Free camping grounds are not a tip!!!

How many complaints do we hear, about litterbugs leaving their mess behind? It’s like a broken record, yet still, there is nothing done to prevent it by council or park owners. 

It would be a lie if we said it was all roses and chocolate-coated wonderment out on the road. Most bloggers post the glorious adventure, but the facts are, it is also an eye-opener. Some travellers do not appreciate the kind gesture by local councils who allow overnight or short term free camping, and are hell bent on ruining it for us all. We normally have to pull into three or four stopovers before deciding to stay. The reason being, are poor to no facilities or the site is a tip. Paper and plastic has blown against trees and fences. The new litter and smashed bottled make us shudder. The rubbish left by these lazy uncaring travellers is a signs of derelict out-of-control behaviour. Uneducated Australians deliberately destroy the campsite for others. 

I blame this unacceptable behaviour on the education of poor hygiene and health, and the rest lays on the shoulders of the caretakers of these rest areas or parks. The council also has much to answer for as well. It is not unreasonable to expect better as a traveller who frequents these overnight stops. Whether it be an RV friendly site located central to business or a campsite just outside of town, the council is saying, stop, come enjoy what we offer as a community. Then scratch their heads when a mess is left, when they don’t even bother to provide a bin, toilet facilities, hand washing, or put up signs preventing litter such as… You will be fined if you litter. The mamby pamby signs stating you might be fined if you litter is such a soft approach, why bother. Who cares. No one, it is showing. Grow a pair and get some shock value signage. Like, using the ground to poo on and leaving soiled dunny paper behind can cause others or yourselves to get hepititis. (This, the reason as kids we were taught never to eat while near a toilet. And why washing your hands after going to the toilet is so important.) Other rubbish left is a source of serious bacteria if left to fester. Listeria can kill the elderly and cause misscarriges. To others, it gives flu like symptoms. Salmonella can make you vomit and feel unwell for up to 72hours. 

There are two categories of campers who have different needs and wants. One group travel Australia in self-contained vans, RVs and fifth wheelers. They need a dump point and a bin for rubbish.

The other group travel on legs or anything that has wheels. On a pushbike, motorbike, and in a car. Some splash out on a rooftop tent and others on a camper trailer that can go any track anywhere. They need toilet facilities, hand washing facilities and a bin.

These should be provided without thought to any overnight or free campsite. The money travellers pump into the communities near these sites over the last hundred year’s or so should have more than been enough to have these facilities built. And a bit of professionalism shown by the addition of good strong signage stating not to litter, and why? Or not to shit on the ground, and why? Would be beneficial and maybe this issue we have in 2022 might not have been one.

Custodians of these sites, it’s never to late to pick up the standards and change attitudes. 

And it’s great to see Australians enjoying their own country. Because, no matter in what form of transport, those we meet are lovely people, like-minded with one mission, not to miss that next magic view and to experience everything our wonderful country offers. Let’s keep it that way and from now on, bag it and take it until a bin is found. 

Unfortunately some of these happy campers, and not pointing a finger at any one in particular, just at the slobs who come to visit this vast land, do bring with them bad habits and bad attitues. This group are uneducated or just spoilt and plain lazy. While not being watched, or maybe where there are no bins provided, these select few will leave their rubbish for others to pick up instead of taking it with them to the next available bin. They are surely from households where mummy picks up after them. Away from home they selfishly think we other campers are now their mummies. Hello! Lazy litterbugs, big news. We are not. So, pick up your darn rubbish and take it with you from now on. 


What to do now! 

I say to the council of that region if there is no bin, toilet, picnic table or dump point, what do you think those not able to carry their own facilities onboard will do. I’ll tell you what they do. They poop and pee behind your bushes if there are no toilets. Toss the used dunny paper on the ground to float about and cause bacteria and pathogens. Leaving other campers open too many diseases for those sitting or sleeping on the ground. You, as the custodians of these campsites, have a duty of care for those using your overnight facilities to offer uncontaminated grounds to camp. There must be at least a toilet with a sink and tap to allow those cooking to have handwashing facilities. Bins are a must as many cannot carry rubbish bags with them to the next stop or stop after that if they are walking, biking it or travelling in a confined small vehicle. And for us in the vans, RVs and fifth wheelers, we need a bin and a dump point as a minimum supply.


Bag it! Bin it! Or, take it with you!

And where are the signs on litterbug fines? Reminding people not to litter and why. We are in a campground today with a toilet, bins, and a dump point. No rubbish to be seen except remains of glass bottles childishly smashed on the ground.

Why not bring in a policy “glass-free campground” anyone caught drinking from beer bottles will be fined. Would rather that in place than the grounds be closed to the public. I mean, at events now it’s no bottles allowed rule. It makes sense to me to continue this rule in campgrounds if travellers can’t resist pissy destructive behaviour.

And in saying that, I haven’t seen or heard advertising about littering for years. All these people need to learn and be reminded, and some only do when they are hit at the hip pocket and get fined.

What happens if you litter in Australia?

Looking at all the individual states, there is a penalty of between $250.00 to $3,000 depending on if the litter is harmful to another person. Broken glass bottles, needles, etc would be on the seriously dangerous side and could incur jail time as well. (Please check the state travelling in for further information on penalties for littering. This is only an overview of the information found after a search on the government sites.)

Country in a litter, literally 

With more and more people travelling in Australia rather than the world, it’s time government and councils worked together on a strategy before we have a serious outbreak of disease, unwellness or worse.

Poor facilitated overnight rest areas and poor policing of these areas will come back to bite you if it is not nipped in the butt, now.

Considering the revenue the outback remote areas gain from us using these rest areas, it is well worth considering.

Nowhere hide!

When we first started travelling, many we spoke with, blamed the litter on tourists and backpackers from overseas. But what we see is fresh garbage remains and the blame game has to stop. It’s been nearly three years since our first lock down when international travel ceased. We must clean up our own backyard before pointing any further fingers. We cannot expect others to care for our country if we don’t. 

So if you are a traveller who can’t be bothered cleaning up your mess, or a newbie traveller, from this day forward, carry garbage bags and make a pact to bag it and put it in the bin. If no bin, take it for a ride until one is found. Done!

Shebbie Out!