Noosa trials new initiative to crack down further on illegal camping

Published: August 16, 2023

The popular destination of Noosa on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast is stepping up its campaign to stamp out illegal camping.

Just a week after it was announced that the area’s network of council-run holiday parks had experienced a record year financially, the shire says it is to begin a trial targeting illegal camping in Noosa Woods.

The council will trial a 10pm-to-4am no-parking zone along Claude Batten Drive starting on August 28, with an initial two-week transition period to allow the community time to adapt to the changes.

Noosa Mayor Clare Stewart said the trial had been launched in response to a surge in complaints from the community about travellers in vans camping illegally overnight.

“Last year we received 434 complaints about illegal camping,” she said. “This year we’ve already surpassed 400 complaints with five months still to go.”

Director of Development and Regulation, Richard MacGillivray, said the council had increased patrols all over the shire but Noosa Woods – particularly the car parks at Noosa Spit – were a major hotspot with lots of campervans full of travellers flocking to the area at night.

“With campers getting together, drinking and getting rowdy there are safety issues for the public and our Local Laws Officers, as well as the impact of the mess and food waste being left behind, which poses a threat to our native flora and fauna,” he said. “The vans are monopolising parking spaces into the morning so others can’t park there, and our natural areas are even being used as toilets.”

Mr MacGillivray said the council will keep up illegal camping patrols and enforcement across the shire to ensure travellers don’t disperse to other public areas.

During the last two illegal camping patrols, 51 and 28 infringements were issued for illegal camping.

“If trialling the no-parking zone proves effective we can look to adopt similar arrangements in other areas,” he said. “While everyone loves a cheap holiday, the number of travellers in vans setting up camp in our car parks, streets and public areas has become too great an impact and council has to step in.”

The trial of the no-parking zone follows recent joint operations between Council and Queensland Police targeting large groups of illegal campers.

“Public car parks and streets aren’t camping areas, they’re not set up with appropriate cooking and shower facilities and the community is tired of them being used this way, especially when Noosa is well serviced for camping facilities well equipped to accommodate vans,” Mr MacGillivray said.

He added that people in genuine need due to rental and housing issues who may be living in cars were not the target.

“In fact, our staff are trained to assist people in need with referrals to services that may be able to support them to find accommodation,” he said.

Council will review the success of the trial after two months.

For more details, visit the council’s Parking Regulations page here.

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We’ll supply affordable camping grounds or parking places even if only allowed to stay 1 or 2 nights. Not hard and a easy solution but of-course they won’t because that’s not profitable. Have spaces where u can oat from 10pm to 8am but say no fires.

That’s good of you to offer affordable camping grounds Linda. Can you let us know where these will be Pls.

No right to have fires, which are part of the problem too

Linda these people are living permanently in the vans some due to the rental crisis others by choice . They have been moved on from the tweed and Gold Coast beaches by those councils . There is a campground at eumundi. But it’s too far from the beach . Something does need to be done for them.
Moving them on only shifts the problem

Totally wrong approach, Council should try providing low cost area with toilets and dump site. Many towns and stops along hiways do this. Remember they also spend in the area. The old Noosa Woods caravan park was the best of all. Like many parks, have been lost to so called progress or greed.

Totally agree

Me too!

Des there is one at eumundi and used to be one at doonagan . Those are too far out for these people they want to be by the sea v

Bad luck , use what is on offer. We tour in a caravan with shower and toilet. Free camping if avail or show grounds .

Yes absolutely, Councils, Governments, Land Councils are all trying to stop access and stop ordinary Australians from being able to experience our wonderful country.

There are many ways to positively and safely for all have good access.

Hey in a lot of countries they actually open up certain car parts (that won’t negatively impact residents) for FREE camping to encourage visitors!!!! Sure there are rules such as leave no trace and being fully sefl sufficient. But it works.

Instead this lock it up, stopping access, and restricting access (and not just camping) to our country, its owned by all Australians.

Crazy situation and unfortunately getting worse and about to get even more restrictive and dependent upon your race and your heritage as to what rights you have.

We are moving back towards 17th century England with Lords and gamekeepers, stopping ordinary people from access and having the hard won rights over the last 100 or so years.

This is totally nonsense. I could understand if it was from 1am till 4am or something! But 10pm is ridiculous. Heaps of people go down there fishing late at night or go there at midnight after having dinner at a few drinks at Hastings Street just to park for 20 mins and look at the water or relax. Alot of couples park there to go and have a romantic walk on the beach or go get a pizza and sit there and eat it . Banning parking after 10pm is madness. We often go there just to cruise around after a night out.

That’s right Liam and now we can’t do that as the parking area is full of campervans and even if we got a parking space there would be no peace due to their nightly rituals of trashing the place.

If it was a sedan parked first thing in the morning would they attract attention of council? No. The owner If van also have sane parking rights without being harassed. I arrived at South Beach car park in Fremantle minutes before 5 ranger turned up. I got hassled for over night camping there. I told ranger bull shit. I just arrived. He put his hand on my bonnet…it’s cold. Yes because I just drive 2 km from my house in South Fremantle! Then was told that it was illegal to sit in the back seat of a car, tge boot of a 4wd or a bed in a van at anytime of day. Also illegal to cook or heat food or make a coffee in your van. I wrote to the council to ask if my pregnant wife can lye in the back of the van and breast feed our infant and was told this was also illegal, but the council would bend the rules sometimes. This is a Human Rights disgrace. F**k You Council

Just an observation. I wonder how many of those van campers are working at the cafes, coffee shops, bars, waiting on tables etc etc. And can’t afford the high cost of renting in Noosa. Be careful you don’t cut off your nose to spite your face. T

Quite a few are working! Council needs to take another view and provide an area. Doonagan!

Presume those workers would be earning at least $25 per hour, so can afford to stay in caravan parks, or travel inland to find places that tolerate free camping.

Youll find the complaints come from a small minority with nothing better to do , the same people who get their meals and waited on by back packers yet want them to live miles out of town , Byron is the same .

Noosa people are a special breed – “we got it – youse bugger off”.

If it wasn’t for the surf break it would just be a backwater.

I’ve made it a point for years now to only stop at RV friendly towns. I only refuel and buy groceries there as well. I try to avoid the Coast as much as possible. They dont need our business, so why give it to them. The rest of Australia is out there waiting to welcome us and they are a friendly bunch out in the bush.

Well said!

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