camping ground."
A market for it indeed! However, Woodford shared with Broadsheet that as well as the economic benefit this business model is bringing landowners, it is a surprisingly heart-warming and 'community'-style way to go about holiday-making for everyone involved. “I am staggered at how much people get pleasure out of inviting responsible visitors onto their property and making new friends and acquaintances, and how good and courteous people really are.”