Free Camping Code of Conduct

Posted Posted in Caravaning, Travelling

Following are excerpts of two different Free Camping Code of Conduct guidelines.

Leave No Trace – Self Containment Code of Conduct

This scheme, established for the verification of recreational vehicles which comply with the requirements of the ‘Leave No Trace Self Containment Code of Conduct’, provides an opportunity to show the controlling authorities of rest areas and camping sites with no infrastructure, that there will be no negative environmental impact when allowing the responsible use of sites by self-contained vehicles, be they self-drive or towed units.

The scheme requires all participating vehicles to have the capacity to retain ALL waste within the confines of the vehicle, and to leave NO trace whatsoever of their visit to a site.

It should be understood that participation in this scheme is a privilege and does not bring with it any rights. We also need to accept that it is a privilege for authorities to grant mobile travellers access to controlled areas.

To participate in this scheme, please complete and sign the attached Application Form and advise details of your method of payment. You must also sign the Declaration on the reverse side, stating that you agree to abide by the Code of Conduct. This is a key part of the Leave No Trace programme, as it is your commitment to at all times do the right thing by the authorities, and also to do the right thing by your fellow travellers.

Once your application has been processed, you will be forwarded a Letter of Acknowledgement and an internal sticker to be affixed to the window of your accommodation unit.

Maximum Stay

To stay in any Rest Area for a maximum of 5 nights, unless otherwise posted, or for the period that the Accommodation Vehicle can be self contained. (If the vehicle capabilities are 2 days this will become the limit. If the vehicle’s capability is for longer than 5 days, 5 days shall be the limit, unless otherwise posted.)It is obvious that every user of an RV has differing demands of their RV and will use the facilities on board in a manner that suits their needs and travelling habits. For example, some users will require more in the way of water per day than others. The use of public facilities will also need to be taken into account in determining the capacity of an RV. It is therefore difficult to determine an exact amount of water that is required for any RV for a given period of time. If your RV has limited facilities, these limitations must be taken into account when staying in one location. It is incumbent on all users of the Leave No Trace scheme to honour their Declaration and adhere to their RV’s limitations according to the spirit of the Code of Conduct. Remember to use water wisely and respect any local water restrictions.

Obtain Permission

To obtain permission to stay from the relevant authority where applicable, and to obey any posted regulations. (It may be necessary to obtain a permit from the controlling authority. In some instances a fee may be payable. Where authorities have posted signs, these will override any other considerations)Respect any location that may not be sign posted or listed in any publication. Many locations throughout the country, especially in more remote regions, offer the opportunity to stay overnight. Please remember that these locations will only be available if you uphold the spirit of the Code of Conduct. Respect any person of authority that may request you to move on.

Unacceptable Use of Fittings

To not use awnings, chairs or barbeques unless in a designated camping area. (Be aware of my surroundings and only camp in appropriate areas. For example, it may not be acceptable to set up overnight camp in a roadside rest area.)Not all locations are suitable for camping. Many locations may be suitable for just one nights rest. Please use good judgment when you decide to ‘set up camp’. Members of the public are sympathetic to an overnight rest, but are not so sympathetic to those who set up camp in an inappropriate location. Camp fires and laundry hanging from trees are certain to attract unwanted attention. Please only ‘camp’ in locations that are obviously ‘camping’ locations.

No Damage to Property

To not drive in any area or use hydraulic jacks or other levelling devices such as wooden blocks when damage may occur to soft surfaces. Heavy vehicles may damage soft surfaces through inappropriate use of levelling blocks or jacks. (Driving any vehicles on soft surfaces may cause damage.)Many locations are hard based but some are grassed. These areas can easily be damaged. Authorities will be reluctant to allow the use of these locations if users cause damage to surfaces that would require continual maintenance. Users of large, heavy vehicles should be especially cautious where they park.

Clean Up After Use

To always leave an area cleaner than I find it.It is very easy to spend five or ten minutes picking up garbage in a rest area. This single act will do more for your welcome than almost any other act. Please use a pair of gloves and put any rubbish into a plastic bag and place into any bins at the location.

Care For The Environment

To always take care of the natural environment. (If they are permitted, keep camp fires small, and do not collect firewood from inappropriate areas. Do not cut living foliage, pick wild flowers or disturb wildlife.)


To park my vehicle so as not to obstruct reasonable passage, exit or access to other vehicles or property. Please be courteous and do not park in a manner that impedes the movement of other vehicles. Many rest areas also serve as access points for local properties. Be aware of any tracks or gates. Do not park in rest areas that are used by heavy transports in a manner that impedes their movements. Always try to park to one side so that they can see you as they enter the area. Trucks are an important part of our economy, and the misuse of rest areas by RV’s may jeopardise the privilege to use the site.

Caravan Parks

To not park overnight or camp within line of sight of a Caravan Park unless in an approved overnight rest area. Caravan parks are an important part of the RVing way of life. It is essential that we support caravan parks whenever it is possible. However, we need to realise that not all caravan parks support stopping in locations other than in a commercial park. Please do not provoke any adverse response by parking where this may happen.

Litter Disposal

To dispose of all rubbish, and grey and black water in an appropriate manner. (All grey and black water MUST be retained in holding tanks or suitable sealable containers at all times, unless permitted to drain grey water onto the ground by a controlling authority.) This is the key to the Leave No Trace scheme. When you leave a site, ensure that you only leave tyre marks. Wherever practically possible, use public dump points and rubbish bins. Before setting out to remote areas, ensure that grey and black water holding tanks are empty. Where there is absolutely no alternative, please refer to the CMCA Bush Camping Code.

Vehicle Sticker

To display the Leave No Trace vehicle sticker on the front passenger side of my self-drive vehicle windscreen, or for towed units, on the window closest to the entrance door, and to remove it prior to my disposing of the vehicle.

Support The Locals

To purchase fuel, food or supplies as a form of thanks, whenever feasible.As you travel this country, be aware that the various authorities have made many locations available to you, to encourage you to stay in their area. A simple way of showing your appreciation to these authorities is to patronise business in the area. Authorities will support your visits, especially if their constituents are happy and supportive of the facilities that the authorities have supplied.

ACCESS – Australian Caravan Club Environmentally Safe Scheme

The ACCESS Code of Conduct

The ACCESS Code of Conduct has been developed as a Club initiative to assist Members to understand their rights and also the privileges they enjoy in independent camping. Central to the Code is the concept of self-containment as defined later. As important, in many respects, are other elements of the Code which require that members act as responsible citizens wherever they utilise roadside rest areas, authorised stopovers or other independent camping areas, whether or not self-containment is a requirement of the campsite or rest area.

The Rights of the Travelling Public

The requirement, of the travelling public, for overnight rest areas and the desire of many to occasionally spend short periods camped away from commercial camping facilities is recognised and supported by the ACC.

ACC Supports the Local Authority

The Australian Caravan Club Ltd (ACC) supports the right of State and Local Government authorities to impose realistic conditions on the use of overnight and short-term camping sites, by all sectors of the travelling public. It is realistic to require that travellers respect the facilities provided and, where there are none, that they conform to basic requirements for containment of waste and limitation of impact on the environment.

The Self Containment Concept

The ACC defines a self-contained member caravan, or camper trailer, as one which, amongst other things:

  • is equipped to meet the washing and sanitary needs of the occupants for a given period, depending on the caravan or trailer design and utilisation,
  • carries fresh water for personal consumption, cooking and ablution
  • contains appropriate storage for waste water, both “grey” and “black until these can be properly disposed of at an authorised facility, and
  • provides temporary storage of kitchen and other waste.
Guidelines for Self-Containment

While some member caravans or trailers may have a fixed self-containment capability, others can be made self sufficient and self-contained for varying periods. These capabilities may be temporarily or permanently upgraded, depending on the proposed use of the caravan or trailer. Some member’s caravans or trailers may have no self-containment facilities. The ACC cannot therefore require a universally applicable period of self-sufficiency.

The following guidelines may be used in calculating self-containment capability:

  • Fresh water 10 litres per person per day
  • Grey Water 5 litres per person per day
  • Black Water 5 litres per person per day
  • Cassettes 3 litres per person per day
  • Domestic garbage A sealable container (or garbage bag) which adequately contains waste and odours, until it can be correctly disposed of.
Regulation of the Code of Conduct

The ACC, in establishing the ACCESS Code of Conduct, intends it to be implemented through self-regulation. A formal process of “certification” is seen as providing a snapshot of capability at a particular time. Certification, per se, is a declaration of capability and not necessarily of intent. The ACC believes that the requirement for members to assess capability and review the Code of Conduct, on each occasion that they wish to operate away from established facilities, will constantly reinforce the value and importance of this environmental initiative. The Code covers matters beyond “containment”.

Responsibilities of Members

The ACC imposes on Members wishing to utilise rest areas, authorised stopovers or other camping facilities, (where the regulating authority demands self-containment), a requirement to recognise, and accept the ACCESS Code of Conduct. Where containment is required by the regulating authority, Members are to comply with specified conditions. Members who accept the ACCESS Code of Conduct, are to display the ACCESS sticker on the door of the caravan (or similar position on a camper trailer) as a notification to authorities of a capability and intent to comply with camping conditions and minimise impact on the environment. A completed copy of the ACCESS Code of Conduct (in effect an agreement between the ACC Member and the relevant authority) should be available for viewing if required.


Members wishing to participate in the ACCESS scheme must apply to the ACC Secretary using the ACCESS Application Form, which is available on the ACC Web Site and from the ACC Secretary. An administrative charge of $5 will be made for this service and this amount should be forwarded with the application. On receipt of the completed form, the ACC will record Members’ details in Register of ACCESS Applicants and return a copy of the Code of Conduct and an ACCESS sticker to the member.