Grey nomads urged to respect heavy vehicle parking spots in rest areas

Published: November 30, 2023

Caravanners, motorhomers and all motorists are being urged to stay out of parking spaces designed for heavy vehicle drivers.

The NSW Traffic and Highway Patrol Command issued the appeal as the holiday period approaches and the roads get busier.

“We encourage all drivers to manage their fatigue when travelling, but also be aware that heavy vehicle drivers have rules relating to taking compulsory rest breaks and they also have authorised routes to adhere to, which restricts them from just driving anywhere to stop for a break,” police said in a Facebook post.  “Yes, if you are towing a trailer and you need to rest and revive to survive, absolutely find a lawful, safe and suitable rest area to stop at … it is legal for you to stop and rest in these signposted spaces.”

However, the NSW Traffic and Highway Patrol Command post continued.

“But, if you are just in a car, please don’t take up the large vehicle parking spaces.”

Research conducted in 2019 revealed that 25% of caravan and recreational vehicle users have previously stayed overnight in truck rest areas … and it was causing major issues.

The Caravan Industry Association of Australia surveyed 554 caravanners or RV drivers who had used a rest stop in the past year.

Back then, Association chief executive, Stuart Lamont said grey nomads and other RVers should make sure they are aware that truck drivers may need to use the dedicated stops to manage their fatigue hours, so they should plan their stops ahead and not use designated truck parking.

The data also showed that 60% of those surveyed had used a rest stop more than once in the previous year; more than 75% made the decision to use a rest stop when their trip was underway; and more than 25% spent more than nine hours at the rest stop.

  • Have you seen truck-only rest areas being misused by caravanners or mortohomers? Comment below.

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If caravans and motorhomes are using truck rest stops then it’s because there are insufficient rest stops for other motorists. I believe that the NSW government is deliberately funneling caravanner’s into overpriced caravan parks by withholding rest stops including overnight rest stops.

Come on Karen. These stops are for heavy trucks that do long hours and need the rest areas. Not for holidayers who cannot plan ahead. There are more than enough areas for owners of these mcmansions to pull up and rest. You sound like a conspiracy theorist.

We are urged to stay out of heavy vehicle parking area interesting remarks, I drive a motor home and tow a vehicle I’m charged as a B Double on toll ways so in one hand I’m a heavy vehicle and in another I’m not. Very interesting.

Carol, I totally agree with your statement. I have travelled throughout most states but none are lacking in free/freedom overnight stops more than NSW. Queensland and South Australia amaze me as ever time I travel in those states there are new overnight freedom sites with full amenities including showers. CAMPs book would be having a hard time keeping up with these new site popping up all over Australia (excluding NSW).

In NSW there are over 1200 fully free camps and stopovers listed on wikicamps which is about 20% of the total across Australia so not sure why people complain about NSW.
Maybe it is because there aren’t many in the tourist hotspots and the entitled feel there should be

Hi tony I had a need to travel to tarree from Melbourne and I certainly struggled to find any where to pull up .
and trust me absolutely respect the truck drivers . On my return I needed roadsid3 assist and a tow
Then I absolutely noticed that parking was at a very low premium

SA might have some free sites but most are without toilets and done they stink

Exactly right Carol, RV travellers are being deliberately treated badly. It should not end up in a conflict with truckers, but Governments colluding with vested interests shouldn’t happen either

Most towns on the new England highway have free camping areas for caravans motor homes

Plenty of times during our 140,000kms of travels. Trucks have priority, they’re at work we’re retired. Have a look at the map on the NSW Roads website, plenty of recreational vehicle rest areas to stop overnight at without parking in truck stops.

Fantastic tip, thank you just had a look at the interactive map & it’s so easy to use. We’re just getting ready to start our travels & it will make planning so much easier

People forget trucks take a long time to stop . If a truck driver pulls into a truck designated park they do not want to have to dodge cars/vans Stay out of their spaces and everybody is safe. Keep moving . I have only towed a van on the big lap twice but have always found some where out of truck parking and avoid expensive caravan parks

Recent stops at REST stops,Qld, have been marred by truckers stopping there, that is OK , we all need to rest, BUT , they are running their load engines/compressors all night long and don’t give damn. Police were not helpful.
Spoke to a few drivers and was told to” F”off if you don’t like it.
I left ,only to find, 2km on, a truck stop where they would not bother others.
At a truck stop one expects their engines to run.
So most of us don’t stop there.
A bit of respect and civil consideration goes a long way.
We all share the roads.

Its hard some times to stop your compressor if you r loaded with ice cream and some companies demand u leave your motor going and they can check.

NSW rest stop signage is confusing! We have travelled the Princes Highway between Brisbane and Sydney and found most Rest Stops deserted at night, other than for us, because signage says ‘NO CAMPING”. This sign actually means no stopping for more than one overnight stay. And we do not stop overnight or at any time in truck parking spots.

It’s the Pacific Highway between Brisbane and Sydney. The Princes Highway is between Sydney and Melbourne then onto Adelaide. Both are Highway No. 1.

We have a 28ft motor home with a Suzuki in tow we can’t reverse with tow car on back and most big servo stop’s don’t have drive through spaces so we have to use the drive through truck bays

Well Ray you risk a $114.00 fine in NSW and up to $2,669.00 in QLD.

I DO NOT think this article was about the Ease of access into a Servo for Fuel / food / Rest ETC, but yes I agree with a Caravan in Tow { no run about Car included } one need to do your Home work well in advance, it is called use the internet, Google the Servo, and ZOOM in and have a LOOK, at the PUMP layout ETC. if as you say you do a LOT of Traveling perhaps have a C.B. Radio installed into your Motor Home, and { Politely of course } communicate with the Truck Drivers ETC. most will be happy to Communicate if you are Polite to them.

Yes I apricate, the need of Large Tuck / B Double & Semi Trailer Drivers having to take their compulsory Rest Breaks / Stop / Sleep over Times. How ever both the State Governments & the Federal Governments of the Day should ensure more Long Spaces for the General Public, be made available for the Likes of Caravan, Towing Drivers ETC, to be able to Safely Park up to Rest / or perhaps if by necessity Sleep over Night { Over Night ONLY }. what with modern Wi- Fi availability & Solar Powered / Battery Powered Cameras available to be in place and record Number Plates of Caravans / Cars ETC, it is possible to police the TRUCK & LONG PUBLIC, RECIONATIONAL VEHICLES, like Tow Tugs / Utes / SUV’s ETC towing a Caravan Camper Trailer ETC who use the, Truck Spaces and issue a Monitory, Fine, along with a Monitory Fine to General Motorists who Park in either the Truck Spaces & the Long Recreational Vehicle Spaces { for Long General Public Recognitional }:

I have on several occasions when Traveling the M1 /A1 of NSW East Coast found the General Public in just Cars / SUV’s Utes ETC, taken up the LONG VEHICLE PARKING LANE which is designated as a TRUCK ONLY SPACE / Designated for LONG VEHICLES such as a Tow Vehicle { General Public } with a Caravan attached ETC. this is very frustrating and necessitated me having to drive further and exceeding the Safe recommended 2 Hour Drive time without a Rest Stop.

And the fine for you continuing to drive is???? Inconvenience, nothing else, BUT for a truck driver the fines can go up to $1600+ in fines for being 15mins over his driving time plus missing his booked in time at the drop off point. You do know you can turn off and park basically anywhere your van will fit but a truck can’t, especially if its a fridge van that has to run all the time. You can even park in towns trucks can’t.

Truck/bus/coach parking bays are exactly that, areas designed to park vehicles controlled by fatigue laws and log books, so don’t whinge when you park in an area that is noisy due to fridges etc or trucks stopping and starting all day and night.

Funny thing, the rest bay picture listed actually has a sign telling caravans and trucks to park in the same area,

We have just returned from a 12,000 km trip through NSW, Vic, SA and WA. The state of our roads is absolutely appalling. Most of the road surface is substandard and suffering from damage and rest stops are few and far between. Often lacking in any facilities.

More frequent rest stops for all road users are desperately needs. Some of these rest stops also need to have proper facilities including toilets, showers and drinking water – even if there is a user pays model to support this. What other workplace would allow workers to be away from home for days at a time without proper facilities? Included in this should be rest stops suited to travelling tourists.

We need a complete overhaul of the road funding scheme to pay for this. The current situation that gives some users discounts on diesel excise and does not take into account the amount of road damage that is done no longer works. We need to move away from annual flat fee registration to a system based on how many km are driven and the vehicles weight.

I do not use truck parking bays, but it is annoying that I have to pay truck rates on toll roads etc. yearly inspection because it is just over the 4.7t allowance or whatever!!

Absolutely agree.

why not label T for trucks and C for cars?

when is a car and when is a car/caravan equivalent to a truck? My fatigue is as important as it is for a truckie. I pay me dual rego and if I am in tow I will use the extended rest areas. I am sure as hell not gonna park on the highway!!!

Hi Carol, with your logic for parking, I would imagine when shopping and not enough parking spaces does that make disabled spaces fair game also?

I travel on the pacific highway often. A big frustration for me is cars parking in marked ares that are for caravan and trailer parking at service centres. I think part of the problem is a lack of clear and obvious signage denoting the ares as being for cars with caravans or trailers at service centres. Most of our newer rest areas on the NSW north coast clearly direct cars, with and without caravans, and trucks to their respective areas.

Truck drivers are doing a job we are on holiday be courteous on the road and if they need rest there are plenty of places for caravanners to stop.

Recently drove from Sydney to Maryborough QLD via the M1, once you leave Newcastle about every 5-10 klms there are truck pull overs, nothing for cars and caravans. The only real stopping places are service centres, nothing in between.

I am still waiting for someone to explain to me the difference between camping and resting. N.R.M.A. declined to answer my question. If the experts don’t know, what hope does the motorist have.
Every council seems to have their own interpretation, especially on the highway from Sydney to Brisbane.

i am a retired truck driver always saw caravanners using truck rest areas they get very abusive when a heavy vechicle pulls up beside them for there regulated rest.next morning they want you to start the truck up & move so they can get out . well you can guess what the answer is .. wait until my rest brake is finished;it illegal to park up in regulated truck rest area police will fine you. very expensive fine.

Yes we have often seen RVs of all sorts and sizes parked in areas marked for heavy vehicles. Even when in the same place there is area marked for their use

I find some signage confusing throughout the states. TRUCKS ONLY signs should be displayed where appropriate.. or..TRUCKS/RVs/CARS ..or ..CARS ONLY would be more appropriate signage.
Simple but appropriate.
I always park off the bitumen, if possible, or at least as far back out of the way to allow the trucks easy access.

SHAME on all of you with such ENTITLED, immature attitudes!! And kudos to those who RESPECT the rights of others!
It is from all of YOU that the youth of today are supposed to learn how a civilized community should function.
Two wrongs do NOT make a right; Chucking a hissy-fit because the neighbors kids get away with behaving badly while the rest of society pays for their crimes, is NOT how you achieve a better future; Payback for perceived offense against your rights, in NOT the way to gain respect.

CHILDREN, grow up and show YOU have the maturity and respect, that YOU expect from others.
Respect those who’s NEEDS should rightly come before your pleasure.

Highways are designed to move – at high speed – the majority of thru traffic from A to Z with the minimum of stops and little to no scenery to create distracted drivers and fatal accidents.

Whether you’re a grey nomad, a tourist or just itinerant; whether you’re traveling by bicycle, camper, towing a little caravan, or creating your own road train, YOU are on the road by choice – and supposedly taking your time to see all the wonders of of this big, beautiful country.

Well, the best sights and tourist attractions are NOT on the highways – they are on the BYways which, coincidentally, is where you WILL find ample rest areas with facilities, often funded by councils and by rate-payers alike.
If there is a small fee, pay it with grace and gratitude – or move on without gripe, to something more to your liking and budget.

As you do, I ask that you remember these old sayings – you get what you pay for; monkey see, monkey do; you get as good as you give out; you cannot be righteous when you yourself are doing wrong; ask before you judge!!
More importantly, if you choose to play in the sand pit, there’ll always be some ill-tempered, mean-spirited, poorly educated child who’ll resort to throwing sand in your face because – in today’s vernacular – they are having a moment with the world at large.
WHAT ARE YOU, a recalcitrant child with a fist full of sand, or a mature adult willing to change the trend and demonstrate better behavior 😀

Well said Roann

trailers and b doubles need the rest or cop $2000 in fines for not stopping for their rest stops 15 minutes over means the poor bugger lose money he can’t afford caravans and motor homes grow up and do not be lazy and look for rest area near the towns

Simples- if it’s a truck stop and you are not a truck, don’t park there . These guys have to by law pull over at certain intervals to rest. It is mandatory , time to fine those who park there who don’t belong there ..

I did a trip through Sydney towing my van recently to get from Marrickville to the M1 and it cost $78 to go by a range of tunnels. I found out that they charged me as a semi-trailer. That is the rate for a car and caravan. While you are sorting out the parking see what you can do about that.

I believe that is a need to co-exist together with the priority being for Trucks, who must show compliance to the law. The issue for most truck drivers is that most rest stops are unplanned and unscheduled given all the variables that truck drivers face.

I have driven interstate in a truck 1970 and 80s and it’s a tough job without a lot of financial reward. I would never inconvenience a truck driver and would always park my caravan in a spot that would never disadvantage.

We must learn that trucks are the priority for the safety of themselves and others. That will keep our roads safe. There are plenty rest areas for caravans.

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