Camping is a very popular way to travel and spend time in new places. Still, there are specific rules to follow when it comes to camping, and there are designated areas where you can camp. You may be wondering if you’re allowed to camp on the side of the road to avoid paying to camp at a campground.
You cannot camp on the side of the road in Queensland. Roadside camping is not allowed in the state, and you can receive a violation and a fine for doing so. This rule was put in place by Australian authorities to protect both campers’ safety and the safety of those driving on the road.
In this article, I will go into detail about why you can’t camp on the side of the road. I’ll also cover some great areas to set up camp in Queensland.
Why Can’t You Camp On the Side Of the Road In Queensland?
You can’t camp on the side of the road in Queensland because it is against the law and generally considered unsafe. Anyone camping illegally on the side of the road may be issued a fine by the police. In some cases, a warning may be issued in place of a fine, depending on the circumstance.
This rule is in place for safety reasons. If everyone was allowed to camp on the side of the road, it could be hazardous for both the campers and those driving on the road. Collisions could occur due to drivers not paying attention.
Also, if a vehicle needed to pull over for an emergency, the campers might be blocking that area, leading to another set of issues for the driver. If a driver has a tire blowout or their brakes go out, they’ll want to pull over to get safely out of traffic. You don’t want to be blocking their path to safety.
Can You Camp At A Rest Area?
You can’t camp at a rest area in Queensland. However, you can stay in your camper to sleep overnight. As stated by the Queensland government, your vehicle or camper can’t stay for longer than 20 hours. Staying for longer than this is illegal unless signage in the vicinity states otherwise.
Rest areas are made for travellers who need to stop and get a break from driving. They’re also there so that if you’re too tired to drive, you can pull over and get some sleep in a safe area. Truck drivers use these all the time to stay overnight.
Staying there to sleep for a bit is allowed for any driver. However, you would need to stay inside your camper and not set up tents or furniture outside of your camper. Also, make sure you are parked correctly in a spot and not in a prohibited area.
Where To Camp For Free In Queensland
There are many campsites in Queensland built specifically for campers. Some are even free if you need somewhere to camp for a limited time.
Here are a few places that you can camp for free in Queensland:
- Little Yabba Creek Park, Sunshine Coast Hinterland
- Babinda Rest Area, Cairns Region
- Bushy Park, Townsville Region
Read on to learn more about each of these locations.
Little Yabba Creek Park, Sunshine Coast Hinterland
You can camp at Little Yabba Creek Park for a maximum of 20 hours. There are also bathrooms and grills available for BBQs. These are available for campers to use free of charge. There is also a nature walk starting at the campsite, perfect for a peaceful activity with incredible scenery of the Sunshine Coast region.
Babinda Rest Area, Cairns Region
The Babinda rest area is for campers only and has a free 72-hour maximum stay. This campsite is located near the Babinda River, which is a beautiful place to see. They have restrooms, a BBQ area, coin-operated hot showers, drinking water, sinks, and a dump area for all your camping needs.
Bushy Park, Townsville Region
Bushy Park is creekside camping, giving you beautiful scenery while camping. This campsite is free for a maximum of 48 hours. They have restrooms, cold showers, fire pits, water, and a BBQ area. Please note that the free water available at this campground is not intended for drinking.
Camping In Queensland That Charges Per Night
If you’re planning on camping in one area for an extended period and don’t mind paying to camp there, then there are also many options to choose from in Queensland:
- Cylinder Beach, Minjerribah Campground
- Tweebine’s Soul Nourishing Escape
- Bunya Mountain National Park
These are all great options for campers that are willing to pay. Read more to learn about each campground and its notable features.
Cylinder Beach, Minjerribah Campground
Cylinder Beach is a beautiful campground that offers different styles of camping. They have designated areas for tents, and they also have houses and buildings if you wish to stay in those. Their prices vary depending on your camping style and the number of days you decide to stay.
Cylinder Beach is great for surfing or just spending a relaxing day at the beach. This campground also has many excellent features such as restrooms, showers, power, water, washing machines, a playground, a BBQ area, and free Wi-Fi.
Tweebine’s Soul Nourishing Escape
At Tweebine’s campground, there are many spots to camp across the 7 acres of land. There is a dam nearby that gives you access to fishing. You can also bring your pets along while camping. This campground is not for those who prefer “glamping” because there are no restrooms, showers, laundry, or potable water.
Bunya Mountains National Park
At the Bunya Mountains National Park, there are several campsites in the area to choose from. Dandabah campsite is more for RVs and Caravans, whereas Westcott and Burton Wells are better for camping in tents.
Bunya mountain has beautiful pine trees, and the chances of seeing a wild kangaroo are pretty high. Their campgrounds have showers and a BBQ area, and you can have your own campfire.
Apps For Camping
If you need more help finding free campsites, there are several helpful apps you can download on your phone. Wikicamps or Campermate: Best Camping App provide up-to-date information regarding different types of campgrounds and their facilities.
Camping alongside a road is not allowed in Queensland. This rule is in place for the safety of the campers and also of those driving on the road. You could receive a ticket or fine from law enforcement for doing so. You may stop at a rest area to sleep if you are too tired to drive.
Various campsites offer free stays anywhere from 20 – 72 hours. For campsites that charge for you to stay, there are many great affordable options to choose from.
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