Camping Rules & Tips
Australia is BIG . . REALLY BIG – but you will see others out there in the 4WD, camping and caravaning world and it’s nice to meet considerate 4 wheel drivers and campers. Travelling to remote locations for peace and tranquility, only to have louts tearing up your tracks or loud raucous campers partying all night, while being set up within spitting distance to your tent is inconsiderate at best. Hundreds of kilometers of wide open spaces, beach dunes or outback scrub, and some people just really need to have close neighbors?
Camping and 4WD etiquette? Well it’s a bit fancy for the rough tough world of bush camping and 4WDing, but it really is just common sense. It doesn’t have to mean “glamping”, using your knife and fork correctly, or hanging the chandelier outside the tent, it’s just about having good manners and being considerate to others.
A few camping rules to ensure you and your fellow campers all enjoy the space you searched so hard for:
- If someone else was there first, don’t crowd them, they probably chose that particular spot for a reason. Don’t park your vehicle, van, camper trailer or tent on top of someone else’s campsite, they don’t need to hear you snoring.
- Running generators at all hours of the night is just not necessary and very rude. In some places there are rules in regard to where and when you can use them and don’t go out during the day, leaving them running unattended. Generators are not permitted in most National Parks, so don’t be sneaky – check the rules and restrictions applicable to your destination.
- Walk around other people’s campsites, not through them, teach the kids to do the same. Be considerate and take a few extra steps to avoid other’s camps. If you can’t avoid it and the people are there, a quick apology is just good manners.
- If you camp or 4WD with children….teach them manners and respect for other campers. Make sure your little angels don’t become devilish unwanted guests at fellow campsites. Ensure your children know the boundaries.
- Your dog may be YOUR best friend and we know you love YOUR pets, but that doesn’t mean everyone else has to. If dogs are permitted in the camping area, keep them on a leash and within your boundaries.
- Don’t be that late night nuisance that other campers despise, most people start being quiet around 9-10pm and many avid explorer campers have early starts, so they retire early. Be respectful of others, just because you can party all night, doesn’t mean you should when others are within earshot. Remember sound travels at night.
- Be friendly to everyone you come across, but don’t become an uninvited pest, inviting yourself for a mealtime visits is not acceptable. If people want to chat over a beer, it’s great to take that opportunity if the feeling is mutual. Someone who hangs around, not seeming to know when it’s time to leave, is just a damn pest and at times downright creepy.
- If a campsite has facilities, please leave them as clean as you can.
- Pit toilets – put the lid down to ensure they work well an don’t attract flies.
- Flush toilets – again, put the lid down, and they are called FLUSH toilets for a reason – use the damn button!!!!
- Toilet paper – if you drop some, pick it up.
- Showers should be left as you found them. Don’t leave soaps, old shampoo bottles or other you can’t be bothered carrying out.
- Teach children that facilities are not games rooms, water fights, or games of any sorts are just not acceptable.If a campsite has facilities, please leave them as clean as you can.
- Respect the rules of the campground, National Park, reserves and State Forests have rules. If the speed limit is 5kmph, stick to it, it’s usually for the safety of others, especially children.
- One rule shared by many Australia destinations is not to feed the native animals, so please remember to teach your children and visitors the importance of keeping native animals native and healthy, our food is not necessarily what’s right for them.
- No firewood? It is often sold at shops en-route to campgrounds, or sometimes even within the campgrounds itself. Don’t chop down trees!! Depending on where you camp, sometimes it is acceptable to collect firewood from around the camp area and beaches, this also helps reduce fuel in bushfire season. But once again, know the rules of where you are and especially fire danger alerts and restrictions.
Getting out into Australia’s lush alpine, beach or beautifully barren locations can be as rewarding as that bottle of wine you’ve been keeping for the last 10 years or so, paired with Wagyu beef. If you are launching into discovering how much fun getting out in our ever changing and challenging landscape can be, taking a walk (or drive) on the wild side, get it right and make 4WDing safer and fun for everybody – including yourself.
There are some unwritten rules help cut through the 4WD garbage:
- Be prepared for what you’re getting yourself into. Grabbing the esky, BBQ and something to throw on it, is NOT being prepared. Head off into the outback without adequate fuel, water or recovery gear, and you’re setting yourself up to fail and be miserable. Being a nuisance to yourself and others, because somebody’s going to have to come out to rescue you, is just downright irresponsible.
- Be aware of what others are doing and don’t get up close and personal without an invite. If you stop for any reason, get yourself off the trail so as not to obstruct others. You may not have seen another vehicle for days, but if someone does happen along and can’t get past you, it’s going to delay them and mess up your own reason for stopping. If there’s an uphill track and you’re unsure if you will climb successfully, don’t block the track, let others past before you attempt it and if you do get stuck you’ve made a friend, who can possible help you up if you’re not successful.
- Keep a good distance, give people space. When driving, no tailgating. It’s dangerous as well as just downright bad manners, especially on hills. If the vehicle in front slips back a few feet on a steep incline, and you’re too close, he’s going to end up parked on your bonnet (we hope you have frontal protection). And apart from swallowing someone else’s dust, you can’t see very well what’s ahead, if you’re right behind someone else. When the guy in front goes into the mud, and you don’t have time to stop before you land in it yourself, you’re both stuck, with no recovery vehicle to pull you out.
- Don’t take chances on narrow tracks. Trying to go round, unless you’re sure it’s safe, could cause serious accidents, rollovers or get you stuck in something unseen and unnecessary.
- If you see another driver stuck in sand or mud, stop and help. Remember, before having a laugh and moving on, it could be you bogged up to the axles, with nobody to help. 4WD enthusiasts all share the same obstacles, it’s much easier and nicer if you can rely on each other.
- Respect the environment. Constantly clearing rocks or getting stuck may be a message that your vehicle isn’t up to the trail you’ve chosen, maybe it’s time to upgrade your vehicle, better your skills, or find a more suitable route.
And finally, treat the landscape and other 4WD adventurers with respect and you will enjoy your expeditions much more along the way. Camping or 4WDing, take out everything you brought with you, don’t leave your garbage behind. Finding garbage in the firepit or used disposable nappies tucked into a bush near the campsite is not acceptable or pleasant for anyone. Bottle caps do not burn, neither does glass or cans – so don’t throw them in the firepit.
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