Are you planning to live off-grid in Australia?
Whether you’re tired of capital costs, increased use of power sources, or just want to live a self-sustaining lifestyle and enjoy nature, living off the grid in Australia is indeed possible.
But you know what?
There are so many things to consider and plan before you make the jump. From sourcing sustainable power sources to managing your water supply and finding the right land, it’s a big commitment.
That’s why I decided to chat with a group of off-grid living enthusiasts in Australia and share 10 tips that will help you make the transition as smooth as possible.
1) Research local regulations and zoning laws
What do you know about Australian laws and regulations regarding off-grid living?
If you’re planning to build a sustainable home in Australia, you might want to know how regulations and zoning laws will affect your design.
Even though there are hundreds of people who live off the grid in Australia and it’s not considered illegal, you should know that there are still laws that you should be aware of.
So, the first thing you need to do is find out whether it’s legal to live in a self-sufficient manner.
Some areas may have rules against collecting rainwater or solar power, so make sure you know the laws in your area.
For example, many areas in Australia have strict floodplain laws that prevent anyone from building within a certain distance of flowing rivers or creeks.
That means that you might need to find a different location for your sustainable home unless you’re prepared to deal with the associated penalties.
Furthermore, you’ll want to make sure that you’re in compliance with any off-grid electricity code regulations in your region.
There are usually some limitations on the size of the system or how far away you can put it from your home.
I know what you may be thinking right now. Off-grid living is a way to free yourself from society’s norms and rules and start your own way of life.
But it’s important to know the rules and regulations in place so that you don’t get caught by surprise.
This is because different areas have different zoning laws and regulations regarding off-grid living.
So, before you make the jump, do some research and find out if there is any law or regulation in your area that prohibits living off the grid.
Here are some of the local regulations and zoning laws regarding off-grid living in Australia:
- It’s essential to know the standards and rules in your area when it comes to constructing off-grid power generation.
Some areas may have restrictions on what types of power generation you can have, where you can put it, or how much power you can generate.
The last thing you want is to put a lot of time and money into installing an off-grid system only to have it shut down a few days later due to not knowing the rules.
- In most places, if you are installing an off-grid system, you need to get approval from the electrical utility company that supplies power to your home or property.
They will want to know where the power will be coming from, how much power it generates, and how it all works. They also want to make sure it doesn’t interfere with their power supply or their other customers.
- You should also look into local zoning and building laws, as well as potential incentives offered by the government to make the switch to off-grid living.
Of course, there may be places where there aren’t many regulations, but these regions are generally so remote that they may not be the best choice for those looking to start a family or live independently.
Nonetheless, it’s always exciting to explore the possibilities and find a place where you can live off the grid in Australia.
2) Find a good land with access to water and sun
After researching and making sure your off-grid plan is completely in line with the governmental laws in Australia, you’re ready to start looking for land that’s right for you.
Perhaps not surprisingly, choosing the right location is probably the most important part of planning to go off the grid.
It’s important to keep in mind that you can’t just go out into the middle of nowhere and expect to live off the grid. You need a place with access to water, solar, wind, and other resources that you can use to live and survive.
That way, you can avoid as many headaches as possible, such as dealing with strict zoning laws or managing a lot of waste.
That’s why you should make sure you’re picking a location that has easy access to power and water and is far away from any potential flooding.
You see, water is scarce in Australia; so finding land with a sustainable water source could be a challenge for some people who are looking to live off the grid here.
But you know what?
There are many ways to collect energy without the use of an electric grid, but that doesn’t mean you can just choose any piece of land and start living off the grid.
You’ll need plenty of space for solar panels, wind turbines, or other renewable energy systems, as well as a nearby source of water.
The ideal location is close to an area with lots of sun exposure and access to running water. Get ready for a lot of research.
So, first things first: make sure you have access to both water and sun.
Depending on the size of your property, you may need wells or other types of water sources, as well as solar panels or wind turbines.
This is also why it’s critical to do your research and understand what type of power generation works best in your area so that you don’t end up with something that doesn’t suit your needs.
For example, if there is no sun in your area, then solar panels wouldn’t be the best option for off-grid power generation because they won’t generate much power if there isn’t any sun.
If there are no trees or other natural resources on your land, then you may have to build an artificial reservoir where you can collect rainwater.
So, start by researching the environmental conditions in your area so that you can find a place where the land works well with the renewable energy sources you have access to.
3) Think about how you’ll transport supplies
Okay, you already understand that in order to set up a self-made solar panel and wind turbine system, you’ll need to have a bunch of supplies.
But let’s say you’re not just buying equipment; you want to live off the grid in Australia because you want to become more self-sufficient and do as much of your own food growing as possible.
You’re looking for land where you can grow your own food, raise animals, and create some type of water source for yourself.
Sounds great! You’re on the right track when it comes to living off the grid. But there is one more thing that you should take into account: transportation.
So, here’s the thing:
If you’re planning to live off grid in Australia, you’ll want to make sure that you’ve got a reliable way to transport supplies and equipment.
You’ll also want to think about how you’ll transport waste away from your home. If you’re planning to grow your own food, you’ll probably have to deal with a lot of composting.
If you’re hoping to have a sustainable source of water, you’ll also need to have a way to transport water to your home.
For example, if your water source is a river, you’ll need a way to bring it up to your house.
What can you do to transport your supplies safely and effectively?
You see, if you don’t have a car, a truck, or even a bicycle, getting supplies will be much more difficult and time-consuming than if you had access to transportation.
This means that if there is no form of public transportation in your area or if it takes too long for deliveries from other areas to reach your location, finding land, where you can live off the grid, may not be feasible.
4) Source sustainable power sources
The next step is to ensure that you can actually get your hands on sustainable power sources.
This one is pretty important because if you aren’t able to set up renewable energy sources for yourself, you won’t be able to live off the grid in Australia.
That’s why you need to make sure that you’re able to source your own renewable energy. This means that you have access to a solar panel and a wind turbine.
How is this possible?
Well, depending on where you’re located, you might be able to tap into an easy public power source.
If you live in an area with consistent winds, you might want to invest in a good wind turbine. If you live in a dry climate, you might want to use solar power.
It all comes down to what’s easiest to source in your area.
But you know what else?
It turns out that the people I chatted with who live in Australia prefer to buy second-hand solar panels and wind turbines from other people.
The reason is that it’s a much cheaper way to get sustainable power sources than buying new ones.
Believe it or not, the off-grid community in Australia even has its own online marketplace on social media where they share second-hand sustainable appliances and other things other people might need while living off the grid.
However, buying second-hand appliances might come with some risks and dangers.
This means that some of these devices can be unsafe, so before you buy anything second-hand online or elsewhere, make sure that it is safe and will work for what you need it for.
So, if you’re thinking about buying new equipment or even used equipment from someone else, make sure that the equipment has been tested properly to ensure that it works at peak efficiency levels and won’t cause any trouble.
5) Create a water supply plan
No one doubts that water is one of the major concerns for all the people who’ve decided to enjoy an independent lifestyle and live off-grid in Australia.
The best way to have a water supply is to choose a place with a clean and consistent water supply.
That way, you’ll know exactly where your water is coming from and how much you’re using.
You can do this by installing a rainwater harvesting system. Or, if you’re near a river, you can build a large water tank and use it as a source of water.
As a result, you’ll have plenty of water to drink and use in your home, and you won’t have to worry about running out.
Here are some of the ways you can get water:
- Wells – If you’ve got a good well, then that’s great! You can use that well to get an unlimited amount of water. But if you don’t have a good well or maybe your well isn’t working at all anymore, then you might want to consider other options for getting water.
- Rainwater collection – This is one of the most common ways people collect their rainwater. The majority of people who live off the grid in Australia collect rainwater because it’s free and it’s easy to do so.
However, there are other ways to collect rainwater too, such as using a rain barrel or even collecting it in buckets and barrels from gutters.
- Water from ponds – If you’re lucky enough to have access to ponds on your property, then make sure that you use them to your advantage. This way, you’ll have a constant source of water and you won’t have to worry about running out.
Still, I want to share something exciting that I’ve just learned from people who already live off the grid in Australia.
It turns out that it’s not that hard to learn how to produce your own water. Some of the people who live off the grid in Australia have built their own wells from which they can draw water.
If you’re wondering how this is possible, I’d suggest taking a look at this small and handy guide to constructing a well by yourself.
However, you shouldn’t forget to learn how you can purify your water as well. Based on the geographic area you choose to live in Australia, the most optimal methods of purifying water vary.
Luckily, there are multiple convenient guides on the internet to learn how you can purify water while living in the wild.
6) Consider how you’ll manage waste
Going off-grid is a great way to start a sustainable way of living, and you can get most of the things you need from nature.
However, when it comes to waste management, this might prove to be a challenge. Why?
Because if you’re planning to live off the grid in Australia, you’ll probably have to deal with a lot of waste.
That’s why it’s important to consider how you’ll manage that waste before you make the jump.
For example, if you’re planning to compost, you’ll need a good bin that can handle plenty of waste and doesn’t smell.
If you’re planning to use a sustainable water source for your power, you’ll also want to make sure you’ve got a good way to handle sewage.
So, what do you do with all your garbage? Well, you’ve got two options:
- You can burn your waste in a safe manner. When living off-grid, you should never burn trash in an open fire because it is dangerous and can cause forest fires.
- You can bury your waste or compost it. If you choose this option, then be sure to dig a deep hole so that animals won’t be able to reach your waste.
Also, make sure that the hole is not near any water source, as water and waste do not mix.
Regardless of which option you choose for managing waste, on-grid or off-grid living is a great way of life!
7) Make sure you’re prepared for natural disasters
Something that often scares people away from going off-grid is the fear of natural disasters.
But the truth is that if you take the right precautions, you can minimize your risk of being affected by natural disasters while living off-grid.
You see, when you live away from society, multiple possible dangers can affect you.
For example, if you’re living in an area with frequent thunderstorms, it’s a good idea to build your home in a place that’s not close to trees since they can fall and cause injury or even kill you.
Also, while living off-grid, you should make sure that your home is well-insulated so that it will be able to withstand extreme temperatures and weather conditions.
If you live in an area with a lot of earthquakes, it would also be a good idea to build your home on stilts so that the structure won’t collapse if there is an earthquake.
The same thing goes for floods and hurricanes. Since these occur more often than earthquakes and are more dangerous, you should make sure to protect yourself from them as much as possible before going off-grid.
Unfortunately, Australia is famous for its long history of natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes, storms, and bushfires. The same applies to a wide range of cyclones.
So, getting prepared for those disasters will help you avoid difficulties and enjoy living off the grid in Australia.
That way, if a cyclone or hurricane strikes, you’ll have a backup source of power that will keep you safe and connected.
So, here’s the thing:
- Research your area and study its history (if possible) so that you can plan accordingly. You should also consult with a local expert who knows about your area’s history of weather-related events.
This will help you better prepare for any future storms or natural disasters that may occur in your area.
- Make sure that your shelter is fireproof and earthquake-proof (if possible). Remember, if there is one thing that makes people want to go back to modern society, it’s fire and earthquakes.
So, if you want to stay off the grid, it’s best to do everything you can to protect your home from fire and earthquakes.
8) Invest in the right off-grid living equipment
Speaking about protecting yourself from natural disasters while living off the grid in Australia, you should also know that making investments in the right equipment can be a great solution to that problem.
For example, if you have a home that is built on stilts and there is a flood, your home may be safe from the water but you won’t be able to get out of it.
That’s why it would be a good idea to invest in an escape ladder that will allow you to get out of your home quickly and safely.
Or maybe you’re hoping to use solar power. In this case, you’ll need to invest in high-quality panels.
There are a lot of low-cost solar systems on the market, but they’ll probably break down more quickly than a more expensive system.
A similar thing can be said about fire or earthquakes.
If you live in an area where these natural disasters occur frequently, then you should make sure that your home has a fire escape ladder or an earthquake-proof staircase that can support the weight of several people at once.
And while we are talking about equipment and machinery, it’s also important to invest in high-quality generators that can power up your house during power failures or when the sun isn’t shining for several days straight.
These generators will keep your food from spoiling if your fridge or freezer breaks down, and you’ll be able to keep your home warm during power failures.
It’s crucial to invest in high-quality equipment that will last for years and give you consistent results.
If you’re hoping to use a sustainable water source, it’s also a good idea to invest in a good filtration system for your water.
In either case, try to purchase as much high-quality mounting equipment as possible so that you can get the best results from your equipment.
9) Make sure you’ve got a reliable internet connection
After giving you tips about setting up your house and supplying yourself with all the necessary equipment, it’s time to talk about one of the most critical aspects of a valuable off-grid lifestyle:
Communication and connectivity.
Yes, even though you’re planning to live an independent life, you still need to keep in touch with the rest of society.
Regardless of where you are, nowadays you can’t simply live a fulfilling life without being able to check the internet from time to time and gather the information you need for proper living conditions.
And in order to do that, you will need to invest in a reliable internet connection.
So, what you should know:
Living off the grid often means dealing with spotty and unreliable internet service.
If you’re hoping to make a profit online, then you should make sure that you have a reliable internet connection.
The internet is an essential part of our daily lives now, and it’s important to ensure that you can stay connected as much as possible.
After all, if you don’t have internet access, then how will you be able to grow your business in the long run?
So, for example, if your house is far away from the nearest phone or internet tower, then there are ways for you to get around this problem.
You can either invest in a satellite dish or invest in a service that will allow your home to connect with satellites from the ground up.
So if you suffer frequent internet outages and low speeds, that could be a huge problem.
Depending on where you’re located and what type of system you’re using, you might be able to fix this problem completely with a repeater system.
That way you can boost the signal from your nearest tower and distribute it throughout your home, leading to a more consistent and reliable internet connection.
For example, you may need to invest in a good DSL or fiber optic internet connection that will allow you to connect to the internet and stay connected at all times.
10) Connect with other off-grid living enthusiasts
And finally, let’s conclude this guide about living off grid in Australia with another aspect related to the same basic human need — effective communication.
If you’re planning to live off the grid in Australia, chances are that you’re wondering whether you can connect with other off-grid living enthusiasts.
Well, as I already said, the source of all these tips is one of the off-grid communities in Australia, which helped me explain the most important aspects of living off the grid.
And as you’ll see, many other resources can help you figure out how to live off the grid in Australia and also connect with other off-grid living enthusiasts.
For example, the Cohousing Australia Initiative is a community of people in Australia who are all interested in off-grid living and sustainable lifestyles.
They have a website where you can find tips, resources, and information about off-grid living in Australia.
The same can be said about Tiny Homes Foundation Australia — a non-profit organization that provides socially, environmentally, and economically sustainable solutions for living off-grid.
And finally, if you’re planning to live off the grid in Australia and want to connect with other off-grid living enthusiasts, then you should visit the Off Grid Living Australia Facebook page.
There are many people who share their experiences, tips, and advice on how to live off the grid and stay connected with others in this lifestyle.
That way, you can get advice and tips from people who have already made the jump.
So, get ready to learn from other people’s experiences, get advice on the best ways to set up your sustainable home, and even find a few like-minded neighbors.
As you can see, living off-grid in Australia can be a rewarding experience that reconnects you to nature and offers a more sustainable lifestyle. I
If you’re considering taking the plunge and living off-grid, there are a few key tips and considerations you should keep in mind.
From understanding your local regulations to learning how to source food and water, here are 10 tips to help you successfully live off-grid in Australia.
Hopefully, these tips can help you make the transition to off-grid living in Australia.