How to free camp legally in Australia

Jun 13, 2020

Updated 2020

“No camping” – but what’s camping? 

We’ve all seen signs that say ‘no camping’ but what does ‘camping’ mean?

How to free camp legally in Australia is complicated as there are no overall definitions. In NSW alone, over ten authorities regulate camping on their land. In New South Wales alone, over ten government authorities regulate camping on their land. Even the definition of camping is inconsistent across the related Acts.

Apart from state governments, local government authorities establish rules or bylaws to regulate activities – including camping. There are over 500 such authorities across Australia. Those that regulate camping may each have their own definition. Private landowners can also define what they mean by ‘camping’. They may allow or prohibit it.

How to free camp legally in Australia – legislation

In essence whether or not you are ‘camping’ depends on whether or not you are following whatever Act, regulation or by-law that the authority concerned uses to regulate camping. A government authority sign (in your proposed camping area) should refer you to the relevant legislation to see what definition applies.

Some towns welcome free camping, others, that have a council-run camping area may ban it.

How to free camp legally in Australia issues are clearer if you erect a tent. They are less clear, however, if you stay overnight in urban areas in your caravan or motorhome. In these situations, the local council’s Health Department rules. They usually prohibit your overnight occupied parking in defined areas. In practice, you are unlikely to be disturbed if you stay overnight in a quiet back-street (not overlooked by any residence), Do not raise a pop-top roof, or let anything drain onto the road.

How to free camp legally in Australia – do not free-camp near caravan parks

Do not free-camp anywhere near an established caravan park. Nor to cheat caravan park owners by using their facilities without paying. Some people do.

Buy a bag or two of firewood during the day (many fuel stations stock them. It is usually scarce anywhere near camp sites.

 

 

 

How to Choose and Buy an RV

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eBook versions

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Prices for the paperback version including delivery can vary dramatically.  RVBooks recommends you shop around.  We've included a number of reputable booksellers you may wish to consider. Any bookshop, whether online or bricks and mortar, can order copies of How to Choose and Buy an RV. Just ask.
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The Caravan & Motorhome Book

The Caravan & Motorhome Book covers every conceivable aspect of campervan and motorhome usage. If you own a camper van or motor home, you'll want this book.

eBook versions

Paperback version

The book retailers set their own prices which can vary substantially. We'll aim to keep a selection of the better prices above.

Any bookshop, whether online or bricks and mortar, can order copies of The Caravan & Motorhome Book. Just ask.
ISBN: 978-0-6483190-5-4.

How to Choose and Buy an RV

Solar that Really Works! covers the design, installation and use of solar in cabins, camper trailers, caravans, fifth wheelers, campervans and motor homes.

eBook versions

Paperback version

Prices for the paperback version including delivery can vary dramatically.  RVBooks recommends you shop around.  We've included a number of reputable booksellers you may wish to consider. Any bookshop, whether online or bricks and mortar, can order copies of How to Choose and Buy an RV. Just ask.
ISBN: 978-0-6487945-5-4.

The Caravan & Motorhome Book

The Caravan & Motorhome Book covers every conceivable aspect of campervan and motorhome usage. If you own a camper van or motor home, you'll want this book.

eBook versions

Paperback version

The book retailers set their own prices which can vary substantially. We'll aim to keep a selection of the better prices above.

Any bookshop, whether online or bricks and mortar, can order copies of The Caravan & Motorhome Book. Just ask.
ISBN: 978-0-6483190-5-4.