The Unspoken Camping Rules In Australia

Camping in Australia can be anything you want it to be, from free camping in the wilderness to lounging beside a wave pool at a luxury holiday park. But, regardless of where you choose to go, the rules are pretty much the same.

From cleaning up after yourself to being respectful of the people around you, we’re talking about camping etiquette in Australia!


Spoken Rules (The Things That Will Get You Into Trouble )

Let’s start with the things that will earn you more than just a disapproving glare from your neighbours.

There are limited areas where you can free camp in Australia, and if you’re in the wrong place you might end up with a hefty fine. So make sure you’re camping in a designated camping area to avoid any unwanted surprises.

Additionally, an illegal campfire is enough to earn you a fine on the spot. Know the rules and make sure there are no active fire bans in the area.

Littering is also going to get you into a lot of trouble if you get caught, with fines of around $200 depending on the state. So make sure you’re cleaning up after yourself.

We’ll talk more about free camping, campfires, and littering in a moment.

Free camping

Okay, so let’s say you’ve found a place where you can free camp, maybe a rest stop or a designated area in a national park. Most free campsites in Australia have a time limit around 24-72 hours, so don’t overstay your welcome or you’ll end up in trouble again.

Check the site carefully and be respectful of your surroundings when you’re free camping in Australia.


Campfires In Australia

Australia is serious about bushfire safety. If you’re not sure if you’re allowed to have a fire, ask the site manager – it’s polite to ask them before you set up a campfire anyway. They might prefer it if you use a fire pit, or they might not want you chopping down their trees for firewood and kindling.

Leave No Trace

When you’re camping it’s common decency to dispose of your waste and trash thoughtfully (you might not get fined for letting your dirty dish water run into your neighbour’s campsite, but it’s not going to make you popular with them).

On that note, don’t drain your water into any waterways. This is incredibly harmful to the environment. Instead, find an appropriate dump point or (if the campground permits it) drain it into the soil or bushes.

An often-forgotten part of the ‘leave no trace’ motto is furniture. For example, if you’re hanging out in the camp kitchen make sure you return all the furniture the way you found it. The next camper won’t want to spend time pulling apart your cosy hangout space just so they can eat their breakfast.


Nature & Wildlife

Be respectful of Australia’s natural landscape as well as its wildlife when you’re camping. It’s common to get little visitors, like possums, wallabies, seagulls, and other animals wandering through your campsite. If they’re not doing any harm, simply ignore them. For your safety as well as the animals’, don’t feed them and don’t approach them.

You’ll want to be mindful about leaving food out in the open as well, you never know which opportunistic animal might make a grab for your crackers and dip when you’ve got your back turned.

Be Considerate

This applies to both hosts and other guests. Treat your hosts with respect. A happy host is more likely to help you out and might give you some ideas for the best things to do during your holiday.

Also, your fellow campers just want to relax and enjoy their own holiday. So, unless they’re being noisy and causing problems, give them their space. If possible, don’t set your campsite up too close to your neighbour, and definitely don’t walk through people’s campsites (even if it is quicker to get to your destination). Don’t invite yourself over either, Australians are friendly but you’ll probably make some people uncomfortable if you just appear without asking.



You’re on holiday, and maybe you just want to stay up late, have a drink, and sing a few of your favourite songs with your friends. You’ll be having fun, but your neighbours probably won’t – especially if they have young children who need their sleep.

Generally most campsites state that you need to be quiet after 10pm and before 7am, ensuring that everyone can get a decent amount of sleep. Some people have early mornings ahead of them and a busy schedule of activities they’ve been excited about for weeks.

Simply be respectful. You don’t have to go to sleep at 10pm, but just ensure that you keep your volume down.

Setting Up

Some other things to consider are your arrival and departure times. Aim to be at your campsite before 10pm so that you’re not noisily setting up when others are trying to sleep.

If you’re an early bird looking for a quick escape, try to wait until 7am when more people are up and about. If you really have to leave earlier, be as stealthy as possible.

The good thing about having a motorhome is that there isn’t a lot of preparation involved, so it’s easy to get organised in a matter of minutes.



Campsite etiquette is especially important when it comes to facilities. Treat them the same way that you’d like someone to treat your home. Clean up after yourself, don’t break anything, and respect the rules. This could be anything from putting your food scraps in the bin to sweeping up your beard trimmings.

Don’t wash your dishes in the bathroom, and don’t leave your clothes in the laundry machines for too long – other people need to use these spaces too.


Whether you’re bringing your own kids or your grandkids, make sure they know all of the rules about campsite etiquette we’ve mentioned so far – especially about trash and noise.

Be aware of where your kids are at all times, and make sure they know not to run out onto roads. Don’t let them throw balls or play games too close to other people’s campsites either.


It’s Time To Put Your Knowledge Of Campsite Etiquette To The Test

We’ve covered all the key things to know about camping in Australia, so now it’s up to you to put them to good use! Know the rules, these are going to make sure you and everyone else has a great trip. They’ll also prevent you from getting on anyone’s bad side (or, worst case scenario, fined!).

Renting is a great way to get started. Organise your motorhome rental in Australia by calling our friendly reservations team on 1300 664 485 or check out our Cruisin’ Motorhomes and GoCheap Campervans vehicle pages to see what motorhomes are available to hire at our branches.

Or, if you’re keen to buy your own motorhome, check out the used campervans and motorhomes for sale on our website. If you don’t see the type of vehicle you’re interested in, go ahead and submit an enquiry form so that we can contact you as soon as something is available. Or give us a ring directly on 1300 124 329.