As Sydney’s world-renowned Summer sets into into its full sun-filled, sand-drenched self, unfortunately the rays aren’t the only thing flocking to our stunning coastline. As the Eastern suburbs transform into the picturesque natural beauty that we know and love, locals are forced to endure the swarm of tourists and backpackers, who also want their piece of the paradise.
Backpackers are getting ever bolder and more irksome in their tendency to encroach on the carparks and public spaces of the Eastern suburbs, taking no notice of signs warning against camping or staying overnight. The seemingly omnipresent backpacker car or campervan can – to locals’ dismay – be seen all around the Eastern areas of North Bondi, Tamarama, Watsons and Rose Bays and most recently, Darling Point. The backpackers have been seen to go about all their daily activities, from eating to defecating, all around the road and public parks.
One Tamarama resident, Chris Robinson, told the Daily Telegraph, that he counted 11 campers along Marine Drive last Friday, and that one backpacker had set up residence on Carlisle Street from the last month. Mr Robinson has become exasperated by the drinking in no alcohol zones and hanging clothes on fences and believes the rangers’ effort is incredibly poor as they are allegedly, “too busy out chasing dogs.”
Another Tamarama local, Ben Kirkpatrick, discovered pitched tents in the children’s playground in Gaerloch Reserve earlier this month. Kirkpatrick revealed that while the ranger avoided fining the backpackers, who camped for 24 hours in view of a ‘no camping or staying overnight sign’, he received a $220 penalty himself after his dog wandered off the leash.
Waverley Mayor Sally Betts believes the Council has limited power to deal with the issue as rangers aren’t able to fine the tourists, only ask them to move on if they are in the vicinity of a specified sign. Cr Betts admits this can be an issue, but her bid to the local government to get ‘no camping or overnight stay’ signs at multiple entry points was knocked back.
More signs were installed around Bellevue Hill and Double Bay last year to help combat the issue. But they are clearly still not situated in every corner of the area.
While the flood of backpackers residing around the Sydney’s Eastern suburbs is undoubtedly an annoyance for locals, the issue also arouses the difficulty for backpackers in finding affordable accommodation around the area. With many hostels being turned in to more expensive hotels with fewer beds, and limited areas for backpackers to park their cars or campervans, there appears to be limited options for these travellers who simply want to enjoy the Aussie sand and sun. Perhaps the invasion of backpackers requires closer scrutiny and longer term solutions than simply putting up more signs around our beaches.
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