Huge volume campers highlights risk of beach sites being ‘loved to death’

Published: April 15, 2022

The Easter camping surge has once again shone a spotlight on the environmental threat posed by the sheer numbers of caravanners staying at key spots on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula.

As we have previously reported, Perlubie Beach and Greenly Beach are two areas that are under being put under significant pressure by tourists.

As many as 100 caravans and campers have been seen on Perlubie Beach at a time, a dramatic increase on recent years.

Like many other areas, the region faces the conundrum of needing visitors to help struggling businesses, but also the desire to preserve the area’s unspoilt beauty.

Eyre Peninsula tour operator Craig Haslam told the ABC that perhaps the time had come to introduce limits.

“Perlubie has been smashed – literally smashed – for a long time, and people are going there because it gives them that extra bit of freedom, rather than actually being in a campground, but we need to monitor it and we need to manage it,” he said. “As we grow, that’s our challenge — how do we continue to develop and grow the destination, but at the same time keeping the same values that are important to us as a region?”

The Streaky Bay Council has recently raised similar concerns with the state government, which controls the beach, highlighting the inadequacy of the infrastructure. It wants to take over the management of the site from the state.

Grey nomad membershipThe startling numbers of visitors staying on the beach this Easter will perhaps add urgency to this request.

Streaky Bay Mayor Travis Barber told the ABC that the increase in visitors was welcome, but sustainability in the area is crucial.

“The growing population of the destination as a campsite is placing significant pressure on the beach and we’re reaching a tipping point in terms of sustainability,” he said.

Regional Development Australia (RDA) Eyre Peninsula tourism development manager Annabelle Hender told the ABC that the volume of visitors was creating ‘environmental pressure’.

“Just trampling, vehicles driving off-road — it can disrupt birdlife that nest on the beaches,” she said. “There’s not necessarily one vehicle that causes the trouble, or one visitor, but it’s an increased pressure when you have multiple or an increased number of tourists all using the one space.”

Ms Hender said the RDA was working through the Eyes on Eyre program to increase infrastructure at campsites.

“We feel like we do have the solution — we have campgrounds like Sheringa and Walkers Rock that have been brought onto this online booking program,” Ms Hender said. “That is a way we can manage capacity at those sites … we know we have this model that we have trialled and tested in Elliston that is ready to be implemented in Perlubie and Greenly Beach.”

  • Comment below


Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Surprise, surprise. We celebrate all those new caravans being sold and then are shocked that people actually want to use them. Van sales companies are happy to exploit starry eyed new buyers. All give no thought and take no responsibility towards creating new van parks or camp sites. So the current sites become too crowded and destroy exactly what the new caravanners thought they were buying.

We will not register to camp, we do not stay in areas that police our lives this heavily. We are aged and deserve our rights to be free. We are clean and respectful nomads.

So true , I’m fully self sufficient yet so much land just going to waste , EG lowly point camp ground is full of boulders sticking up and only 6 can fit in why doesn’t council clear some land on cuttlefish drive which is better then next to a boat ramp for campers , after country being in lockdown for so long and people exploring this beautiful country you would think the local councils would welcome them , no improvements for years from these idiots in council , now I just camp were I won’t when I won’t to

so no responsibility for people who are destructive? How about sheer numbers of people in sensitive places being destructive? It is sily to say that you have a right to go and camp anywhere, to drive anywhere, that is a selfish attitude, not a right with age. I am aged as well, but accept all restrictions as being necessary for the environment, locals, habitat etc etc

It’s just another examp of the lack of love, care & respect for Our Marine Coastline. Be it a new grain terminal (The Magazine @ Wallaroo), a desal plant (Eyre Pen), blah, blah, blah. And, no surprise here…no up to scale van facilities! No respect, No leadership – it is just disgraceful.
Beaches aren’t for vehicles including caravans.

I concur, Keep vehicles off our beaches I can’t think where I’ve seen a sadder sight than this or the vehicles on Fraser Island..for what the holy $, sorry No

Many people don’t want to camp in the confines of a campground. In NZ we call it freedom camping and 99%of people respect the privilege of being allowed to freedom camp in NZ.
Australia needs to ease restrictions and allow people to camp where they want, within reason, its not like you don’t have enough space over here. Seeing pictures like this just makes me cringe.

The grubs of this world will stop that happening.

Read that through again, their solution is that they have paying spots available

But central govt won’t allow them to push the nomads into paid sites, so they want central govt to hand the management to them

The local govt needs to get their act on and make more sites available

The council do not control the beach and as for the Government Department responsible for the coastline reserve they do nothing as well. Campers and local fishers cut the barriers and also drive across private property instead of walking to the fishing spots from the car parks provided. Google have named the dirt road that cuts through private property and tourists do not like the verbal response to their trespassing.

The beach has 1 toilet block. No power or water. Using the sand dunes for a toilet is one of the issues. Rubbish another, speeding vehicles and underage drivers another, chewing up the beach road and blocking access to the beach is the last straw. Campers are disposing their rubbish in the bushes of the reserves and camping in the reserve.

Its long past the time that this beach had restrictions placed to save it and the coastal reserves.

Having recently retired and just starting to plan our long awaited lap of Aus, but l am shocked at the number of people doing their laps at an age when we were working very hard to get established.
I get it is great to travel when your young with a family but l would love to know how you can afford it, l must have and still are doing something wrong, can someone enlighten me, as l would appreciate it.

Last edited 2 years ago by Kerryn Linhart

Love to know that as well lol

I think with property prices going through the roof, many can’t afford them. And most have Online Jobs or businesses. With COVID forcing many to work remotely from home I think it’s great they can combine travel and work. Unfortunately for us facility aged care worker and full time career for 96 year old wheel chair bound mother at home, we are stuck. But greatful that some of these nice people come and farm sit while we have a break. Pic of recent flood evaluation of said mother.

Good point. Maybe they have no other commitments and just want to go. My wife and i did the big lap in 75 when married no kids in a 9×9 tent and home made trailer with 2 friends to share the cost , a dog and 3 legged cat.

Simple.. Dole Bludgers!

How can you say that,,, dole bludgers…. Many traveling are self funded, any spending money and do volunteer work in remote areas where needed.

Young families save hard to travel around Australia with their children providing a lifetime experience for them all. My daughter and family travelled for 2 years and included some house sitting in cities. They don’t have a fancy life style or all the mod cons preference is experience over possessions.

It’s all on the tick, so easy to get a big credit card today.

In the event that camping is to be allowed to continue, some basic rules need to be introduced along the lines of self containment that are applied by the CMCA in their low cost camp sites.

as long as they don,t come with that self contained crap

it,s fine to put a booking system in but make sure that your can get the internet near the camp and don,t overprice the place keep it reasonable like $10×2 and put in some long drops also police the area with a ranger or 2

I have camped all my life and I have seen most of my childhood memorie spots closed down, now my adult children wish to camp at their childhood spots with us and teach my grandchildren how to camp properly and respectfully so we can come back time and time again, but as you all now the bad apples spoil it for the good ones,
My gripe is with the attitude of authority to just shut these places down or deny access to all just because of the nobs that abuse these special places,
My suggestion is to employ more rangers in these troubled areas and give an on spot fine to the grubby offenders and check back to see if they have cleaned up their act and if not evict them with another fine,

Don’t make us all suffer because of the Grubs in our community

Public beaches are not the place for caravans, trucks, 4WD and grey? water going onto the sand. Don’t tell me none of these vehicles leak oil, petrol, diesel etc.

Totally agree. Pristine beaches are no place for cars,caravans or campers. You just can’t trust everyone to do the right thing. Camping in a designated area and administered correctly by local authorities should be permitted however beach, dunes and reserves need our protection.

I live there. If people want to go “camping”, they should do just that. No internet, no water, no solar panels, no “all the comforts of home” accommodation and far away from any towns. Beaches should be for day trips or less, not for living on. As for all the vandalism, petty theft, water theft, anti-social behaviour…….. Mind you, part of this is spurred on by greedy business people who have been brainwashed into the “ever-expanding” theory of “successful business”. There are enough jobs for locals but people move here expecting jobs, and generally they get one because more people move here expecting jobs and generally they get one, ad nauseam. People who moved here prior to “Sea Change”, Cosi, Backroads etc. are sick of blow-ins and the current council wanting to change the town into the next Byron Bay and not being able to do what they must because of population pressure. A few mouse plagues, hot summers, droughts, children not being able to read by year 3 or believing that Port Lincoln is the capital of South Australia, stolen property, trespassing on private property not to mention biffball and bitchball mentality (sport? hahaha), close-minded “I’m not stupid” (disproven as soon as the mouth is opened) attitudes… blah, blah, blah…..

If the free campsite is too popular, put a small charge/fee on cping there.


Subscribe To Our Newsletter

    Your Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop