Free camping does not mean illegal camping

Deborah Knight 2GB 873 - Sydney Talk Radio
Deborah Knight 2GB 873 - Sydney Talk Radio

CAMPS AUSTRALIA WIDE owner, Heatley Gilmore chatted to Sydney Radio celebrity, Deborah Knight from  2GB 873 – Sydney Talk Radio . He reassured listeners that if you want to camp for free, than you don’t have to camp illegally. 

The CAMPS 11 book and the Camps Australia Wide App offer all types of camping choices. Because we check with authorities, you know that they are verified sites, where you won’t be fined. Conditions can change, so we do obey any regulatory signs.

In fact, CAMPS 11 lists about 5000 free and budget campsites around Australia, and over 4400 are pet friendly. 

Unfortunately, there is still a small percentage of RV travellers, who may not understand the impact their actions have on local communities.  Reports of crowding carparks, and leaving faeces and rubbish behind is causing friction – particularly in coastal towns.

This minority are harming the RV travel industry, and make some councils wonder if they should close more campsites.

Deborah asked if councils and communities needed to increase the number of free and other camping in their townships. Heatley explained that there is an massive increase in sales of vans and motorhomes. Combined with this is the continued restrictions on international travel. All indicators are showing a huge rise in RV travel this year, across the whole country if state borders remain open. 

Councils and communities need to prepare now for the influx of RV travellers.

Communities who offer a range of camping options will benefit from the surge in domestic travel we are already seeing. We’re talking caravan parks, showgrounds, national parks or reserves, pub stays, farmstays and all sorts of free or budget sites.

So what can councils do?

Open more campsites (free or budget) so RV travellers are provided with more options, they are less likely to be booked out, and need to resort to illegal camping. 

If public toilets are kept open, perhaps there will be less polluting of out patine tourist attractions.

If these sites are better maintained, with strict ‘camping times’ say 4pm – 8am or 12 hours only – perhaps local carparks would be available again for locals. 

Ensure consultation about RV tourism includes experienced RV travellers, as well as caravan park operators or owners. Talk to pub owners, farm stay hosts, Show Societies and National Parks or any community groups who are involved with the industry, to gain a true picture of what RV travellers want to maximise visitation to your town or region. 

Remember, the CMCA report that RV travellers spend an average of $770 PER WEEK when they are on the road and that 70% are self contained. 

If you have an RV policy – implement it now! If not, scope out possibilities and try to increase your camping options. 

When promoting your sites in brochures and online – please don’t just list paid sites. Add everything! The more freedom travellers to entice to your region, the more all accommodation providers will benefit long term. As will the other 99% of your business owners in the community!

What can travellers do?

Stay in authorised camp sites – use our book CAMPS 11, CARAVAN PARKS 5 or the CAMPS AUSTRALIA WIDE App or stop into local tourist information centres. 

Travel self-contained where possible (with a toilet onboard or portable toilet, and manage your grey water) to give you flexibility of choice in your campsites.

If you aren’t self contained – please stay at sites with access to toilets. 

Leave no trace (check out page 18 of the CAMPS book to see what we mean).

Camps Australia Wide will continue to advocate for authorised camping (and support all different options) and will continue to help communities prepare for the growing demand for RV travellers this year.

A big thanks to 2GB 873 – Sydney Talk Radio for bringing these issues to the attention of all.

Pre-order your newly released Camps 11 book today! Simply enter the code: preorderCAW11 and save up to $27!

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Local towns suffer in mess left by caravanning boom

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