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The Risks Vanpackers face

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You’ve bought or hired your campervan, and now you have everything you need – transport to get from one place to the next, a bed, cooking equipment and if you’re lucky you might have a shower, of sorts. Sounds great eh? Unfortunately these ‘Vanpackers’ have forgotten one thing, in many places it’s illegal to park up and sleep in your van overnight and more places seem to be making it illegal all the time.

Freedom camping used to be a big thing and you can still find some places to freedom camp (i.e. park somewhere and stay overnight). But as usual it’s those ignorant few who’ve ruined it for the majority. By not being respectful, and even in some cases just using carparks as toilets, freedom camping for vanpackers is becoming a thing of the past. If only they’d paid more attention to that old adage “take only pictures, leave only footprints” instead of “take anything that’s free, leave rubbish and poo”.

There are numerous articles online slating ‘vanpackers’ for leaving a mess behind them, with many town councils trying to do anything they can to stop them parking up, leaving rubbish, and using the public facilities.

AFTER a council crackdown on vanpackers illegally camping and defecating in public in downtown Byron Bay, some campers appear to have moved location and are now set up with the best free views over the bay.

Up to 20 vanpackers a night are setting up camp at the Bangalow Rd lay-by at Coopers Shoot, overlooking Byron Bay. And nearby residents are irate.

“I drove past this morning and there was one guy with his pants down defecating on the side of the road in full view of traffic,” a Coopers Shoot resident, who asked to remain anonymous, said

Many local councils have now come to the conclusion that they maybe should provide facilities for vanpackers, the problem is that when you’ve already paid for your transport and accommodation, you don’t really want to pay again to stay somewhere overnight. However, if you do end up parking somewhere you shouldn’t, then be prepared to pay a fine.

So, what to do if you are a vanpacker?

  1. If you’re hiring a campervan from a reputable company then they normally provide you with a leaflet with a few do’s and don’ts and places where you are allowed to park and sleep. Read it!
  2. Do some research, many campsites are dirt cheap, and if that means you can use a proper toilet and shower instead of crapping on the floor then go for it!
  3. Always be respectful. Would you want someone leaving their rubbish on your doorstep? Do you want to step in someones poo when you visit a local beauty spot? No?! Then don’t do it when you’re travelling!

Travelling the East Coast of Australia and need somewhere to park up overnight?

Nomads Airlie Beach

Cost for parking van = Unpowered sites – $25 per night, Powered sites – $35 per night. These prices cover 2 people, for any extra $5 per person is added. $10 key deposit which is returned when you return the key on check out.

Camping: $15 per person per night with the same key deposit rules as above

Facilities you can use: Both camper vans and tent sites have full access to two sets of amenities (showers, toilets, kitchens & laundry) as well as 2 pools, 2 bars and 2 volleyball courts.

More Information:

Image source: Vanpackers in Belongil Beach – Northern Star.

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