Should Free camping be restricted?

There has been a lot of talk about caravan parks being pivotal in the closure of many free camping/boondock or low cost areas through out Australia. There are many people who choose to always camp within the confines of a caravan for a multitude of very valid reasons. There are also times when even many people who would normally choose to free camp would go into a caravan park for a limited time for any number of reasons.

Free camping at Toolangi, Vic

To me the issue is around choice. Just as there is no one set of clothing style that suits everyone, nor is there one style of holiday that suits everyone.

Caravan Parks are important and are vital to tourism. There will always be many people who will always want the security and the amenities that caravan parks offer. Just as there are some people do not need or want playgrounds, BBQ facilities and such. There are others who only want basic toilet and maybe showers and there are some that don't even need that. Some people just want to get away from regimented allocations of land spaces or even away from close proximity to other people.  Some people want to have a camp fire rather than run a gas BBQ. They have all that they need just to sit back and relax.

There is no doubt that camping away from the general bustle of crowded caravan parks has become very popular for lots of reasons. Free camping places as well as very low cost camping places offer some alternatives to the traveling public.

There needs to be a place for all of us in this growing market and I think there can be if we don't expect a one fit suits all type of attitude.

To say that Caravan Parks need 'protection' for their businesses is to show favoritism to just one sector of the tourist market. This would be the same as businesses who claim that Caravan Parks with a restaurant, a cafe, a shop,  pool, spa, playgrounds and mini golf courses are taking away from legitimate businesses that offer one of these services within 15 kilometres of their premises. That is a part of free world enterprise or economy that many of us learnt about in basic economics at school.

Free camping at Pildappa Rock, SA
At the same time, I do think that some genuine free camping issues needs to be addressed both by individuals as well as corporate and government bodies. We are seeing signs of stress on the free camping areas. Some places are over-crowded, generally unregulated, and in many cases filthy. These once beloved places are becoming more and more unattractive. Is this the infrastructure we want for the future? It is not fair to blame any one sector of the population for the mess it is in. There are bad apples everywhere. Most travellers are good fine decent folks that maybe even go as far as to leave a place cleaner than they found it. Many of us just try to 'leave no trace'. Unfortunately it only takes the odd one to make a mess or be disgusting and make it rotten for the rest of us.

Either way, there is a real cost incurred to the government whether it be local or state to have many such 'free' camps, especially if we want toilet facilities, dump spots and garbage collections for starters. I think it is a cost that will need to be addressed in the future, but just how is another issue. As soon as anyone or any organization starts to introduce a fee structure then there's regulations and wages and all sorts of issues that come into play.

Kalgan River Caravan Park

I do think we are coming to a time in the near future when all recreational vehicles (RV) will need to meet certain conditions such as being fully self contained. "The Leave No Trace" scheme as promoted by the CMCA. (BTW: We are not full members of the CMCA at the time of writing, though we will possibly join them some time in the future.)

How do you see the future of RV travelling in the short and long term here in Australia?


  1. This is a really interesting post Michelle. I love the sound of free camping.

    1. It is great. Free camping is even more friendly anytime but esp at happy hour time. However if you like being on your own, you can truly get away from everyone too. However you are restricted by the power and water capabilities of your RV, hence all our water and solar panels as mentioned in previous posts.


Thank you so much for popping by, I appreciate your comments!