Australia is packed full of beautiful beaches! So beautiful that sometimes you just wanna spend all day and all night there. If you love the great outdoors, and you love the beach you might be wondering “Is it legal to Camp on the Beach?”.
To put it simply, yes, but only in designated areas. While beaches can stretch for kilometres in Australia, local and federal laws limit beach camping to designated areas.
This is so campers can be safely monitored should an emergency occur. While some camping enthusiasts might be peeved to find out not all beaches are available for camping, the beaches that are, are highly regulated to make sure that they conform to state and federal regulations, and to make sure that they have some handy modern facilities, such as showers and toilets.
Which beaches can you camp on?
There are a lot of beaches and beach areas in Australia allow campers to set up a campsite. Some might require a fee on entry, while others host completely free beach camping. Depending on the campsite, they might have different camping laws. New South Wales (NSW), for example, requires campsites to have a license in order to operate.
However, National Parks are out of the NSW jurisdiction, so you’ll have to ask each National Park authority on their exact rules regarding camping, for more information visit their website. For local beaches and campsites outside the authority of the Federal Government, you’ll have to consult their own individual websites.
Where Can I Camp On The Beach?
Usually, campers are forbidden from setting up near the waters. Camping parks usually have a designated area where people can set up their tents. These areas are easily accessible, usually illuminated by lights and have access to toilets and showers.
What Should I Bring For Beach Camping?
First, you’ll want to bring a nice and sturdy tent. Whether it’s it’s just you, or you’ve got a whole family, just make sure that the tent is sturdy enough to withstand the elements. Most tents will usually have their certifications and limitations on the packaging. You should also be aware of the limitations of the campsite you’re headed to. Some of them have a limit as to how large each tent should be. If you’re camping as a group, you might need to buy smaller tents in order to follow the rules of the campsite.
Second, bring adequate food and water. There’s nothing like some nice hearty camp-food, and water is important for obvious reasons, a good rule of thumb in case of emergency is to bring an extra two days worth of drinking water than you need.
As for food, you can either bring prepackaged or pre-cooked meals so that you can just grab them and enjoy. If you want to cook food from a portable stove, or a campfire, you’ll have to consult the rules of the campsite. Some campsites outright forbid cooking, as it might cause a forest fire to break out. There are also some campsites that only allow cooking at certain times of the year. Campfires are usually not allowed during the dry season, as a small fire can grow out of control really fast. If you don’t check the fire laws of your campsite, your liable to catch yourself a nasty fine.
Third, bring fun activities! Some beaches allow you to set up temporary markers or stints for a couple sports like beach volleyball or soccer. If you’re camping with kids, a little bucket and shovel for a sandcastle can be a go a long way toward keeping them entertained.
Beach camping etiquette
Camping can be so much fun, so no-one can blame you for getting a little carried away but you should always remember that campgrounds are public spaces. Most of the time, there will be other people around you trying to enjoy the campground.
Here’s a quick list of things that we consider tried and true beach camping etiquette:
Pick the right kind of campsite
Some campsites are great for dog friendly camping, while some become well known for a very niche activity (for example, 4WD beach camping). Take your time to look around for the perfect campsite that fills your wants and needs. You don’t want to be accidentally breaking any laws!
Pick up after your own litter
Bring a trash bag and minimize the mess you make. Consider using reusable containers.
Don’t let yourself get stinky. Campsites are required to have showering facilities so make sure to shower at least once per day to keep yourself fresh and clean.
Respect personal space
If the beach isn’t cramped or brimming with people, set up your campsite a good distance away from others. As long as you respect other people’s privacy, they’ll respect yours.
Be courteous to the police and rangers
Campgrounds can sometimes be a source of petty crime such as stealing. In the camping season, police will often take a few round trips through campsites to make sure that the peace is kept. Rangers will also go around to make sure that campers are following the rules of the campsite. As long as you follow their advice, they won’t bother you much.