Will free camping tradition be gone with the wind?

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Grey nomad free camping under fire
The winds of change are blowing for many free camps

It’s an issue that has been simmering for decades but is now really starting to boil over … and the signs aren’t necessarily good for the long-term future of free camping.

Grey nomads and others have long focussed on persuading local authorities of the economic benefits of offering free camping, and their arguments have gained some traction. More councils now offer the sorts of free and budget facilities that caravanners and motorhomers have long dreamed of, along with a genuinely warm welcome.

However, the power may slowly be slipping away from local authorities. In a ruling that will reverberate around the camping universe, Rockhampton Regional Council in Queensland has just lost its legal battle to keep its free camping area at Kershaw Gardens in Rockhampton open. The Planning and Environment Court has sided with Caravanning Queensland and ruled that free camping at the site was unlawful and constituted a development offence under the Planning Act 2016 (Qld).

Camping at the popular site just off the Bruce Highway must now cease by February 15 next year, and the council has also been ordered to remove signage identifying the site as a 48-hour stopping place for RVs.

Across in Tasmania, a number of camping areas have already been closed down for supposedly falling foul of the government’s National Competition Policy. The Tasmanian Economic Regulator enforces guidelines that protect private caravan park businesses and stop councils offering free camping. And the subsequent closures have sparked outrage.

All of this escalating tension was foreseen last year by Southern Cross University academic, Rodney W. Caldicott, in his thesis, ‘Freedom camping politics and policy’.

“Freedom camping is vigorously criticised by commercial caravan park operators and their industry associations across Australia,” he wrote. “They consider it to be a non-competitive and non-compliant accommodation practice, particularly when facilitated by local government.”

However, he was adamant that simply ‘locking out’ freedom camping was not the way forward.

“As modern day travellers, freedom campers continue to seek both the exhilaration of breaking away from the rigour of the identities performed in the sedentary world while looking for emotional bonding to be found through the mobility of their RVing neo-tribe communities,” he said. “Local governments across Australia are challenged to break free of the entrenched ideas of caravan and camping supply and find new ways to support and facilitate their own organisational capacities to deal proactively with freedom camping demand.”

So, will the Australian free camping tradition that dates back to before the days of swagmen and drovers survive future legal challenges, or will it become – like the old American south – a civilisation gone with the wind?

Watch this space.

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122 Responses to Will free camping tradition be gone with the wind?

  1. With the onset of leftist politics on the rise , with its main focus on control of everything in our lives , yes I see an end to free camping.
    Its also the sense of entitlement, people have these days, hence the caravan parks belief, that Australia owes them successful and prosperous businesses, with little or no effort on their part.

    • Sorry, but you seem to have left and right VERY confused.

      The ‘leftist politics’ you are talking about come from capitalist AKA right wing economic practices, i.e.commercial industry lobby groups pressuring governments into stopping people from free camping. These people are the powerful and have one thing in mind: making a profit, AKA capitalism. Free camping can readily be deemed as a ‘left wing’ activity: a means of opposing or circumventing traditional capitalism and defying the powerful by choosing to camp for free. Ask yourself: who lobbied the government? A bunch of leftie hippies? A trade union? A few whiney Millennial Instagrammers? NO: a bunch of self-interested business owners and their peak industry body… hardly left wing.

      The ‘need to control everything in our lives’ is a phenomenon that is neither left or right wing- it’s a basic human response which marketers, anxious parents, media shock jocks, sellers of products have always and will always seek to exploit. Again, Google Maslow and you’ll find a hierarchy of needs.

      • Exactly.

      • Left or right, really? I think the point is that the court ruled that free camping was an offence under the planning act. So the answer is not to boycott the towns but to contact the MP in those areas where free camping is under threat and to highlight the loss of livelihood to the businesses. Do not expect a change in attitude from the caravan park industry. What is needed is a change in the act to exempt bona fide short term stays.

        • Well said Colin. Unless we make our voices heard the Caravan park owners/operators will be relentless. Stopping free camping will not benefit the caravan park, it will hurt the town as the Grey Nomads just drive past. I avoid caravan parks like the plague. Packed in like sardines and charged so much for very little. Trying to control where Grey Nomads will stay is like trying to contain the wind.

      • Very succinct and we, the majority of caravanners & campers agree.

      • Sasha, you are not correct regarding this matter, as Neil says this is left wing politics, the loony left want to control every aspect of our life. Without speaking for Neil the point he is making is, that when someone, usually from the left leaning side of politics it normally only requires one person to complain, the lefts answer to it is to take a sledge hammer to crack the peanut. So they near as always introduce stupid draconian legislation to fix the issue, such as in this case in Queensland. Don’t bother looking at the success of places like Julia Creek, and heaven forbid should they go and speak to all the businesses and council at Julia Creek to see how they manage it with the full cooperation of the caravan park in Julia Creek, ooh no that would be too simple.

      • You are so right on this Issue it’s about controlling people to write

    • Left politics this is right out of the right wing capitalist Bible

    • Varavanparks these days are a total rip off bar a few! When your traveling in your motorhome staying in an overcrowded vanpark takes the fun out of it. As long as you leave no trace camping in this beatifull nation should be allowed , councils did the right thing, but greedy caravanpark owners want your hard earned dollars, well guess what they won’t get mine!!!!

      • Nor mine

      • I totally agree with you. I’m more inclined to want to explore than to be pinned down to established parks.

  2. If freedom camping goes with the wind, caravan parks will not pick up any more business. New Caravan and motor home sales will plummet. There we be a glut of second hand caravans and motorhomes on the market. This effect will ripple down through the business community. It won’t be only free camping gone with the wind.

    • Helen I find your comments not based on fact, I own a park in an area where a ban on free camping has been in effect for 12months My business has increased as in line with the caravan sales and tourism in general I offer security and safety at a minimal cost to the tourist and generally extended stays are the norm. And, why wouldn’t you want to pay your way?

      • Whilst you do not state where your park is located it is difficult to ascertain if the growth is due to the stopping of free camping or the location in relation to other parks and camps. In our travels full time over the last 4 months we have used Free Camps, Low Cost Camps and Caravan Parks. The difference between Low Cost and Caravan Parks is the absence of power and water connection which most newer vans don’t require. If you offered cheaper options to Grey Nomads and Empty Nesters that are devoid of all the fancy frills for kids ETC… then maybe they would support the caravan parks more. At our age your frills are things we don’t need to pay for.

        • Well said Mark.This time around our beautiful country we are seeking out the cheapest options.We refuse to pay $57/n, minimum 2 nights no matter where it is.

      • $50/60 $ per night ?? Go away Shirley.. I will make my own free camps. You rip us off with high harris and offer us a piece of grass. Last time I read, the earth didn’t belong to caravan park owners.

        • From my experience in many cases caravan park owners are providing low quality sites and facilities at a high cost.. Carravanners are using free camps because they are tired of being squeezed into sub standard caravan parks and in a vast majority of cases park owners see you coming, rub the hands together and say “open your wallet and repeat after me”!!!!
          If park owners cleaned up their sites and facilities and offered them at reasonable prices they wouldn’t have to sit around and gripe about being hard done by. I will be using as many free camps as possible and even make my own if needed.

          • Compile a list of cvan park owners doing the right thing and we will support them happily. On my recent travels I was told of one chap who offered good facilities for $18 per night. Happy to pay a reasonable rate like that.

      • Safety and security? The only place I have been robbed, going back to 1957 was in a carvan park, last year perhaps not yours, but it does not make them secure. How can you guarantee security, it seems to me there is more oppurtunity for thieves, they can monitor movements more easily.

      • We dont mind caravan parks but we dont like being forced into paying just to fill your pocket, and drain ours. We should have a choice of free camping too. Tell us where is your caravan park is so i no not to stop there.

      • Greed!

      • We are on pensions and bloodywell cant afford the hi rates at the Caravan Parks where is the Seniors Discount , also killing us is Petrol and Diesel prices this is our country not the govts .I think free camping should be allowed for the Seniors if no one else

        • Basic campsites should be available to everyone, NOT any one age group. What about a young family with limited funds, just wanting to teach their children to enjoy nature without all the playground equipment.

      • Safety and security generally go out the door when the office is shut.The manager goes home,the answering service goes on and it’s every man for himself.Vandals and thieves are treated to a smorgasbord of pickings.
        Probably safer in a quiet bush camp and wallet not invaded.

      • Shirley,
        We do pay our way we buy food,fluel and any other necessities and generally stop at a town that offer camping for donations and we always make a donation. If we had stop in caravan parks every night we wouldn’t be going anywhere the budget only stretches so far

      • Shirly .. must have to disagree you … we are planning a year long camping trip and having to spend $40 – $50 every night….. the trip certainly will not last year …
        Does not matter anyway ….. Ban free camp sites….people including me will simply bush camp …..I consider my self a responsible camper … in only leaving footprints…. but there is hell of a lot campers that are not……ban free camping …and the bush and national parks will only suffer …

      • We recently pulled up for an overview night stay, didn’t even unhook the van it was 9 pm leaving at 7 next morning. Charge$60 take it or go elsewhere. Tell me this is fair. Was off season and Park was almost empty. Happenings way to often.

      • Pay our way?? We’ve been paying our way for all our lives….which is what makes all rules and regulations to this free camping issue abhorrent…all our lives we jump through hoops for one body or another and in a time when little time is left someone else wants his nail in the coffin of free choice and independence…I’ve managed to run business with government in competition ,as do a lot of businesses and government incompetence is highlighted always…pull your socks up dear and maybe somebody will want to use your facility…just saying is all

      • Because you are selling a product I dislike intensly.

      • Because I am fully self contained and only one of me and greedy c/parks charge me for two and shove me in a little space where I xant even put my awning out. The day free camping ceases I will sell my motorhome and go holidaying overseas.

      • Wow Shirley. Pay our way !! I certainly pay my way to the local bakery, servo, supermarket, restaurant, cafe etc, etc. I do not pay the caravan park the excessive fee for things we do not want. Unfortunately Shirley, your attitude towards Grey Nomads is exactly why we are not interested in the caravan park which ‘expects’ we owe them something. I’ll happily patronise those towns and businesses who welcome us and choose not to fleece us of our limited budgets.

      • Your business may have increased but you won’t be getting mine. We recently travelled 24,500km on a mostly Tasmania trip. Even if we stayed in a caravan park it was only if the local area welcomed low cost or free camping. On the slow trip home to Queensland we didn’t stop in a number of towns because there were no low cost or free camps.

      • Shirley I don’t understand how Caravan parks can dictate to Council. Not something that businesses do in general. I can’t dictate who competes in my line of business. Why should Caravan Parks choose how people spend their money.

    • Spot on Helen. Another industry falls foul of beaurocratic madness.

    • I agree 100%.

  3. Free camping is a part of Australian culture and has been since the early explorers. If the caravan park industry is determined to shut it down then councils should open new land specifically designated for free camping instead of allowing free camping on otherwise designated land. Australia is a very big open and sparsely populated and caravanners can spend a lifetime exploring it. If this trend continues, council areas will suffer financially, the caravan industry will suffer leading to job and business losses and so on as the dominoes start to fall.

  4. If a town wont offer free camping we wont visit that town, we wont buy food, fuel,coffee, or groceries. And we wont stay at your caravan park either. Without us greys you will all suffer. so wake up before its too late.

    • Hi Robert you want to stay in towns on the east coast of Australia without paying, everybody would love to live here for free. unfortunately somebody paid for the bituman roads, the powerpoles, the state of the art health centres, the public infrastructures and the tourist facilities. You have the rest of Australia to free camp, stay out there and enjoy the sunsets they are free.

      • Don’t flatter yourself Shirley thinking your business paid for the infrastructure ETC.. on its own. Your travellers using Free Camps and Low Cost Camps have supported the businesses who help pay for the infrastructure that is also partly funded by Federal Grants which is funded by the tax paid by the likes of myself and every other caravaner out there.

      • Sorry Shirley, we all, including yourself contribute via various taxes for roads and power poles. Can’t see that you have to pay in isolation, but then there are a lot of things that pro free campers don’t understand.

      • I am a motorbike and tent grey nomhad therefore not self contained and this precludes me from many of the so called freecamping sites, on thing that is a little anyoing is that some caravan parks whinge about free campers however many do not have tent only sites, another gripe is I am a single traveller yet I have to pay the same fees as two people as there is not a single person discount available that’s why I look for camping in national parks and often stealth camp in the bush.

      • Hi Shirley, with all due respect Grey nomads do bring in a lot of money into towns that need the business. On our last trip we spent $900 on a particular day for groceries, fuel and a new tv. We would not have done so if we would stay in caravan parks, and this notion of
        Security in a caravan park is not true. The only reason we travel this country and spend our money on towns that need it is free camping and many thousands of others will agree, try it sometime.

      • What a great idea. Caravanning decentralisation.the small towns inland would be cheering. The cash flow from caravanners is often the lifeblood of communities. When droughts floods and banks inflict themselves on the inland communities the caravanners still buy fuel food odds and bods repairs and entertainment. Keep the coast it’s over rated and suffers from its own self worth.

        • Agree completely, the question needs to be asked. Who are trying people who support organisations such a Blaze Aid and Farm Aid in rural communities with free labour and by supporting local businesses when times are tough? Is it the free campers and grey nomads or is it the park owners who have trouble cleaning up their sites and charging reasonable prices for them?

      • Yes we did your arguement doesn’t stack up

      • I Worked until 72 and put in 56 tax returns plus have been driving since 18 years of age . I am a return serviceman . So with all my rego fees and taxes I’ve more than paid for the roads and power poles etc for others to use while I was working so it’s my time to collect not pay more while I enjoy my retirement but still paying rego ,rates.etc .

      • Yes Shirley we all did our time…not by ripping people off though I hope…we dont feel entitled Shirley …just very thankful that we live in a tim e where all our freedoms haven’t quite been devoured by greed…only a matter of time though while ever we have self interested persons as you on the bandwagon…..this has always been the game…what makes you bigger and better than the game…

      • And all of us Grey Nomads contributed to the cost of the roads etc etc that u mention so now we have the right to choose where we wish to stay. We don’t need a caravan park with all the ‘goodies we choose to support businesses in towns but if we had to pay for c/park costs all the time or even a few nights p/week, we could not support the small nusinesses. You want all of the cake instead of only a piece. That to me is just greed and control.

    • Too right, straight through!!!

    • I agree Robert.

  5. I am in total agreement with what the last few comments that yes the ripples will be big,. Why does the government think that caravan parks should be protected? They are not a dying breed. We haven’t heard the hotel/motels association complain about the loss of trade when caravan parks started putting in cabins taking away their customers, in fact some caravan parks are so full of cabins you can’t park a caravan in them anyway and others can’t accommodate large vans or motorhomes. When is the insanity going to stop??

    • Totally agree with your comments Dianne, AND we have just spent 5 glorious weeks camp hosting the camp ground at Julia Creek, a free site offered by the local council AND the town has a caravan park too. Yes, I know the owners are the same but wake up Caravanning Queensland, these two have been coexisting for years – have a look at it and understand how it works!

  6. have you noticed that it is queensland and tasmania…. where everybody goes… that are having the problems… there are way too many people and they are creating problems…. its not only our own…. its the tourists and the back packers as well…. i have just travelled in SA. NT and south western queensland…. only noticed one sign in winton where apparently people had freecamped where it is only a rest spot… the rest of the time i thoroughly enjoyed my freecamps

  7. Tried to get into a caravan Park in Narooma last Xmas. Only one unpowered site left at $72 per night plus your vehicle had to be off site. All we want in my opinion is freedom of choice. I will not boycott a town with no free camping BUT I will camp in the next town with free camping and spend my money in their shops. Caravan parks these days are glorified motel/holiday parks. I DON’T WANT THAT THANK YOU VERY MUCH. Many others do so leave free camps alone.

  8. Most of us vaners want to get away from regamented life so why would we want to park up in a van park like sardines in a can? And by the way your not missing much by driving pasrt Rocky lol.

    • Buy fuel in rocky and keep going lol

      • Better still, buy fuel at one of the small towns either side of Rocky, where you can also find free or low cost sites. That’s what we do – eg Marlborough or Raglan pubs. The money you don’t spend on site fees goes towards a pleasant meal which supports these small towns – and you don’t have to wash up 🙂

  9. Why can’t we get a petition for the Courts to look into what Caravan Parks are doing with Small Businesses with there Cabins, Selling of Groceries, Bait and Tackle, Papers, etc. and the list goes on. We don’t see them worried that they are killing other Businesses too. Caravan Park Owners only think of ME ME ME.

  10. Look at all the businesses (near Kershaw Gardens in Rockhampton) that will be missing out on the traveling dollar. https://goo.gl/maps/rDYKnKEAV2t

    The Southside Holiday Village use to be called Southside Caravan Park. Now I can only see a handful of caravan parks and the rest is units. https://goo.gl/maps/F9Vo1taxZLL2

    How many hotels/motel businesses are missing out on customers because of Caravan Parks with cabins like this? Rockhampton Regional Council had given a rate rebate to the caravan parks. I think council needs to now remove the rate rebate as Rockhampton has lost the free camping dollar. I do not think the local rate payers need to be supporting the caravan parks.

  11. All good points guys but as a new commer to caravanning I like to be able to stay at caravan parks and free camping on my travels, best of both worlds.
    Friendly both of towns a benefit to the towns in Australias economy, ie we keep the towns alive.

  12. Caravan parks are now getting to be mainly for kids, running through sites , nearly having head ons with cars, forming groups , and sometimes in those groups, get real game, I just want a little fire abit of music a coldie or 2 watching the stars then an early start, without all those screaming kids, that’s what I luv about free camping

    • Unfortunately, in a lot of towns, particularly in the north of WA, paying to stay in a caravan park is too dangerous due to kids crime. Much safer out of town.

  13. But we aren’t camping we have stopped for the night because we are to tired to continue and if I was to receive a ticket I cannot see any judge giving me a fine when I have stopped because you don’t want me to become a road statistic

  14. they don’t realze that without some sort of free camping people will not be able to go around this great country this will kill the caravan industry and a lot of jobs

  15. Free campers have ruined it for the rest of us, they overstay and won’t move on and give the rest of us a site for the night.,bunch of freeloaders.

    • But your a free Camper as well?????

  16. The sense of entitlement.? What about the people tha spend $100,000 to buy fthe monster caravan with huge fridges and freezers so they stock up only at large cities then demand that small towns give them somewhere to camp? Sorry your morning lattee and newspaper are nowhere near enough to pay for you.

  17. Well if they gave us a decent pension we could afford it .

  18. I just love reading some of these comments – “You will miss out on the Greys money, without us Greys you will suffer” The Greys – they would be the tightest bunch of whingers I have ever come across. All they want is free, free, free. I’m sure you will still be able to free camp, but not 3 feet from a town or a caravan park.

    • God, I hope so Jed. That is my desire.

      • Jed, just remember Grey Nomads do spend money at your grocer,bakery,pub,chemist,mechanic,op shop,news agent,bait shop,petrol station,museums,tours.just ask the small business in your town whether they want that money or see it drive straight past? Just because we don’t want to stay in your caravan park doesn’t make Grey Nomads freeloaders,it’s got nothing to do with Money it’s the simple fact we just do not want your product, I do not for the life of me find what is so hard to unstandardised about that!!!

  19. The issue for a lot of grey nomads is that caravan parks arnt providing a service that we wish to purchase, I am happy to pay my money to Bush camp, farm stays, pub camping, where I know I’ll me lovely people with similar interests. It’s not about money it’s a lifestyle choice.

    • Caravan Park nightly fees are ridiculously expensive in many areas, which is the main reason free camping is popular. If there was reasonable value at cvan parks for travellers I am certain that we would all coexist happily and choose a place to stay that suited our needs at the time.

    • Agree 100% Wally,Caravan Park nightly fees are ridiculously expensive in many areas, which is the main reason free camping is popular. If there was reasonable value at cvan parks for travellers I am certain that we would all coexist happily and choose a place to stay that suited our needs at the time.

    • Wally, as a long time vanner I have to agree with you. I mix parks with free camping on our travels and often find parks with small difficult sites still charging top rate for very close (uncomfortable) living conditions . Showgrounds, farmstays etc provide much more comfortable living with just as good if not better companionship. Cheers Ken

  20. Agree with wally just finished 6 months on the road have had great appreciation of councils and national parks with great locations charging a fee to cover costs surely we cant expect communities to pay rates and volunteer work to provide longer term free camping to passing travllers.
    For road safety the roadside 24 hour sites are great assets and provide the essential need for relieving driver fatigue. You want long term free rent stay home.

  21. I know most people have never even considered what freedom is but when you can’t sleep for free you really know your not free. You could park somewhere and go fishing all night long but if you sleep, your a criminal. I know many people don’t want to be free these days. As far as paying your way goes. We still pay for food, petrol, rego, taxes on income, not to mention if your doing a short trip your probably still paying rent or a morgage and everyone that comes with it. To sleep in your car is not hurting anybody. Let and let live, stop worrying about what others are doing and check your own petty life. Perhaps after some soul searching you too might want to live like a gypsy for a while.

  22. No, I don’t see free camping as being under threat by one council, losing the battle, for one small area. That is all it is, one lone free camp. As for Tasmania, the law in question has been in existence for quite some time, councils knew it.

    I do significance of the battle that Rockhampton faced, as it could have future ramifications, should the Queensland Government choose to pursue other areas, for the same reason. If Rockhampton council had of lost the ability to open a free camp, anywhere,.. then there would be am issue, as it would be Queensland wide.

    Looking at the picture on the article, assuming its the area being closed at Rockhampton, I can understand why. It may be subject to significant erosion issues that could be made worse by vehicle access. Now the queensland government has given Rockhampton ample time to find an alternative free camp or at least, put forward a proposed rest stop. I’d be interested to know if such an idea has been put forth?

    Lastly, us nomads are sometimes our worst enemies. I’ve seen and read about areas, that literally get hammered, often on a daily basis in busy times. Is it any wonder issues arise? There’s more of us on the road today, than ever before. Not jist part timers, but people permanently on the road (my sister and myself are in the latter).. as a result of the increase, the few places listed in publications, such as Camps, get hammered! There is a hint there, but it means becoming informed about camping in each state!

  23. Wouldn,t be too bad in caravan parks, BUT they,re getting too greedy. Pricing is a big deterent, when all you want is a toilet and shower for a night.

  24. I can’t see a problem, no body ever has to stay in a caravan park at all there are plenty a freedom camping out there, if you can’t find some where there are Showgrounds, Pubs, Farm stays even some roadhouses not to mention our beautiful national parks all offer sites at a fraction of the cost of a Caravan Park. If Caravan Parks think they can force anybody into patronising their Parks by trying to ban freedom camping thay are way off the mark, when it comes to boycotting towns I thinks it’s an over reaction, why should all the business in one town suffer because of one Caravan Park? My wife and I would not boycott a town but if the next town down the road has freedom camping that is where we will stay and there is where we will spend our money, remember Caravan parks are not the only business in a small town.

  25. If caravan parks want all of the action, then they better have their reception / book-in service open 24/7 because the “we’re closed and have no vacancies” just won’t cut-it. Freedom-loving boomers come in from their adventures at all times of the day or night.

  26. What a bunch of kill joys. Get out the office, stop being selfish and let everyone enjoy nature. Bloody academics have to medle with everyone’s freedom and civil liberties.

  27. I will usually free camp overnight between point A and point B enroute to a destination where I intend to spend a few days to a few weeks. Problem being that a lot of caravan parks are now set up like resorts and charge to suit. I don’t mind paying $25 – $30 for an overnight powered site but I refuse to pay $60 and upwards in “Peak” season to use power and water when I am totally self sufficient with my caravan.

  28. One more thought, my Wife and I would spend on average &20,000-25,000 dollars a year travelling this great country and use no caravan parks at all, now what we spend is not a large amount of money, businesses and council take note that 80%~90% of that money goes in towns that have freedom camping or low cost sites available, now multiply that by the tens of thousands of grey nomads out there and if you don’t support them you are missing out on big money, modern Caravans don’t need your Caravan parks but your towns certainly need the money coming from those Catavans.

  29. It seems everyone is jumping on the free camping bus and good on them. But haven’t we all seen some results that leave a lot of crap for some other poor bugger to clean up. The area at Rockhampton Kershaw Gardens was never built or intended for free camping. What you people don’t get is just because you can doesn’t mean you should. I see a lot of tourists where I live and they gladly stay in a park with clean amenities and various shops in walking distance. Crikey if I need a loo in Ban Ban springs I pay for it because they have to.Spend a bit less on having every conceivable gadget and get on the road. . Paying ya way not blushing off small towns and their generosity. Last but not least if I see another free camper in a truck only zone you will be sobbed in

  30. We just traveled from WA to SA up the centre to NT and return to WA ,a 12500 circle, this was our first out of state trip ,supporting the local parks and shops is not a problem, to us , we are only a little 18 footer no shower, our biggest gripe was free camping areas that were full at midday or soon after and mainly with big vans what I call the super package (and no money left for a park) with all the frills parked on weird angles as to stop any other vanners getting to close the or finding a spot at all while they sit in the shade of their van sipping a bit of red ,so we motor on to the next park just to find a below standard crubby over priced plot of dirt , then you find one or two that can’t do enough for you and they’re spotless, yes we are doing it again can’t wait

  31. Universal Human Right Act, Article 24 – Human Right to Rest and Leisure. Mmmmm

  32. Let’s not worry about left or right.sick of being controlled by the government and some councils and minority groups. I be been camping with my parents friends and partner for 60 odd years.Us old campers are a minority group let’s just bitch and whinge like all the other minority groups until we get our own way.Never stop camping.⛲⛲

  33. The state some of these free camps are left in is terrible, rubbish strewn around, people to lazy to did a hole just crapping in the bush, emptying toilet cassettes in drop toilets and in the bush and women dropping wet ones after a pee in the bush. Long termers in fre camp are also a problem and the council should be doing their job and moving them on. Many people don’t seem to understand “leave nothing”. The Caravan park owners only have their profits at heart and the great outdoors are suffering from overuse

  34. Tried to get a site at these free camping spots but the people generally overstay, nothing but a bunch of freeloaders.

    • You have to stay long enough to know they overstay???

  35. I am about to enter the grey nomad lifestyle and while understand the issues of bith sides being the park owners and us, it appears the issues are with planning laws. I was speaking with an operator that made sense to me. He told me the issues are he was faced with regulations and acts from both state and local government that in some shires arw seeing park owners consider selling as government inforce regulations that never applied 30 years ago when the parks had been built and therefore see costly modificayions in some cases over half million dollars to comply. Also high labour and maintenace costs as with all business are facing. He doesnt beleive park owners are all against free camping infact many feel if the local councils provide free camping sites that meet the regulations enforced upon the park owners at a reduced price there is no issue. Something i discussed was the loss of council parks that i always veiwed as the cheaper alternative to private park owners. He explained this has come about due to the NSW State Government handing these parks once council operated, some previously leased and other operated by local trusts to a super trust operated under brand called Reflections. I have stayed at a couple of these parks and found the prices higher than private parks. My question is why are parks owned by us the tax payers being operated in such a manner that sees the end of affordable caravan parks and with these parks in nearly every town arent they been utilised to provide sites at affordable rates? This would give us the choice.

  36. It’s an easy fix, any town that doesn’t have the RV friendly sign should be bypassed, we’ve done this for years, you don’t want to support us then we won’t support you. But in the end, you’ll be the loser. At our age, we don’t need the caravan parks jumping castles or any other of their playthings if they want to invest in all of this infrastructure all well and good but doesn’t expect the grey nomads to pay for it.

  37. Price is a deterent to those that cannot afford it, caravanning is no different to any other travel if you can’t afford it find something else. I love a good bush camp as much ax anyone else but expecting to live for no expence is a bit rich. I have noticed more and more grey nomads planning their trips around rest stops although they call them free camps, Wiki has a lot to answer for. Free Camps are abused by many with filth and over staying this will be the downful along with greed of the self righteous free camper.

    • John, Grey Nomads do pay their own way! Fuel,Food,Tours,Pub meals,Medicines,Doctor visits,Op shop visits,Mechanics,Museums,Markets etc etc. what they don’t choose, is overpriced Caravan Parks they don’t need or want, ignorant People are just not getting the fact that Caravan owners simply do not have to park in Caravan Parks just because they own Caravans, fillthy sites well it’s about time People look at other groups for this problem, people that blame Grey Nomads for this problem don’t know much about travelling this great FREE country of ours, always remember what FREEDOM means

  38. Have just booked 4 overnight sites between Melbourne and mid north coast $15–19—28—35 unpowered same size site why the variation we have been on the road full time for the last 2 years and have stayed at $25 /night lovely parks and have stayed at $42/ night sites the big 2 groups are taking over with all the bell and whistles that are full of cabins and are .noisy,no sullage points. I will be staying in any site I wish to and if am told to move on will request a name and employee number stating that the reason I am stopping where I am is because I am tired and weary from driving and and do not wish to become a danger to myself and family and also to others on the road. A magistrate would throw any fine incurred out of court on road safety rules. “”JUST DONT PARK IN TRUCK STOPS””

  39. It seems to me that a lot of people that are complaining about free campers must be Caravan Park owners! why else would anybody begrudge the grey Nomad the right to freedom camp around Oz and save a bit of their small pension,or the self funded retiree that has been sensible enough to spend their money wisely.for all the Caravan Park owners who spout if you can’t afford to travel then don’t, well I can tell you people can afford to travel they just don’t want to park in your over priced Parks, if you as s Caravan Park can’t afford to stay open without charging a ridiculous amount of money because of your overheads then close. Councils just ask all the businesses in your small towns whether they want the grey Nomad money or see it drive through, Caravan parks will never capture the freedom camping Nomad there is simply to many free or cheap sites out there. Finally Nomads pay for fuel,food,medicine,pub meals,entertainment,mechanic visits, doctors visits, hair cuts op shop searches, tours, need I say more grey Nomads are not free loaders!!

  40. You all have got it wrong!
    Go to the goverment about caravan parks price fixing by putting up rates on public hollidays easter and christmas and get this practice stopped thus hitting the carravan parks in the pocket.

  41. Close one door ,….we’ll just open another!! Bloody bureaucrats…

  42. Really my God. I pay rates . As a Aussie . I’m over the greed . Who are all you people . I pay to up keep the parks, national conservation. To up keep the roads the boat ramps . I’m over paying . Stop ,sleep ,rest revive. Great motto. Get a grip you do gooders . I’m a Aussie over paying to be in Australia. A true rip off.

  43. Maybe the parks should revise their thinking. Low price camping as a base and if you want to use the pools swings bike bumps etc you pay extra. Every other business trying to grab our money has had to change from one price fits all.

  44. If council’s lowered the caravan parks rates, then maybe we could get lower tariffs. Also most caravan parks are run by managers and a lot of them have there hands tied by the owner and are not allowed to spend any money on maintenance.

  45. I have been through lots of towns big and small where most of the motel parking lots are emptying out and the caravan parks are filling up space with cabins , I use van parks on occasion and free / low cost camps too,
    I believe in freedom of choice not legislation influenced by greedy self interested pressure groups. The east coast up through NSW and QLD is the worst I have encountered in regards to no freedom of choice . Just returned from TAS where I was amazed at the freedom of choice from low cost donation type places to BIG # with all bells and whistles , they seem to have got it right but beware of it being destroyed by over legislation. ALSO if camping ANYWHERE DON’T leave your shit behind , because this is what annoys councils the most . As usual the dimwits and freeloaders destroy it for everybody . AND remind the powers that be that YOU VOTE and they work for YOU not the other way around rant over Happy Travels

  46. Im not a grey nomad yet but interested in reading peoples views. I am traveling around Australia and using caravan parks, free camps and national parks. I spread it out as I like the variety but I do choose a caravan pk that is no more than $35. I am traveling alone and any more than that is ridiculous. When ever I stay in a free camp provided by council I always spend money in their town. I am in Queensland at the moment but now Im thinking about heading west

  47. If the councils are going to ban free camping because of a few over priced caravan parks objecting, how about the councils also help the motel industry and ban units in caravan parks. I mean lets be fair about it. because they are stuffing there businesses.Said before a couple of times why you would want to stop in rocky anyhow has me beat.We like many on this site only stop at RV friendly towns and only spend money in those towns.Cheers Stevo.

  48. WOW! The stick has really stirred up t he ants nest. Comments flying Willy nelly. The resolution to this issue is to get organised and to present a united front to these beaurocrats who have knee jerk reactions caused by lobbying and actions from a group of people (caravan park owners) who have a united front. Get it?

  49. You unload your sewage, your rubbish, use and fill your tanks with the municipal town water, use the parklands, parkways, walkways, roadways, tourist facilities, amenities and attractions. The exact same facilities that everyone else, be it the local ratepayer and resident, or tourist coming via car, boat bus or plane is made to pay for.

    There is nothing “Free” about it. Everyone else is made to pay for the pleasure of using the above facilities, why are you the exception to the rule

    The local ratepayer in these towns does not expect you to cover their holiday travel costs, why on earth do you think they should be made responsible for covering yours?

    • Then we unload our money on the pub in your town the service station,the grocery store,the hairdresser,the Doctor,the local Salvo store,the Chemist,the newsagent,the post office,the Mechanic,the Bakery,the local Markets, your Museums etc etc etc Yep we certainly do pay to enjoy your towns facility’s, the fact is modern Caravans just don’t need Caravan Parks anymore, Caravan Parks came about when family’s travelled in their sparse little Caravans and needed the facilities, these parks are no longer needed,freedom camping is entrenched in the Aussie Psyche and always will be. Freedom Camping is not about getting something for free, it’s a simple matter that a lot of People just don’t want your Caravan Parks.

      • Well said Daz. Why the hell do caravan park operators ‘think’ that because we don’t want or need them then the whole town misses out. Quite the contrary. I’ll spend more in a town if/when I’m not forced into a caravan park. Therefore 4, 5, 6 or more businesses will benefit because I haven’t wasted money on the overpriced caravan park. Caravan park owners are the ones with the ‘entitlement’ mentality. Get over it !! Focus on what the market wants instead of what fills your pockets with what work happened 30 years ago.

    • Griffin, you can use the facilities in my town anytime you like. I won’t expect u to reimburse my rates.

  50. Hopefully some readers will get this far down the list. Pay and free sites can co-exist; Julia Creek QLD has both, and on Monday evening when the local eateries are closed, the P&T association put on a meal at the paid camp – how much can you eat? – with profits going to support school outings, and to which the council(!) run a shuttle from the free camp, so avoiding crowded roads and/or having to drive ‘home’ after one or two. I counted almost 150 diners the night I was there. Bloody brilliant!

    • Generosity and freedom will always trump Greed. Take note caravan park

  51. That’s the type of Caravan parks we all need, would gladly park there.

  52. Don’t mind paying my way I can’t see why I should pay someone’s
    mortgage. If you can’t afford to run the business time to get out & try something else
    Ever thought of getting a Grey Nomad in to show you how to run a competent business
    Stew WA

  53. Being a nomad is all good and well, until its by necessity not choice, Then you become uncool all of a sudden.

    I think the Fed govt is expecting a flood of people on the roads driven out of home by economic issues, and wants to make it as hard as possible to survive.

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