How to Beach Camp Legally | Everything You Need to Know

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If you’re a traveller, you are supposed to know the rules and policies in the area you’re going to, especially when you decided to go camping. Beach Camping is famous all over the world, especially during the summer season when the sun is high, and all the people are up for an adventure in the coastlines. So, what are the things you should know when Beach Camping?

Beach Camping legally is something you must be aware of when camping, specifically in the wild. There may be a lot of snags that you may bump into particularly when you decided to stay in unfamiliar territory. Free or wild camping is prohibited yet tolerated in many areas in Australia depending on the region. 

So, if you’re planning to go to the beach on your next trip, you should read this post. Here are all the things that you need to know about beach camping…

What Should I Know About Legal Beach Camping?

Beach Camping is a popular recreation activity in Australia, and it brings people together. Australia is surrounded by a wide range of coastlines that will surely satisfy your thirst in an adventure. The great thing is, whatever beaches you prefer, there will always be a place that is perfect for you. The warm sand, precious marine life, is just a few hour drives whenever you are in Australia.

Wild Camping is not permitted in some places in Australia, especially in the Northern part so that you’ll need a permit to camp anywhere outside an authorised area. Still, on the west side, they only allow camping in the designated spot. 

What Are The Basic Rules In Beach Camping Legally? 

To Beach Camp legally, you must have the ability to consider these things:

  • Rule of the thumb: Always bring your license to drive.
  • You must be aware of the rules and policies given by the local authorities to avoid incidents.
  • If you’re camping in the wild, you must search online and ask if permits are required. 
  • You must not camp on dunes – always think of the environment.
  • Be alert and mindful of the tides. Preferably, a grassed area at the back of the beach is suitable for pitching your tents or parking your campers.
  • Have a sand trap – a mat to avoid having sands in your campers or tents.
  • Beware of the local guidelines. Bring your rubbish home.
  • Do not swim alone. In some beaches, there will be no lifeguards roaming around, so you must have company while floating on the beach.
  • Do not drive on the dunes even if you are bringing your 4WD.
  • Before getting somewhere else, always check and verify your info online.

Beach Camping in Every State and Territory in Australia

The country’s coastline is dotted with camping opportunities that give nature-lovers the chance to spend the night alongside the ocean. So, we stacked every Australian state and territory against one another for you to find your next destination. 

Beach Camping in Queensland

Fraser Island is situated off the coast or Harvey and offers good campsites with excellent facilities like common toilets, tap, sinks and gas barbecues. They also have four different points in the Island; Waddy Point Beach Front, Waddy Point Top, Central Station and Dundubara that are all world-class beaches.

Formal or Informal Camping are held here, and beautiful campsites are located just behind the sands. Both types of camping require permits and 4WD and must be an experienced driver when driving in sands. They also have beautiful attractions that you will enjoy and Holiday parks nearby.

Holiday Parks includes Harvey Bay has Palms Caravan Pak and Harbour View Caravan Park nearby, Airlie Beach that has Airlie Cove Resort and Van Park and Island Gateway Holiday Park. Lastly, Rainbow Beach is near Rainbow Beach Holiday Village and Rainbow Water Holiday Park. 

Moreton Island is a stunning island located 40-kilometre offshore of Brisbane. One of the best beach camps in the world and has a 37-kilometre stretch of coastlines. Before you can camp in Moreton, you will need an appropriate camping permit, and you can hop on a car ferry along with your vehicle to camp in secluded areas.

Moreton has ten majestic beach camps with breathtaking adventures and calm waters that will surely soothe you. Moreton Island is a paradise situated offshore from Brisbane. It is a stretch of white sandy beaches and crystal clear blue waters that make the place ideal for swimming, surfing, fishing, and camping.

Beach Camping in Western Australia

The most excellent adventure of your life is probably sitting on the western coast of Australia. If you love water adventures during your holiday, Cape Leveque Dampier Peninsula is a worthy choice if you’re coming to Western Australia. They have 26 different campsites both have motorised and no motorised electricity sites. The area is excellent for your campervan, but you will need a 4WD to explore the area. 

There are numerous beaches that you can choose from like Belvidere, Yallingup, Hamelin bay, Conto and Four Mile. With its incredible 12,900 kilometres of coastline, Western Australia is the best beach camping capital. The stunning surf spots and bays with hypnotising views, and clear blue waters that are perfect for snorkelling and swimming, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, beach fishing and boating. It is best to beach camp In Western Australia in the winter because floods are frequent during summer. 

Beach Camping in Victoria

The beautiful shores of Otways will mesmerise you while you’re enjoying fishing when beach camping. Get relaxed by the ocean after a long and hectic week with the historic Shipwreck Coast and build your camp behind the dunes. You can find both unpowered and powered camping sites that are suitable for the ones who like raw camping, and a protected area near the Curdies River inlet. 

This area is a beautiful place for swimming, diving, fishing, surfing and sail boating. Rocky shores are visible that would not be suitable for kids, yet adults would love. You do not have to get permits just to camp in Victoria, but it doesn’t mean that you must neglect the rules. 

Johanna Beach in the Great Otway and Apollo bay are the beaches you should not miss. 

So, if you’re planning on going to a beach camp in Victoria region, keep in mind that summer season here will be hot and dry, and winters are going to be windy and wet. There are plenty of choices for the beaches in Victoria, so plan your itinerary wisely.

Beach Camping in Tasmania

Tasmania and its beautiful scenic beach camping sites boast Australia’s wonders. If you love picturesque places and nature, you should visit this place. The best way to explore is by pitching your tent and watching the beautiful sunset on one of its beaches. 

Some of the best beaches in Tasmania have no facilities, so you will have to bring your food, water, fuel and other essential gear. 

If you want to know the best way to experience beach camping, you should check out Coles Bay that is close to BIG 4 Iluka on Freycinet, and Binalong Bay that is close to both Hillcrest Tourist Park and Mini Market and BIG4 St Helens Caravan Park. Also, the best time to organise a holiday getaway trip for Tasmania is in November up to early March.

Beach Camping in New South Wales

The secluded beach campsites of New South Wales are what makes it peculiar, so its unspoilt beaches are the natural treasures of the region. From the basics through the rough glamping route, coastlines are ideal for fishing, boating, surfing, and swimming. So if you’re tired of city life, the beaches in NSW are your remedy.

If you’re planning your camping trip right now, you might want to consider checking out Little Beach, Tallow Beach, Coledale, and Bristol Point. You can bring your campers and park on the bushy portion of the side and bring your permits if you need to.

Beach Camping in Northern Australia

Camping is an accessible experience in both the Top End, in Darwin, around Alice Springs, and all of Central Australia.

The NT’s national parks and reserves are well-equipped for camping, whether you’re staying in a caravan or camper trailer, on a sleeping bag under the stars, or pitching a tent. Many national parks have dedicated camping areas with toilets and showers, bins, barbecues and tables.

Most campgrounds work on an honesty system—put your money in the box when you enter. Some campsites are only accessible by four-wheel drive (4WD) vehicle.

One of the surprisingly few coastal campgrounds in NT suitable for caravans (the crocs might have something to do with this), Lodge of Dundee packs a lot of facilities into this scenic beachside location, 150km from Darwin.

What Is the Difference Between Illegally and Legally Beach Camping?

In different states in Australia, there are different laws in wild or free camping. Illegal camping usually occurs when you camp in an unauthorised or well-protected area without a permit. Permits are your only ticket to camp in the area, or otherwise, you will face illegality and consequences in your action. 

In New South Wales, legal camping must promote safety, enjoyment, and sustainability. Also, there are a lot of rules that must be followed, such as water supply, toilet, and fire prevention facilities to ensure the safety of the visitors. Usually, bringing your caravans or other campers does not require the local council’s permission. However, the extension of annexes in caravan parks must comply with relevant requirements.

Which National Parks Allow Beach Camping?

National Parks in Australia have the most exquisite beaches where you can choose to stay and have a great holiday vacation.

Freycinet National Park

Freycinet National Park in Tasmania is the people’s favourite choice and belongs on the top 3 most beautiful parks in Australia. This park has plenty of lovely walks, magnificent beaches and is continuously rated as one of the world’s best. There are a lot of things that you can do and see when visiting this beach like Walk to Wineglass Bay and Hazards Beach, Coles Bay, Honeymoon Bay, Friendly Beaches, Flyover Freycinet and Hazards, Eat at Tombolo Freycinet and Stay at The Blue House.

Wilsons Promontory National Park

Wilsons Promontory National Park in Victoria or The Prom is a gorgeously mind-blowing beach. This place is perfect for the campers who love walking as it has fantastic trails that you can explore while wandering the national park: the clear blue waters, squeaky white sands, and the impressive pink granite mountains. There are so many things that you can do in this place, and you can visit Sealers Cove, Norman Beach, Mount Oberon, Go walking, Stay at Tidal River Campground (where you can see wombats), and have a full-day tour from Melbourne.

Great Otway National Park

Great Otway National Park in Victoria has beaches along The Great Ocean Road. This remarkable historic site is popular among you adults that are interested in history and adventure. Aside from its shores, it also has beautiful waterfalls, the Triplet Falls where you can have your family picnics. You can also sight wild koalas in Kennett River, along the Grey River Road, visit Cape Otway Lighthouse (oldest lighthouse in Australia), try the infamous Otway Fly Treetop Walk, and take time to stopover at Melba Gully.

Port Campbell National Park

Port Campbell National Park in Victoria is also on the way to The Great Ocean Road, and you can spend a whole day staying in this beautiful site. The shocking natural rock formations, rocky coastlines, cliffs, beach walks and bits and pieces of the shipwreck, all of that you can see here. But one of the best things to do at Port Campbell is witnessing its nostalgic Sunset or sunrise at The Twelve Apostles, take a walk at Gibson Steps, take a dip at Loch Ard Gorge, London Arch, The Grotto, The Arch, and take an overnight in Port Campbell.

Jervis Bay National Park

Jervis Bay National Park in New South Wales is not your ordinary beach; it is incredible! Some of the coastal rocks are slightly covered with algae that add colour in the beach. It also has fantastic trails where you can start your walk. You can also check out Hyams Beach, Greenfields Beach, White Sands Walk and eat at Hyams Beach Cafe

Boorderee National Park

Booderee National Park in New South Wales is a pristine beach situated nearby Jervis Bay. This place is trendy among the locals because of its beautiful beach that is perfect for camping. Its crystal clear waters are flawlessly paired with the fine white sands, high cliffs and the beautiful overlooking view of the Pacific Ocean. It also has extraordinary native wildlife and is ornamented with charming botanical gardens. You can also do camping at Greenpatch Beach, check out Scottish Rocks, visit Murrays beach, and The Cape St George Lighthouse ruin.

Murramarang National Park 

Murramarang National Park in New South Wales is located 200-kilometre south of Sydney, and it is famous for the visibility of wild kangaroos hopping around the beaches. Sometimes, they even go to your tents and campers like well-trained animals. The area is also an excellent spot for swimming, surfing and bushwalking. The high Cliffside is also a must place to visit as well as Pretty Beach, Pebbly Beach, Depot Beach, Durras Beach, take a walk from Pretty Beach to Merry Beach and stay at Pretty Beach cottages. 

Burleigh Head National Park

Burleigh Head National Park in Queensland is a cosy park, yet a popular place for hiking, walking and even go on a morning jog with great views. It also has a 2.5-kilometre rainforest circuit that you can trek with your kids. While on the area, you should check and see the Oceanview circuit, Echo Beach, Tallebudgera Creek, and the stunning Tumgun Lookout.

Great Sandy National Park

Great Sandy National Park in Fraser Island. It is separated into two portions, The Cooloola section between Noosa Heads in the south and Rainbow Beach in the north. Fraser is the World’s largest sand island and one of Queensland pride and glory. This is easily accessible and wonderful to explore via 4WD and visit the other iconic beaches like 75 Mile Beach, Lake Mackenzie, Eli Creek, The Pinnacles, Maheno Shipwreck, and Rainbow Beach.

Daintree National Park

Daintree National Park in Queensland is situated in a nearby ancient rainforest that is about 110 million years old, that predates the Amazon Rainforest and the Dinosaurs. The beautiful shores are perfect for kids and adults to walk around. It was proclaimed as a World Heritage Site in 1988, and the only place where the two iconic World Heritage Sites meet — Daintree Rainforest meets the World Heritage Listed Great Barrier Reef.

If you’re visiting this spot, you might also want to check out some of its beautiful attractions like Cape Tribulation, try the Mossman Gorge and a Dreamtime Walk, head to the Daintree Discovery Centre, and visit Daintree Village. Aside from that, you can go on a road trip from Port Douglas to Cape Tribulation, Spearfishing at Cooya Beach, Cape Kimberley, Alexandra Lookout, try Mason’s Cafe and swimming hole, and join Daintree National Park tours.

What Are The Problems Caused by Illegal Camping?

  • Insufficient facilities cause unsatisfactory, and the health and safety of the campers may be put at risk, especially if the place lacks in fire safety.
  • The practice of using illegal or unpermitted caravans may cause conflicts between the campers and private property-owners, especially if they will choose to camp in a residential area. The disturbances related to noise and irresponsible disposal of rubbish due to lack of facilities may also be associated with environmental damage.
  • Illegal camping sites and caravan parks will be grounds for unfair competition. For neutrality, you must choose a campground that is legally registered and provide certain facilities. 

What Are The Things I Should Consider In Choosing Shelter Location At Beach Camp?

  • Plan your holiday trip to make the most out of your vacation.
  • Ask if the site is pet-friendly.
  • Ask if there is a curfew for noises.
  • Ask if you’re allowed to bring a generator.
  • Make sure to inquire if there are fees for adults and children that you must pay, or if you need camping permits.
  • Ask for the directions to the place, or if you need a barge or a car ferry.
  • Find an accessible yet comfortable and shady site for pitching your tent, so it would be nice if you will not pitch your tent in the sand.
  • You should consider if there are a lot of animal tracks in your preferred area. But you can also choose a different site that has less animal traffic.
  • Choose a site where you can relax and get a fantastic view of your stay.
  • When setting your camp, make yourself a cosy tent so you must clear away any pebbles or rocks that may cause disturbances in your sleep.
  • To keep yourself dry, you must lay a tarp on the ground where you’re pitching your tent and the second tarp for protection in case of rain and windy weather.
  • For more convenience, consider building your camp where it is only 100 metres away from your campsite to avoid contamination.

Where Can I Get Beach Camping Permits?

  • Pay your camping fees to get your camping permits. To secure your reservations, you must book and pay online to any online government office, so you should book early to avoid frustrations.
  • You can also get or give a permit through gift cards. An electronic gift card can be bought for 25AUD or more, so if you’re paying your gift card, it will be emailed to your account email address. However, gift cards do not reassure a reserve place in the campsite you chose and is subject for availability. Gift cards are valid until 24 months after your purchase.
  • If you’re near Queensland, you can book your permits and tag at Queensland National Parks Booking Service. You can start by making your camping account, then use the system for your booking inquiries, so you must be aware of your chosen area’s full capacity. 
  • For organised groups, they will be able to create a special account request for their bookings. This request is also to guarantee that there will be no overcrowding in the site so that they can monitor each visitor. 

What Are The Things I Can Do When Beach Camping?

  • Go Hiking
  • Try Bushwalking
  • Visit National Parks and Well-protected areas.
  • Make a Campfire (in designated areas only).
  • Watch the magnificent view.
  • Cook your food
  • Go for a Scavenger Hunt
  • Observe the beautiful wildlife
  • Swimming
  • Snorkelling
  • Surfing
  • Build a sandcastle with your kids
  • Kayaking

Related Questions

Can You Free Camp In Australia?

No, you cannot just park your caravan anywhere, build your tent then stay there overnight. There will be legal consequences according to your violation, especially if your chosen venue for your camp is unauthorised or private property. The best thing about Australia is, it has the most beautiful coastlines that are home to outstanding beaches, so no wonder it ranked first in the world. 

Where Can You Camp Freely in Australia?

Luckily, Australia has World Class National Parks with rich biodiversity. Most of them have the best free camping sites such as Freycinet National Park in Tasmania, Wilsons Promontory National Park in Victoria, Great Otway National Park in Victoria, Jervis Bay National Park in New South Wales, Booderee National Park in New South Wales and many more.

How Can I Camp For Free?

National Parks in Australia is the way to go, so you just have to find and inquire about the campsites you think are best for you. Some of the National Parks will allow you to camp for free in 14 days maximum, and you just need to have your camping permit, caravan annex permits, and licence to drive. Some of them have necessary facilities, and some of it has none, so better be observant and search thoroughly.

Is Camping Popular in Australia?

Yes, camping is one of the best things you could do in Australia. The beautiful rainforest, raw and pure coastlines will captivate you. The beautiful landscapes with extraordinary walks and hikes from easy to the hardest ones, you can find it in Australia. And because of its well-preserved ecosystem and marine life, Australia is rich in the beautiful scenery that will make your eyes pop. 

Is Camping In Australia Safe?

If you’re camping in a group, then there will be no problems in safety, just open your eyes and be aware of snakes and other wild animals in your area. Be mindful of whatever risk around your tent; make sure your tent is safe and secured. Avoid camping directly in large trees because there may be some species that may drop from the tree to your camp.

Bring a lot of food and drinking water, because not all the time you can rely on the park’s water supply. And you might want to consider the container of your food, so make sure it is air-tight to avoid spoiling. Be aware of the weather and pack your things accordingly. Bring your essentials like toiletries and a first-aid kit in case of emergency. Also, if you bring your kids, make sure to watch them avoid missing. 

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