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-Free Camping in Australia

caravan spares. - -Free Camping in Australia

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Although many travellers continue to frequent the many and varied Caravan Parks and Resorts around Australia, many retirees (grey nomads) find in financially advantageous to 'free camp'.

The free camper's bible is Camps Australia which lists many great cheap and free camping sites.  The advantage that Camps Australia has over other lists is that it comes in the format of a map book that you can carry in your vehicle and refer to as you're driving around.  In addition to displaying the locations on the map details of the location are avalaible in an index, including a photo of the site in some editions.

Many more sites exist than those listed in Camps Australia and smart travellers keep a note of these to pass on to friends or to share on Internet forums etc.

Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia (CMCA) members also have the ability to search for sites using their GeoWiki and view, print or download sites for their GPS.  Membership of the CMCA is very affordable and includes a monthly magazine, The Wanderer.  Membership is open to all, including non-motohome owners classed as 'associate members'.

Even if you don't have the benefit of the above tools you can generally find a free overnight stopping place.  Laybys and gravel stores litter our highways and many of these are suitable for a sleepover.  Be aware though that some councils/shires shortsightedly ban sleeping in vehicles and you could find yourselves being moved on or fined.  Keep an eye open for 'power-nap' sites.

Highways also have Service Stations that welcome truckies and these should also allow travellers to stop-over and may even provide shower facilities etc.  Be aware though that if you're a light sleeper you may have a restless night.

If you have trouble finding a suitable highway spot is it sometimes advantageous to take a lesser sideroad which may provide some quiter alternatives.  Frequent travellers know that it's difficult to find free camping places along the coast, this is another time when opportunities are likely when you take a back-road away from the coast.  On the coast you may also be able to locate a boat ramp with parking facilities, and get some fishing in while you're at it.

Populated areas usually have airports, airfields and even shopping centre car parks that may allow overnight parking.  Parking in suburban side streets is also a possibility, but be aware of local regulations.

Some towns and shires are more pro-active and provide low cost camping at racecourses/showgrounds or provide limited stay overnight parking spots (like Pt Albert in Victoria).  Some towns like Beckom on the Newell Highway in NSW provide a powered site and those like Googoolong on the Lachlan Valley Highway in NSW provide a free Caravan Park including power and hot showers with a maximum stay of 3 days.  These towns appreciate that campers bring well needed cash to the town, so show your appreciation and spend locally.

Keep a record of your finds and spread the word when you meet others on the road and list them with the various Internet sites.

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