With the rise in popularity of caravanning in recent years, along with massively decreasing residential land sizes… where the heck is everyone parking their caravan?
In decades gone by, many suburban house blocks were big enough for a shed, a swimming pool and a caravan or camper all in the backyard.
These days, you’d be lucky to be able to fit a box trailer down the side of the house, unless you buy or rent an older property that hasn’t been subdivided.
That leaves many people with the only option of storing their caravan out the front of the house, whether it be on the driveway, in the front yard or on the street.
Which raises the topic of caravan parking laws in Australia. Can you park a caravan on the road in a residential area without breaching local parking laws?
Let’s find out!
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Caravan Parking Laws Australia
Parking a Caravan in a Residential Area
Each town and city around Australia will have their own stipulations around caravan parking, based on what the local council has deemed legal.
However, the overarching rules for parking a caravan in a residential area generally fall under the local ‘Heavy and Long Vehicle Parking’ by-laws.
Heavy and long vehicles are restricted from parking for longer than one hour within 100 metres of any residential land unless parked in accordance with a traffic sign or the exemptions (listed below).– Brisbane City Council
But, what actually constitutes a heavy or long vehicle? As it relates to caravans and motorhomes, the definition is as follows.
Heavy and Long Vehicle DEFINITION – for Caravans & Motorhomes:
- A vehicle or trailer that is 7.5 metres long (or longer)
- A vehicle or trailer that, together with any load, is 7.5 metres long (or longer)
- A vehicle with a GVM of 4.5 tonnes (or more)
There are some exemptions to the Heavy and Long Vehicle parking rules, particularly when it comes to being broken down.
Heavy and Long Vehicle Residential Parking EXEMPTIONS – for Caravans & Motorhomes:
- Carrying out minor repairs to allow the vehicle to be moved
- Carrying out emergency work
- Delivering goods or providing services
- Parked on the non-residential side of a residential street – only if there are no offsite street service facilities there
Can You Park a Caravan on the Road?
Okay, so now that we know what is considered a long and heavy vehicle, let’s look at how all of those residential parking rules apply to caravans and motorhomes.
LONG VEHICLE RULE – A vehicle or trailer that is 7.5 metres long (or longer)
→ As long as your caravan or motorhome is less than 7.5 metres long, you can park it on the street.
LONG VEHICLE RULE – A vehicle or trailer that, together with any load, is 7.5 metres long (or longer)
→ As long as your caravan or motorhome isn’t staying hitched up to a vehicle with a combined measurement of 7.5 metres or more in length, you can park it on the street.
HEAVY VEHICLE RULE – A vehicle with a GVM of 4.5 tonnes (or more)
→ As long as your caravan or motorhome doesn’t weigh 4.5 tonnes or more, you can park it on the street.
In summary, yes you can park a caravan on the street as long as it weighs less than 4.5 tonnes and is less than 7.5 metres long. Keep in mind that you still must abide by the council parking rules and local parking signage.
How Long Can You Park a Caravan on the Street?
There are no time limits for how long residents can park their caravan, camper or motorhome on the street, as long as they’re within the length and weight requirements.
General Parking Rules
As long as you don’t break any of the following road parking rules and you fall within the length and weight limits (as stated above), you are able to park your caravan on the street.
Here are the general road parking rules, however there may be slight variations between each state.
DO NOT Park…
- If there’s a ‘No Stopping’ sign
- If there’s a ‘No Parking’ sign
- If there’s a continuous yellow line painted along the edge of the road
- On a bicycle path, footpath, shared path, dividing strip, nature strip or painted island (unless signs say otherwise)
- On a road in a way that blocks access to a path or driveway
- Within 3m of a post box
- Where a bicycle/ motorcycle/ wheelchair parking sign applies
- Within 20m of any traffic light intersection
- Within 10m of any intersection without traffic lights (unless signs say otherwise or you’re parked along the continuous side of the continuous road)
- On a pedestrian crossing or within 20m before or 10m after (unless signs say otherwise)
- Within 10m before the traffic lights of a pedestrian crossing that is not at an intersection, or 3m after the crossing (unless signs say otherwise)
- Within 20m before or 10m after a bus stop (unless signs say otherwise)
- On a clearway
- In loading/ work/ taxi/ bus/ truck zones
Minimum Spacing Requirements:
- Minimum 1 metre gap in front of and behind your vehicle when parallel parked
- Minimum 3 metres between the vehicle and a continuous dividing line in the road
- Minimum 3 metres between a vehicle and the opposite side of the road
Does a Caravan Need to Be Registered to Park on the Street?
Parking any unregistered vehicle or trailer on the road is a bookable offence and it may even be deemed as ‘abandoned.’ However, it is perfectly legal to have an unregistered vehicle or trailer parked on private property.
In order to park your caravan on the road, you will need to make sure that the registration is always paid and up to date. If the rego does lapse, you can simply move it onto the private property to avoid getting any fines or reregister it asap.
Storing a Caravan on the Driveway
As a driveway is considered private property, it’s perfectly legal to store a caravan on the driveway. The only stipulation is that it does not protrude onto the footpath or onto any council strips that are meant to be left clear.
Where Can You Park the Caravan while Travelling?
Finding places to park the caravan while travelling is very different to parking it up at home.
When it comes to stocking up on supplies and accessing services like post offices and hairdressers, you’re able to make use of any town street parking available, as long at the signage doesn’t indicate otherwise.
To avoid fines and being moved on by the local authorities, always adhere to the signage, such as “No Parking Past 10 pm,” “No Parking Monday – Friday” and “No Camping.”
Visitor Information Centres will pretty much always have suitable parking for caravans, so that you can stretch your legs, fill up the water tanks and so on.
However, for breaks while travelling, always make sure you are parked in designated rest areas or camping grounds. No one should ever sleep or travel inside a moving caravan!
Rest areas are designed for travellers to use for up to a minimum of 20 hours to ensure there’s always somewhere safe to pull over and get some sleep. They are free to use and often have toilets and bins available.
Use WikiCamps to find your nearest rest areas and camp grounds while travelling.
Can You Live in a Caravan on Private Property?
Although it is legal to nomadically live in a caravan in Australia, the rules change when it comes to living in a static caravan.
The general rule for living in a caravan on private property in Australia, states that it cannot be for more than 30 days per year. But, these rules can vary from region to region, so it pays to contact the council and find out what your local laws are.
In addition, the caravan must meet basic living conditions, which includes having a kitchen, toilet, bathing facilities, bed and a waste water disposal system in place.
When it comes to where to park the caravan for living in, technically the van is supposed to be 6 metres away from the front door and 1.2 metres away from the building.
Requirements for living in a caravan:
- No more than 30 days per year
- Must meet basic living conditions (kitchen, toilet, bathing, bed, waste water)
- 6 metres away from front door
- 1.2 metres away from the building
For more on living in a caravan full-time, check out the article below.
It is perfectly legal to park a caravan or motorhome on a residential street, as long as it weighs less than 4.5 tonnes and measures under 7.5 metres in length.
An important caveat here is that if you have the vehicle and trailer hitched up together, you’re likely to exceed the 7.5 metre rule, which means that beyond 1 hour, you are open to getting a parking ticket. This is more likely to occur in built-up cities or in cases where complaints have been made.
I will say though, that common courtesy should always play a part. If parking your caravan long-term on the road is going to cause friction between neighbours or difficulty with maneuvering, then consider using a caravan storage facility instead.
Make sure you caravan is ‘Storage Ready’ with the checklist below!
Caravan Storage Checklist
Prepare your van for long-term & short-term storage with the Caravan Storage Checklist.
- 100 pre-filled tasks to complete
- Checkboxes to tick off
- Add in extra tasks
- Download once, use over-and-over again
- DIGITAL & PRINTABLE