Why can't you just camp anywhere?

Submitted: Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 00:24
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I asked this on another thread but no replies.

People are talking about campsites being full.

But you're in the middle of sparsely populated bush. Why can't you just pull off somewhere and camp?

For comparision, much of the Western US consists of public lands, and with some caveats, you can camp anywhere on it, for free. How to find a spot is difficult in practice, but in principle, it's public land, i.e., yours.

Most people don't know this, and most people who do are hunters, who sadly tend to leave tons of trash behind. There are safety considerations and more. But it can be done. I've done this, and I've camped in great spots.

I'd like to understand the principle in Australia.
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Reply By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 00:35

Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 00:35
Well, I guess that it is mostly because Australian governments at all levels, Federal, State and Local, like to run a tidy ship and having people just propping anywhere & everywhere is just not tidy or, dare I say, hygienic. We are also a rather regulated nation, for our own good of course, and safety and the rights of others are considered and controlled. It has its good points and it has its bad points. But one thing is for sure, you ain't gonna change it!
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Follow Up By: Member - pedro1 - Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 00:59

Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 00:59
With the amount of natural events the Eastern States has had recently,
e.g. Fires,floods ,you wouldn't want campers spread out everywhere.
I know when I am camping, as I am out of the car I don't hear the news to often. Another disappointing fact is the state the free campsites are left in, toilet paper scattered everywhere, campfires not properly
put out. Rubbish piled up. No wonder governments doen't like campers !
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Follow Up By: Tessysdad - Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 09:18

Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 09:18
If authorities want to do something about the mess left around bush and roadside camps they need to spend some time camping in these places. I would suggest that they will have a similar experience to myself, and I suggest many of us, and discover that the mess is usually left by day-trippers and backpackers. My experience has been that campers have a tendency to keep a place tidy and take their rubbish with them to dispose of properly. I for one am sick of being punished for the indiscretions of others by being told I cannot camp here or there even though I do it responsibly. I understand the need to get permissions to go on to non-public lands, but there are an awful lot of public lands out there. If we are to stop the tide of toilet paper that litters almost every parking bay alongside our highways can I suggest that hire companies be compelled to supply portable loos and sit hirees through an instructive video on the subject of responsible camping. I don't for a minute think this will be the panacea that will solve the litter problem, but surely it is a better start than simply stopping everyone from responsibly doing something they enjoy. We make our choice of campsite based on the lifestyle we are chasing and I am afraid that choice is slowly but surely diminishing, and caravan parks rarely if ever offer something that is attractive to us.
Here's to happy camping.
Mike
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Follow Up By: John E - Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 20:38

Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 20:38
I totally agree with Tessydad, that the seemingly endless tide of used toilet paper , is generally not left by those of us who choose to camp this way , and that the hire companies should have hirers sit through a "how to camp responsibly "video, and the vehicle should come equipped with a porta potti , mind you , it would help if there were toilets at more rest stops , particularly in South Australia.Lyn
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 22:02

Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 22:02
How on earth do you know just who it is that leaves used toilet paper to blow around camping areas? Do you watch carefully as they do their "business" and dutifully note if they are "day trippers" and "backpackers" or if they are 'Real Campers' just like us? I mean, we are Real True Blue Campers with big expensive rigs so we would never soil Australia would we?
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Follow Up By: Tessysdad - Saturday, Jan 26, 2013 at 16:06

Saturday, Jan 26, 2013 at 16:06
I'm afraid that one does not have to be particularly nosey to notice a vehicle pull up and one or more occupants get out and slip behind a bush for a few minutes armed with nothing more that a roll of toilet paper. It is also a bit difficult to ignore what happens when a truck pulls up and the driver makes a similar move with the same accoutrements in hand. Its all about as difficult as deciphering what a bloke who is standing 50 meters from his vehicle near a bush, with his back to the traffic, is doing - taking a good look at that blue wren of course. The point is that the authorities are never there to see what actually happens, they just assume that those they can see at the site when they visit are the ones responsible. Policing is of course a very expensive way of getting to the bottom (no pun intended) of things, but surely better than punishing those of us who remove what others have left rather than add to the already disgusting mess we often find.
Cheers,
Mike.
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Reply By: bibtracker - Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 01:18

Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 01:18
The nanny state is running rampant across Oz at the moment and it's time we paused to recall the immortal words of Peter Lalor at Ballarat in 1854:

"We swear by the Southern Cross to stand truly by each other and fight to defend our rights and liberties."

And that includes the right to camp where you like. That does not, of course, include the right to leave your campsite surrounds in a mess, scatter toilet paper around, leave campfires burning or other such abuses.

Unfortunately, the number of bogans in the bush is rising exponentially and restrictions will continue as a direct result of their "I don't give a bleep about anyone" actions.

Personally, I find that public and prolonged cleaning of a shotgun on the camp table has a remarkably calming effect on the bogans. Also tends to keep down the volume of their doof doof "music".
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Follow Up By: disco driver - Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 01:37

Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 01:37
It doesn't give you the right to camp on private properties, and that includes pastoral leases.

Disco.
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Follow Up By: the redbacks - Thursday, Jan 24, 2013 at 19:04

Thursday, Jan 24, 2013 at 19:04
I'm with you bibtracker,
I clean my Miroku U/O on the camp table !!!
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Reply By: disco driver - Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 01:34

Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 01:34
Cloudseeker,
I can't comment on other states but in West Aust a lot of the North West bush is actually pastoral land, the pastoralist pays a lease fee which gives him a number of rights including the right to exclude other people. However, from my experience, some will allow camping at certain places but only after the traveller seeks permission.
The balance of the bush is either Nat Parks, which may or may not have camping sites or Aboriginal owned lands where where travellers are restricted in where they may travel. This often involves payment of a fee to the Traditional Owners who may place restrictions on where you may go.
In the South west most vacant land is either Nat Park, Water catchment or Old Growth Forest and again there are camp sites in some Nat Parks but no camping in Water catchment areas.
Having said that, if one is discreet about where you camp and don't make it blindingly obvious there are places where you can park up for a day or two but that's about the limit without drawing attention to yourself.

Hope this helps

Disco..
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Follow Up By: cloudseeker - Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 03:41

Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 03:41
Western Australia is my first goal, so yes, it does help, than you.
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Follow Up By: get outmore - Thursday, Jan 24, 2013 at 18:42

Thursday, Jan 24, 2013 at 18:42
the only sensible post ive seen as ive scrolled down - the rest of the muppets blame the government

90 % of all no camping sighn s out bush ive seen are placed by pastoralists NOTHING to do with the government

the WA government has been activly taking over mkany leases which INCREASES to places to go and camp NOT decreases

- just hoping ive cleared up the errounous statements of fiction
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Reply By: Motherhen - Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 01:51

Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 01:51
Hi Cloudseeker

Most of the land you go past is owned my someone, be it private land, pastoral lease land, Aboriginal land, National Parks, Nature Reserves. You cannot camp at any of these without specific permission. You can always ask the landholder for permission.

Many Shires, particularly along the coastal strip, do not allow camping outside of authorised areas. Inland Shires are much more accommodating.

We do seek out private places to camp - old gravel pits, old roads that diverge far enough away from the current road, tracks alongside water courses.

Motherhen
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Follow Up By: cloudseeker - Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 03:45

Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 03:45
It's interesting how in the US there's so much public land (I guess) relative to Australia. I sort of thought most of Australia was bush, and free to roam in. Twenty million people in land that size, you'd think there's space.
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 10:54

Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 10:54
Hi Cloudseeker

Even crown land is under the control of some body - who may or may not permit camping. Generally, up to thirty metres from the road centre is considered road reserve, and stopping within this if need be is acceptable.

Once it was easy to pull over and stop for the night, but increasing pressure of numbers and a few that leave an unsightly mess have made this harder.

Having said all of that, we do not find it difficult to find somewhere quiet for the night most of the time, particularly in the vast state of WA.

For more populated areas such as near the eastern seaboard, we often resort to the well known publication Camps Australia Wide (available through the ExplorOz bookshop) to find somewhere legal to stop for the night. There are many designated free and low cost campsites, and some roadside rest areas are suitable too.

In WA on the highways in the north west and the south east of the state, Main Roads provide a number of rest areas a reasonable distance away from the highway with a pit toilet and often a dump point for stopping overnight.

Mh
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Follow Up By: Member - Duncan W (WA) - Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 11:13

Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 11:13
Some of the other issues are mining leases, and fenced lands. Great tracks of what appear to be bush as observed from the side of the road are leased lands and are often fenced so pulling over into a nice patch of bush can be problo9matic at times. Nowithstanding, as mentioned above if you do find an accessible spot and pull well off the road, (don't get bogged if it's been raining), out of sight you can usually be ok.

Play it by ear, keep it clean and enjoy.
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Follow Up By: cloudseeker - Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 11:35

Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 11:35
The thirty meters isn't that helpful for tent camping, which is what I intend to do...

As for the fences, that's like Texas, which is just about the worst state in the US. There is nowhere to escape to, it's all private ranches, all fenced. I took a long drive once and was forced to pull over, call of nature (no, I don't leave trash), so I snuck under a fence and found myself in this sandy corner of some mega ranch. There was a beautiful pond there with PINK FLAMINGOS. Wow. What an amazing, magical sight. I'd never seen any before. It was so pretty and so peaceful. But the public gets no access.

I could have been shot, too.
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 12:36

Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 12:36
Hi Cloudseeker

We have asked a farmer if we could stay on his prpoerty. My husband developed a bad headache by lunchtime and we looked for somewhere to stop and sleep over, but saw nothing in the short term. After stopping at a couple of farm gates and not getting a good feel, we pulled into the third one. Asking the farmer if we could stop over (self contained) in his back paddock until the morning he said "Follow me" and escorted us to the edge of a large freshwater lake his property fronted. It was rich in a huge variety of birdlife, and a range on the far side reflected in the water. It was a camp you would go for some distance just to see if it was open to the public. Magic.

We have also pulled further than 30 metres away from the road on pastoral stations. We often cannot ascertain on what station we are, where the homestead is or know their UHF band. We are trespassing as we should have asked, but it is just not realistic to do so and there is no way we will drive at night in unfenced pastoral land.

Mh
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Follow Up By: Member - Bruce C (NSW) - Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 18:43

Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 18:43
Hi Motherhen and Cloudseeker,

I think you have hit the nail on the head there Motherhen and that is, ask.

I would suggest that the personal approach will get you an answer in the afirmative in about 85% to 90% of cases.

Cloudseeker I would suggest that if you went up to the farmer with an American accent and told him/her you were touring this great country you may well get the royal treatment as was Motherhen on the above occassion.

'Ask first' is always the best policy.

A farmer usually only wants to know if someone is out in the back paddock, and that they will do the right thing, that is all, usually.

Cheers, Bruce
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restless and lost on a track that I know. HL.

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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 19:31

Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 19:31
The only time we have ever been moved on was in Queensland. Looking for somewhere to pull off a busy road (busy for us) after quite a long day we finally found a flat cleared but unsigned parking bay with no screening from the road to stop the traffic noise. A power line passing through it had service tracks; to one side a real goat track and to the other a well used truck width road. I walked the powerline track and after a couple of kilometres the formed road turned into two old and wide open wooden gates and a disused gravel source on a hill. We did not investigate beyond the hill and it appeared from tracks that gravel trucks had recently been through the area perhaps to an actively used gravel source on this hill. There was no sign of a house and it was not a house entrance nor like farm gates. Although we have never before camped inside a gateway, this seemed like a council gravel source, we were tired and my husband as the driver needed to stop, the breeze on the hill was nice and the view lovely. My husband was lying down resting and I was putting on the kettle to make a cup of tea when the farmer arrived with a ute load of snapping dogs. I asked if it was his land, explained we had thought it a council gravel pit, and asked if we could stay the night saying we would move on if he wanted us to. I explained our caravan was self contained. What about your campfire? He asked. I told him that we were farmers from Western Australia and that we did not light campfires because if fire risk and that I cooked on a gas stove in the caravan. I was holding the kettle in my hand at the time. He still did not look happy, so I asked again if we could stay with his permission, and that we would go if he asked us to. He asked us to go, suggesting the parking area we had come from. We returned to for the night although it was not a quiet night and trucks pulled as well as passing by. It was luck of the draw that he had been on the block when we arrived. I’m sure not all Queensland farmers are that unfriendly and thought what we would have done if we found interstate caravanners parked on our land. What would I have done? Asked them to dinner of course.

Mh
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Follow Up By: Member - Bruce C (NSW) - Thursday, Jan 24, 2013 at 13:06

Thursday, Jan 24, 2013 at 13:06
I imagine that if you had been luckier and bumped into that chap before you had stopped to set up camp for the night he may well have let you stay there but as you were already there his nose may have been a little out of joint.

You know how it is Motherhen, we don't mind if someone is on the place so long as they do the right thing and are decent people to deal with.

Last thing we want is to be getting up someones nose because it is too dangerous to have a fire and some fool has lit a camp fire and can't see why they should have to put it out as they have cleaned around the fire for 2 or 3 metres and to due to their lack of bush education, thinking it is safe.

Otherwise, as you say, happy to have them there provided they understand it is your property, therefore, your rules. Oh, and ask first.

Cheers, Bruce.
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restless and lost on a track that I know. HL.

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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Thursday, Jan 24, 2013 at 13:38

Thursday, Jan 24, 2013 at 13:38
Hi Bruce

If we were aware it was a farm we wouldn't have gone through the gates. We sort of broke our own camping rules by doing so, but for safety, we had to stop for my husband to rest so tried an easy option.

As i have told the tale before, on a property we had in the south of the state, i got up one morning and saw someone parked inside our front gate which is a few hundred metres from the house, so my son and husband went to investigate. I can't recall now what his breakdown was, but he had to pull in off the road. Asked why they come to the house, as son leaves an outdoor floodlight on all night, he said as it was late he though he might startle us more by coming. Fair enough, but if they had come they could have bunked down in more comfort on the lounge-room floor at least, and been fed. He had called someone for help so needed no further assistance.

We are in the south west, not a pastoral area, so farms are much smaller and are fenced.

It is NO campfires on our farms.

Mh
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Follow Up By: Member - Bruce C (NSW) - Thursday, Jan 24, 2013 at 14:31

Thursday, Jan 24, 2013 at 14:31
Fires are not a problem in this area in the main except for maybe once in every 5 or seven years we get a bad run of weather which makes you exceptionally wary.

Mainly small blocks in our area also.

We are down to 100 hectares now as we have subdivided off the worst of it some years ago. I have retired and am not farming in any way at all now. The returns don't justify the expense and worry. The neighbours have their cattle on our place just to keep the grass down.

This area here is typical coastal forests interspersed with the odd pocket of rainforest and open grass lands for grazing.

Cheers, Bruce.
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Thursday, Jan 24, 2013 at 15:34

Thursday, Jan 24, 2013 at 15:34
Very different here Bruce. Throughout most of the rural areas of WA there is strictly NO CAMPFIRES during the summer months eg November to April - but each Shire sets their own period according to their climate and this may be extended according to seasonal conditions. On fire ban days, even cooking outside on a gas barbecue is not permitted, nor is driving in paddocks.

Unfortunately there are always some people who think the notices do not apply to them, sometimes with disastrous results. In the recent spate of fires, one of the large fires in Tasmania was started by a campfire which had not been fully extinguished, and several were reported in Victoria.

And you're right about farming :(

Mh

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Follow Up By: Member - Bruce C (NSW) - Thursday, Jan 24, 2013 at 16:06

Thursday, Jan 24, 2013 at 16:06
Camp fires are not rocket science are they, if you cannot get enough water to totaly extinguish them then cover them with sufficient dirt that there is no way a spark can fly.

We are sub tropical over on this side and our rainfall is greater.

We also frequently get flooding in our area as some of the rivers have pretty big catchments and these east coast lows give us a bucketing when they come, hence the lesser fire risk.

BC.
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Thursday, Jan 24, 2013 at 16:18

Thursday, Jan 24, 2013 at 16:18
Sadly Bruce there are many who think that covering the coals with dirt alone will do the job. Fires have escaped quite some time after burying the coals when the weather has changed. Then there have been bad burns resulting from someone walking or running across hidden coals; too often a young child. I was lucky to avoid being burnt on a beach once when i nearly stepped into coals under loose sand which you would never know on sight was any different to the rest of the beach. Luckily i realised my foot was rather hot before i was committed to the step. I had two near full twenty litre buckets of water from doing the washing, and using up both, the sand still steamed ans sizzled. This was right outside the caravan door - we could have parked on top of it, or lost a tyre.

Mh

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Follow Up By: get outmore - Thursday, Jan 24, 2013 at 18:51

Thursday, Jan 24, 2013 at 18:51
another topic in itself MH but ive noticed most people bur a fire and look in dismay as i do my prefered opposite

I spread the coals very thinly over a wide area often 2-3m

i find the coals die very quickly this way

as i kid i learned burying fires is stupid becuase we had a "pet fire" for a week


after school wed go out to the bush on the edge of town and dig it back up, a bit of a blow and some kindling and we would wake it up

before mum expected us home we would bury it again letting it slleep until tomorrow

ive remebered that for over 30 years that a buryed fire takes days to go out where as a spread fire gos out in less than an hour
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Follow Up By: get outmore - Thursday, Jan 24, 2013 at 18:57

Thursday, Jan 24, 2013 at 18:57
even more useless than burying a fire is "putting it out" with a couple of buckets of water

unless you have access to 100s of litres your just being silly

i learnt this when putting out some sleepers

i fully extinguished the fire with a hose only to come back 1/2 an hour later to see it alight, i then didnt muck around and fully doused it for 3 times longer than you would think was neccessary to be totally sure

yep you guessed it, back up it went

I got it out eventually but im talkingabout 1000l of water (based on 20l pm)

- do you carry that much??
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Follow Up By: fisho64 - Thursday, Jan 24, 2013 at 22:31

Thursday, Jan 24, 2013 at 22:31
out of curiosity why the heck would you need a fire that takes "1000 litres" to put out?
On Cable Beach a couple of years back was a terrible incident where a crawling baby on the sand crawled into the remnants of some idiots buried or spread fire and it took a period of time for the parents to realize why it was crying.
Two years ago I was towing my kids along the beach on a piece of conveyor belt and straight through a "spread out fire". Unlimited seawater 5 meters away. Luckily no injury.
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Follow Up By: get outmore - Friday, Jan 25, 2013 at 04:48

Friday, Jan 25, 2013 at 04:48
yes fish 064 thanks fotr agreeing

the baby didnt crawl through spread out embers - they would have been cool, they were buryed - hence what I said - they dont lose thier heat when buryed, your kids werent injured going through spread out coals - why would they have? the coals cool very quickly and extinquish

as for the burning sleepers, they were part of a burnoff on a property which i went to extinguish because i was leaving the area and wanted to put everything out which taught me it takes far more water than most people are capable of in a camping situation to put out hardwood
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Reply By: Gryphons - Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 02:59

Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 02:59
This post has been read by the moderation team and has been moderated due to a breach of The Personal Attacks Rule .

Forum Moderation Team
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Reply By: Gaynor - Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 03:34

Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 03:34
cloudseeker

This was your other thread.

http://www.exploroz.com/Forum/Topic/99706/Travelling_to_WA.aspx?ky=&sn=cloudseeker&p=%2fForum%2fDefault.aspx%3fs%3d1%26sn%3dcloudseeker%26pn%3d1

Replies were made and acknowledged by yourself.

I was one of those who replied regarding camping free in the outback.
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Follow Up By: cloudseeker - Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 03:40

Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 03:40
No, not that thread. Of course I got many replies! I asked this on a thread where people were talking about campgrounds in Broome. This current thread helps clarify things. Even if it may seem a repeat to some this point was not clear to me.
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Reply By: Gaynor - Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 05:37

Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 05:37
Quote: 'But you're in the middle of sparsely populated bush. Why can't you just pull off somewhere and camp?'

Broome can hardly be considered sparsely populated bush. The permanent population is estimated at 14,436, growing to over 45,000 per month during the tourist season.

Lots of people leads to rules to keep control.

Outside of Broome, between towns, people do pull off and camp overnight in the bush, as I mentioned. On the one occasion I was caught out hitching at night, I was dropped off at the intersection of the Great Northern Highway to Windjana Gorge and ended up sharing a drink over a fire with a couple of blokes who had just come out of the bush on some mining exploration. There were camped at the intersection for the night. Saw vehicles pulled over all the time. If there is habitation nearby, it is only good manners to ask permission. And ..... Leave No Trace.
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Reply By: braggy - Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 07:32

Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 07:32
Slightly off topic, but what about stock routes, which run beside many road

I travel with my dog, some people eat dog , he could be classified as travelling stock

Cheers Ken
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Follow Up By: The Explorer - Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 10:29

Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 10:29
...or vermin, free to be shot or poisoned. Wouldn't risk it myself and besides cat tastes better :)

Cheers
Greg
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Follow Up By: Patrol22 - Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 20:46

Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 20:46
As far as I know the TSR (Travelling Stock Route) is open for all to use to camp. You just have to be prepared to share with the drovers if they are on the move but my experience is that you are only really likely to strike these folks in numbers during periods of drought. Some great camping along the TSR (I'm talking in NSW here) - especially near the creeks.
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Follow Up By: Patrol22 - Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 20:48

Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 20:48
More information on the NSW TSR here:NSW Travelling Stock Routes
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Follow Up By: Member - John and Val - Thursday, Jan 24, 2013 at 17:42

Thursday, Jan 24, 2013 at 17:42
Hi Patrol,

Seems that TSRs are not supposed to be used for camping by individuals - unless you are in a group with a permit and appropriate insurance. Have a look here at the website.

Cheers,

Val
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Follow Up By: Patrol22 - Thursday, Jan 24, 2013 at 20:04

Thursday, Jan 24, 2013 at 20:04
Yeah seems things have changed somewhat Val. This must be a relatively recent approach as about 5 years ago the relevant authority gave a talk at my 4WD club and told us that the TSRs were available for use...no permit required. Guess like everything else thing change eh.
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Reply By: Kris and Kev - Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 07:35

Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 07:35
My brother in law has a large property out west Qld and he had a single lady park her van near his driveway entry a few months back. She camped there for a few days but did not worry him too much. The land was what we might think was the footpath area.
What he was concerned about was that he has a lease over that part of the land for his cattle and after the lady left he found the area where she was using as a toilet, including toilet paper. Naturally he had to clean it up!
I also remember talking to a local property owner some time back and he had just had a run in with a group who came onto his property and crapped everywhere and abused him saying it was their right and he could not do anything as it was public land. Wrong, it was his land.
I love free/bush camping, but I can see why property owners get unset. We live on acreage beside a river and I know how I would feel if someone just stopped their boat and came onto our place and made a mess.
Unfortunately it are the grubs who spoilt it for everyone. Kevin

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Follow Up By: cloudseeker - Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 09:05

Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 09:05
When I'm out hiking happily and I suddenly come across trash, it ruins my whole day. That's when I hate people the most.
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Follow Up By: get outmore - Saturday, Jan 26, 2013 at 15:57

Saturday, Jan 26, 2013 at 15:57
dont forget theres a big difference between owned freehold land - where you actually own all the land much like i own my house and block and a pastoral lease which is Non exclusive and gives the right to graze livestock only (a few more rights than this but basically)

this land can be used for other leases and purposes such as water leases and exploration leases etc. Alot of the issues come about because the pastoralists think they own the land which they dont

this is why a pasoral lease is much cheaper than owning the land

yes some might say stations are sold for big money - thats irrelevent and has nothing to do woith the cost of the lease
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Reply By: Echucan Bob - Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 08:33

Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 08:33
Cloudseeker, the issue you raise is one of the most important for the bush traveller. You have travelled all day, the sun is low in the sky, the passengers in the Engel are screaming to get out, and you have limited time before its dark. Finding camp site in the dark, and setting it up is to be avoided at all costs. The road on which you travel is fenced as far as the eye can see, there are no trees, and any flat ground is covered by long grass or spinifex. You are leading a convoy of four vehicles and the CB chatter is turning a bit impatient. What do you do? Your reputation hangs in the balance.

Firstly, side roads off the main road are more likely to yield a spot away from passing traffic and with a little more seclusion. Examples are the roads running to the north of the highway around Balranald, or the tracks running off the Morgan to Burra Road. The road along the dogfence near Yalata also springs to mind. The tracks between the wheat fields between Mildura and Renmark also offer secluded camping. We've camped near wheatfields off the Eyre Hwy between Port Augusta and Ceduna. Port Augusta to Burra is a lean stretch. The rail reserve beside the Stuart Hwy offers plenty of sites, but be prepared for the noise of passing trains all night. Similarly any where along the Indian Pacific line.

Away from busy roads, your task is a lot easier. Your main requirements are: to be well away from stations, communities, passing traffic and other campers,
to have flat ground with sand or rock cover, to have access to firewood and a safe place to light a fire. Secondary considerations are mainly aesthetic: a rocky out crop, a dune, a stand of desert oaks or other shade trees, a water feature (beware mozzies), views.

With experience, selecting a camp spot that meets everyone's approval will become a less traumatic task. Even after 20 years, people still remember the disastrous camp sites - like the plague of giant centipedes near Boulia when we picked a spot in the dark. Or being covered in biting ants on a rocky outcrop south west of Yulara. Or being confronted by a grazier near Haasts Bluff who thought we were cattle rustlers from Papunya.

Lastly, see if you can get a copy of Wolfe Creek. Show this to your fellow travellers if they start complaining about trivia.
AnswerID: 503188

Follow Up By: cloudseeker - Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 09:03

Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 09:03
I looked that up and I think you're referring to a horror movie. No thanks. ;)

I guess I should read up on giant centipedes and biting ants. I hope I'm not attacked by a giant centipede.

Good stories! Leading any convoys in the future? :)

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Follow Up By: Member - VickiW - Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 22:28

Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 22:28
Those impromptu camp sites can bring interesting memories.

One was a gravel pit on the north end of Wollemi. Firts is was the hoons who decided to do wheelies around the gravel pit some time during the night, then early the next morning a nearby farmer must have been out playing with his gun. Felt like we were in Deliverance.

But a surprising one, we somehow managed to camp 3 tmes over the years at a spot outside of Bourke well off the road, somehow found the same spot 3 times over the year. Each time it was getting close to dark & the 2nd and 3rd time felt like home!
Cheers,
Vicki
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Reply By: olcoolone - Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 09:12

Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 09:12
I believe under law your allowed to camp with in 50m of a public access road, unless other wise posted...... and I think it's 250m from a stock watering point.
AnswerID: 503190

Reply By: Member - Noldi (WA) - Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 10:56

Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 10:56
Hi Cloud seeker
I think there are a few reasons why free camping is being restricted, I believe its more to do with vested interests than hygiene issues. However this is slowly changing with shires like Goomalling and Bruce rock now encouraging travellers into the area to spend their money.

Safe travels
AnswerID: 503196

Reply By: Member - John and Val - Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 11:22

Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 11:22
Its not that hard to find a bush camp, at least for an overnight stop. Staying longer may be a bit problematic in places. BUT it does depend on where you are and there are some practical limitations. In very remote country there are often wide or unfenced road verges where its possible to get well off the track, unless there is thick mulga or spinifex or rocks that makes it almost impossible to get off the road (and that is frequently the case).

In rangelands/pastoral areas it can be more difficult especially if the roads are fenced. But often there are old gravel pits for example, or side tracks to a railway easement that can be useful. In populated farming areas there may be designated free camps (use Camps Australia but expect to share the area with others) and plenty of no camping signs. Around the coast expect to use National Parks or a caravan park especially in peak season (ie school holidays).

Like anything else practice at spotting good campsites improves your strike rate. As we travel we keep an eye out for good spots, almost as a habit. We sometimes use Google earth if we are planning to camp in a particular area - look for tracks leading away from a road to eg a creek or lake - but be prepared to find a fence across said tracks and have a back-up plan.

As others have said, start looking for a campsite mid afternoon. If you leave it too late you will run out of daylight and find yourself spending the night right beside the road. And the Camps Aust and other "free camps" publications do have their uses when all else fails.

I think you are travelling on your own, as we often do. Finding a space for a single vehicle (no caravan) is a lot easier than finding space for several vehicles together.

Cheers,

Val
J and V
"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted."
- Albert Einstein

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AnswerID: 503201

Reply By: Candace S. - Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 15:09

Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 15:09
Hey cloudseeker, not sure how I missed your earlier thread! I hope you've decided to postopone your visit until a cooler part of the year!

I currently live in northern Utah but have spent a lot of time in DVNP and the vicinity, and many other Western places as well. Like you, my preferred overnight accomodation is to free camp in some quiet spot on public land (though I prefer the nice bed I've set up in my SUV to tent camping!).

Also, in 2008 I spent four weeks solo travelling around Oz, putting several thousand kilometers on a Britz Bushcamper in the process. ;-)

So, I might be able to offer some useful advice! If you'd like, email me at csskalet @ yahoo . com (remove the blank spaces of course). We can correspond or better yet hook up by telephone.

Note that during my four weeks in Oz, I paid for a campground spot only three times. Two of those nights were at Yulara resort near Uluru (where there isn't really much alternative if you want to stay fairly close to the Rock). The third night was in Hawker, SA because it was pouring rain and I didn't feel like trying to find a free spot somewhere (prob. needed a shower too, LOL).
AnswerID: 503216

Follow Up By: Candace S. - Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 17:07

Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 17:07
Here's where I camped during my 2008 trip:

May
16 Alongside the road between the Arnhem Hwy and Fogg Dam (just east of Darwin)
17 Along the 4WD track out to Point Stuart Coastal Reserve
18 In the free campground at Jim Jim Billabong in Kadadu NP (I had the place to myself)
19 A spot just off the road between Katherine and Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge
20 A rest area along the Victoria Hwy, between Timber Creek and the WA border
21 Just off the Duncan Road, on a Telstra site access road, near Nicholson Homestead
22 Along the access road to the Bungle Bungles (on Mabel Downs Station and not strictly legal)
23Ord River rest area, on the Great Northern Hwy (plenty of company here!)
24 A wide spot on the Tanami Road, at the NT border
25 Along the Tanami Road, southeast of Yuendumu
26 Along the Ross Hwy east of Alice Springs; in particular just east of Jessie Gap
27 The parking area for the Trephina Gorge walk (between Alice Springs and Arltunga)
28 Along the Ross Hwy east of Alice Springs; didn't log the exact spot in my trip notes
29 Along a side road near Ormiston Gorge (not in the campground!), off Namatjira Drive
30 Along the Ross Hwy east of Alice Springs; didn't log the exact spot in my trip notes
31Yulara Resort campground
June
1Yulara Resort campground
2 Telstra tower site a few Km west of Uluru-Kata Tjuta NP (just off the Great Central Road)
3 Along a dirt road, just off the Stuart Hwy, somewhere between the SA border and Marla
4 A patch of dirt just off the track northeast of Coober Pedy, near the dog fence crossing
5 Along the Peake (OTL repeater site) access road, just off the Oodnadatta Track
6 At the Muloorina station campground, along the Lake Eyre access road, north of Marree
7 On a side road off the Strzelecki Track, a little north of the dog fence crossing (Note 1)
8 Campground in Hawker, SA (I had to abandon the Strzelecki in the morning due to rain)
9 Elder Overlook, south of Flinders Ranges NP
10 Shoulder of the access road to Newland Head Cons Park south of Adelaide (Note 2)
11 Parking area of Little Sahara dunes on Kangaroo Island
12 Along a road not far from Cape Willoughby on Kangaroo Island
13 (Returned bushcamper in Adelaide, flew to Sydney, stayed in hotel--depart in morning)

Note 1: It rained fairly heavily on and off all night and was still raining in the morning, so I abandoned the Strzelecki track and decided to head south instead, ultimately to Kangaroo Island. I was due to return my hire vehicle in Adelaide on 13 June.

Note 2: I tried to use the campground, but all the parking spots for the sites were at steep angles, so I would have had difficulty sleeping in the bushcamper. Plus it was blowing a gale and the campground was rather exposed. I ended up parked in a low, sheltered spot along the road...more comfortable though undoubtedly not strictly legal!
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Follow Up By: Member - John and Val - Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 20:19

Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 20:19
Its good form to leave the requested "donation" to the flying doctor at places like Muloorina.
Cheers,
Val
J and V
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Follow Up By: Candace S. - Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 23:47

Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 23:47
Good eye! I meant to add a comment about that. Until I assembled the list from my notes, I'd forgotten I did technically pay a bit for Muloorina. I think they requested a tiny amount (maybe only $2?) to be dropped in the box. I definitely wouldn't stiff the station a few dollars! Esp. since I enjoyed a flush toilet in what seemed to be the middle of nowhere. (I also had the place to myself!)
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Follow Up By: Echucan Bob - Saturday, Jan 26, 2013 at 13:59

Saturday, Jan 26, 2013 at 13:59
Candace, a lot of those spots sound very familiar to me!
Bob
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Reply By: Wilko (Parkes NSW) - Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 20:27

Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 20:27
Hi Cloudseeker,

Its cause we no longer live in a free country, its full of "i'll tell you how to live your life fun stoppers"

I'd like to go back to the 70's Camp where you like and nobody bothered you.

Are the good old days.

Cheers Wilko
AnswerID: 503241

Follow Up By: cloudseeker - Friday, Jan 25, 2013 at 03:14

Friday, Jan 25, 2013 at 03:14
The whole world is less free. :( If it entails some measure of organization for everyone's good (for example pit toilets in fragile areas) then that's good.

But every time I get a job I have to go pee in a cup because the US govt. has the right to intrude into your body. Even if you never used illegal drugs in your life. Even if you're a highly trained professional and not a 20 year old, not that 20 year olds should do this either. Pee in a cup.

I wonder which country is worse.

So yeah, I don't want to be bothered. I want to get in my truck and drive off into the middle of nowhere and wake up in the morning with no one around and sip tea and watch the sun rise and listen to the birds.
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Reply By: Member - Bruce C (NSW) - Thursday, Jan 24, 2013 at 13:23

Thursday, Jan 24, 2013 at 13:23
Hi Cloudseeker,

There are thousands of places to free camp around Australia and we even have a book listing thousands of them. Camps Australia Wide. Google that.
This book is just the tip of the iceburg as there are many that I know of that are not in there.

Also our Forestry Commision here in New South Wales also have many free campgrounds and a trip into any forestry office will get you the details of the nearest free camps.

Then there are what we call TSRs or Travelling Stock Reserves which are dotted throughout New South Wales although they date back to the days when cattle were driven to markets on foot. Many TSRs are still out there for public use.

There are many things driving some locations to be closed and 2 are over use or abuse.
Also many councils are being forced into closing some of the locations by greedy caravan park owners who want to be the only accomodation available in a given area for 100 miles around. They do, in some instances, have reasonable grounds, but in the main they are becoming unreasonaby greedy. Also some rules and regulations need to be relaxed for the park opperators.

Cheers, Bruce.

At home and at ease on a track that I know not and
restless and lost on a track that I know. HL.

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AnswerID: 503288

Follow Up By: cloudseeker - Friday, Jan 25, 2013 at 03:04

Friday, Jan 25, 2013 at 03:04
Yes, people have already told me about the book, thank you. I'll have to wait to get the book when I get there - it's just too heavy to carry on the plane. The weight restrictions are severe these days!
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Reply By: beaul - Sunday, Jan 27, 2013 at 18:42

Sunday, Jan 27, 2013 at 18:42
I lived in the USA for ten years and other than the fact that you have too many guns, I found overall your system is better thanAustralia. We have evolved as an English /Irish society where the english owned the property and made the rules and the Irish did all the work. That has changed now but the system remains, A socialist society.
Too many of Australians accept "' big brother knows best" where as in America people fight for their freedom.
We have a situation at the moment that a lot of local councils are banning " free camping" and forcing travellers to stay at overpriced caravan spots (corruption?, probably ) Using the hygiene,waste problem as a red herring. however Australians are so complacent they just grin and bear it and pay.
AnswerID: 503472

Reply By: Bob W5 - Monday, Jan 28, 2013 at 17:39

Monday, Jan 28, 2013 at 17:39
Hi Cloudseeker, I will be traveling around Australia in the coming months, In my past travel experiences here I've free camped as much as I can, I find it"s as simple as turning down a less used country lane that maybe only leads to farm land etc. I drive a few kms down and pull over at the widest point hopefully with some shade, I collect some firewood, clear my fire pit area etc, I travel with my 2 dogs and my small off road caravan, I am self sufficient with solar power and I use a 20 litre drum with a large screw on lid as my washing machine, I put 5 litres of water in with powder and clothes, tie it to my roof rack, the motion of start stop etc does the job, I make camp and wring my clothes out and hang them out on my clothes line, I also have a 12v shower. to me this means I spend as little money as possible paying to stay in caravan parks etc, A friend of mine only last week left Melb with his girl, they intend to travel for 2 to 3 months. He smiled and said to me it's un Australian to pay to camp lol... All the best mate.
AnswerID: 503520

Reply By: get outmore - Monday, Jan 28, 2013 at 18:05

Monday, Jan 28, 2013 at 18:05
I do a fair bit of what locally we refer to as "Guerilla camping"

basically it involves - ah how can i put this

stopping places where camping may not actually be encoaraged which is becoming more and more

- you roll the swag out last thing and take off first thing

only place ive had an issue is camping at the porongarup NP

where a very early bird ranger suggested i find the caravan park next time
AnswerID: 503523

Follow Up By: cloudseeker - Tuesday, Jan 29, 2013 at 11:02

Tuesday, Jan 29, 2013 at 11:02
Possible responses:

"Well, gee, I didn't know you couldn't camp anywhere".

"I thought Australia was like the US only less populated". [I actually thought it was better, with more space and more freedom]

"I'm sorry, I wasn't feeling well" [which can happen, God knows!]

"Oh? I can't camp here? Really"? [said with true deep sadness]

Me dumb tourist. No hablo englez.

Finally, something I do easily when feeling bad, which I would if such a thing were to happen: cry.

Are Australians cops going to drag a crying non-violent woman off to jail?
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FollowupID: 780279

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