A few weeks ago I put together what proved to be a pretty popular piece on five of the best Australian camping spots, highlighting such Nitmiluk’s desert canyons and the alpine wonderland that is Kosciuszko National Park.
Over Christmas, my brother bought his long term girlfriend a tent and it got us daydreaming about leading a more active and outdoorsy life. Couple that with my mother and I reminiscing over the caravan trips of my youth and my recent pledge to participate in a Year of Microadventures (below), and you’ve got a recipe to get the ol’ creative juices flowing.
Whether you wish to wake up in an island paradise or beneath the canopy of age-old trees, Australia is a country spoiled for choice when it comes to idyllic camping destinations. While the options truly are endless, here are five (more) of the most awesome Australian camping spots.
The Whitsundays, Queensland
If you fancy waking up to the sound of waves gently lapping a pristine beachfront and a view of azure water framed by crystal white beaches and lush green trees, then the Whitsundays are a magnificent spot for your camping trip. Reached by boat from Shute Harbour or Airlie Beach, Whitsunday Island boasts a series of camping sites managed by Queensland Parks and Recreation. Permits are required to camp there and you need to bring your own supplies, ensuring what is taken in is removed at the end of your visit to this sensational national park.
As open fires are not allowed, you will also need to take your own gas or fuel barbeque. There’s a host of options at specialist camping stores such as Barbeques Galore and you can check out their website (www.barbequesgalore.com.au ) for more information.
Menindee Lakes, New South Wales
I recently wrote about a NSW Outback Road Trip, and in doing so was reminded of my earliest camping memory – a family weekend on the shores of the famous Menindee Lakes. Holding three times as much water as Sydney Harbour when full, the Menindee Lakes make for a beautiful backdrop whether full to the brim or a parched crater in which birds and animals migrate from diminishing pool to diminishing pool.
When the water level is up, the Menindee Lakes make for great fishing and canoeing – and it’s a relatively safe Outback camping location that is easily accessible from Sydney (albeit a lengthy train ride).
This one is for true roughing it enthusiasts, with most campsites being bare as bones. The proximity to nearby Menindee makes supply runs easy, and the best part? Camping here is free!
Devil’s Kitchen Camping Ground, Victoria
Boasting Australia’s most magnificent “loo with a view,” Devil’s Kitchen Campsite is a walk-in site and one of seven along the world-renowned Great Ocean Walk. The walk boasts some of the most spectacular views in Australia, including the 12 Apostles.
With driving the Great Ocean Road being such a popular tourist activity, why not take it at a more leisurely pace by camping as you make your way along the Great Ocean Walk instead? Photographic opportunities abound, and you’re quite likely to see some of Australia’s iconic wildlife as you camp.
Camp sites need to be booked two weeks in advance and are only suitable for 2-3 person tents with group numbers limited to 12. If camping with your car is more your style, there are drive-in camping options in the vicinity as well.
Lucky Bay, Cape Le Grand National Park, Western Australia
If watching the sunset over the water is on your bucket list, Lucky Bay at Cape Le Grand in WA is a must-do. Located 40 minutes from Esperance, the campsite is a beachside haven accessible by car and featuring hot and cold showers, running water, gas barbeques, and toilets – perfect for those wishing to try their hands at galmping!
In spring, the surrounding Heathlands are awash with colours as wildflowers grow, but all year round you can explore the scrub and the towering granite cliffs that surround such imaginatively named bays as Hellfire Bay and Thistle Cove.
The area features 5km of pristine beachfront and calm waters, with 25 individual campsites that accommodate tents and camper trailers.
Mt Field National Park, Tasmania
Home to a series of lakes, spectacular waterfalls and a diverse range of vegetation, Mt Field National Park is one of Tasmania’s most popular national parks. On a dry continent like Australia, waterfalls are something of a special treat, but Mt. Field National Park has them in spades.
Boasting the temperate ‘four season’ year that is hard to find in other parts of Australia, you can see the hills aflame with colour in the autumn or even engage in a bit of skiing in the winter. Nature enthusiasts have a playground of Aussie flora and fauna at their fingertips, and cavers will find that there are plenty of caves to explore beneath the heavily wooded hills and cliffs.
The park features an array of campsites, many of which have amenities, hot and cold showers, washing facilities and cooking areas.
No matter what outdoor experience you seek or where in Australia you fancy visiting, it’s not hard to get off the beaten track and into the great outdoors. The biggest decision you need to make is just how far you’ll go.
I’ve given you ten of my picks for the most unique camping sites in Australia, but I’m sure I’ve overlooked a few. What would you recommend?