Once a jolly swagman's domain, the Australian bush is being wrapped in regulation.
The founders of a website that connects landholders with campers want state governments across Australia to loosen regulations on bush camping, because of the demand.
NSW is reviewing its policies, while the ACT doesn't see the need.
Camping on their South Coast bush block one Christmas, James and Prue Woodford realised land similar to theirs across Australia sat vacant while caravan parks and public camping grounds were packed out with people.
They established YouCamp.com, which now lists from 600 to 700 sites of private landholders making available bush camp sites. But like the jolly swagman, one of the hosts is fighting with the law.
Kangaroo Valley landholder Peter Botsman says after complaints from neighbours Shoalhaven City Council wants him to submit a development application to allow campers on his land. "Next they'll want DAs to scratch your bum," Mr Botsman said.
He says regulations for toilet blocks and rubbish removal worked against his aims of protecting the environment. He says only a few rules are needed, like bringing your own toilet and leaving the land as you found it.
This would create a more authentic bush experience, than public camping grounds.
"What's happening in national parks and caravan parks is a joke," Mr Botsman said. "No one is cleaning the toilets or taking away rubbish, it is just terrible. Parks rangers and council rangers are under-resourced."
Mr Woodford says rules require landholders to submit a development application, the same as a van park, or big-scale camping ground operator. "We're saying that is excessive, because no one is going to recoup costs doing that.
"The NSW government came out earlier this year saying they want to embrace the shared economy. We are saying that's great, but you are going to have to put in place more nimble planning regulations to allow that to happen," he said.
"The fact it has become so popular, and people are enjoying this type of camping, it shows there is a market for it. Not everyone wants to be herded into a packed van park or crowded public camping ground."
Eurobodalla Shire Council divisional manager Gary Bruce says exceptions to the DA rule can be granted for landholders for not more than two caravans, campervans or tents on any land, so long as they are not occupied for more than two days at a time and are not occupied for more than 60 days (in total) in any single period of 12 months.
South Coast caravan parks and public camping grounds are booked out over summer holidays, but Mr Bruce says the shire received few complaints about camping on private ground. "One or two complaints a year," he said.
Mr Bruce does not think a specific policy is needed because Local Government regulations already address the issues.
Mr Woodford says he is lobbying state governments across Australia for appropriate regulations.
"What people are looking for is that authentic camping experience that I think a lot of people feel has been lost. From a landholder perspective and farmers in particular, it is an extra source of income," he said.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.