Camping is a popular outdoor activity for families, friends, and couples. Many campgrounds offer organized programs for kids as well. Camping is a great way to get out of the city and enjoy nature, however, there are some places that you might not be able to camp if you’re under 18 in Australia.
You cannot go camping alone in Australia if you’re under 18 but there are ways around this. The rules differ depending on where you live, your state or territory. Nevertheless, you can stay overnight with permission as long as you’re with an adult who is permitted to be at the campsite.
Australia requires individuals to be at least 18 years of age before travelling on their own. This might seem like a setback for those seeking an outdoor adventure, but with the help of this article, you’ll learn how you can still get that camping trip in.
Can You Go Camping Under 18?
You cannot go camping if you’re under 18 in Australia. While there are many fun activities for people of all ages, some require you to be accompanied by a legal guardian or parent. One example is camping. Many campsites don’t allow those under 18 to use their services without adult supervision.
In New South Wales, any person below 15 years of age cannot camp overnight on land without written permission from their parent or guardian. What’s more, that permission must be carried at all times while they’re out camping.
In Victoria, minors need to obtain written consent from their parents before they can camp. Although it’s possible to camp and fish as a minor with an adult present, there may be some additional restrictions based on your age.
Why Are Teenagers Not Allowed To Camp Alone?
Teenagers are not allowed to camp alone because being away from home means you will be completely independent. You won’t have parental support whatsoever when you need it. If anything goes wrong – and things can go wrong pretty quickly when camping – you will be entirely on your own.
Although most campers do everything they can to ensure their safety when they are out on their own, sometimes accidents happen regardless of how careful someone might be. With no one else around to help, if something does go wrong, a potentially life-threatening situation could arise.
Many parks don’t want youngsters wandering around at night without adult supervision. They definitely don’t want young campers cooking over open fires on their own. The bottom line is that overnight campgrounds are for organized groups of people or individuals travelling with someone who is at least 18 years or older.
Risks Associated With Underage Camping
Many risks come with camping, especially for teens. The most significant risk is getting lost or injured in the wilderness. Teens might also not be aware of the wildlife in their area and could become a target for animals. Parents need to teach their children about these dangers before they go out on their own.
Exhaustion from physical activity or lack of sleep is also common among younger campers, as going for walks or hikes can quickly wear out young muscles. Furthermore, dehydration and exposure to heat, cold, or rain are common causes of death in underage camping incidents.
Teenagers under the age of 18 may not fully appreciate the potential dangers involved in risky activities such as putting them at risk of severe injuries or even death. Because of this, teens need to wait until they turn 18 years old before camping alone.
How To Go Camping Legally Under 18 In Australia
There are many different ways to be admitted to a campsite. To camp legally while under 18 in Australia, make sure that you’re in an official camping area where permission is granted by the local council. This includes getting an access permit, camping on public land, and booking a campsite before you arrive.
If you want to camp alone, your parents can reserve a campsite for you by contacting a national park and requesting one. On most rural land, any person over 12 years of age can camp without a license but must still abide by local laws and regulations. In some cases, children under 14 are also allowed to camp as long as adults are with them.
The only difference between camping rules on public and private land is that you may have to pay for a camping license when camping on personal property.
While still legal in national forests, camping generally needs to be done within designated campsites. This can often mean creating a camp with vehicle access and toilets nearby, which may not be everyone’s idea of camping.
As long as you are outdoors on public land and are self-sufficient, meaning you can cater to your own needs without any outside help, there are no age restrictions in dispersed camping.
A nice compromise is to just drive a short distance off the road and pitch your tent in a secluded area away from vehicles. Using public land for dispersed camping means you’ll have fewer amenities nearby, but it also means you won’t be bothered by other campers.
How To Go Camping Without Adult Supervision
Those under 18 can go camping by following these tips:
- Get an adult to accompany you during your camping. This can be a friend or family member you trust to look out for your safety just in case.
- Stop at the nearest state park and look for campsites that provide camping training for people with minimal camping experience. This can be another option. Fortunately, these campsites don’t have any age restrictions.
- Campgrounds and parks will require proof of your identity. Generally speaking, those under 18 can’t rent vehicles without adult supervision. However, you can hire one through a car rental company or get a designated friend or family member to drop you off/pick you up from a campsite. Alternatively, if you know someone (over 25) who owns a car, they may be willing to drive you around during your holiday.
This article has hopefully made it clear that you can go camping in Australia under 18 with a bit of preparation. Make sure you are aware of the restrictions in place and the necessary paperwork required, and you will be well on your way to an enjoyable camping trip.
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