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Why caravan use is restricted

Many people use caravans around the State, including for:  

  • personal circumstances
  • tourism
  • short term camping.

It is important that people who use caravans do so in a safe and healthy manner. For this reason, WA legislation generally restricts the use of caravans to licenced caravan parks. Furthermore, caravan parks are required by law to supply a certain level of services and utilities to its customers.

If a person uses a caravan outside a licenced park without the correct approvals or exemptions , they risk committing an offence. This will be the case irrespective of whether the land is private property or public land.

What are the exemptions?

People are permitted to use caravans outside of licenced caravan parks in the following circumstances:

Approved short-term stay

Approvals include:

  • Up to 3 nights: approval required from the property owner.
  • Up to 3 months: approval required from the property owner and the local government.
  • Between 3 to 12 months: approval required from the property owner, local government and the Minister for Local Government.
  • If the applicant is seeking to camp on a State or Federal reserve, consent may also be required from the authority who manages that land.  

Roadside emergency

A person may use a caravan on a roadside if their vehicle has broken down or they are unable to drive safely.

In order for this exemption to apply:

  • there must be a legitimate emergency
  • the vehicle must not cause a road hazard
  • the vehicle must be moved as soon as it is safe to do so (if it is immobile, it should be towed away). 

Overnight rest stop

Many local governments and State highways provide overnight rest stops for the purposes of convenience and public safety.

These rest stops are clearly marked and no approval is required to use them. However, this is allowable for up to 24 consecutive hours only. 

Construction of residence

Construction of residential homes can often be delayed due for a variety of reasons. This can create difficulty especially for rural residents when alternative accommodation might be expensive or a long distance away.

Under the current legislation, a person may apply to a local government for permission to live in a caravan while a home is constructed on the property.

This approval can be granted:

  • for a maximum of 12 months; and
  • if the property is subject to an active building permit. 

While it is possible for an exemption to be extended, any extension beyond 12 months will require the permission of the Minister for Local Government.

If a local government grants an exemption, they may make it subject to conditions. For example, the local government may require the applicant to have sufficient power, water, sewage and cooking facilities. The caravan and camping regulations detail the various duties, approvals and exemptions that may apply.

All or part of this document may be copied. Due recognition of source would be appreciated. If you would like more information please contact the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries.

Page reviewed 11 September 2023