When Ben Reichstein took over Oasis Tourist Park in Virginia in the Nothern Territory (20 minutes south of Darwin), he didn’t know what to expect.

Over the past five years, he has experienced tribulations and triumph – securing himself a bronze at the Brolga Northern Territory Tourism Awards.

 In 2019, Mr Reichstein took over the park by chance.

“My wife and I were travelling down the east coast of Australia when we bumped into a couple of caravan parks along the beach,” he says.

“It just sort of perked an interest in me.

“I had spent eight years working for the NT Government prior, and I just felt it wasn’t for me.

“So, I looked to find if there was anyone interested in selling, and I thought I would have the right skill set to have a crack and turns out Oasis Tourist Park was selling and the rest is history.”

Owning a caravan park proved to be more challenging than expected.

Like many park owners, Mr Reichstein spent much of his time pruning gardens, backing caravans into camping spaces, and managing reception—or, as he describes it, ‘being real’.

“I didn’t have a lot of expectations going in – I didn’t expect the impact it would have on me emotionally,” he says.

“When you do go all in on something, I suppose it does become very personal.”

The Oasis Tourist Park would go on to win a Bronze Brolga.

“It was a bit of a pipe dream when we bought the park,” Mr Reichstein says.

“My dad actually mentioned it as a bit of a joke – that I had to win a Brolga – and I sought of laughed it off.

“To then attend the ‘Nationals’ in that first year that was really inspiring.

“But then I thought bronze was achievable, and we did that.”

Mr Reichstein is now taking four weeks leave before deciding where to take his career next. He says he wishes to stay in the tourism industry in some capacity and plans to stay in the Northern Territory.

“I’d definitely recommend it [getting into the caravan parks industry],” he says.

“We were certainly very successful.

“You need to have compassion, to understand how to put someone else’s shoes on and know the value of money.

“Even though we kept winning the awards, we remained one of the cheapest parks in Darwin.

“Building that loyalty is better than making that quick buck.”