‘Looks like a caravan park’: Noosa locals enraged over driver camping in car park

Residents in the popular tourist area are fed up with tourists “clogging up” car parks by staying overnight.

A photo of a learner driver camping at a popular beach car park has emerged online – with one resident taking the photo and urging the local council to “get some teeth and get serious” on enforcing the overnight parking ban.

The parking incident occurred in Noosa Woods Bay, Queensland, on 17 March 2024 – with the enraged local posting the image to Facebook, where he added, “This was not the only one overnight camping in the area”.

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According to the Noosa Shire Council, a trial overnight parking ban was introduced around the Noosa Spit Reserve to address “the growing problem of illegal camping in the area”.

The trial – which prevents anyone from parking from 10:00pm to 4:00am – started in August 2023 and stemmed from “significant frustration” felt by locals, with tourists “clogging up car parks and creating a shortage of parking for residents and visitors”.

However, travellers who are facing housing hardships are not the perpetrators authorities are targeting.

“People in genuine need due to rental and housing issues, who may be living in cars, are not the target of Council’s illegal camping enforcement efforts,” Noosa Council’s director of Development and Regulation Richard MacGillivray told Drive.

“Council Local Laws Officers are trained to recognise people in genuine need and assist with referrals to services that may be able to support them to find accommodation.”

The Facebook post garnered debate among commenters, with some in favour and some against the young driver’s actions.

“[It’s] frustrating for a local to get a car park at the national park first thing in the morning when it’s full of reversed-in camper vans. Looks like a caravan park down there,” one user wrote.

While another remarked, “God forbid someone camps in their car for free, remember when people [used] to travel down the coast for a surf and sleep in [their] car and not have to pay someone [an] exorbitant fee”.

Mr MacGillivray told Drive Noosa Council has received 84 residential complaints this year related to illegal camping.

Parking fines in Noosa can range from $77 to $116 depending on the severity of the offence – with illegal camping incurring an additional $309 fine.

Can you camp in a car park in Australia?

While each individual state and territory – as well as local councils – have their own camping regulations, generally speaking, camping in a car park is considered illegal and offenders can receive various fines and penalties.

“Camping is permitted only in licensed areas that have been assessed and deemed suitable for camping,” Parks Victoria stated on its website.

Fraser Coast Council in Queensland stated on an illegal camping fact sheet, “It is illegal to camp overnight in Local Government controlled areas which includes, but is not limited to road reserves, next to a road, in a car park or in a park”.

According to Queensland’s Land Regulation 2020 Act, “A person must not camp on a declared beach area and [that] includes camping in a vehicle”.

The Barossa Council in South Australia echoed a similar statement on its website, “Travellers must be mindful that within the Barossa region, it is prohibited to use any public reserve, car park … for camping or overnight stays. People found camping in public areas can face an on-the-spot fine”.

The post ‘Looks like a caravan park’: Noosa locals enraged over driver camping in car park appeared first on Drive.

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