Grey nomads accused of ‘blocking up’ truck stops

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Truck bays parked up
Bruce Skelton filmed these parked-up bays at the Yelgun truck stop one night. PIC: Bruce Skelton/Big Rigs

A veteran truckie has spoken of his exasperation at the number of grey nomads who continue to park up overnight at truck stops … leaving him no place to stay.

Talking to the Big Rigs publication, Brisbane-based driver, Bruce Skelton, said he had started taking videos of the scenes which often confront him when he pulls into truck areas.

“I do it so when someone says ‘no they don’t park in truck stops’ I can show them … it happens six out of seven nights a week,” he said. “They (grey nomads) don’t care and say ‘why don’t you take more drugs and keep going’ and that they’re entitled to camp wherever they want because they pay their taxes … unfortunately, that’s the public’s opinion of truck drivers.”

Mr Skelton said he had approached some drivers and tried to explain the situation, but was always met with disrespect and no understanding.

The truckie told Big Rigs that free parking bays were getting ‘harder and harder’ to find, and that the government needed to ‘take responsibility’ for them.

“There’s no point putting up signs that say no camping, no standing if they’re not enforced,” he said. “There needs to be someone you can ring so they can police it … we cannot manage our fatigue if we can’t park.”

Worryingly, Bruce said he had spoken to some people over the years who suggested that letting the offenders’ tyres down, or blasting his horn would soon change things … but he said this was not a solution.

“That doesn’t achieve anything, it only makes us worse in their eyes,” he said. “Caravan associations talk about it, but every few months we get a whole new breed of caravanners who have no idea and have to learn from scratch.”

Mr Skelton told Big Rigs that making caravanners get a special licence might help with education and awareness, but there was no easy answer to the problem.

  • Do you ever park in truck bays? Can you understand why truckies get frustrated with this sort of behaviour? Comment below.


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41 Responses to Grey nomads accused of ‘blocking up’ truck stops

  1. If you have a good look they are not grey nomads they are young tourists in vans. In fact I can’t even see a caravan there

    • Not all grey nomads hve caravans

    • I drive to and from Syd-melb.a lot.and its true the parking bays are full of caravans And they are plain rude when you drive in.Im in a smalll barina and have had some OLD RUDE MEN abuse me fir stopping??They want to sleep and i woke them.Next time i shall take number and report them.Grey Nomads are a real nusance.

    • Spot on the Wiz Banga Crowd are disrespectful, littered, and don’t care, as they know they can get away with it.

    • So you base your conclusion based on one photo. The truckie is spot on .. and in my extensive travels, I have seen plenty of grey nomads in caravans parked in truck rest bays. Sorry, no photo.

  2. Please don’t generalise, I never park in truck stops, I always find an area where I know a truck would not be able to access.

  3. make them tow away areas, then if they park their vehicles in a truck stop they lose it for fine to retrieve it.
    No sympathy for them.

    • That is such a good idea if it can be inforced

    • Thats a great idea. These inconsiderate people give us ALL a bad name.
      Many of us are very considerate of truck drivers and realise the Great work they do to keep our country moving. When your car breaks down in WhoopWhoop it is a truck that will bring the part you need. Let them have the same access to rest stops as we do.

  4. We never pull into truck bays BUT we are absolutely amazed and make a big joke about when we actually see a truck in a truck bay. So ridiculous they can’t be shared spaces. And when we are parked in free camps on the side of the road truck drivers can’t help but blow their horn as they go by.

    • You never see a truck parking in a truck parking bay, until after dark when your normally asleep. It is very different then, and they are probably gone before daylight

    • Yes we have experienced this, we do not park in truck parking areas but we do get the horn blasts midnight and beyond when parked in the right places.??

    • We never stop in a Truck stop and im really offended at this photo of Backpackers called grey nomads parked here and to make a point im sick and tired of been woken by TRUCKIES blowing there horns when going past our camp when parked where we should be so the truckies need to see the Two points here, and some of them pull your horns in for the ones who do the RIGHT thing….

    • In balancing this argument let me say I started driving an MR licenced truck and have to use a log book as I go from show to show. I have to tow a van as it is my mobile home. We drive to strict conditions under the National Heavy rules and if we don’t stop on time we get heavy fines. We plan our trips so that we can stop within the our allotted driving times.
      I have been absolutely shocked and bewildered at car drivers lack of understanding stopping distances but that’s another story.
      Reality is selfishness will get someone or some people killed.
      All the truck drivers are asking is the allocated space so they can get home safely to their families.
      Is that so much to ask?

      • Yes I understand your point, however, as a “Grey Nomad” towing a van we also have a responsibility to drive safely and take appropriate rest breaks. We are constantly being told stop every 2 hours. There are insufficient rest stops for trucks and other travellers on our country roads. Australia is a big country and we have to travel long distances. More and larger rest stops are an essential part of our road network.

  5. It’s called respect… And a lot of the younger traveiiers have none. NOR do the o/seas tourists who don’t understand English… But don’t blame the Grey Nomads for it cos we are on the Truckies side and we’re brought up to ‘Have Respect’

  6. As grey nomads we have never parked in truck bay anywhere in Australia, and some of the comments made by the said driver seem very far fetched. As adults we would never say such things . Yes I agree with the other comments that most of the vehicles in the above photo appear to be camper vans so please get your facts straight.

  7. This might be a bit simplistic… why not increase the size of the existing truck stops and make them a shared space?

    Or is impossible for trucks and the traveling public to co-exist?

    • But that implies a modicum o common sense !!! 🙂

  8. People who park in truck areas are not only putting the truck drivers at risk but everybody else on the road ….so maybe everybody should take more care where they park and give the drivers earning a living more respect

    • I agree Jean. Comments about no trucks being there making it OK, is simply wrong, the trucks come in late and by then the campers have been there for hours….this does not make it OK. Trucks cannot then fit between caravans spread out all over the place. If we force the trucks to keep driving, then we are placing other people’s lives at risk, including our own. Why can’t we all just be respectful? Maybe some patrols need to be done and move people on – whatever time it is. OR we could allot one end for caravans and one for trucks??

  9. We never park in truck bays. Never have and never will. Without truckies this country stops. It’s not like there are no other alternatives.

  10. I’ve never parked in a truck bay, because i don’t relish the thought of being woken up at all hours as truck drivers arrive and depart…as they are absolutely entitled and expected to do, if it says “truck” stop, i respect that and never park there in my car, either when towing my caravan or my camper…but i’ve seen plenty of truck stops with only 1 or two trucks and no caravans at all…seriously, so I’m not sure if the problem is widespread, or if its confined to the east coast tourist strip perhaps, but Id be certain its not everywhere. I’m a grey nomad caravanner and I’ve never used a truck stop…i want well rested truck drivers on the road, not tired grumpy truckies

  11. that’s “trucks” not tricks, and that “confined” not confirmed…excuse the typos…I think I need a rest stop…in a caravan rest area that is 🙂

  12. Have just done the trip from Adelaide to Darwin and return. I actually made a point of checking out the truck stops and never saw any other vehicle parked in them other than trucks.
    And as far as shared spaces. Who wants to get woken up at 4am when the truckie starts up the rig or pulls in late at night?

  13. We do not park in truck stops as we have to much respect for them as they also have to have places to rest. We are very considerate of truckies on the road and off giving them right of way as soon as it is safe to do so. In return the truck drivers are always polite to us.

  14. Yelgin is a particularly busy rest area, we pulled in there for a tea break about 9am once and just kept driving. It was full of backpackers. We have just done a trip from Brisbane to Broome and didn’t mind a friendly toot when we were stopped in the remote rest areas. Also we respect the truckies and don’t use the truck stops.

  15. I think you will find that most of the time it is backpackers in vans.Not only can they not read 99% of them are dirty buggers and some dont even know what side of the road to drive on.Having driven trucks in my working day I know that I would rather have a well rested happy truckie coming towards me than the other option.Most of us have the luxury of no time limits, the truckie does not, so dont park in there parks.I suppose just building a few more parking spots is ah what do they say Rocket Science but would that not solve the problem. Cheers Stevo.

  16. Ive never told a lie,broken the speed limit,stolen lollies as a kid,sold a dodgy car,thats better now I feel like every one else on here I’m an angel.Come on you lot,as a community, (not self gratifying individuals)we suck,if we dont pull our heads in we will self destruct,if its not bolted down we steal it,how about the dusk to dawn mob,the Fri night in pull out Mon morn mob,places are taking down donation boxes why??? Could right a novel about the real truth,oh been on the road full time for 9 years,so come on all you angels respond and tell me I’m full of shite.

    • Great stuff Bill! Couldn’t agree with you more. I’ve never met anyone who has copped to doing the wrong thing but amazingly it still happens 🙂

  17. Most grey nomads don’t drive the whizzbanger vans – I suggest they are younger travellers and backpackers.

  18. Yes agree with a lot of the others here, it seems to us two grey nomads,travelling off & on for 50 years, that {lately} we see more & more overseas travellers, in {older} vans\wagons,who park anywhere they like, we have never taken a Truck park, & never will, and Yes, we have been on a Free Camp, & had Truckers drive by at night,& BLAST their horn, WHY? Lets all share this wonderful country, & Us who are out there, while we can. Sandy & Robbo.

  19. Here is an extract from Qld Govt. TMR web site on Truck Stops.
    Transport and Main Roads

    Rest Areas and Stopping Places – Location, Design and Facilities
    March 2014
    2.8 TMR rest areas are not free camping areas
    It is common practice for community groups and local councils to encourage tourists to stay in the local area for extended periods of time and this supports local economies, however rest areas are not intended for this purpose.
    Provision of rest areas, where camping2 may be permissible, should not conflict with commercial accommodation facilities, in particular, caravan parks or other local accommodation.
    2 Camping is defined in the Transport Infrastructure (State Controlled Roads) Regulation 2006
    Where it is considered appropriate for safety reasons, overnight stays in motorist rest areas may be permitted at some sites. At these sites a maximum length-of-stay of 20 hours must be enforced and signage permitting camping must be erected. If signage is not present, camping is not permitted.
    It is important to remember that should a rest area be heavily occupied by those enjoying free camping opportunities it is then unavailable for use by motorists suffering genuine fatigue. An inability to stop and rest as and when required may contribute to accidents that could otherwise have been avoided.
    This is particularly important for rest areas dedicated to heavy vehicles, as many of these drivers have a legislative requirement to undertake defined rest stops throughout their work cycle.


  20. Well, I am half way through my first Rounder of Australia I respect our truck drivers and made every attempt to move them past me on the open road as soon as I could, That’s why I put in a 2 way radio and a rear camera on my caravan. For that I get the return respectful thank you by way of the 3 flicks of their rear indicators. Now I had cause to pull over in the past week because my tyre dogs went off on alarm that I had a rapidly deflating tyre. the first rest stop I came across was a truck stop so I pulled in there and changed the tyre before i crucified it. i found the surface solid and level which made the job of changing it that much safer than trying to do it near the edge of the road. I felt guilty about that but I saved a tyre and it was in broad daylight, Contrary to others I have seen Truck Drivers in their appropriate Truck Stops during the day.


  21. Stopped in plenty of shared rest areas but never in a marked designated truck stop. Plenty of trucks in the shared areas which doesn’t bother me. First in best dressed in these bays and they are for all drivers to recover from fatigue.
    In the many years of caravanning all over this country, I have to say that I have rarely seen someone other than a truck parked in a designated truck bay. Is this guy complaining that he cannot get into shared rest areas or the designated truck bays, because I have experienced truckies who have the attitude that they should be the only ones on the road? Fortunately the minority thank God.

  22. The camp books need to be pulled into line too, my wife and i never park up in a truck only rest area not even for lunch. I feel sorry for the truckies most of thier rest area’s are discraceful a couple of bins and just dirt no toilets, not only that the grey nomads go to slow but when you want to pass they speed up especially when they get to the downside of a hill, i personally feel for our truckies having to deal with grey nomads.

  23. I must amid that I am sympathetic with the truckies but please point the finger at the right people and don’t paint us all with the same brush. I cannot see a caravan on this photo, plenty of backpackers though

  24. Yes, yelgun needs to be policed regularly. It is a beautiful spot. Ver clearly marked Designated areas for caravans, cars, whiz bangers and a very clearly marked separate area for trucks. Plenty of room for everyone. But some people cannot read. One couple in a motorhome setup, awning out with chairs and a wine. I went and told them where the caravan parking area was and that they were in the truck area. The caravan area only had a couple of vans there .plenty of room for more.They did not care. Stayed put. Absolutely disgusted. Awhile back police were there at night. Do not know the outcome but it needs to be part of a regular patrol and fines handed out.

  25. Recently travelling back down the coast, stopped at the new rest area on the highway before Coffs Harbour. Great spot, seperate signs posted for cars, caravans, trucks. Toilets and bbq’s. We parked in marked area for caravans, over other side was area marked for trucks, guess what, every tuck spot waste taken up by caravans, motor home and worst of all backpackers. Later 3 semi trailers turned up No truck spots left. I know the backpackers don’t care, and the holiday travellers think ” it’s only for the night, the majority of genuine grey nomads do the right thing,

  26. Freight by rail. The safest, and the most environmentally friendly option. Who wants to sit behind a slow moving, polluting truck, for niles and miles. They refer to themselves as ‘professional’, if they were, they would use them mirrors, pull over, and let faster traffic though, no more frustrated, unsafe overtaking. (that also goes, for the long lines of ‘grey nomads’, traveling way below the speed limit, without a thought for any other road user…..)

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