What grinds our gears at 4WDing Australia?

Australia is a world class place to camp and 4WD, and we’ve been lucky enough to cover thousands of kilometres of 4WD tracks, and to camp at well over 300 different places all around this big land. In that time, we’ve seen some amazing sights, and lots of things that make our blood boil. In this post, we’re sharing the things that really grinds our gears:

Rubbish left in the bush

There is nothing less difficult, and more disrespectful to a pristine place than to leave rubbish behind. If you are travelling this stunning part of the world, the least you can do is leave no trace. That means taking all of your rubbish with you, no matter what it is.

Don’t get me started on broken glass from morons who have IQ’s in the single digits, that are eventually found when a kid slices their foot open whilst running around a camp site. If you break an awning, you take it out with you.

Rubbish left in the bush costs a fortune to collect, destroys pristine environments and kills the local animals. There’s no excuse; take your rubbish home.

Rubbish left in a fire
Leaving rubbish behind like this is totally unacceptable

Toilet paper and human waste

Even worse than general rubbish in the bush is toilet paper and human waste. Ladies, this is primarily you, and its not good enough. If you need to pee, put your paper in a bag and carry it out, bury it or burn it (if its safe to do so). There is no excuse for toilet paper visible on the surface of the ground.

Yes, sometimes you do need to go to the toilet in the bush, and you can do so respectfully with a shovel, away from water sources. Dig your hole, do your business, burn the paper if its safe to do so, and then fill it in.

Toilet paper left by grubs
Toilet paper and human waste laying about is disgusting

Blatant vandalism

There are some absolute monkeys in this world. From bollards being used for firewood, through to rebuilt huts in the High Country being destroyed, you have to be an absolute gronk to destroy beautiful, expensive public property.

Want to scratch your name into a tree, or a table, or next to ancient aboriginal artwork? Stay home; you don’t deserve to explore this magic country.

Want to rip a camp site up, or drive where its off limits? Sell your vehicle, and do everyone a favour.

Coolamine Huts are stunning
There’s been a lot of historic huts vandalised over the years, and you’ve got to be a total moron

Using camp sites you haven’t booked

A lot of places are rolling into online booking systems, which require you to book a site prior to arrival as there’s often no phone reception. Whilst the validity of these systems is debatable, if you haven’t booked a site, you shouldn’t be staying in the campground, period.

We’ve arrived at camp a couple of times now (and seen it a few more on others) and found someone in our camp site, and its not good enough. The first time we just moved the tent to another site, and the second time there was a Land Cruiser parked up in our spot, with the owners no where to be seen.

When I rang up about it (thankfully we had reception), they said that they hadn’t booked the night before either, so two nights in a bookable camp site, with zero booking fees, and ultimately zero respect for others.

If you haven’t booked the site, find somewhere else to stay. It’s not that hard.

Our camp site at Mann River Campground
If you haven’t booked a site, don’t stay there. It’s really simple

Rip off camping fees

Camping was always an economical way to have a holiday, but that’s changed over the years, and some of the camping fees that I’m seeing being charged are absolutely exorbitant. Yes, I know there’s supply and demand, and it’s a free economy where people can charge what they want, but some places, and people are taking the mickey.

When you’re looking at $250 a night for a patch of grass, or a minimum 7 day booking, you know things are getting insane. We’ve been forced to pay nearly $50 for a camp site in a cow paddock, because there was no where else to go on a long weekend near Sydney, and its just insane.

Camping at Riverview
We paid nearly 50 bucks a night for this, and it hurt

Disrespectful towing

There’s a lot of people on the road today, and almost everyone has a right to be on the road for fun, work or otherwise. However, that right doesn’t give you the ability to be disrespectful to others on the road if you are towing something.

If you want to sit at 80km/h and hold up several kilometres worth of traffic, you’re being disrespectful. If you are sitting at 90km/h and speed up at every overtaking lane, you’re being disrespectful.

If you don’t have your UHF on, and don’t communicate with the big trucks and road trains that want, and need to get around you for their job, you’re being disrespectful. If you sit so close to the next vehicle in front that no one can safely get around you, you’re being disrespectful.

Get out of your own little world, and think about those that you are sharing the road with, and show some common courtesy.

The Alpine Way is beautiful, and well maintained
If you’re towing something, you have a responsibility to be respectful!

Drone flying where you’re not allowed

This one in particular irks me, because we do the right thing with our drone. For one, its often flown for business purposes, and I don’t want any further restrictions in where you can fly a drone, but some people are just absolute morons.

There’s one national set of regulations that have to be obeyed wherever you are, an that means no flying within 30 metres of other people, not near airports and so on and so forth.

There are often other regulations you should be following though, like the fact that you cannot fly in national parks in the Northern Territory, South Australia, New South Wales and Victoria (also not in state parks here either).

So, we do the right thing and leave our drone shut away in its case, whilst other content creators do whatever they want. They run the risk of getting a fine, but it just gives more ammunition to those making the rules to make it harder.

Don’t get me started on tourists who chuck their drone up in the middle of a crowd at places like Kalbarri Skywalk either!

Incredible views of the Bloomfield River
A drone can get some insane photos, but we leave ours packed away where you aren’t allowed to fly it

Draconian drone flying rules

On the flip side of this, you have some absolutely mental regulations in some states regarding state forests and national parks. Queensland and WA are sensible, with the only real regulations being the normal CASA ones. You can fly in national parks as long as you heed these, but the other states are draconian.

We were camping kilometres away from others recently in the Victorian High Country, with no wildlife around, but you can’t fly your drone because it’s a national park. However, if you fill in a whole heap of paperwork, and pay a ridiculous fee, you can. What difference does this make to the national park? It’s a rort, and it really does my head in.

Devils Hollow Sunrise
Kilometres away from anyone else, but we can’t fly here (without paying and jumping through too many hoops) because its a National Park in Victoria.

RV unfriendly towns

If you’ve been around Australia, you’ll be familiar with the RV friendly town signs. They’re blue, and promote the fact that this town is keen to see RV owners, and is set up for them. It usually means parking spaces near shops, water fill points, dump points, free or low cost camping and locals that are happy to see travellers visit their town.

On the flip side though, despite the fact they’ll never advertise it, there are a lot of RV unfriendly towns, and they’re a pain in the backside. When you have to park a kilometre away from the Woolworths with your caravan because there’s no parking, or pay $80 a night to use an expensive caravan park, or drive to the next town to get water and empty your toilet, you know it’s a town that doesn’t really care about travellers visiting.

Yes, this is a bit of a generalisation, but the towns that don’t make it easy for those travelling miss out on a huge amount of revenue, because people just drive on through to the next best option.

Our usual fuel up is about $230, and our bigger grocery shops are around $400, and that’s without the gas bottle refills, parts needed to fix things that are always breaking, bakery runs and so much more. Beyond this, it just does my head in when a town is not welcoming to the RV community, and its to their own demise.

Shopping for Cape York
Our big shops can be $400 – $600, and we just bypass towns that are RV unfriendly

Terrible quality workmanship

When I work on something, I like to make sure its done to a high standard, and walk away knowing its got the best chance of doing its intended job. Not everyone shares this same motivation though, and we’ve had a couple of instances of really bad workmanship, or customer service.

When you’re on the road full time, small issues become major headaches, and it really does my head in when I have to go back to a dealer to fix something they messed up, or you have to ring multiple times to find out what’s going on, or you arrive on the day that work is supposed to occur to hear not all of the parts had come in (when they were confirmed days earlier).

Yep, sometimes mistakes happen, but there’s quite a few people who could put a bit more effort in to make sure things are done as well as they can.

Evaporator pipe bent out the way
We recently had a terrible experience with our Dmax Aircon (amongst other things), and I was fuming


Oh Wikicamps, you get a special mention here, because your once great app is now one of the biggest frustrations of our travelling lives.

If you’ve not heard or used Wikicamps before, its basically an app that lists points of attractions, dump points, water fill points, camp sites and heaps more. It has more valuable information on it to the travelling person than any other app out there, and up until about a year ago, it was flawless.

You could open it with or without reception, and get extensive details on camp sites, including photos, recent reviews and so forth. However, a while after it was sold, some changes were made, and the app has never been the same since.

What made it most frustrating was that despite the fact that thousands of people were having issues, management barely recognised it, declined posts on their Wikicamps social media group where people vented their frustrations, and even now, some 5 updates later, its still absolute garbage.

The syncing of offline data is shocking, its laggy as all get out, and has taken one of the easiest, and most useful information and virtually destroyed it. Yes, some people are back to normal, but many are not, and it grinds my gears.

Wikicamps logo
I used to love Wikicamps, but these days, its a real frustration

Fire pits everywhere

When we arrive at a beautiful camp site, we set up in a way that allows us to make use of an existing fire pit. However, clearly a lot of people do not do this, as you can be in sites where there are dozens of fire pits, all within 10 metres of each other, and when you stand back and look at it, the beautiful scenery is destroyed.

If you can’t use an existing fire pit, and are happy making a new scar on the environment a couple of metres away, you should stay home. It’s not that hard.

Blowering Dam fire
When there are fire pits metres apart, you know people are being silly

The must have new gear mentality

There’s always been a ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ mentality that some people take very seriously, but in the 4WD and camping world, it seems like there’s often more emphasis on the gear that you have, than the places that you go and experiences you have, and that’s a bit crazy.

All the best gear in the world is of very little use if you never use it, and you do not need the latest and greatest gear. You’ll have 90% of the fun, with a lot less gear if you just choose to head out and have an adventure!

Obviously, there’s nothing wrong with having the latest and greatest (and good on you if its within your budget), but you absolutely do not need it, and when I see people being put off exploring because they don’t have the latest and greatest, it irks me.

Swags at Honeymoon Pool
You don’t need a flash setup to have an incredible time

Misleading marketing

I can’t stand companies that push the ethical (and legal) boundaries with marketing that is smoke and mirrors, or a complete lie. Things like a 3500kg towing capacity that are virtually impossible to achieve, or 120Ah Batteries that aren’t actually 120Ah really annoy me.

The throttle controller marketers often push the friendship to, as does the 12V solar panel industry. Also, if you’re going to have the same sale 50 times a year, and raise the price before each sale, is it really a discount?

What grinds your gears? Let us know below!

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