The Hidden Cost of Free Camping

Mt Superbus by Marita Hills

The Hidden Cost of Free Camping

A new article by James Shackle from We Are Explorers

Posted on 12.07.2019

In this article James looks into the challenges and downstream side effects of free camping.

Check out the opening paragraphs then click the button below for the full story:

Things were different for Banjo Patterson. When he wrote Waltzing Matilda in 1895, camping in Australia wasn’t exactly ‘regulated’. Jolly swagmen just pitched a tent by the nearest billabong, under the shade of a Coolabah tree.

In 2019, the Coolabah tree has probably been logged, global warming has dried up the billabong, and the swagman would cop a fine for an unauthorised open fire (evocative bush poetry is a much tougher gig these days).

Strictly No Camping

Camping in Australia, particularly free camping, has become a bit of a regulatory mess. There’s no federal law against pitching a tent in the Australian wilderness, but there is an overlapping hodgepodge of state laws, regional policies and council red tape. National Parks are usually the state government’s business, but local shires control roadside campgrounds, some caravan parks, and anything without official NP status.

But should we have the right to pitch our tent anywhere? If we’re careful and pick up our rubbish, where’s the harm? It’s just a patch of dirt, after all.

That’s the argument put forward by most campers. But anyone in the regional tourism industry will tell you: things are never that simple

 

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