Caravanning rules and regulations

Max Taylor — 5 October 2015

They say life wasn’t meant to be easy. With respect to the late Malcolm Fraser, who is generally credited with first uttering those immortal words, I think those people have never gone caravanning.

But it’s not all plain sailing. After all, there’s a set of rules and regulations that vanners must adhere to and plenty of people find complying with the letter of the law to be an exercise in exasperation.

While many of these regulations are in place for your safety, and that of other road users, a lack of national uniformity in some areas could have you scratching your head. Why, for example, is it mandatory to have a remote battery monitor for the breakaway braking system inside the cabin of the tow vehicle in order to register a van in New South Wales, but not in any other state or territory?

And why in the eastern states is it illegal for a van’s numberplate to be positioned no higher than 1.3m from the ground, while elsewhere the authorities could barely care less about the height of the numberplate?

My best guess is that the speed cameras on the east side of the country are calibrated to read only to a certain height. Cynical? Me? Never.

Oh, and if you’re planning to register a caravan in New South Wales, be prepared to fork out some series moolah compared to what they charge in Victoria and South Australia.

Yes, negotiating Australia’s state-by-state vanning idiosyncrasies will probably make you bang your head against your desk, but after you’ve picked the splinters out, you’ll discover an unrivalled way of life.

Imagine parking your van on the shores of Inskip Point, Qld, and waking up to a view of Fraser Island. Or settling in on a private stretch of beach on the Eyre Peninsula, SA, before moving your ‘house’ a week or two later for an adventure in the outback. The immeasurable benefits of this way of life unquestionably outweigh the effort to get involved.

Was life meant to be easy? Dunno. But I do know that caravanning is the easiest way of life.


rules regulations safety caravans numberplate