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“Day trippers beware” 3 of 5 bubbles
Review of BIG4 Kelso Sands Holiday & Native Wildlife Park

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BIG4 Kelso Sands Holiday & Native Wildlife Park
Ranked #175 of 473 Specialty Lodging in Tasmania
Launceston, Australia
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Day trippers beware”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 19, 2013

We have just returned from spending the day down at Big 4 Kelso Sands and we were disgusted and certainly wont be going there again. After arriving to only have a BBQ lunch with our parents who were staying there we "checked in" at the office to be advised we had to pay $6 for each child over the age of 3, when we explained we were only there for a BBQ lunch with paying guests (my parents/the kids grandparents) and since the jumping pillow was out of order and we were not going to be using the swimming pool, what were we actually paying for? To which the not so pleasant owner replied we were paying for the playground and facilities, she also stated it is bylaw to know how many people are in the park at any given time which is absolute rubbish because they certainly didnt make us sign a departure form and could have no way of knowing who is coming or going. I certainly have no problems paying for the kids to use the jumping pillow and pool but since we couldn't use one and had no intention using the pool we reluctanly agreed to pay, she then informs us it is $6 per person and adults had to pay to be a day guest as well, I again questioned what adults were paying for only to be given a lecture that we were paying for the facilities and we could either pay or leave. Now the caravan we were having a BBQ lunch at has its own "facilities", BBQ included so other then the patch of lawn we were going to be sitting on I can't see how they can justify $6 per adult. Also stated on pool fence (yes we ended up going for a swim to try and get our monies worth) the sign says "there is a $6 fee for day visitors wishing to use the jumping pillow and pool" which I totally understand however $42 for my husband and I and our 2 kids and my sister and her 2 children to have a BBQ lunch only using the minimal play equipment available and no facilities is an absolute rip off. We have stayed at many Big 4 parks and have always loved them our favourite being Big 4 Airlie Beach. We have also spoken to many people today about Kelso Sands and not one person has had anything nice to say about the rude owner, lack of customer service and the cost, also highly evident she does not like children. Any one looking for a lovely caravan park nearby, Greens Beach is the go.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Kristy S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Barbara R, Owner at BIG4 Kelso Sands Holiday & Native Wildlife Park, responded to this review, January 22, 2013
Kristy,
Sorry that you didn’t enjoy BIG4 Kelso Sands Holiday Park unlike most other visitors who come to our park do. I do have to wonder why you are so upset or even why you bothered to come to BIG4 Kelso Sands. You arrived and parked in our car park where there are 2 signs advising of registration for day visitors plus a fee. Your parents upon making their booking received a confirmation letter that also welcomes day visitors, and also advises of a day fee very clearly stated. On arrival in the park and check in they were also issued with another receipt which was advising that visitors pay a day fee. On the back of each toilet door in the amenities, there is a sign with the guidelines of the park, which also advises of a day fee. My point Is, that your parents would have seen that there was a fee involved many times before and during their stay. Therefore I have to believe that as an intelligent person, you made a well informed decision to come to BIG4 Kelso Sands Holiday Park. I ask the question "Why did I have to point out this fee to you?"
As park owner we do appreciate guest feedback, but this seems like you were just trying to buck the system & when that didn’t work you decided to go to Trip Advisor for your revenge. As 3 adults, you stood in my office and argued the point with me about paying a fee that you now state you were happy to pay. You state the jumping pillow was not able to be used on that day, however you state in your complaint that you came to visit your parents for nothing more than a BBQ lunch. Let me not forget there was also no intention of using the pool, but then by chance everyone just happened to have their swimwear and towels, even though you had "no intention of swimming". WOW, what a coincidence!!
All facilities in our park are here for the sole use of paying park guests, not for visitors. Day visitor fees do go toward the upkeep of our park facilities. The pool is there for exclusive use of paying park guests and we are about to replace the jumping pillow with little change from $20,000. It will be there for the exclusive use of paying park guests. We have allowed day visitors into our park to visit
family and friends but a day fee is required to be paid. We allow these family/friends, once having paid a day fee, to visit their family/friends or if they wish, while they are here, they may also use the park facilities. I do not expect people like yourselves to enter our 4 star holiday park, and then walk into my office, where I greeted you in a happy and pleasant manner, to then be spoken to in an argumentative and unpleasant manner, the way you did, and then to receive your complaint through Trip Advisor saying that you were disgusted. You were not staying in our park, you were not invited by us but by your parents. You made the decision to come to our park with the knowledge that a day fee was required. A day fee has been charged by this park for many more years that we have owned it due to the fact that it does have quality facilities that are not found in many other places in Tasmania. You made the choice to come here with that knowledge of a day fee being required and now choose to try and run down our business. By paying the day fee, should you hurt yourself, then you are also covered under our Public Liability as a guest. Without that fee and registration, there is no proof that you ever entered our park, therefore if you were to hurt yourself whilst in our park without being a paying guest, there would be no evidence you were ever in our park. Every day visitor who comes into the park and uses any facilities, amenities or camp kitchen, has the potential to impede the pleasures of other guests who are paying to stay in the park. We have received over 100 day visitors into this park in a day. Why would we have anyone come into the park without a fee being paid, and what makes you and your family any different to other paying day visitors?
We strive 7 days a week to give 100 percent of our energy to make BIG4 Kelso Sands Holiday Park a wonderful family destination. We pour every dollar we can back into our park and for you to spend 5 minutes here and then say that I do not give good customer service and do not like children is so very wrong, especially when we focus so much on making this a fantastic, comfortable, entertaining and safe place for our visiting families. If we did not like children we would remove all the great play facilities we have put in for them, INCLUDING the jumping pillow which we have spent so much money on now for the third time.
You have played with the truth in many areas of your complaint, and one is by saying that I said “there is a bylaw”. Funny, in 9 years of owning this park I have never ever used those words. They are your words and you do not do yourself any justice by lying and making up stories. It took you all of 5 minutes upon arrival to put your gear down and start to use the facilities that you now say that you didn’t intend to use. I am glad that you bring up about how good BIG4 Airlie Beach is. They also charge a day fee, but there are times when they allow no day visitors at all like many other parks. Our park is a quality four star holiday park with many family facilities and today we live in the world of user pays.
So good luck to you and your family for the future, and I hope you find that park out there that lets you enter for free and to use their facilities and amenities for free, trust me, they won't be around for long.
Regards,
Proud BIG4 Kelso Sands Holiday Park Owners
Barbara & Robert Radley
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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72 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (5)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
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English first
Perth
Level Contributor
82 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 13, 2013

Great park if you want to get away from it all and have some down time. Pool, bouncing cushion and play area for kids is fantastic- not to mention all the open space for them to ride and run around in. At night you can see the resident wombats and potaroos and possums, which is great. The cabins were well appointed and everything was spotlessly clean. Owners were extremely helpful and great hosts- everything was in perfect order and the little shop at reception has pretty much everything you could want if you run short of a few things- all at reasonable prices too. It was quite isolated so if you wanted to be near a bigger town you would probably find this too far out. But- we really enjoyed our time there...

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Family4Perth
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Barbara R, Owner at BIG4 Kelso Sands Holiday & Native Wildlife Park, responded to this review, January 16, 2013
Thankyou for your responce. I have passed on your comments to our cleaning staff so that they also are aware that you appreciated their cleaning efforts. We strive as a small park to make each guests stay with us a memorable one & we love what we do so we are really glad that you left BIG4 Kelso Sands with good memories. The wildlife in the park is something unique & guests from all over the world go home with some great pictures.Thankyou again.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
14 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 5, 2012

We just got back from a 2 week camper trailer holiday in Tassie. We stayed at 3 very different Holiday Parks and spent our last 4 nights of the trip here.
The Park is huge and the camp sites are very generous. Our camping trailer is 9 meters long and we still had a heap of room. We had "neighbours" for each of the 4 nights but the hedges between the sights offered great privacy.
The jumping pillow, playground and sand pit were a huge hit with our kids. They could also ride their bikes around the parks in a safe environment.
The wildlife at night was amazing. There were huge wombats, heaps of potaroos and the biggest possums I have ever seen! The possums were at our front door (looking for scraps no doubt) and the wombats were within a few feet. Kid's thought they were staying at a wildlife park.
Camp kitchen was huge. (TV needs to be updated to digital stations). Chairs were comfy and there is enough room for multiple families but it was the only Park where we needed to pay for BBQ (took $3 to cook our meat).
Toilet and shower block was huge and VERY clean. Like the other reviewers, I was dissapointed that you had to pay for the shower. I read the owners reasons why but still think a 5 minute timer and a $1 fee is too much, particularly when we are a family of 5. (There is also no mention of this extra fee on the website or on the confirmation email when you book). Other parks we stayed at had timers.
The washing machine at $4 per load was also dearer than other parks. On a day that I did 2 loads of washing, we each had a shower and we had a BBQ dinner it cost an extra $16 on top of the nightly camp fee.
The office was not open at any time we went up there. Even when we left, the door was locked. The advertised "Kiosk / Convenience Store" was not open. The advertised "Tourist Information / Bookings" was also non existent. The go carts were chained up behind the locked office door. We couldn't buy bait or ice, we drove to Beauty Point and Beaconsfield. I assume the park is very different during peak season and all of the advertised facilities are available.

We always stay at Big4's all over Australia when we can and I felt that this one just lacked the usual friendly service we usually get with Big4's.

We did have two beautiful dinners at the Beauty Point Waterfront Hotel (about 15 min drive from Park). I would highly recommend a meal here. Views were amazing, meals were huge and delicious and kid's loved the ice cream sundaes. Staff at the hotel were extrememly friendly and parking is easy and on site.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank GreyFamily5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Barbara R, Owner at BIG4 Kelso Sands Holiday & Native Wildlife Park, responded to this review, October 9, 2012
So glad to hear that you enjoyed our park and all the wildlife. We love to camp and have never stayed anywhere in Australia where you can set up your tent or caravan and just sit there and have the experience of wombats in daylight just roaming around, and as you say the little potaroos with their young, wallabies and possums, but the best thing of all is when guests then experience a Tasmanian Devil wondering through. It is absolutely amazing. We have had them through the day also but mostly later in the evenings. The space for kids to roam safely is just so special these days and the park just comes to life when there is a heap of kids here.
You mentioned shower timers. We did as you have read had timers for 4 years and believe me it was a last resort to go to coin operated showers but it is unreasonable to allow any guests to waste one of our most valuable resources, “water” by having ¾ hour showers and many times in a day in between swims. We have no town water and supply all our own water and our own septic system. Our washing machine prices are the same as the park you stayed at before coming to us and the same at every park we stayed at on our trip home from Qld last month. Tasmania’s electricity and gas prices are some of the most expensive in Australia. We are a huge park in acreage but a small park in cabins and sites, just a mum and dad park run by 2 people most of the year so at this time of the year which is very much our off season we get all our maintenance up to date outside and invite guest as you were invited to please lift the phone at the front door should you require anything which you did on several occasions. The park is always attended. We do always have bait and ice on site for sale and just one small point about the bikes. They are in the office area, but please let folks know the truth. You stated that they were chained up behind locked doors, this is far from true. They are in the office area at this time of the year as they are an expensive item and should guests wish to hire them anytime through the day we take them out and one last point about not being in the office when you checked out. You had asked for a late check out of 11.30am. I was in the office until 10am and then went to clean cabins as we do mostly ourselves at this time of the year.

Spring is such a wonderful time to travel Tasmania so hope you and your family really enjoyed all it has to give and made many great memories..
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Houston, USA
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 10, 2012

Facilities were spotless, reception friendly and amazing wildlife- wombats, possums, potaroos etc. Site was very spacious, really enjoyed our stay.

  • Stayed March 2012
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Lyndsey75
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, England
Level Contributor
376 reviews
194 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 307 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 30, 2011

We stayed here not on the best of days – there had been torrential rain for at least 12 hours and much of the lower level areas within the camp site were waterlogged. The camp is extremely spacious and pitches are very well spread out some at a higher level), often with bushes between them. Communal facilities were clean and sufficient in number to cope with all but the busiest days. Wildlife regularly visits your pitch (mainly around dusk and during the night) – mainly wombats, possums , wallabys and poteroos and hence this is the only camp site we have been to where each pitch is supplied with a rake to remove their droppings from around your camp table. We were also told not to worry if we heard noises from under our van during the night – possums and wombats like to scratch themselves on the undersides of vans. Check-in was very welcoming and helpful. Showers cost $1 for 5 minutes – we were told this was to ensure that summer users did not spend long in them and use up all of the water. There is no wifi internet access or internet café, the nearest being about 15 minutes away. Laundry is expensive at $4 for a wash and about $4 for a dry. The camp site is a bit isolated so it is essential to come ready prepared but it does seem to be an idle spot for children with a plus of there being bouncy castles etc in the grounds. We found this to be a good camp site and despite the dreadful weather, enjoyed our stay.

  • Stayed November 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank PaulHarvey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gold Coast
Level Contributor
120 reviews
38 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 26, 2011

We decided to stay here based on my love of wombats and previous Trip review .I phoned to make a booking and the owner was exceptionally helpful particularly when I told her about wanting see her Wombats! We booked the premium cabin , excellent & spotlessly clean and well equiped for a long stay, although we only stayed one night at the end of our Tassie trip. The van park was very quiet hardly saw anyone about , but it may get busy and crowded in holiday season. We were warmly greated by a resident of the park who escorted us to our cabin and showed us where to spot the wombats. At dusk out they came , the biggest I have seen , sadly to dark for a good photo . These are wild wombats and when approached scuttled away back to the bush beside the van park. I stood a good distance back and was able to observe up to 16 grazing wombats before darkness fell. Later in the cabin we popped open the sliding door to watch the moon riseover the Tamar only to be greeted by an over friendly possum and baby trying to get inside. With a bit of quick reaction we closed the screen door before the invasion, watching the moon from inside the cabin with mother possum perched on a outdoor table watching us through the window . A delightful evening and stay thanks to the wildlife visitors at Kelso Sands.

  • Stayed November 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Tardustraveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Level Contributor
31 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 68 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 22, 2011

March 5, 2011: We had spent a week working our way up to the Tamar Valley, near Launceston, in a rather nifty camper van, having landed in Hobart. We had one very good reason to go out of our way to stay here, and that was the promise of seeing wombats around the site after dusk. In fact so concerned were we that we might miss them, Alison even phoned ahead around 5pm to see what time we could expect them. I thought the owners would think us barking mad with a retort of "they're wild animals you stupid city fools, how the hell would we know, idiots." On the contrary, we were told to expect them at 6pm sharp, so we put the foot down.

No sooner had we hooked up the van and gone for a stroll did we encounter a gorgeous Wombat, inching out from the forest. She appeared first up with her young one alongside. She was simply adorable, and oblivious to us being there. I was sat around 6 feet away when I took this shot. We would have left happy if we had just seen this, but as the light faded, the whole park transformed into a bona fide wildlife reserve. We were actually approached by a Possum near the main office - he confidently strode up to us to say hello. By 9pm there were more wombats, pademelons (the smallest of the kangaroo family) and possums in the park than caravans, it was incredible, and you had to be careful you didnt trip over them en route to the shower block. Our camper van was surrounded by the time we returned.

As the for the campsite itself, we found it spacious, well kept and peaceful. It is a BIG 4 site, so you would expect it to have good facilities and it doesn't disappoint. There was a fully equipped campers kitchen and a large and modern shower block. Kids are well catered for with an outdoor pool, kids playground, jumping pillow and huge playing fields which run out onto the beachfront. The only disappointment for me was having to pay for using the showers - not only is it irritating having to take dollars with you, it's also a little naughty when you are already paying around $30 for a pitch. They really should do a re-think on that, as I am sure it leaves a sour taste with most guests, and it was the only site in Tassie where we stayed that charged.

The location is picture perfect as is the region and it's a beautiful drive up from Launceston, through the Tamar Valley, with its expansive estuary and vineyards, and there is no shortage of thnigs to do. We called in to the Tamar Ridges vineyards for a spot of wine tasting, and we can highly recommend it for sampling (the staff are really friendly), purchasing and the views. Launceston is around forty minutes away, and worthy of a short visit, but if you are touring the area, we highly recommend basing yourself here instead, the wombats won't disappoint.

Room Tip: Phone ahead in peak times, quiet off season
See more room tips
  • Stayed March 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Boersch
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Barbara R, Owner at BIG4 Kelso Sands Holiday & Native Wildlife Park, responded to this review, September 20, 2011
So glad that you stayed and that your wish to see wombats in their natural habitat was well and truly satisfied. After 8 years we still love our daily sighting, especially when I am on the phone in the office during the day and one will walk on the tiles straight past the office.
Sorry about the $1 for the showers but this was driven by having a swimming pool and kids going from the pool to the showers all day with many having up to twenty minute showers and others guests not able to even get a shower. Also we have no town water and the park operates solely on bore and rain water and for the readers that don’t know, bore water is rain water from underground. During the four year drought we had to become extremely environmentally aware as you never know how long a drought may go for. We had tried shower timers as a way of controlling water wastage, but this failed. After 4 years we installed the coin operated shower. Out of peak and high season we reduce the nightly rate by $2 so not to disadvantage travelers like yourself.
We as park owners do our best to stop water waste as it is a most valuable resource and we must be environmentally aware.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about BIG4 Kelso Sands Holiday & Native Wildlife Park

Property: BIG4 Kelso Sands Holiday & Native Wildlife Park
Address: 86 Paranaple Road | Kelso, Tasmania 7270, Australia
Phone Number:
Location: Australia > Tasmania
Amenities:
Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #175 of 473 Specialty Lodging in Tasmania
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
2 Bedroom Cabins sleep a maximum of 6 persons and the 3 bedroom premier cottage sleeps a maximum of 9 persons. Free wi-fi in the park. Wildlife freely walk around the park in the evenings for guests to see. ... more   less 

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