safety overnight in parking bays

Submitted: Monday, Jun 07, 2010 at 21:17
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Can anyone give us good advice about parking for over night in rest areas, is it safe. thanks
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Reply By: Selina V - Monday, Jun 07, 2010 at 21:33

Monday, Jun 07, 2010 at 21:33
Hubby is a truckie and uses them all the time in the truck. But he will also look for one where other trucks are already parked. Safety in numbers. And he makes sure he's all locked in and rings me once he is :)
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Reply By: Member - Mfewster(SA) - Monday, Jun 07, 2010 at 21:37

Monday, Jun 07, 2010 at 21:37
That is a really tricky question. I don't believe that anyone will be able to give you a guarantee of safety, the world just isn't like that. We have never had a problem in overnight rest areas, no-one I know has ever had a problem staying in over night rest areas. But I guess it can happen. As A general rule, the closer the stop is to a town, the more I might choose to go a couple of stops further. Things seem to happen closer to towns, but no-one can give guarantees. Just like, no-one can guarantee your safety when you are driving, or if you stay in a caravan park. The other side is that problems must be very rare indeed, we never hesitate to use them.
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Follow Up By: Wilko - Tuesday, Jun 08, 2010 at 11:37

Tuesday, Jun 08, 2010 at 11:37
Agree with Mfewster,

It would be few and far between that anything should happen. You would certainly have more trouble in the city.

Ive got a rather large and protective blue cattle that sleeps under my van. If someone was to attack me I know he would have the last say.

Cheers Wilko
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Follow Up By: AnneMarie - Tuesday, Jun 08, 2010 at 17:23

Tuesday, Jun 08, 2010 at 17:23
I tend to agree with Mfewster as well. Last year and girlfriend and I travelled from Tom Price to Rockhampton across the Red Centre, and never had any problems along the way. Two main points to remember - 1) always choose a stop where there are other campers or truckies and 2) try to choose a stop a good 50kms + away from any town/settlement - less likelihood of any disturbance!

Cheers,
Anne-Marie
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Reply By: Member - Netnut (VIC) - Monday, Jun 07, 2010 at 21:46

Monday, Jun 07, 2010 at 21:46
Hello Ma and Pa,

Stopping overnight in a rest area is not something I do unless others are already "camped" there. Safety in numbers is the best way to go !

That said, lots of people do stop over in rest areas without any trouble. The security and legality of stopping over in the rest area will depend on its location, the willingness of authorities to allow the practice and plain chance. You have to hope that you'll not be bothered by people of low character with bad intent.

If you are the only traveller at the rest area and intending to stay over, I suggest you park for a while to see if others were inclined to stop at the same spot. You could make like you intended to stop overnight in the hope of attracting company.

Having recently camped in a rather large rest area and been kept awake by the trucks, I am loathe to recommend the use of rest areas for overnight stops. I'd look for riverside or NP camps whenever possible.

The book "Camps 5" is a good resource for finding free camps as well as lower-cost caravan parks. It's readily available from good book stores and lots of camping/outdoors equipment suppliers.

Happy travels,
Netnut

AnswerID: 419984

Follow Up By: Motherhen - Monday, Jun 07, 2010 at 21:53

Monday, Jun 07, 2010 at 21:53
and of course the ExplorOz bookshop where i purchased by copy.
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Monday, Jun 07, 2010 at 23:53

Monday, Jun 07, 2010 at 23:53
Oops - where i purchased MY copy
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Reply By: Motherhen - Monday, Jun 07, 2010 at 21:51

Monday, Jun 07, 2010 at 21:51
Keep well away from towns, particularly on Friday or Saturday nights. If possible, get into the bush and out of sight of the road (we do this more for our own benefit as we like quiet nights). In a total of 14 months travel over six trips, preferring to camp out in the bush more often than stay in towns, we have had no problems. I prefer to turn around and be face out for easy getaway - more concerned about rain on inland soil that any other threats.

We have used gravel pits, old roads, recognised camp grounds, pulled just off the road at dusk when travelling long days on a tight schedule, parked roadside rest areas where there are other campers, or just driven into the bush a little way along old tracks. We prefer to be on our own, but often this is not practical and we are happy to socialise with other travellers.

The only disturbance we have ever had was at Burra Creek Gorge in SA a few years ago. About 1 or 2 am a ute came in and did doughnuts kicking up swirls of dust between us at one end of the camp ground and a tenter at the other. I just hoped he could see the tent in the dust he was kicking up.

When in larger towns we feel far more insecure and security conscious, as that is where the risk is.

Enjoy this wide land.

Motherhen

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Follow Up By: Member - Heather G (NSW) - Tuesday, Jun 08, 2010 at 06:47

Tuesday, Jun 08, 2010 at 06:47
Hi MH,

you must be so much like us...I could have written your reply!

Cheers,

Heather
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Follow Up By: Baz&Pud (Tassie) - Tuesday, Jun 08, 2010 at 10:52

Tuesday, Jun 08, 2010 at 10:52
G'day MH & HG
We are the same as you, but it is an interesting question, couple years ago while travelling in West Aus we camped approx 75 to 100 meters off the side of the road behind some very large boulders, just north of Mt Magnet, and couldn't be seen from the highway.
The next night we camped 50 or so meters off the road just north of Meekatharra where the passing vehicles head lights would pick up the reflectors on the vehicle/van.
When in Esperance talking to a cousin who used to be a truckie, we spoke to him about the above and his advice was to always camp where you can be seen, because if a truckie sees you are there for an extended time and something is wrong they know where you are, where as if hidden behind rocks you may take sometime to find.
Having said all that i think we will still try and hide a bit.
Cheers
Baz
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Follow Up By: AnneMarie - Tuesday, Jun 08, 2010 at 17:28

Tuesday, Jun 08, 2010 at 17:28
Ditto to previous three posts! Peace and quiet in the bush any day rather than a caravan park!! ;o)
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Follow Up By: AnneMarie - Tuesday, Jun 08, 2010 at 17:29

Tuesday, Jun 08, 2010 at 17:29
Oh, AND you too, Motherhen!! I always enjoy your feedback and posts. :)
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Reply By: get outmore - Monday, Jun 07, 2010 at 21:52

Monday, Jun 07, 2010 at 21:52
Iknow as kids if we found campers in the parking bay a few Ks out of town we would use the bay for circlework
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Reply By: Austravel - Monday, Jun 07, 2010 at 21:52

Monday, Jun 07, 2010 at 21:52
Never felt at risk even if by ourselves. Could be said having people around you makes for more risk. Have had obnoxious campers close by but nothing that I felt put our safety at risk.
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Reply By: Member - John and Val - Monday, Jun 07, 2010 at 22:01

Monday, Jun 07, 2010 at 22:01
I can only think of one occasion when we have used a roadside rest area for an overnight stop IF by "rest area" you mean a spot right beside the road. (the one time was on the Stuart Highway somewhere, we had good company and no problems). Most of those so called "rest areas" are noisy with passing traffic and trucks, may have no facilities, may be strewn with rubbish and worse and are clearly visible from the road.

Our preference - and standard practice - is to get well away from the road, out of sight as much as possible. This is pretty easy to do in inland areas, except where the roads are fenced and there are few side roads. National Parks, State Forests (at least in NSW) etc are good places to go to find a camp. Otherwise we use Camps Australia Wide to find a suitable spot, or as a last resort find a caravan park. By using Google Earth at the planning stage we have also identified some good overnight camp spots.

Why would you stop in a noisy, exposed place when a safe and attractive spot may be just around the corner?

Cheers,

Val
J and V
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Monday, Jun 07, 2010 at 23:58

Monday, Jun 07, 2010 at 23:58
Hi Val

Your statement sums up our thoughts.

"Why would you stop in a noisy, exposed place when a safe and attractive spot may be just around the corner? "

We often pass roadside rest areas packed with campers, mainly motorhomes, right alongside the noisy highway. Gee those motohomes must have good sound insulation! We have found (either found ourselves or with the aid of Camps 5 or Jan Holland's books) lovely spots well away from the sound of the traffic and often quite on our own.

Mh


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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Tuesday, Jun 08, 2010 at 07:41

Tuesday, Jun 08, 2010 at 07:41
Along that line , the camps5 database of waypoints can be purchased and loaded into many GPS'es and OziExp and this makes it easy look ahead and plan your stops, or know quickly how far it is to the next listed point.
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Follow Up By: get outmore - Tuesday, Jun 08, 2010 at 09:13

Tuesday, Jun 08, 2010 at 09:13
i had occasion to pull up in the weatbelt between merriden and southern cross

these bays are nothing more than a pulloff from the road so all night i had b doubles on one side and trains on the other

got a bit of sleep though
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Follow Up By: ob - Wednesday, Jun 09, 2010 at 16:37

Wednesday, Jun 09, 2010 at 16:37
Anyone pull in and do some "circle work"????????????..........lol
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Reply By: Member - Brian R (WA) - Monday, Jun 07, 2010 at 23:20

Monday, Jun 07, 2010 at 23:20
Hi Ma and Pa

In 1995 my wife and I were able to do what has probably became the trip of our life time ....we traveled areas outside our comfort zone and camped in places that others laughed at before we started our great trip...which was for just 8 weeks. I think the lessons are if you are not both happy ..then move on ....safety in numbers...and camp well before dark, so that you can have a bit of a look around. As a matter of interest I think we had 3 sort of bad chioces in that trip 1. a nice place on the Finke NO ONE AROUND SAYS I so I have a bit of a cool down in the waterhole and the wife strips ready for a nice bush bath next thing .......a chopper passes flying really low and then returns for a quick rerun.Chambers Pillar which was a bit too desert like ...she made tea for that morning and the last was a large parking area too close to the road and too close to Norseman

Happy travels
Brian
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Reply By: Member - Graham H (QLD) - Tuesday, Jun 08, 2010 at 07:52

Tuesday, Jun 08, 2010 at 07:52
Just make sure you dont use a truck bay or you may be unpopular.

There are usually signs well before the rest stops that tell you whether they are for everyone, Just vans etc or trucks only.

AnswerID: 420011

Reply By: carlsp - Tuesday, Jun 08, 2010 at 08:25

Tuesday, Jun 08, 2010 at 08:25
When looking at a camp spot, have a walk around. If there are the donut circles and drag marks, move on. Look for fireplaces or bins filled with beer cans and stubby bottles. Have a look for broken glass.

These are the usual signs of hoons and they will be 95% of potential trouble. Never stay less then 5 kilometers from a town and look at the demgraphics of the town. Say Bourke, Katherine or Halls Creek for example.

AnswerID: 420017

Reply By: Hairy (NT) - Tuesday, Jun 08, 2010 at 10:17

Tuesday, Jun 08, 2010 at 10:17
Gday,
Thats a very general question?
Dont park in the ones close to towns.
If its covered in burnouts, and stubbies its probably the local kids burn out strip/ hang out.
If its covered in nappies and cans it probably the local blackfellas drinking spot.
If its called a truck parking bay it is just that...
Avoid the places Bradley Murdoch used to hang out.
Be aware of your surroundings.
Carry a baseball bat.
If you cant swing a bat carry a gun.

I think you will find if you look at your surroundings before you pull up and decide to camp you will reduce the odds of something bad happening dramatically, but know one knows where the really baddies hang out.
Look at how many people use them compared to how many people get hurt.......fairly safe really.

Good luck

Cheers
AnswerID: 420037

Reply By: Motherhen - Tuesday, Jun 08, 2010 at 12:16

Tuesday, Jun 08, 2010 at 12:16
I know you come from the wild NT Hairy, but other campers remember, if you are unlucky enough to be woken by a burglar breaking into into your van, he will likely be more alert than you as you wake wondering what is going on, and your weapon is more likely to be snatched and used against you. If you are prepared to carry a firearm, you will need to be very decisive and quick on the draw, and may kill a somewhat innocent teenager having a bit of injudicious fun, or even if a real criminal, you will still get an extended holiday without the view. Firearms was discussed at length in a thread a year or two ago.

Hairy said: "Carry a baseball bat.
If you cant swing a bat carry a gun."

All in all, you are much safer in the outback than in the suburbs.

Mh
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Follow Up By: get outmore - Tuesday, Jun 08, 2010 at 17:35

Tuesday, Jun 08, 2010 at 17:35
I have only had someone try and get into my camper once

- but I was camped in the info bay in the middle of Derby and the "perp" was extremely drunk and was muttering somthing about the community bus and was deterred by a torch in the eyes and a F off

My "weopon" of choice is a maglight being used to disturb someone that thinks there skulking around under cover of dark and can be used to dazzle so they cant see who you are, how big you are, what else you have etc.

then if all else fails it can be a weapon of last resort
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Reply By: Member - Royce- Tuesday, Jun 08, 2010 at 18:10

Tuesday, Jun 08, 2010 at 18:10
I've been 'camping' where ever I like for over 17 years!

Roadside stops, carparks, picnic areas, suburban streets.... no problems ever.

I do this most weeks of the year.

I did get a knock on my door October last year in Irymple. A nice lady constable asked what I was doing there. I explained and offered her a free pen. We chatted and off she went.

The key is to be unobtrusive. It all depends on what you are driving I guess. and of course you need to be totally self contained and not noticed much.

Really... rest areas are pretty nasty places to stop. Latecomers and early leavers making a racket and waking you up. But then again, it's the best part of touring when you meet up with like minded types.

AnswerID: 420077

Reply By: ma and pa smith - Tuesday, Jun 08, 2010 at 19:37

Tuesday, Jun 08, 2010 at 19:37
Thanks all, really appreciate your feed back, went to RAA and bought some good books and tips, so looking forward to our trip, 3 weeks thursday we leave.
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