Tips for camping in Australia on a budget
Before you park your car or caravan or go hiking with all of your gear on your back, there are a few tips and rules you need to keep in mind about free camping in Oz.
You can’t camp anywhere you want
There’s a common misconception among international travellers that you can simply buy yourself a campervan and park anywhere you want for the night. It’s not true, and unless you have a four-wheel-drive and are going remote, you’ll have to do your research to see which places actually allow you to camp for free.
If you find yourself parked in a no-camping zone, don’t be surprised if you have a ranger come knock on your door during the night and ask you to move on, or even issue you a fine.
Download an app to help you plan
Now that you’re aware you can’t camp everywhere, you’ll have to set some time aside as you travel to find out exactly where you can camp legally. Luckily, there are a number of phone apps that will help you do just that.
Some of the most popular are Camping Australia and the NSWParks app, but our personal favourite is WikiCamps. It’s a premium app at $7.99, but with user-generated information being regularly updated and reviewed, it’s by far the best way to determine where to camp on your travels around Australia.
Leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but photos
As a responsible traveller you most likely already do this, but when it comes to free camping the point needs to be reiterated.
Whether you’re hiking, cycling or car camping, make sure you follow the principles of Leave No Trace. This includes never leaving behind food scraps, as they may get taken by local wildlife that isn’t used to that diet and/or that may encourage wildlife to seek scraps from that area.
While you should always use a toilet (many free campgrounds require campervans to be fully self-contained), if you are in the wilderness and there aren’t any facilities, make sure you properly bury your personal waste and do not ever leave toilet paper or any other foreign items behind.