Have you experienced hooligans when camping?

By: Tony and Denyse Allsop, Photography by: Tony and Denyse Allsop

They're a camper’s worst nightmare; have you had hooligans ruin your camping experience?

Over the years, we have had our fair share of incidents involving hooligans in both paid and free campsites.  It seems that it is more of a problem in coastal caravan parks than inland ones, and in free camps within say 20km of towns, especially on weekends.

Our first bad experience was years ago at Wongi Waterholes near Maryborough in Qld, with only one other RV with an elderly couple. We were settled in bed after an enjoyable evening sitting around a fire, when two carloads of local youths arrived and loudly set up a tent near the entrance to the campground.

Hooligan -trail -of -destruction

After partying on for several hours, breaking bottles and laughing hysterically, they started drag racing each other around the area in their old cars.

It was quite terrifying, but there was no phone reception, and it was impossible to get going quickly as we had unhitched to level the van. We sat it out and left at first light before they had surfaced.

We have been very wary of free camping near towns ever since, especially if there is no phone reception.

Camping -with -the -family

However, we broke our rule and stayed at Ceratodus camp near Eidsvold a few years ago, as there were six or eight other campers there when we arrived.

About midnight, a group of local youths arrived and sat drinking and smoking (what?) in the barbecue area for a while, gradually becoming louder and more disorderly. Then they, too, drove their vehicles at speed round and round the ring road in the camp, before heading out back towards Eidsvold leaving rubbish and bottles all around.

Another incident happened in the Cable Beach van park in Broome, where a group of French back packers came alive about 1am in the morning, yelling and fighting and keeping us all awake. There were wine bottles and bongs scattered around their tent site in the morning. We reported it to management and they were sent packing, and barred from other Broome parks.

However, we saw the same people being evicted from the Discovery park in Darwin, and they were later evicted from the Edith Falls campground near Katherine. Seemingly, they disrupted the sleep of lots of RV'ers around the top end!

Even top van parks are not free from these louts.

Have -you -experiences -hooligans -when -camping

Last year we stayed at the newly upgraded caravan park at Agnes Water in Qld when a back packer van snuck in late at night. The occupants were speaking very loudly in German, for quite some time as they could not get in anywhere as the park was full. They squeezed in near us, then sat around drinking and laughing most of the night, and they left before the park opened in the morning. A shame there was no on-site manager.

Taking precautions, such as having phone reception, making a note of afterhours van park phone numbers, not camping near towns, and asking advice from other RV'ers can minimise these incidents.

In most places the worst that will happen is having a loud generator or loud talk around a campfire. While they can be a bit annoying, you don't feel at all threatened like you do by out of control hooligans.

What is your experience? Is the problem getting worse? Who are the usual offenders?