Five things you need to know about free camping in Australia - My

Camping Rules Australia

Camping / November 8, 2017

Take an early morning look on the outskirts of any town, along quiet beaches, in the roadside stops and parking bays of the highways and in the parks and gardens of towns and you will find an amazing cross section of people who have pulled in and set-up camp for the night.

We're not talking about the homeless and destitute, these people are often well healed tourists who have embarked on a mini adventure to see and traverse one of the worlds safer tourist destinations.

Truck and Road Train drivers have always pulled off the side of the road for a quick nap when the need arises and these days with the ever tightening restrictions on log books and driver fatigue, truckies are compelled to spend more of their lives asleep at the side of the road. Modern prime movers used for long distance transport are often accessorized with comfortable 'sleeper cabs' containing beds, fridges, perhaps a mini oven and even televisions and DVD players. Anything in an effort to make an arduous job more comfortable and tolerable.

caravanners huddled around rest area

- roadside rest areas can consist of a simple 44 gallon rubbish bin under a tree or elaborate mini cities resplendent with solar showers, chemical toilets, tables, shelters and barbecues. Many people choose to pull in to places like this for the night because they're tired or because they want to avoid the rabble of caravan parks and designated camping grounds. Some just don't want to pay fees.

Who Camps Roadside?

Who doesn't? Apart from the truckies there is a broad array of people who are perfectly happy to bed down beside the bitumen for a peaceful and relaxed meal and a nights rest.

They can be European professionals with big holiday budgets who still prefer the romance and adventure of camping under the stars alongside the Australian bush.

They could also be young foreign students who, for all intents and purposes, are essentially backpackers who happen to have a vehicle. They travel from job to job seeking seasonal work on special visas. It's not unusual (especially in the warmer and more relaxed northern regions) to find a group of young foreign tourists having a wash or doing the dishes under the tap in the local park.

Many are Australian kids who have pooled their resources and travel in two's, three's and four's driving from beach to beach, staying by the road, in hostels or backpackers lodges and who party, mostly harmlessly, from one stop to the next. They hire or buy small economical vans from company's like 'Wicked' or 'Juicy' and load up on a few easy meals and perhaps a few beers and head from sunset to sunset, camping wherever takes their fancy and generally leading a free and abandoned lifestyle before settling in for the rigours of conventional life.

Of course, there is also an abundance of 'grey nomads' (retirees in caravans), station workers on the ground in swags and the ever growing number of families towing a boat or camper trailer.