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Now Answered: Is it Illegal to Sleep in your Vehicle in Australia? (2024)

Ever found yourself in Australia needing to sleep in your vehicle, but tangled up in worries about the legalities? You’re not the only one facing this dilemma. Whether it’s in a car, truck, or van, scouting out a legal resting spot down under can feel like navigating a labyrinth of strict rules. The challenge is real: pick the wrong spot, and you could be slapped with a hefty fine. But fear not, mate! In the sections that follow, we’re going to explore the ins and outs of vehicle camping across Australia. Our goal is to steer you clear of legal pitfalls, help you sidestep those unwanted fines, and most importantly, find that serene, safe haven to comfortably sleep in your vehicle.

Is it illegal to sleep in your vehicle?

Is it illegal to sleep in your vehicle in Australia?

It is not strictly illegal to sleep in your vehicle in Australia, however there are some restrictions on the areas you can park and live out of. There is no Federal or Australia wide law or restriction on sleeping or living out of your car so it is at the discretion of State Government to decide on legality. That being said, In most states you can sleep in your vehicle provided you do not breach parking laws. Below is a breakdown of the basic regulations on a state by state basis.

In most Australian states police reserve the right to ask you to move from the curb of a private residence if the owner deems ‘they are concerned about their safety due to your presence’. It is also likely if you are noticed, for police to see if you are okay although they are not required to ask you to move if you are not causing a disturbance when sleeping in your car on a public road.

sleep in your vehicle

Queensland Vehicle Camping Regulations

Living or sleeping in your vehicle is classified legally as ‘camping‘ in Queensland therefore must be conducted in a designated camp site. Therefore it is illegal to sleep in your vehicle in non designated camping areas. With these laws in place Queensland is one of the strictest States when it comes to where you can live in your car.

Queensland Government have a handy resource for finding local designated camping on their Parks and Forests website with a searchable guide to ‘Find a Camping Area‘.

New South Wales Vehicle Camping Regulations

It is legal to sleep in your vehicle in New South Wales, and is actually encouraged by the Government for those on long distance trips to avoid fatigue. It is not a requirement to be on a long distance drive to sleep in your car however, and is legal for anyone to stay in non restricted zones.

For most streets it is legal to sleep in your car in NSW as long as public parking is permitted on the street. Be mindful that there are regulations for the duration you can sleep in your vehicle in a particular spot and varies drastically based on your location. It is best to move at least every 2-3 days to avoid be questioned or fined.

For recent up to date regulations on where you can and can’t stay in your car in New South Wales make sure to read up on the Local Government Act on the NSW Government website.

No Parking sign board

Victoria Vehicle Camping Regulations

It is not illegal to live or sleep in your vehicle in Victoria on public roads, however there are restrictions on parking in certain areas to discourage this. With each council area dictating the by-laws regarding vehicle camping it is important to ensure each area you intended to stay in allows it. Local council is your best bet for up to date information for each council area.

Canberra (ACT) Vehicle Camping Regulations

It is not strictly illegal to sleep or camp out of your vehicle in Canberra. You are able to sleep in your vehicle on most public roads assuming you are not causing a disturbance or distress to residents. It is important to pay attention to and follow parking regulations and signs on a street by street basis. Canberra community law has some handy resources for street law available on their site here.

Tasmania, Western Australia & South Australia Vehicle Camping Regulations

TAS, WA & SA all follow similar regulations in when it comes to the legality of living or camping out of your vehicle. These states are much more relaxed than QLD or NSW with it being legal to sleep in your car in most places.

It is still a requirement to follow parking regulations signed on the street in regards to the duration of your stay, with stricter rulings around parks & beaches.

Northern Territory Vehicle Camping Regulations

It is not illegal to sleep in your car in the Northern Territory, however it is frowned upon to do so in most areas. As with most other states you will need to ensure you are following street signage in regards to duration to park in each area.

Designated camp grounds are a great place to stay in your car with plenty of free or cheap camp sites available for public use. has a great resource on ‘where you can camp’ state wide with booking options for permits on the site.

Up to date Australian vehicle camping regulations

For the latest information on whether or not it is legal to camp in your car, van or truck in a specific area it is best to check with your local road authority or council. These guidelines are not intended as legal advice and are to be used only as a guide to determine if you are complying with regulations.

Although we do not condone parking in illegal vehicle camping locations, if you wish to participate in this activity it is important to be considerate on the potential fines associated with the activity. For information on fines associated with your area make sure to check out the relevant government website.


  • Augustus

    Augustus, an intrepid traveler and RV enthusiast, has journeyed across North America, Europe, and Australia, turning his passion for adventure into a life's mission. His love for exploring began in his childhood, with local hikes and camping trips igniting a deep connection with nature. This connection now shines through in his popular travel blog, where he shares not just tips but personal stories, captivating a community of fellow wanderers. His travels are further enriched by his partnership with Zaara, his wife and travel companion, together exploring remote landscapes and diverse cultures. Augustus is also a skilled photographer, capturing the beauty of nature and the essence of his nomadic lifestyle in each shot. His life story is a mosaic of breathtaking experiences, a testament to the beauty of following one’s passions and embracing the unknown, inspiring others to explore the world with the same fervor.

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