Where To Fill Caravan Water Tanks
Where to fill caravan water tanks is a very common question when free camping. Here we outline 15 different options as well as give some tips on how to get it done as well as some of the etiquette issues in play when you need to fill caravan water tanks.
Where To Get Water From When Free Camping
- Fill At Home
- Use WikiCamps To Find Potable Water
- Visitor Information Centres
- Caravan Parks
- Petrol Stations
- Water Filling Stations
- Free & Low Cost Camps
- Creeks & Rivers
- Council Depots
- Public Toilets
- At A Friend Or Family Members House
1. Fill At Home
It sounds pretty obvious but we always fill our tanks at home before heading off. Depending upon where we are going we might fill up a few jerry cans to take with us.
2. Use WikiCamps To Find Potable Water
Your absolute best guide to finding where to fill caravan water tanks is WikiCamps. Go into filters and turn off all of the options except for “Water Facilities” and apply. Then just search the area you are located in.
3. Visitor Information Centres
Visitor Information Centres usually have drinking water taps available for filling up caravan and camper trailer water tanks. Or use them to fill your jerry cans. Go inside and ask a staff member if you can’t see a sign saying “Drinking Water”. Don’t be tempted to fill up your water tanks from the tap at a dump point if the information centre has one as it might not be as clean as you would like it to be.
4. Caravan Parks
We don’t stay in caravan parks very often however we will often book into one so we can fill our water tanks and jerry cans with potable water. It’s also a good opportunity to catch up on a few loads of washing. Caravan parks will also have a dump point available so we get that chore knocked over and out of the way while in the park.
5. Petrol Stations
There is usually a potable drinking water tap at petrol stations. Often there is one out of the way where the air for pumping up your tyres is. Always ask the service station attendant before hooking up your water hose and filling your tanks – it’s the right thing to do. We only ever fill up at a petrol station if we have bought fuel. We’ve never been refused water at a petrol station. Of course make sure you won’t be in the way of anyone pulling in to fuel up.
Local parks are a good location to fill your water tanks. Sometimes the tap handle has been removed by the council as they don’t want people taking water. Be respectful of the locals. If you desperately need water and it’s the only place you can find it ask at the local Information Centre, call the local council or check with a local business first. You might need a four way tap key to turn the tap on.
7. Water Filling Stations
Some towns have water available for travellers in the form of coin operated water stations. Places that we have accessed water from a filling station are Coober Pedy in SA and Young, Molong and Murrumburrah in NSW. These all show up on the WikiCamps app. To get them to show in WikiCamps turn go into filters and turn off everything except “Water Facilities” and turn on “Cost”. It’s always a good idea to have a stash of coins available to use.
Potable water is usually available at Showgrounds but it’s not always free. Use your WikiCamps App to see if they have an available water tap and if you need to camp there and pay a fee to fill up.
9. Free & Low Cost Camps
Lots of Free and Low Cost Camps have water taps on site available for you to use. If it’s a donation camp even if you aren’t staying throw some money in after filling up. It’s the right thing to do and you know it.
10. Creeks & Rivers
Creeks and rivers won’t give you potable water suitable for drinking, however it will generally be suitable for showering, washing your dishes or washing your clothes. Using it for these purposes will help conserve your onboard drinking water.
Have a look to see how clean the water is and make sure it’s fresh running water. You wouldn’t want to shower in water that has been sitting stagnant. Don’t take water from waterways in drought affected areas where water is hard to come by. What little water is there could be the only thing keeping the ecosystem alive.
We’d never put creek water into our drinking water tanks. Some people will have setups where they have one or two tanks for drinking water and another one for creek water. A simple way to keep some separation is to carry a jerry can just for creek water.
A tip for showering is to use a 12v shower pump and some creek water heated over a fire. Use a shower tent or if really remote you can just let it all hang out and go “au naturale”.
If it rains then put your annexe out and angle one corner so that you can collect the runoff in a bucket. There are even kits made to redirect the runoff directly into your tanks.
Cemeteries can be a good location to fill your water tanks. Sometimes the tap handle has been removed by the council as they don’t want people taking water. Be respectful of the locals. If you desperately need water and it’s the only place you can find it ask at the local Information Centre, call the local council or check with a local business first. You might need a four way tap key to turn the tap on.
13. Council Depots
Council Depots can be a good location to fill your water tanks. Sometimes the tap handle has been removed by the council as they don’t want people taking water. Be respectful of the locals. If you desperately need water and it’s the only place you can find it ask at the local Information Centre, call the local council or check with a local business first. You might need a four way tap key to turn the tap on. Many water filling stations as mentioned previously are to be found at the local council depot.
14. Public Toilets
Public Toilets can be a good location to fill your water tanks. Sometimes the tap handle has been removed by the council as they don’t want people taking water. Be respectful of the locals. If you desperately need water and it’s the only place you can find it ask at the local Information Centre, call the local council or check with a local business first. You might need a four way tap key to turn the tap on.
15. At A Friend Or Family Members House
Don’t forget that your good old Aunty Ruby who lives in Morphett Vale has a perfectly good tap in her front yard! Call in for a cup of tea and a chat and top up those tanks while you’re at it.
Tips For Getting Water In To Your Caravan Water Tanks
Use an Inline Water Filter
Filter your water as it goes into your tanks. Generally town water throughout Australia is good drinkable water. However you just don’t know when and if something will end up in your tanks that will make you as crook as Rookwood and leave you blowing chunks by the following morning. An inline water filter will do the trick. You can get them cheaply off eBay. Attach it to your hose as you’re filling your tanks or jerry cans. The water goes through the filter before entering your tanks.
Carry Spare Hose & Tap Fittings
You should carry spare hose and tap fittings while travelling in a range of types and sizes. A roll of thread tape and some spare rubber fitting washers also can come in handy. Most taps don’t have a connection on them (they would if people didn’t knock them off) so bring your own (and don’t forget to take it with you).
Get A 4way Tap Key
It’s handy to carry a Tap Key. You can get them from Bunnings for about $20. They’re made of brass and have four different sizes to suit different tap spindles.
Often a public tap won’t have the handle on it. It’s most likely been taken off by the council to avoid vandalism. Having this key will enable you to get access to water at parks and sports grounds. Be careful to not steal water. It is good to have in case of emergency.
Extra Water Storage
- Jerry Can
- Water Bladder
- 10L Water Containers
- Collapsible Water Containers
You can only fit so much water in your caravan or camper trailer water tanks. Having extra water storage available allows you to increase your water storage capacity. It also provides a way to transport water from a water source to your caravan or camper trailer when they are already set up. Say you have a great spot by the lake and you need to fill up your tanks. If you hook your caravan up and take it in to town by the time you get back your primo spot will probably have been taken by someone else.
We live in a land often plagued by drought. Be very mindful that some towns in Australia are in severe drought. They can be struggling provide water to local residents so the last thing they need on top is travellers coming into town and filling up. If you know in advance that you be in a drought affected area fill up your tanks before you get there. Towns with currently with water restrictions will most likely have signage as you drive in to let you know.
How To Get Water From Containers In To Your Caravan Water Tanks
An easy way to transfer water from jerries in to your tank is with a 12v shower pump. We’ve used this method for many years – easier than standing there and holding the jerry as it glugs in slowly. The pump fits inside the big mouth ProQuip cans. For older small capped jerries we just upend it into a water drum and chuck the pump in. We’ve always used the long corded 12v shower pumps (they never last long) but our new one is rechargeable (usb) – have been using it heaps and we get about 200 litres between charges.