Tania’s Top 4 Camping Hates!

Welcome to our outlet for complaining about all things camping.  If you’d like to read something positive or inspirational, or are deciding whether or not camping is for you, you’d probably be best to close your computer now.

Here are the top 4 things we absolutely HATE about camping:

  1. People who set up right next to you when the whole park is empty.

You’ve purposefully found a camp spot that’s private.  You’ve set up your awning, your table and chairs and your roof is up.  You are just about to take off your clothes!! when….another van rolls up and parks RIGHT NEXT TO YOURS, even though THE REST OF THE CAMPGROUND IS VIRTUALLY EMPTY!  You could turn the music up, you could tell them you’ve got a baby that screams all night, you could pretend to start having a domestic with your partner, loudly.  This annoyed me no end, don’t you go camping for the privacy?  To drink beer in your undies?  Then we started free camping in Europe and after a while I caught on, these people want to come and park right next to us for the SECURITY.  They feel like they are safer when there are other people right next to them, watching over their van and able to hear them scream at night.  This makes sense in SOME situations but please, not really in Australia and definitely not in a nice family friendly BIG 4.


  1. The best campsites are always the furthest away from the amenities.

We always try super hard to park as far away as possible from other people in campgrounds.  They don’t want to see us drinking beer in our undies and we don’t want to hear their TV.  At reception we ask for the park map and have a look, 80% of the time the non-powered sites are on the fringes of the park, and hopefully the park is bordering a national park or some other type of greenery (just check it’s not a main road which is also often the case!).  Ask for the over-flow area, the area that fills up the last.  The only problem – these spots are always the furthest away from the amenities, the toilets, the camp kitchen.  Which means a longer walk in the middle of the night for a wee.  DAMN.

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  1. The time-consuming process of checking into campgrounds.

This might be slightly my fault for being so picky about which spot we get and coming back multiple times after walking laps of the park to suss out the best spots BUT if you are doing a real road trip and staying only a night or two in each place, the form filling, the key deposit, the boom gate codes, on-site restaurant opening times, are they really necessary?  Do you REALLY need my DOB, email address, colour of my van and blood type?  I’m essentially only parking my vehicle here for a night.  Even Airbnb doesn’t ask for half of this crap!


  1. Campsites that are way too close together and have no barrier between them.

Plant some trees or as they do in European campsites, get into Topiary.  I don’t want to hear my neighbours snoring at night.  I don’t want to be packed like sardines into what is essentially a carpark with a toilet and shower provided.  These places just scream MONEY MAKING TRAP!

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… Like a good recipe or the perfect holiday, the perfect camping spot is a combination of many different components of various quality that can contribute to the overall experience plus a sprinkling of good luck (good weather please!). And of course, just like the perfect holiday or perfect recipe, many of these components are largely personal.

We’ve devoted many a blog to the never-ending list of what to avoid when looking for the perfect camping spot but how about for a moment dwelling on the bits that can go right (and often do!).

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The non-negotiables:

For us, this is close and easy access to a beautiful beach – and if I’m going to be fussy I’ll say we have to be able to VIEW the beach from our campervan too!

A quiet, relatively private spot where we won’t be bothered by too many cars, people, being kept awake at night or woken too early in the morning. Some people love socialising. We like privacy and quiet (if you can go swimming naked it’s the right spot for us!).

The nice-to-haves for enjoyment (in order of importance!):

These are all, hopefully, within easy walking distance – if not, a short drive away:

A nice café

A nice pub

A playground

The possibility to do any type of surfing

A nice town to explore.

Walking tracks

Mountain biking tracks

The nice-to-haves for convenience:

Toilets super close

A drink water tap super close

Natural shade at the beach

A good supermarket in easy walking distance/a short drive away

Natural shade/and/or grass where your campervan is parked

Cold/hot shower super close

We are always searching for The Perfect Camping Spot and have found many places that come close (Ulladulla Holiday Haven comes to mind) but would love to hear if you’ve found this perfect place, the holey grail of camping.

Please share your favourite camping spots with us, be it a paid campground or beach carpark, we’d love to know!


Here’s our checklist, most relate to free camping.  You can thank us later! 

-Are there any No Camping or No Sleeping in Cars signs?  This is only a deal-breaker if…

  • There are loads of backpackers around + 
  • Does it look like there’ll be police patrolling overnight?  Is there a local police station?
  • The signs say No Parking between 1-5am (this signals a backpacker infested and hjghly patrolled/fined area!).

-Does it look like there’ll be hoons or young people coming there at night (are there empty bottles around/burnouts/broken glass?) 

-Will there be much/any passing traffic overnight? 

-Are there any big bins or a collection of bins that might be picked up very early in the morning and wake you up? 

-Is it a surfing break carpark?  Again this isn’t a deal breaker but keep in mind you’ll have loads of cars arriving early in the morning with people checking the surf.  Again, this may not be a problem if the locals seem nice and you don’t sleep too lightly (or you surf)! 

-Is there a boat ramp nearby? (same as point above). 

-P plate cars or groups of young people together (couples are ok!).  Some might also avoid people with babies and young kids, and for this we don’t blame you! 


 What are your tips on finding a good spot to sleep paid or unpaid in a new town?  Please share them with us so we can add them to our list.