THE word is out on how to spend a free night on absolute beach frontage on the Coffs Coast from the comfort of a van.
Online holiday blogs and users of social network sites are advising travelling campers that Coffs Harbour and the Northern Beaches are ‘carpark camper friendly’.
Holidaymakers in hired vans, four-wheel-drives and caravans are taking full advantage of beachside carparks, turning them into camp grounds.
While it’s a longstanding trend, and one synonymous with the coast’s surf and backpacker culture, some Diggers Beach locals are fuming over what they claim has become a ‘messy’ issue at the idyllic beach.
And it’s not just the odd grey nomad or Wicked or Juicy van camper they are talking about.
It’s convoys of vehicles that they say is changing the name of Diggers Beach to ‘Diggers Camp’.
“It is really getting out of hand with locals constantly cleaning up toilet paper, food items, beer cans and bottles every morning,” Kath Tucker said.
“I find it hard to fathom the rangers are not moving them on as in Yamba and Byron, it’s totally not acceptable.
“You will see from my photos the numbers involved each night.
“The other morning my daughter and I were jogging on the beach and literally had to kick beer cans out of the way to access the beach.
“Once again people were sleeping on the beach, not to mention the hot coals from a fire left in the sand overnight along with a heap of other rubbish,” she said.
Other beachgoers agreed that pretty soon it might be time to roll up the ‘welcome mat’.
British backpackers and carpark campers, David Armitage and Rebecca Ansom, who were travelling NSW in a van, say the trick was not to outstay your welcome and clean up after yourself.
“We stay in carparks like here at Diggers whenever we can but usually we stay in caravan parks,” David, 32, said.
“We pull in to sleep near beaches after long drives on the highway.
“We’re not here to party, if we had nowhere to stop and revive we would be a danger on the road,” he said.
A council spokesperson said Coffs Harbour City Council was not aware of the complaints, but said it did conduct regular patrols moving on campers from ‘non camping’ areas such as the Jetty Foreshores.