It is no secret that these days, Australia’s economy is killing it. Minimum wage on the continent is higher than most regular jobs in the states, and the cost of living definitely shows a place that wasn’t hit hard by the global downturn. Though it is great for people living in Oz, for visitors, this translates into high prices. Budget traveling is an absolute battle for backpackers. One way to save some money while visiting the land down under is to head back into the wild.
Whether you want to call it free or wild camping, pitching a tent away from paid campsites is one way to save money while visiting Australia. The cost is free, and the risk is often times rewarded with waking up to beautiful real estate that penny-pinching backpackers couldn’t afford. But, the risk is there. Wild camping in Australia is illegal. It can result in large fines and rude awakenings. If you are ready to take the leap, though, there are some tips that can help you stay out of trouble and keep the tradition alive.
The most important thing when wild camping in Australia is to find a place that is somewhat hidden. While I’m not saying you have to be an expert in camouflage, finding a place that isn’t surrounded by lights is a good thing. The easiest place to free camp is on the beach. With the east coast boasting beautiful beaches from start to finish, finding a secluded, dimly light area to set up shop is great. The key is finding paths far away from businesses or houses, and if they don’t have signs stating no camping, you are in an even better state.
While camping on the beach, make sure you stay far enough from the coast if the tide changes. While the tide may look far away when you fall asleep, low and high tide fluctuations are malleable, and if you don’t set up far enough back, you are going to wake up in the ocean. On that same note, a lot of beaches are backed by bushes, dunes, or other obstacles hiding you from the main road. Camping near the backing helps keep you out of plain sight.
If you are going to wild camp in Oz, make sure you do it right. After finding your secret spot, make sure you leave it the way you found; no trash and no mess. Even if there is trash on the beach, maybe you could pick some up as thanks for the free place to stay. Along with the other tips, waking up early and getting out fast is a great way to stay out of trouble.