Advice needed Free Camping and Commute advice

Brandonaway

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May 5, 2021
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Hello!

I'm new to this forum and to skiing in Australia and have a bunch of questions! I've only skied while living in Japan and NZ, so am completely new to how things work here.

I have a campervan that I built over covid that i've been using for climbing trips and want to start taking it to the snow this season. I'm a broke uni student from syd and barely have enough for the pass and fuel, let alone accommodation.
I'm wondering if it is possible to free camp somewhere in the area in a self contained campervan?

I'm also wondering what the most economical option is with getting to the resort? Is it best to drive there directly or buy the skitube ticket that can be added on with the Epic pass? I'd be going down every other weekend with my brother so between the two of us we're not sure if it would be worth paying $280 for our skitube tickets when the national parks entry is only $190 and lasts a whole year. Having said that, I've never driven on snow/ice before, let alone in a campervan, so was wondering how difficult it is/ would be with a larger, rear wheel car.
 

Sage O

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Hello!

I'm new to this forum and to skiing in Australia and have a bunch of questions! I've only skied while living in Japan and NZ, so am completely new to how things work here.

I have a campervan that I built over covid that i've been using for climbing trips and want to start taking it to the snow this season. I'm a broke uni student from syd and barely have enough for the pass and fuel, let alone accommodation.
I'm wondering if it is possible to free camp somewhere in the area in a self contained campervan?

I'm also wondering what the most economical option is with getting to the resort? Is it best to drive there directly or buy the skitube ticket that can be added on with the Epic pass? I'd be going down every other weekend with my brother so between the two of us we're not sure if it would be worth paying $280 for our skitube tickets when the national parks entry is only $190 and lasts a whole year. Having said that, I've never driven on snow/ice before, let alone in a campervan, so was wondering how difficult it is/ would be with a larger, rear wheel car.

Get a set of chains and a shovel to keep in your van and you should be fine. Have a look at the yearly snow camping threads which have plenty of info. Be prepared for the cold, it’s not for everyone.
 

DidSurfNowSki

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Yeah except you will need to book/pay park entry fee.

COVID-safe travel
Booking is now required for all campgrounds and campsites in national parks. Please make an online booking prior to your arrival to secure a spot. Campground bookings are necessary to protect our visitors and prevent the spread of COVID-19. Please note that vehicle entry stations for Kosciuszko National Park will only accept card payment for park use fees.

https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/visit-a-park/parks/kosciuszko-national-park
 

JeremyG

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Jan 7, 2015
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I think if you check in the camping forum, you will see that the council has cracked down on free camping. As others have said there are free sites in the National Park but now require a booking.

As for ski tube vs national park, a bit depends on how early you start. If you are not prepared to be on the slopes before 9 (perhaps earlier) you may miss out on a parking spot or be a long way down the road. Whereas, generally able to park at the ski tube if you get a late start. Also if driving up, must be prepared to use chains. Can seem daunting but pretty easy once you know how to do it.

For our family, we camp at the Alpine Village (not free) and ski tube on Saturday as we tend to get a later start after the drive down from Sydney the night before, and then drive up on Sunday the get away is a bit quicker in the afternoon and we are always up by about 8 for kids classes.
 

Brandonaway

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May 5, 2021
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I think if you check in the camping forum, you will see that the council has cracked down on free camping. As others have said there are free sites in the National Park but now require a booking.

As for ski tube vs national park, a bit depends on how early you start. If you are not prepared to be on the slopes before 9 (perhaps earlier) you may miss out on a parking spot or be a long way down the road. Whereas, generally able to park at the ski tube if you get a late start. Also if driving up, must be prepared to use chains. Can seem daunting but pretty easy once you know how to do it.

For our family, we camp at the Alpine Village (not free) and ski tube on Saturday as we tend to get a later start after the drive down from Sydney the night before, and then drive up on Sunday the get away is a bit quicker in the afternoon and we are always up by about 8 for kids classes.

Okay thanks for the info! Would you say you see a lot of vans driving up there? I can fit snow chains just fine but I'm unsure how a larger vehicle like mine would fare in the snowy/icy conditions. But I've also heard that it's quite rare that you actually need the snow chains since the roads are quite good?
I'm an early riser so would probably be there first thing every morning!
 

Sage O

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Okay thanks for the info! Would you say you see a lot of vans driving up there? I can fit snow chains just fine but I'm unsure how a larger vehicle like mine would fare in the snowy/icy conditions. But I've also heard that it's quite rare that you actually need the snow chains since the roads are quite good?
I'm an early riser so would probably be there first thing every morning!

If you're going to drive to perisher ever other weekend you are going to need chains. If you have decent tyres (as in not bald), chains and drive sensibly you should be fine.
 
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Brandonaway

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Yea I was planning on buying some chains since the rental place looks kind of expensive for regular use! any recommendations or really any well fitted pair should work fine?
Was thinking about getting some all-terrain tires it seems a bit unnecessary
Thanks for the help
 

silva

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Lots of vans, trucks and buses drive up and down to both perisher and thredbo every day in winter. Drive sensibly and have chains ready in case you need them and you will be fine.
Buy a good set of diamond pattern chains to suit your wheel size and fit them as per the vehicle user manual. Auto tensioning chains are the easiest/best eg: https://roofcarriersystems.com.au/product/konig-t2-magic-snow-chains/
but this sort is also popular: https://www.*******.com.au/shop/snow-chains/v2-traction-snow-chains-for-cars/ These V2 ones are easy to fit and pretty bullet proof. The colour coded clips make everything a bit easier.
 

Spence

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There was a free van/car camp sprung up in the lakeside parking area by the public amenities block, on the second roundabout out of Jindabyne last season (I hadn’t noticed it on previous seasons, but it could well be there every season). I was down in Jindabyne earlier this week in my camper van and pulled in there to have a look. There were signs up saying “no camping/overnight parking”. I’m not sure if they were always there or if they are a reaction to last season. Or if they a enforced? Maybe one of the local guys might be able to answer that one. I got talking to a young guy on a chair lift last season and he had been there for about three weeks. He said there was a real community vibe going on. A bit cold I would imagine.
 

skichic

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There was a free van/car camp sprung up in the lakeside parking area by the public amenities block, on the second roundabout out of Jindabyne last season (I hadn’t noticed it on previous seasons, but it could well be there every season). I was down in Jindabyne earlier this week in my camper van and pulled in there to have a look. There were signs up saying “no camping/overnight parking”. I’m not sure if they were always there or if they are a reaction to last season. Or if they a enforced? Maybe one of the local guys might be able to answer that one. I got talking to a young guy on a chair lift last season and he had been there for about three weeks. He said there was a real community vibe going on. A bit cold I would imagine.
Not legal.
 
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Spence

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Not legal.
Is that new rules? There was a free-camp there last season and on my three trips down it didn’t seem to have been moved on or disbanded. I’d like to think council would allow it as long as it didn’t become a mess or a public nuisance.
 
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Sage O

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Yea I was planning on buying some chains since the rental place looks kind of expensive for regular use! any recommendations or really any well fitted pair should work fine?
Was thinking about getting some all-terrain tires it seems a bit unnecessary
Thanks for the help
Just buy some v2 traction diamond pattern ones from rhythm or wilderness sea and ski in Liverpool and then at the end of the season if you decided hey i wont be doing that again you can just sell them on. Should cost somewhere between $150-300 depending on what size tyres you have.

https://www.xswinter.com/pages/traction.html
 

Donza

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Is that new rules? There was a free-camp there last season and on my three trips down it didn’t seem to have been moved on or disbanded. I’d like to think council would allow it as long as it didn’t become a mess or a public nuisance.
Its illegal. Was moved on multiple times last season.
Some of the campers were taking the piss.
 
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Snow Blowey

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Is that new rules? There was a free-camp there last season and on my three trips down it didn’t seem to have been moved on or disbanded. I’d like to think council would allow it as long as it didn’t become a mess or a public nuisance.


It used to be used discretely for sleeping only. Then the toilet block was built and after that people took the piss and erected permanant structures for days at a time. Hence the signs making it illegal.
 

crackson

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The town couldn't make fat profits off them so they were all run out with council by-laws and a sustained campaign of harrassment by local losers.

Most of them were staff and had to quit work and leave.

No one has been there for 6mths but people still complain about them.

The council run caravan park offered them spaces at obscene prices and they all said f u and left.
 

Donza

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The town couldn't make fat profits off them so they were all run out with council by-laws and a sustained campaign of harrassment by local losers.

Most of them were staff and had to quit work and leave.

No one has been there for 6mths but people still complain about them.

The council run caravan park offered them spaces at obscene prices and they all said f u and left.
Council caravan park offered them 28 day sites at 25 bucks a night...
 

skichic

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Is that new rules? There was a free-camp there last season and on my three trips down it didn’t seem to have been moved on or disbanded. I’d like to think council would allow it as long as it didn’t become a mess or a public nuisance.
It was a mess and a public nuisance.
 
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crackson

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If they didn't defecate in the bushes and took their rubbish with them the council may have been a little more lenient.

They were at the claypits so they didn't have to go in the bushes.

25 p/night doesn't seem ridiculous.

Except it is basically 175p/w for a carpark.

It sounds like a borderline reasonable offer though for people that came here to staff your businesses and spend all their money here.

In summer, 175 p/w deserves a room. Not a patch of dirt with a toilet.
 

crackson

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Jindy doesn't have enough accommodation for it's staff or even locals. It used to have plenty.

For years we have made staff live in bs conditions and now it's been pushed too far with prices.

Bring on a july lockdown.
 

skichic

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Then why did they?
IIRC the claypits toilets are locked overnight.
Yes. Due to vandalism. Same at Banjo park. The Bowlo used to allow them to park and use facilities but then they set fire to pallets etc.
 

Snow Blowey

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There is no problem with free campers. The problem is when people want the services of paid camping for free. They want toilets, running water, waste collection etc. but don't want to pay for it. IMO the best way to exclude these people is to provide little or no infrastructure. Genuine free campers are happy with a bit of open space away from noise.
 

Donza

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There is no problem with free campers. The problem is when people want the services of paid camping for free. They want toilets, running water, waste collection etc. but don't want to pay for it. IMO the best way to exclude these people is to provide little or no infrastructure. Genuine free campers are happy with a bit of open space away from noise.
I think you and I have differing opinions on what a free camper is.

What it used to be.....ain't what it is now.

NZ saw this coming ten-fifteen years ago. Legit shit show.
Then places like Byron. Same deal.

Its as much a "image" and a tribal hang nowadays as it a legit excuse to camp.
 

Jacko4650

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I think you and I have differing opinions on what a free camper is.

What it used to be.....ain't what it is now.

NZ saw this coming ten-fifteen years ago. Legit shit show.
Then places like Byron. Same deal.

Its as much a "image" and a tribal hang nowadays as it a legit excuse to camp.
Yes, New Zealand have gone right off the freecamping, freeloading tourist. They made up visitor numbers, but left a wake of destruction and community resentment. Of course, its the 1% that cause the trouble.
 
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Jacko4650

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There is no problem with free campers. The problem is when people want the services of paid camping for free. They want toilets, running water, waste collection etc. but don't want to pay for it. IMO the best way to exclude these people is to provide little or no infrastructure. Genuine free campers are happy with a bit of open space away from noise.
Thing about even the 'good' free campers is that they need somewhere to dispose of their (a) rubbish, (b) grey water and (c) sewerage. Jindy discourages visitors from putting rubbish into free rubbish bins. Jindy does not have a dump point, the nearest one is Cooma, meaning you need to find a toilet connected to the town sewer (like at the Claypits) or to an approved septic on a property (which are only designed for a certain number of people as a rule of thumb before they overflow or cause trouble). Sullage can just leach down into the lake or creeks leading into the lake which is fine, but we drink it. The 'good' campers are also the first to sue anybody if they have an accident (eg: wandering into a garden and trip on a tree root, trip in a puddle because lighting does not meet designated standards etc). Hence, planning laws and Council Bylaws were created to mitigate against these things. They are kinda good these rules, but also very restrictive and if you let one person do it, so too can others. At the same time, complying with these bylaws is VERY expensive.
 

Jacko4650

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They were at the claypits so they didn't have to go in the bushes.

25 p/night doesn't seem ridiculous.

Except it is basically 175p/w for a carpark.

It sounds like a borderline reasonable offer though for people that came here to staff your businesses and spend all their money here.

In summer, 175 p/w deserves a room. Not a patch of dirt with a toilet.
Haha. I don't think $175 a week would even get you a car space in Neutral Bay, North Sydney and many other locations around Oz. On the other hand, $175 a week will cover the mortgage on a house in some parts of regional Oz. It's all relative. High demand, high prices.
 
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Jacko4650

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That's hardly obscene, $175/week. The Park in Mt. beauty are charging $40/night ($280/week) for an unpowered site this winter. That's extorsion.
Jindy Caravan park charges $39 a night ($273 a week) for one person on an unpowered site (mid June), so the offer of $175 a week was pretty good if true.
The Snowy River Caravan Park in Dalgety (+25min drive) charges a mere $90 a week for one person unpowered, $150 a week for two people (well, last time I was there?). It's awesome, but neither trendy (not tribal #vanlife), nor within walking distance of the clubs in Jindy.
 

skichic

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Kosi tourist park at Sawpit Creek were around $50-60 per night, peak season last year. Unpowered camp site.
 
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Snow Blowey

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Thing about even the 'good' free campers is that they need somewhere to dispose of their (a) rubbish, (b) grey water and (c) sewerage. Jindy discourages visitors from putting rubbish into free rubbish bins. Jindy does not have a dump point, the nearest one is Cooma, meaning you need to find a toilet connected to the town sewer (like at the Claypits) or to an approved septic on a property (which are only designed for a certain number of people as a rule of thumb before they overflow or cause trouble). Sullage can just leach down into the lake or creeks leading into the lake which is fine, but we drink it. The 'good' campers are also the first to sue anybody if they have an accident (eg: wandering into a garden and trip on a tree root, trip in a puddle because lighting does not meet designated standards etc). Hence, planning laws and Council Bylaws were created to mitigate against these things. They are kinda good these rules, but also very restrictive and if you let one person do it, so too can others. At the same time, complying with these bylaws is VERY expensive.


You didn't read and comprehend my post properly. Genuine free campers don't generate wastewater and deal with their own rubbish. The way it has always been in National park camping sites. Typically just a long drop dunny and you take care of everything else. The new "free camper" turns up with the sort of rig that would usually have only ever parked up at caravan parks and expects the free site to cater for them like a caravan park does.

The big factor is improvements in 12V camp gadgets and deisel heaters which make the free camping sites more attractive to users of these setups.
 

Jacko4650

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Kosi tourist park at Sawpit Creek were around $50-60 per night, peak season last year. Unpowered camp site.
Yep, great spot but at $350+ a week, ouch. Great if you are down for a week or two. My last two experiences there were bad - drunks partying in the cabins ALL night long, nobody there to make a difference; wander over and 12 20 year olds want to fight you at 3am. Nup, don't need that crap.
 

Jacko4650

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You didn't read and comprehend my post properly. Genuine free campers don't generate wastewater and deal with their own rubbish. The way it has always been in National park camping sites. Typically just a long drop dunny and you take care of everything else. The new "free camper" turns up with the sort of rig that would usually have only ever parked up at caravan parks and expects the free site to cater for them like a caravan park does.

The big factor is improvements in 12V camp gadgets and deisel heaters which make the free camping sites more attractive to users of these setups.
No, I didn't comprehend the 'new free camper' as distinct from the old 'Genuine free campers', but to be fair I was thinking of people that stayed longer than a few nights (mixed messaging from the Jindabyne thread where we are also discussing free campers as in #vanlifers at the Claypits).
I have stayed in Kozi for extended periods with other campers in tents, small vans and caravans. I too have slept in the back of my SUV, tent, camper trailer, little pop-top van and full-tilt, bells and whistles self-contained caravan with diesel heater, internal shower and satellite TV. It makes no difference where you sleep, you still have to poo, you still have to wash your dishes, clean your vegies and get rid of rubbish. I also agree with you that some people jump in at the top end of the spectrum, buy a new RV and expect caravan park services will be provided.
 

Snow Blowey

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No, I didn't comprehend the 'new free camper' as distinct from the old 'Genuine free campers', but to be fair I was thinking of people that stayed longer than a few nights (mixed messaging from the Jindabyne thread where we are also discussing free campers as in #vanlifers at the Claypits).
I have stayed in Kozi for extended periods with other campers in tents, small vans and caravans. I too have slept in the back of my SUV, tent, camper trailer, little pop-top van and full-tilt, bells and whistles self-contained caravan with diesel heater, internal shower and satellite TV. It makes no difference where you sleep, you still have to poo, you still have to wash your dishes, clean your vegies and get rid of rubbish. I also agree with you that some people jump in at the top end of the spectrum, buy a new RV and expect caravan park services will be provided.

If you are not carting several hundred litres of water in a tank you tend to not use as much, so generate less. If you don't have a shower, you don't take a shower. If you don't have a toilet, you use the water free long drop, or simply crap on the ground , pick it up and burn it in your fire. If you are relying on fire to stay warm, you can burn most of your rubbish and take the rest with you. If you didn't bring the kitchen sink (so to speak) a basic wash of your stuff in the river (no detergents needed) was all you need. If you don't have a gas bottle, you use the hot plate on the fireplace and have little to clean up.

Most importantly - without the comfort of a caravan or camper, most wouldn't have stayed in these places more than a few nights. Numbers self regulated. It was why 20 years ago you would have been lucky to share any of the camp grounds with any more than about 2 or 3 other parties. Its why you don't see many camping out in the snow proper. Its fun in small doses and eventually the conditions beat you.

The clay pits was different altogether. You'd get a few people turn up in the dark and leave in the dark. It was a dark quietish spot to park and sleep close to food outlets for people that only had a few hours to sleep. Small tent, swags, back of wagons etc. You'd do all your other business in town. Not sure when it became a semi-permanent camping spot but must have been some time after 2010. The permanents ruined it.
 

skull

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Except it is basically 175p/w for a carpark.
With access to drying rooms, showers, toilets, depending on the park spa and sauna and a kitchen and tv room

Edit. In fact now that I’ve mentioned it. I think we might try for a couple nights on unpowered sites this year
 

skull

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Fire pit, Woodfired oven, BBQ's...
Laundry.
Yeah.
I’ve already booked our site up in KNP for school holidays but am now thinking of booking a few days at discovery park now
 

Donza

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Yeah.
I’ve already booked our site up in KNP for school holidays but am now thinking of booking a few days at discovery park now
Biggest issue with discovery is the traffic in the morning.
Getting across and out.
*Going to Perisher.
 
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skull

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Ok. 645 for 8 nights for van with 2 kids and 2 adults. Not too bad when one would pay more than that for 2 nights in town
 
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