Major crackdown on illegal tourist act at popular Aussie beach

Council are now considering increasing penalties and other enforcement options to curb illegal camping at Queensland's Noosa Heads.

Tourists breaking the law in one of Australia’s most popular holiday destinations has left locals bitterly divided — and council considering a major crackdown to curb illegal activity.

In images posted to social media this week, an entire Queensland car park can be seen filled with campervans and four-wheel drives late into the evening. It is thought the backpackers are spending the night camping in the popular area.

The Noosa Spit car park — which is located just moments from 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. Fines for doing so vary from $77 to $116, and $309 for illegal camping. It comes as council considers increasing the penalties in a crackdown against for breaking the rules.

A car park in Noosa filled with tourists' campervans (left) and an overview of Noosa Heads beach (right).
A car park in Noosa has come under fire as tourists repeatedly break the law. Source: Facebook/Getty

While council told Yahoo News Australia that parking officers, along with the assistance of Queensland Police, are regularly patrolling the area, tougher penalties are being considered. While some locals agree, others argue they aren’t hurting anyone and should be left alone.

Locals bitterly divided over illegal act

While some residents of the Sunshine Coast are strongly against tourists making camp in the car park, where there are no amenities like toilets, others think they should be left alone amid the rising cost of living.

“I’ve personally seen, on dozens and dozens of occasions, van occupants emptying porta potty’s, dumping cooking leftovers, and washing up remains directly onto the car park, and into the neighbouring garden areas,” said one frustrated resident, adding: “I’ve seen dozens of piles of human waste and toilet paper in the bushes there.”

“No overnight camping. That’s what the signs say,” added another.

“It seems word is out about this ‘free’ accommodation and lots of the backpackers know each other."

Others shared that they rarely visit the area since it's grown in popularity among backpackers.

Others living in the area were more sympathetic to the situation. “They aren't hurting anyone rents are high and my friend is living in one around town with 2 children,” said one local, before adding: “Mind your own business.”

“Just let them,” added another. “They are not creating a nuisance overnight. Too many rules and regulations. Too many rich Karen and Bob a jobs out there taking freedoms away that used to be enjoyed by all Australians.”

The Noosa car park is seen filled with vehicles late at night
The Noosa car park is seen filled with vehicles late at night. Source: Facebook

Council weighs in on illegal overnight camping

Council’s Director of Development and Regulation, Richard MacGillivray told Yahoo News Australia said that the overnight parking ban was helping curb illegal overnight camping.

"Parking Officers, along with assistance from Queensland Police Service, continue to deal with those who flout the parking and camping laws with patrols conducted several times a day - including early morning and into the evening - and offenders issued with fines," he said.

He added that council is now considering extending the overnight parking restrictions, increasing fines and employing "other" enforcement options including tow-away signs.

"So far this year Council has received 84 complaints from residents regarding illegal camping," he said.

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