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free camping, a myth or reality ?

Travel Forums Australia / New Zealand & The Pacific free camping, a myth or reality ?

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1. Posted by myo (Budding Member 29 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Hello !

My boyfriend and I are considering going to Australia in August. We are thinking about renting a campervan (from Wicked) because we've heard it's possible to camp for free (or very cheap).
Is this really possible, also in the more touristy regions (we would like to drive from Sydney to Brisbane) ? We wouldn't mind going to a real campside from time to time, but our budget is not very big , so we would prefer to spend this money on other things than on a couple of squared meters to camp on.

I would like to hear your opinion about the possibility of free camping in NSW and Brisbane and maybe you can give me some camping spots we really shouldn't miss ? It doesn't have to be right next to the ocean.

Thank you very much ! :)

2. Posted by maba (Inactive 227 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Ther are a couple of publications that will help with your travels.
Available at this site
But see if other map shops where you will be landing have them.
I am not affiliated in any way but they do have a big range of publications, you can search their web site & they do post overseas.

. Hema Road Atlas (all that you will need for touring Australia - don't buy individual maps)
. Bush camps & rest areas throughout Australia.
. Free-Camping North Western Australia
. Free-Camping South Western Australia

There may be others but maybe contact the above web site & ask.

Also Google the above books & key words & see what you come up with.

Good luck & enjoy your travels down under ;)

3. Posted by algore (Full Member 88 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Quoting maba

. Free-Camping North Western Australia
. Free-Camping South Western Australia

He's going Sydney to Brisbane so that should read North Eastern and South Eastern shouldn't it? Unless you were talking about some other guides...

4. Posted by myo (Budding Member 29 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

I've already heard about such a book "Australia Wide 3", which I probably will buy, but I thought I'd ask some experienced travelers for personal experiences.
Thanks for your reply though, Maba.

PS : I'm a she ;-).

5. Posted by maba (Inactive 227 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

algore, no there are no publications with this title for other states that I know of although there is one for Tasmania.

The title of this thread will be accessed by more than myo so the info on WA is of benefit.

To myo & others,
The book "Bush camps & rest areas throughout Australia' is really good, my daughter used this for her solo travels throughout Australia, including all of the East Coast, so see if you can source this one.

Otherwise, overnight stops at 'Rest Areas' in the area myo is going would generally be OK, but stop if others are there - not alone, and only overnight. I suggest not camping out at rest areas as a general rule.

For camper accomodation, get the RACV book "Tourist Park Guide" either visit or and/or drop into the an NSW Auto Club (NRMA) office in Sydney when you arrive for maps & this book.

Others who have travelled this area may give a more acurate reply on the current free camping and facilities or stops like National Parks which are a good option.

Don't forget August is Winter so you may find you will spend most of your time in Northern NSW & QLD.

All the best & enjoy your travels ;)

6. Posted by algore (Full Member 88 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Quoting myo

PS : I'm a she ;-).

Whoops, sorry. Should've gotten that from the wholer 'boyfriend' thing.

Oh, and I have camped at rest stops for free. I'm not sure whether it's illegal but it was as a last resort. We were travelling from the Queensland outback to the coast and couldn't find any accomodation anywhere.

7. Posted by myo (Budding Member 29 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Thanks a lot for the information !
I will surely buy one of these books.

Maybe we should just rent a car and stay in cheap hostels to be sure... We'll have to think about that one.

8. Posted by Helene912 (Budding Member 3 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

I thought I could post my question here instead of posting a new thread.
We are coming for 3 weeks to Australia, during which we are travelling from Melbourne to Sydney with a hired campervan, for a week in April.

However, finishing with 2 full days in Sydney, we can't seem to find any convenient camping site from which we can easily access the main touristy area of Sydney. It's a one in a lifetime trip with our 4 kids (9,8,4 and 1 years old) so we would like to make the most of if and not spend too much time travelling back and forth from our 'base camp'... It has to be memorable for the kids, but in a nice way!!!

We are strongly considering giving back the campervan one day early and booking a room in a hotel right in the center, so everything is easier for us. We are catching a plane the next evening, so with the luggage and the kids etc. it all seem to make more sense.

Are we going to feel very silly when we arrive in Sydney, I mean, are there actually camping sites not far from the Center? Can't find any on the Internet...

Thank you for any insight!

9. Posted by penna (Full Member 110 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

the problem with a city like sydney is that it goes on FOREVER sprawling suburbia so yeah not a lot of camp sites but there are caravan parks where you could stay and catch a train in to the central business district.
I'm pretty sure on the east coast u are suppose to pay for camping BUT it is a big country and as long as u don't park anywhere too noticable you can easily get away with it especially if u sleep in the van, if u put a tent up just take it down befor the sun comes up. Australians are pretty friendly people, it u ask if u can camp in their yard they are pretty likely to say yes. especially on farms, just don't scare the cows

10. Posted by maba (Inactive 227 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

I'd say give the van back sooner and use the money saved for a room / apartment somewhere central. You will find getting around in Sydney CBD & environs is much easier by walking and taking public transport (includes the ferries).