What a wonderful opportunity Australia offers, and that is the freedom and ability to camp at little or no expense whilst driving around and through this vast country.
Free camps may vary from gravel based roadside stops limiting you to a quick overnight stay, to an amazing camp alongside a river or ocean where it may be hard to resist leaving. Many free camps can actually be more popular than paid camps, and not only for the reason of being free. The camp may offer million dollar views, the option to enjoy a campfire, or limited restrictions on pets.
Free camps may have all or some of the following conveniences: Fireplaces, barbecues, toilets, disabled access, showers, drinking water, shade, a fantastic outlook, mobile phone and internet coverage, room for large rigs and permission to bring pets.
Simply do your homework or invest in a free campsite map/book and you will not only find some great camps in a convenient location, but your map/book investment should be paid off within two days of not paying any rent or fees. Ask your fellow travellers and mark on your map their recommendations. Remember, they will more than likely have better information, based on experience, than a Tourist Information Centre.
Statistics show some 350,000 rigs on Australian roads. Based on these statistics and personal experience, you will run into fellow nomads at many free camps, especially if you travel according to seasons. This eliminates any worry or stress involving being isolated or in danger. In fact, if you are travelling according to seasons, you will most likely find free camps practically ‘overbooked’.
Free camps are not always necessarily available only in the middle of nowhere. Once again, do your homework and you will be surprised where you will find them.
Long stretches of road, such as the Nullarbor, you will meet fellow nomads enjoying the free camps. And it makes sense! Who could say no to a free camp overlooking the spectacular Great Australian Bight, inclusive of migrating Southern Right Whales if you pick the season right?
Some camps may charge a small fee to cover caretaker costs. In return, you may be provided with facilities and/or firewood.
Between free camps, there are generally roadhouses that offer toilets and showers for a small fee. When travelling vast distances between camps, fuelling up and buying a burger continues the incentive for roadhouses to accommodate the grey nomad with such precious commodities.
Of course, with free camps, you will need to be self sufficient. Make sure you have plenty of water on board in case you plan to stay a little longer, and a source of power. See Benefits of Generator and Solar and Refrigeration for further information.
It is an ongoing issue when someone will destroy it for someone else, and over time certain commodities are no longer available to the public or a large fee comes into place. For these reasons please regard the following courtesies.
Please keep your camp clean so as not to ruin it for fellow travellers. Consider disposal of rubbish, toileting and basic hygiene. Basically, if you brought it with you, please take it with you. Bag it and find the next appropriate dump site once you move on. I am sure everyone would agree that the common fly attempting to land on your sausage sanga is even less welcome when you are aware of human waste nearby.
If using a generator, please be responsible and show common courtesy. As a general rule, when the sun disappears over the horizon, leaving a magnificent glow in the sky, most camps prefer peace and quiet, the chance of an early night and the desire to indulge in the sounds of nature only. In other words, turn your generator off at a reasonable hour.