Australia is pretty well known for what is called “freedom camping” or “free camping” because they are quite a bit more open about where you throw down your temporary stakes and set up camp. But “freedom camping” doesn’t exactly mean, anywhere you please. Where can you set up camp? Can you park an RV anywhere in Australia?
You can’t exactly park your RV anywhere you want in Australia, despite the country being a little more open about it than most. The thing about Australia, however, is that the country is rife with campgrounds and designated RV areas.
In Australia, there is practically a campsite around every corner, and every city or town that you find along the way is open to RVers. You’ll also find that Airbnb is flourishing quite well in Australia. However, each state does have its own regulations regarding where you can pull over and camp, so it’s important to know them.
Where can you park your RV in Australia?
Since you can’t just park anywhere you want in Australia you should know that you still have quite a bit of camping freedom throughout the country, but the rules may be a little different depending on the state you happen to be in.
If you like the idea of doing some primitive camping, Victoria permits “bush” camping or “dispersed” camping in most, if not all, of their parks. While you might find some camping areas that have some amenities, for the most part, you’re on your own in these areas.
Camping privileges have been extended to the Crown water frontages as well or, at least a part of them. These are fun because they are almost like tiny peninsulas that stretch out over open water or a sandbar that’s only exposed during low tide.
The only problem with camping on Crown water frontages is that you may be subject to more restrictions and very specific rules, so if you like a little more freedom when you are out camping, the Crown water frontages may not be your thing.
New South Wales
The vast majority of campsites in NSW (New South Wales) are completely free. So, while you can’t camp anywhere you want to in NSW when you get ready to, it’s not going to cost you anything.
When you camp in a state forest, you have to stay within the campground areas listed there, and you can only stay for four weeks before your time is up, and you have to move on. Since there are more campgrounds in New South Wales than we can put down on a list, there are plenty of opportunities.
That’s just a tiny snippet of some of the best available campgrounds in NSW, Australia.
The thing about Australia is that they have essentially engineered their parks, campgrounds, and even stargazing locations in such a way that you can travel the length of the country, from the west coast to the east coast, and stop at a campground anywhere you want along the way.
South Australia is a huge chunk of the continent and it is covered in natural parks and camping locations from all corners of the map. While there are a lot of beautiful sites to visit in South Australia (Port Rickaby Caravan Park, Sturt River Park, Gawler Gateway Tourist Park, BIG4 West Beach Parks, etc), most of them may be a bit more modern than you would expect in Australia.
Don’t let that fool you, however, as the scenery is stunning and every campground is a reminder of the natural beauty of Australia.
Tasmania is an island state in Australia, and nearly 50% of the entire land mass there is considered a national park. The list of camping sites here is staggering. You could spend an entire generation traveling to Tasmania, and you would never be able to hit every available campground there.
There are paid camping sites, free camping sites, state forest camping sites, dog-friendly camping sites, and so forth, and so on. Fortunately, there are some websites out there that will break all of the campsites down in terms of what it is and what you can bring with you.
Australian Capital Territory
The Caravan sites (RVs for you) available in the Australian Capital Territory are fairly large, however, this is probably one area with the fewest number of campsites for RVs.
Some of the campgrounds on this list are actually farms, so there is more to do than just camping. You will find some of the best fresh produce and food anywhere in the world across from your RV.
Queensland, Australia has 525 campgrounds for you to choose from, so it’s like Tasmania in a lot of ways. From ocean front views to the heart of the forest, there is something in Queensland for the camper in all of us.
Like Victoria, Queensland allows “bush camping,” but there are designated areas where you can do so, rather than just hauling up stakes and going wherever you want to go. When you bush camp, you have to be well away from lakes, streams, walking areas, or picnic areas.
There are also plenty of places in Queensland if you are traveling over land in an RV. Even if you take just the RV sites out of the list of 525, you still have a ton of places to camp.
- Amamoor Creek Camping Area
- Auburn River Camping Area
- Booloumba Creek 4 Camping Area
- Wongi Waterholes Camping Areas
- Wundu Camping Area
- West Branch Camping Area (Mount Moffat Area)
- Terrawambella Camping Area
There are plenty more areas than just these, and if you are traveling across Australia and pass through Queensland, you can’t go wrong with any of the above RV parks or the ones not on the list as well.
The Northern Territory is one area of Australia where you can go from the desert to the forest on the same trip while camping in both. Part of what makes Australia such an impressive place to roam across in an RV is the sheer variety and magnificence within that variety.
In Australia, even some of the rest stops (like the kind you find in the US, where you can stop for a bathroom break), are also designated as campgrounds. The Northern Territory is authentic Australia. It’s what you think about as you watch one of the Crocodile Dundee movies.
The sheer variety of scenery is mind-boggling and there is really no other place like it on earth. You can go from the Pebbles Free Camp’s desert-like reds, oranges, and yellows to the Vince Connolly Crossing, which is deep in the woods. You’re sleeping over sand one night and grass the next.
The last state on our list of Australia RV camping is Western Australia. Australia is an island continent, so you can’t have a “Western” without plenty of campgrounds along the coast. You can’t camp anywhere you want on the beach, but as with every territory listed above, there are so many campgrounds available that you won’t need to.
Australia’s West Coast has some of the most beautiful, bright blue waters you can find on a beach. If you like a few kangaroos with your beach scenery, you’ll find that here as well. Out of the rest of the states, Western Australia is probably the most restrictive when it comes to camping designated areas.
However, as long as you follow the rules and stick to designated areas, you’re not likely to have any problems. You have the Golden Pipeline Heritage Trail, The Munda Biddi Trail, Logue Brook Dam, Pinnacles, Wellington National Park, and more to choose from.
Roadside RV parking in Australia
Those who have experience visiting Australia may tell you that you can park anywhere along the road and sleep in your RV at night. However, there are designated places to park your RV along the roadways in Australia, and you’re not supposed to just pull over anywhere you want.
You may be able to do so a thousand times, but eventually, you will get a fine for parking along the road unlawfully. In some places, Australian authorities treat things differently but only within a narrow definition.
For example, you may pull off the road, park the RV for the night and stay awake, enjoying the outdoor weather just outside of your RV. Authorities may see you and leave you alone. However, go to sleep, and things change because now you’re considered a camper as opposed to “parking.”
The most important thing that you can do is simply pay attention to the area rules that you are in at any given point.
You can’t park your RV and camp anywhere you want to in Australia, despite the prevailing impression that you can. There are designated camping areas all throughout the country, and unlike most other countries, Australia’s roadways and rules accommodate RVers and campers.
No matter where you go through Australia, if you can’t find a place to park your RV and camp for the night, you’re simply not looking.