In-the-know backpackers (which it seems is all of them) are adept at nabbing the best camping spots for free. They simply park their Wicked van in a beach carpark and wake up to a beautiful beachy sunrise. And a whole lot of lycra from the middle-aged morning walker crowd.
In Sydney, predictably this free beach camping practice has caused an outcry in the beach and inner city ‘burbs. Backpackers are taking up valuable carparks, hogging the amenities block in parks and getting some of the best real estate for free, which is enough to rile any Sydneysider, even one living in Blacktown.
Sydney councils have started to crack down on these wily wicked backpackers, but out of Sydney, the east coast is speckled with backpacker vans and the air is thick with instant noodle dinners.
I don’t know what I think about this. On the one hand, Australia is an expensive country, and I have no idea sometimes how Aussies manage to travel in Australia, let alone foreigners. On the other hand, it’s only a matter of time before infrastructure in beach suburbs reaches peak Wicked van moment and locals get sick of the smell of burnt baked beans. Or, in my case, sick of the sight of young, bronzed backpackers. How does anyone look so good after a night in a van? Let’s face it, that’s my real gripe.