Informal free campsites set to get ‘official’ status

Published: October 19, 2021

As many as eight extra free campsites could soon be officially available to grey nomads travelling on South Australia’s Limestone Coast  

A Grant District Council staff report – tabled at the October general meeting – stated there was an increasing number of sites across the district which were used for free camping … but not always with council approval.

The report recommended elected members consult the community about the possibility of allowing some of these sites to become official free camping grounds, which would ‘limit camping to appropriate locations’ and ‘enable better regulation’ of the sites.

Council considered 23 sites for free camping and determined eight were the most appropriate. They are: Surfers Way Beach Carpark 2; Surfers Way Beach Carpark 3; Birdhide; 816 Eight Mile Creek Road; Dry Creek; Blackfellows Caves (2 Delineated Car Park Sites); Orwell Rocks; and Allendale East Recreation Reserve

Grant District Council Mayor Richard Sage said areas such as the Eight Mile Creek site had always been popular, and placing the areas on the official list of free camp sites would allow for better maintenance and oversight.

“The biggest changes this decision would make is that people would legally be able to camp there, time frames would be varied in other areas and it would allow us as council to monitor the areas more often,” Mr Sage said. “People are looking for nature experiences and if we can capture future travellers and put them in a place that is welcoming it will benefit everybody.”

Border Watch reports that the idea is that, for areas without facilities, visitors would need to provide their own – whether it be within a caravan or hiring portable facilities.

“Eight sites is a significant amount of new sites and although all might not be approved, the public will be able to express their concerns or their support on the areas,” Mr Sage said.

He said adding the sites onto official free camping areas would also encourage more visitors to the Limestone Coast.

“There is a demand for more free camping sites as people wish to explore our nature-based tourism,” Mr Sage said. “We wish to maintain and look after our beaches and pristine coastal landscapes whilst also welcoming people to the region to be able to explore what we have to offer”.

Border Watch reports that community consultation will be held from October 20 until November 10, with elected members expected to make the final decision at the November 18 general meeting.

*Would you like to see more ‘informal’ camping areas given official status? Comment below.



Exciting news! The Grey Nomads is about to launch the Grey Matters podcast. Over the coming weeks, months and years, host Oliver Gough will be chatting to a series of fascinating guests as he looks at all aspects of the ‘living the dream’ lifestyle. So, if you’re looking for a bit of extra company as you drive through the Outback, or are just looking to pick up a few travel tips, or simply hear the stories of some truly remarkable fellow nomads, the Grey Matters podcast is for you. Follow the Grey Nomads podcast Instagram page here to keep up to date with all the latest. Episode 1 is due to ‘drop’ tomorrow. _________________________________________________________________________


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3 months ago

Does “fully self contained” imply grey water tank and plumbed toilet, or would you think a portaloo on board would suffice? Anyone know for sure what “fully self contained” in SA means please?

Jeannie Simpson
2 months ago
Reply to  B

I have done over 60.000 ks in the last 3 yrs in my C van and with only a Porta loo…..I collect my very very small amount of sink water and dispose of it properly..
As far as showers etc etc go its really none of any ones business whether I shower or not, BUT a good wipe over with body wipes or a River dip (no soap) suits me fine.
Usually do the C Park once or twice a week to shower, hair, laundry,, wash pooch and top up water tank…nil issues what soever…

brian jones
2 months ago
Reply to  B

great question ive asked many people at councils,parking areas ect and it appears there is no legal definition that covers it 100% and its open to interpration

2 months ago

Fully self contained infers that all equipment needed is available and is contained within the vehicle. Toilet, Bathing facility and of course water and cooking hardware. It does not infer or mandate containment of grey water. I have that from various authorities and WikiCamps in writing. A separate note is often added to the conditions to establish this added condition. Its a bit controversial because some camps outback ask for your grey water to the ground. Others near rivers or coast want the grey taken away – where to is a moot point. And there’s hundreds of thousands of older vans that do not have a grey containment facility.

2 months ago

Self Sufficient would be abetter terminology and same is gradually being adopted by more knowledgable Councils. (Especially those that are run by knowledgable employees that have actually spent time camping). Demands by some authorities are so suffocating that one wonders what the credentials of the author is.

Len Sorrell
2 months ago

When we travelled in the USA years ago, stores like Walmart encouraged self sufficient travelers to use their carparks overnight to stop vandalism. In Macksville NSW there are a number of such sites around the town which probably perform the same task.

John Simmonds
2 months ago

I use a 20 litre square drench container, which I found, that you see discarded on the side of the road, In farming areas all over the country. I made up a fitting to connect to the outlet drain on the van. When we move on I simply disconnect it, cap the drum and place it in the foot well of the van, to be emptied at the next dump point. Too easy.

2 months ago
Reply to  John Simmonds

Whilst I agree with you John, I have seen many RV ers do exactly the same process with their grey water only to walk 3 meters from their van and discharge their water into the bush.

John Simmonds
2 months ago
Reply to  Allan

There’s no accounting for dickheads who do the wrong thing, sadly.

Geoff Wilson.
2 months ago
Reply to  Allan

Still see the hoses from caravans out onto the ground IN caravan parks, so what is the problem with grey water being used to green up the environment. The disposal in a van park is much more concentrated, does not create any problems other than some green grass.

2 months ago

Yes, I agree with discharging grey water onto the grass, but we must appreciate what a lot of country towns are doing to attract the caravaners by bitumising a dedicated area so that we may park & leave the vans so that we can stock up in their towns,HOWEVER we must contain our grey water & not discharge it onto the bitumen.

2 months ago

I agree with Geoff. I have a fully SC vehicle but have found that most caravan parks & many free camps are happy for you to put grey water on the ground. Of course these were all mostly not anywhere near any rivers or the sea. Don’t see what the problem is with a little grey water to water plants.


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