Tourists at popular Aussie beach ignore council 'blitz' on illegal act

Noosa Council cracked down on illegal camping in its car parks, but travellers appear not to care.

Campers arriving in one of Australia's busiest tourist towns have been caught once again flouting the local rules, parking caravans and erecting tents in areas that strictly forbid it, amid a major council "blitz" on such activities.

Last week, Yahoo News revealed that almost 20 tourists visiting Noosa were slapped with hefty fines as local authorities continued their illegal camping “blitz”. Noosa Council parking officers patrolled popular hotspots to crack down on visitors using public car parks as campsites, resulting in 11 infringements and seven warnings.

In addition, Queensland Police, who are assisting, handed out another six parking fines around the same time — which vary from $77 to $116 depending on the offence, and $309 for illegal camping — and nine warnings at various locations.

Dozens of campers are seen here parking at The Woods car park in Noosa, despite a ban on such practices.
After a woman complained about campers parking overnight at The Woods car park in Noosa, locals responded with mixed reactions. Source: Facebook

Tourists seemingly undeterred by council 'blitz'

The Noosa Spit car park near the Sunshine Coast’s Noosa Heads main beach has been trialling strict rules against parking there between the hours of 10pm and 4am since August last year, with council so far responding to almost 100 complaints about illegal camping in the area this year alone.

It seems that despite the mountain of infringements handed down, people appear not to care about the penalties — or haven't realised they're in place — parking again in an area that strictly prohibits it over the weekend.

One frustrated local took to social media to upload photos of those caught in the act at the Noosa Woods car park, within the Noosa Spit Recreation Reserve. The responses to the post however were mixed, with people seemingly divided over whether campers should be allowed to park there.

A Noosa Council sign warning about illegal camping, beside an image of campers flouting the rules.
Noosa Council is continuing its illegal camping crackdown against tourists. Source: Facebook/Noosa Council

Noosa locals seemingly divided

"The Woods yesterday at about 4pm," the woman began. "Camper heaven, outdoor shower, toilets, and picnic shelter at your doorstep, oh and did I mention world heritage beach and national park, plus the Noosa river, why wouldn’t you," she continued in sarcasm.

While some people agreed with her sentiment — with suggestions put forward to restrict such actions including "locking the gates to the car park from 7pm" — quite a number of people held opposing views.

"Didn’t realise there was a sign saying 'locals only' — bet they have all spent some money which will help the businesses in and around survive in the current economic crisis," a woman wrote in defence of the tourists.

"Stop whinging. We live in a tourist destination, what do you expect?" another asked. "Good to see people on a budget enjoying our Noosa district too," said another.

One woman gave quite a lengthy response, which garnered an onslaught of likes. "Pretty over seeing a post on this topic on the daily," she wrote.

Travellers seen squatting in car park in Noosa.
Travellers squatting in car park in Noosa came under fire for tourists repeatedly break the law. Source: Facebook/Getty

"People who are actually from Noosa — me being one of them — grew up like this...Spending money on food and keeping smaller places alive, seeing the nature and finding friends that are like minded is so beautiful and important.

"Life is so expensive these days and these people are still spending tens and tens of thousands of dollars all across Australia and helping the economy stay healthy...Our economy needs everyone right now and the housing markets are flooded as it is resorting some people to have to live this way.

"I just don’t understand why it bothers people to be living a life of their choosing. Why does everyone need to have a negative attitude and opinion about others."

"That's what you get with the cost of living rising guaranteed more than half of those people are homeless," a man suggested.

What do you think?

Council weighs in on illegal camping

However, despite the mixed response to the campers from locals, Noosa Council’s Director of Development and Regulation Richard MacGillivray previously said the restrictions “will remain in place while Council considers broader enforcement options to regulate camping and parking in these areas”.

Locals are fed up with tourists monopolising spots and leaving behind rubbish, he continued, explaining that council will soon implement tow-away zones in high-demand parking areas like the entrance to the Noosa National Park.

"So far this year Council has responded to 84 complaints from residents regarding illegal camping," Mr MacGillivray previously said. "As always, we continue to take a common-sense approach. People living in cars due to housing issues are not the target of our enforcement efforts." Those in need of services will be provided with support, he added.

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