Can I live in a caravan on my own land in Australia? (5+ alternatives)

In this blog, we will answer the following question: Can I live in a caravan on my own land in Australia? We will also offer you several options for legal parking and long-term staying in a caravan in Australia. 

Can I live in a caravan on my own land in Australia?

You can live in a caravan on your own land in Australia, but on a temporary basis only. Thus, you cannot live in a caravan on private property for more than 30 days a year, and you have to have the basic conditions for a living (sleeping place, toilet, kitchen facilities).

Here are the laws you need to know and follow regarding living in a caravan in Australia:

  • You will not reside in a caravan/motorhome on private land for more than 30 days/year;
  • You should not pay a licence fee, rent or any other fee if renting private land;
  • You have access to toilet facilities and you do not dispose inappropriately of the wastewater. 
  • The caravan is parked at least 6 meters away from the front of the property and at least 1.2 meters away from the side of a building (if there is one). 
  • The land where the caravan is parked is not an official residential zone. 

To resume, you cannot live full-time in a caravan on your own land in Australia. You will have to find other solutions, so keep reading for a few essential tips. 

Is it legal to live in a caravan in Australia?

The Australian government doesn’t exactly prohibit living in a caravan, yet, you are not allowed to park your caravan and live in it anywhere you want. Some areas have certain restrictions, and some local governments are more permissive than others.

You could either (a) take a risk and move around for several days or (b), discuss with someone from your local council. 

Where to park a caravan in Australia long-term?

Australia is a country very prepared for the world of vans and caravans. Many people choose this option to tour the country, especially Australians themselves, so the whole country is well prepared for it. However, you should know that in most states it is completely forbidden to camp freely. That is, it is only allowed to spend the night in the duly indicated areas.

Here we leave you some of the most common options that you can find to sleep when travelling Australia by van or caravan:

  • Free public camping or service areas

They are areas where it is allowed to sleep in the van or caravan, or even in the car, completely free of charge. Some of these campsites have a limit of stay (24 or 48 hours normally) and a maximum limit of places. 

There is usually an information sign explaining if it is allowed to spend the night (“overnight stay”) and what the rules of the enclosure are. The facilities that you can find will vary depending on the site. We have found service areas that had everything (bathrooms, showers, drinking water, barbecue, tables, etc.) to mere parking lots without even lighting.

Other questions you may be interested in

Can you buy a piece of land and live in a caravan?

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  • “RV Friendly” Villages

There are several “RV friendly” towns across Australia. Normally you will find the sign that indicates it at the entrance and exit of the town. These are towns in which they have enabled an area determined to let people who travel by van or caravan sleep for free. 

These places are usually public squares, public parking lots, areas where the “rodeo” is practised, old train stations, etc. Sometimes they are very well equipped (with a bathroom, free Wi-Fi, showers, food areas …) and in others, it is just a parking lot on the outskirts of town. The aim of these towns is to attract travellers to spend the night there and leave some money at local businesses (gas stations, bakeries, supermarkets, etc.).

  • Public paid campsites 

Also called “campgrounds”. They are public but you have to pay, usually between 10 and 15 dollars per vehicle (2 people).

They are usually located in national parks or state parks. They are guarded by the “rangers” and usually have good facilities. In some states, such as Queensland, the prior online reservation is required (the easiest thing to do is stop at a visitor centre to manage it), while in others the same ranger at the entrance is in charge of charging. 

Finally, there is also the option of the “honesty boxes”, which are mailboxes in which you have to leave the corresponding money (in point 3.6 we tell you in more detail how the “honesty boxes” work).

  • Private campsites

They are like public campsites but privately owned, which makes them a bit more expensive. The quality and quantity of the facilities can vary greatly. Prices usually start at $ 15-20.

  • Caravan Parks 

These are fully equipped private campsites. Usually, the owners live right there. They usually offer all kinds of facilities, from hot showers to swimming pools or mini-golf. 

In the caravan parks, you are guaranteed a hot shower, plugs to charge your devices, a power outlet for your van (powered site) if you need it, and equipped kitchen, etc. Prices for caravan parks usually start at $ 20-25 (for an unpowered site).

  • Other options

On the same street, in the parking lot of a restaurant, on a farm, in a neighbour’s garden … Any option is good as long as it is legal, or that you want to take the risk. 

In certain secluded streets, you will sometimes see people sleeping. If that is not allowed, you risk a possible fine (up to $ 200) and/or being woken up by a ranger banging on the window at 3:00 in the morning to kick you out.

 Sometimes you will find some restaurant-pubs that will let you sleep in their private parking lot whenever you consume something (a few beers, a dinner). And other times you will find nice people along the way that the patio of their house or the garage of their farm will offer you so that you can park your van and sleep there.

The bottom line

Our final advice is to speak with someone from your local council. There are rules and exceptions to the rules. It is best to ask directly what are the laws in your state, and whether you can reside for more than 30 days in the same place and what are the conditions and the exceptions to the rule.

If you have any questions or comments on the content, please let us know!

FAQ on Can I live in a caravan on my own land in Australia?

Can I live in a caravan on my land?

You can live in a caravan on your land, but there are a few rules to follow. Caravans and motorhomes can remain on the grounds of a primary residence, but only between uses. They must in no case lose their mobile nature, otherwise, they will be considered as a fixed installation by the municipality.

Can I put a caravan in my garden?

You can install your caravan in your garden without authorization if you are not using it as a home or as an annexe to your home. The caravan must permanently retain its means of mobility (wheels, drawbar, etc.) in order to be able to leave its location at any time.

Can I put a trailer on my land?

To put a trailer on one’s land, the owner of a trailer must have the mayor’s parking authorization to install his trailer on his land. If the trailer is fixed, a building permit is required.

How to live on non-building land?

It is not allowed to live year-round on any non-building land. You can set up a tent or request authorization from the town hall for your caravan or mobile home.

References

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