Free Camping in Australia

August 19, 2014

We get asked all sorts of questions and one that does concern some people who are hiring a camper in Australia, is regarding Free Camping, or Freedom Camping as it is also known.

1. Can you free camp anywhere in Australia?

RV Friendly Towns in Australia

RV Friendly Towns in Australia are signposted

The short answer is no, you can’t just park up where you feel like it to camp overnight, however you will find many designated areas throughout all states and territory’s of Australia that do allow free or low cost camping.  Some councils do have an overnight parking area in or near a town, and these are usually signposted with an ‘RV Friendly’ sign.  These towns understand the importance of attracting self contained motorhome travellers to their region.  Usually, while you’ll only be paying a small amount or nothing for the overnight camping, you will most likely fill up with fuel, perhaps buy a coffee and groceries in the town.  Some towns do not allow overnight camping, so please do not overnight camp here.  Usually you will see specific signs stating that overnight camping is not allowed.  These towns most likely will have a commercial camp, or one close by where you can spend the night.

You will find in more remote areas or the outback of Australia, many more areas that allow overnight camping, than along the populated coast.  The areas in the outback are often rest areas – keep your eyes open, as some of these have an area which opens up in behind the rest area, so you can get further off the road.  Sometimes these might be beside a river, or overlooking a nice view.


2. Do you need to be in a self contained camper to free camp in Australia?

You will certainly be more comfortable if you choose to be in a self contained motorhome when free camping.  Some, but not all do have a toilet which may or may not be too appealing, depending how many travellers have been using the facilities recently.  A number of free camps have no facilities, so in this case you would need to be in a self contained vehicle.

There are a number of different publications to find out the locations of the free and low cost camps, including what sort of facilities are available.  We recommend the Camps Australia Wide Guide, which we also sell to some of our clients.  This would advise you whether there was a toilet/shower for example, if it was free or low cost, and other types of important information for some travellers, like if there was mobile/cell phone signal.  This guide also lets you know the locations of the public dump points (where you empty your toilet and waste water), which is useful.

We recommend when exploring Australia in your motorhome hire to mix up some nights in a commercial camp ground where you can enjoy the facilities on offer, and maybe a night or two of freedom camping.  It is usually recommended that ever 2nd or 3rd night you would be in a powered site, however this is totally dependant on our power usage, how much you are driving and if your vehicle has a solar panel.

3. Is freedom camping safe

Freedom camping in Australia

Relaxing while freedom camping in Australia

We certainly think that there is no reason to be concerned when it comes to safety and free camping in Australia.  There are over 4,000 free and low cost camping areas Australia wide and growing with over 80,000 people travelling in a motorhome, camper or RV every day in Australia. .  The vast majority of your 80,000 travelling companions are couples aged 55 – 75 from all walks of life and generally outgoing friendly people who are happy to share their adventures and to hear about yours.  These are the types of people that you will usually see using the freedom camps as they too are exploring this beautiful country.  There should be no reason to be concerned regarding your safety when staying in these areas.  One tip we pass on, is to pick up a bag of fire wood during the day, as it can be scarce around the camp sites.  This will make you welcome at any camp fire.  Some of our best nights when on the road are had while freedom camping – there’s a number that allow campfires which always makes for an excellent evening.

For more information on Camper Hire in Australia we will be happy to give you an idea of rates and vehicle options which will suit your needs for the trip you are planning.  Fill in our easy to use quote form, or send us an email with the details.

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