Operating a caravan park in SA’s far west comes with its own set of challenges.

Story + Photo Mandy McKeesick

A LandCruiser wagon towing a 9m van rolls to a stop at the Penong Caravan Park just off the Eyre Highway in far western SA. Two road-weary travellers drop out of it. They enter the park reception and blink in a daze at the 3 clocks on the back wall. “What time is it?” they ask in the bewildered tones of those suffering white line fever. 

“You’re in South Australia now, mate, and it’s 4pm,” Mick Aitken tells them with a smile, mischief swimming in his eyes. “Though in Western Australia it’s only 1.30pm and at Eucla, where you’ve come from, they’re on Central Western Time so it’s 2.15pm.” The travellers look no wiser but are warming up to Mick’s friendly manner.

Mick and Jenny Aitken operate the small Penong Caravan Park and, being the last town before the famous Nullarbor Plain, are fast gaining a reputation for running a must-stop park on this remote stretch of Australia. “We didn’t know anything about running a caravan park when we bought here in February 2020, but we figured if we kept it clean and personal and didn’t treat people like numbers, we’d be on the right track,” Mick says. 

This story excerpt is from Issue #149

Outback Magazine: June/July 2023