When planning your road trip it is a good idea to use rest stops or rest areas to break your journey and overcome driver fatigue. A Google Search can provide you with a list of maps with Driver Reviver stops operating. Driver Reviver stops provide tea, coffee and a biscuit as well as restroom facilities.
Although the rules can vary from state to state in Australia, rest stops and heavy vehicle areas are not to be used for free camping. As a general rule, overnight camping is not permitted within a 50 klm radius of the nearest commercial camping ground/caravan park. You can be fined for illegal use of rest areas or overstaying the time limits.
The rules for the length of the stay in a rest area vary depending on the controlling authority whether it be the Road Transport Authority or local council. For example, in Queensland, the Queensland Government website states you can stay up to 20 hours, including overnight, at some Main Roads’ rest areas.
A list of the rest areas including the GPS co-ordinates can be downloaded from their website. Where a rest stay is permitted it will normally be signposted. The Northern Territory Government website states ‘Road users may not stay at any one rest area for longer than 24 hours’.
Caravans and RV’ers should not use Heavy Vehicle Rest Areas or stopping places as these areas provide rest and safety for truck drivers. For the purpose of the legislation caravans are not consider to be heavy vehicles.
Visitor Information Centres/Welcome Centres
Most towns and cities have visitor information centres or welcome centres to provide a host of local information. Information is provided on places to stay, places to dine, recreational activities such as fishing, whale watching, kayaking plus local tourist attractions. You can obtain tourist information brochures, local road maps, maps for walking trails as well as information for you to participate in guided walks or organised tours. Local tourist information enables you to get the most out of your stay in an area.
Some visitor information or welcome centres have large car parks to enable you to park and temporarily leave your RV. There is also a few information centres that provide taps for access to water as well as facilities (dump points) to enable you to dispose of chemical toilet waste.
Travelling Australia – for those touring Australia in a caravan, motorhome, campervan, trailer or 5th wheeler see here for details of maps and travel publications.
Some publications provide GPS co-ordinates and Google Earth can also be used to view an area in photographic form.