Council claims victory in war on illegal campers

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Douglas Shire camping
Douglas Shire does not offer free camping

A war on illegal camping in an area of Far North Queensland is apparently bearing fruit … with a significant reduction in unwelcome overnight visitors being reported.

Douglas Shire Council says its RV Strategy is resulting in campers moving on after being approached by council officers. The Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette reports that, since May, 42 vehicles were found camping illegally compared to 177 between May and July 2017.

Local Laws officers have also noted significant improvements at problem areas such as Wangetti. Other hot spots in the shire include Teamsters Park, St Mary’s/Sugar Wharf area, Newell Beach boat ramp, Cooya Beach, Wonga, Rotary Park, and Mossman Showgrounds.

Camping includes sleeping overnight in cars, caravans and mobile homes.

Mayor Julia Leu said the council has invested significant resources to best manage and balance the expectations of RV travellers and local residents, while minimising the impacts on the environment.

“Council developed the 2017-2021 RV Strategy that lists several recommendations,” she told the Gazette. “Several recommendations have already been implemented, including installing clear ‘no camping’ signs, multilingual illegal camping handouts and signage, liaising with campervan rental companies about camping regulations and installing bollards and boom gates.”

She said that illegal camping can undermine efforts to protect the area’s unique environment and would not be tolerated.

“Some illegal campers do the wrong thing by making noise, lighting fires, breaking glass, littering and toileting on public grounds,” she said.

Anyone who is caught camping in an unregulated area could now be eligible to be issued with a $261 fine. The council doesn’t provide free or low-cost overnight parking and camping but it says there are 15 commercial operators who do fill that niche.

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41 Responses to Council claims victory in war on illegal campers

  1. Another place we will not visit

    • If you want to stay pay like the rest and if you can afford to go to Queensland then you surely can pay a little like therest

  2. I will bypass this area totally in the future. No purchases travelling through either.

  3. And do the 15 commercial operators provide free and/or low cost camping?

    • Probably not but why should they, people need to pay their way in this world

      • Where ever I go I see Queenslanders camping in other states free camping areas, if you are going to preach surely you must follow your own rules, and don’t forget there are small towns In Queensland that need grey nomads to survive, all you are doing is making life hard for these people, there are small towns all over Australia that are thankful for the trade that grey nomads bring.

    • Commercial operators. By definition it’s a business that is operating to make money. Don’t know too many for profit businesses that do their core business for free. That was a stupid comment.

  4. Great work by the Council, It is a beautiful and delicate environment and needs to be protected. There are still plenty of places to stay.

    • You will not be getting my money, simply fot your moronic attitude to people even if they do the right thing. Even when free camping all I leave behind are footprints. Just get the ones that do the wrong thing but do not punish honest people. Obviously your council is stacked with shortsightest selfinterested people who can not see past their noses. Commercial run caravan parks do simply not cater for grey nomads and we are not all penny pinchers either. It is time those jokers get a reality check and start catering for us and start to improve their bottomline and support their community beyond their park gates

      • I agree Gary. Don’t leave anything but your footprints and l cant see the harm in any one stopping to have a sleep.

    • I’m a X grey nomad, now living in cairns, Douglass hire and cairns loaded to much increase in rates over the last few years, nearly all the councilors on the shire council of port Douglas and cairns have friends who run the overpriced caravan parks. Port Douglas and Cairns a bit snobby as well.

  5. This is another over rated part of QLD run by toffy nosed twits. Sure its nice but really there are many many other places that are better in QLD.Also this place survives nearly solely on tourism do they not class us nomads as tourist,I am pretty sure that if we all stopped going there and spending our money there would be an up roar.Not all tourists come on a plane from China. I have had many a happy hour with some well heeled big spenders in caravans..The prefer to eat at restaurants and the like,but still like to camp out.But one thing we caravaners all talk about is were to camp and were not to.So its in your best interest Douglas Shire to cater for everyone. Cheers Stevo.


  7. One place I won’t be visiting another blow through town

  8. This something that is happening not only in Oz but in maney places overseas. Nobody is interested in low cost budget tourism just tourists who fly in spend big for a week or two then go home. Unfortunately in many smaller towns councilors are also business owners and can’t see past their own vested interest.

  9. I too will be bypassing this area caravaners passing through these area’s free camping spend a lot of cash .

  10. Good on you.I have seen so much polution travelling around Australia and shires need to take a strong approach to eliminating the problem.

  11. Here we go again. Whinge, whinge, whinge. I’m bypassing the area, I’m not spending money there. Unfortunately the Grey Nomads are getting the reputation for wanting everything for free. Free camping, free National Parks, no charge for pets & on & on it goes.

    • Grey nomads don’t expect FREE anything just somewhere safe to stay, I’m more than happy to pay a fee to stay in a town as we have in Tassie and the mainland. We respect any decision to restrict free or low cost camping but please respect our rights to enjoy our country as former tax payers. Remember this, there is in excess of 500,000 registered caravans and motorhomes whose owners are willing to spend their money in areas they visit

      • I will back it in that you are still a taxpayer. GST,rates,registration, stamp duty and lots of hidden taxes.

  12. we wont be going anywhere near there our mony will be better spent at a place where we are wanted

  13. Yes we will also by pass and not spend anything in this area

  14. Just another place i wont vist. Plenty of places in oz that welcome grey nomads

  15. Another example of bureaucracy gone mad create free camping areas and attract the retirement dollar. People traveling long term would prefer to camp out and spend their money on local activities and food etc. Wake up dummys.

  16. It is a crying shame that it’s always mutton heads who create problems that end up needing a council to go sigg heil and start issuing tickets, if clowns would pull their heads in, anyway we have found cemetary car parks to be great overnight stops, we go exploring, the headstones are amazing, take some flowers and a card, if you get asked why you’re there you’re on a pilgrimage to your uncles grave or a long lost relative, works awesome, pick a headstone to memorise.

    • Great idea with the grave yard car parks. Practically been there and done that in years gone by, only as ghost hunters! Tends to scare people off pretty quick.. Lol. Have also used disused gravel dumps for overnight and bushy areas of crown land and state forests for longer camps(talking weeks here) without issue. If more would buy the necessary gear(portable toilets) and learn to clean up after themselves and have the attitude of “leave little or no trace”.. Life would be much easier for those of us who travel, whether part time or permanently(the latter for me!)7

  17. Douglas Shire, overpriced toffs! Lost me and mine to people who appreciate our spending in their town, groceries, butchers, chemists, mechanics if needed they all miss making our money. Bye !

    • Take a note from Airlie Bch.
      They supply a free campground because they have enough good sense to know those people (me inc) will probably spend much @ local stores and restaurants!

  18. Here we go problem though..we wont go. ..simple
    And by the way we are self funded retirees however we don’t like being ripped off..plenty of other very friendly places to spend our money.

  19. Just up the hill near Mt Molloy is a free camping spot with good facilities. 20 minutes from Mossman. If I could advertise the patch of council land right behind my house I would. We park our van there for visitors. Very disappointed in the attitude of my local council and their lack of support for small business who are our locals and miss out because of this decision.
    I reckon you should just back up onto one of the many empty blocks of land at Wonga Beach and make like you own it!

  20. Stay on the table and. Visit port mossman areas, then leave.. I live up here . Cheers

  21. May be these councils should look at the Australian Constitution,

    The right to freedom of movement within a country, which includes the right to choose where to live within the country
    People must be able to move freely and choose a place of residence within a country without restrictions, including establishing a purpose or reason for doing so. The only allowable restrictions are those mentioned in article 12(3) (see further detail below). Governments have a duty to ensure that a person’s freedom of movement is not unduly restricted by others, including private persons or companies. The right applies to all persons lawfully within Australian territory, not only to Australian citizens

    And I choose to live in a Motorhome and I choose to travel

    Also in the constitution preamble it states that
    If state or local government laws contradict federal law, be it Constitutional, Criminal or Common law at Federal law will override such laws.

  22. This action has probably come not through greed of Caravan Park owners but through inconsiderate campers. If you use it don’t abuse it or you’ll lose it. In an area such as this free camping is probably not a practical option for the authorities to allow. Julia Creek etc ideal for free camping. Different scenario.

  23. We have been living in our motorhome for 3 yrs now and have spent 50/50 in parks and free camps, laybys etc. And yes a lot of the more crowded free spots are filthy. I cant beleive hoss many signs i pass than say take a break and there is no where to pull over and how many laybys where there is no toilet…. cars dont have toilets built in … come on these people shouldnt have to crap on the ground in this day and age… treat people like animals anc thats what you get…

  24. User pays is fair. Something needs to be done to stop people trashing nice places like this.

  25. We have spent over twelve months going to a from Port Douglas from a property we look after up the Rex range.

    From our experience it’s not the average Grey Nomad who is the problem it’s the backpackers in their slamming door wicked vans who trash the joint. And by that I mean defecate wherever it takes their fancy.

    That aside “The Port” as it is known by the locals is over rated and over priced. We wouldn’t go out of our way to visit the place.

  26. I believe that council has the right to prohibit camping on any land that is considered a health risk, this would include land that is used as a toilet,which would be most free camps & rest area’s without facilities.The answer of course would be to either limit their use to self contained vehicles(unfair?) or provide facilities & charge a fee that would be affordable to all maybe five bucks out of town, ten dollars within town limits.Caravan park owners have no more right to dictate to council than any other ratepayer.

  27. The Barrier Reef will be dead in the next 10 or so years, don’t believe the tourists boards, really low cost accommodation, will be needed in the Barrier Reef TouristTowns to keep the tourist coming!

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