The summer holidays is the best time get away as a family, and while many campers will have old favourites, some might be looking for something new, or starting a new tradition. Here’s our favourite locations for camping in Australia – we’ve listed two of choices within a day’s drive of all of Australia’s capital cities. There’s one coastal location, and one bush location for each state. This list will serve as a great starting point, but we’d encourage you to do plenty of research and find the place that’s right for you and your fellow campers!
QLD – CARNARVON GORGE
Carnarvon National Park lies between Roma and Emerald on the Carnarvon Developmental Road. The Carnarvon Gorge section is the most popular area with good facilities and camping within the national park. Short and lengthy walks to visit Aboriginal paintings, sheer sandstone walls and ancient vegetation are a feature. Other sections of the national park are remote but very suitable for self-sufficient 4WD campers.
QLD – BUNDABERG
Bundaberg and the Coral Coast are located a few hours drive north of Brisbane. There is camping available at caravan parks and self-sufficient beachfront camping on the nearby Burrum Coast for 4WD enthusiasts. Turtle watching at Mon Repos CP is popular between November and March, and fishing at any time of the year. A rum distillery and free zoo provide good activities in town.
NSW – BARRINGTON TOPS
For some respite from the heat, enjoy the lofty forests of Barrington Tops, located off a gravel road between Gloucester and Scone. Bush camping within the national park, with walks to lookouts and natural features. Mountain biking will burn off excess energy for the young ones. There are commercial camping options off the access road west of Gloucester.
NSW – CROWDY BAY
Crowdy Bay features laid back camping with bush options just south of Port Macquarie. Fishing, surfing and swimming are popular at the bay, with beachfront campsites and some walking tracks. Macadamia Farm and Norfolk Punch factory are open for tour around town, and 4WDs can access the beach with a permit obtainable locally.
VIC – GRAMPIANS
There is a large national park centred around Halls Gap, with hiking opportunities, fishing and indigenous art sites. There is commercial camping at Halls Gap, but many bush sites throughout the national park. Wildlife is abundant and the wildflowers are stunning in spring. There’s also plenty to do near town, thanks to an ever growing tourism industry.
VIC – LAKES ENTRANCE
There is beachfront commercial camping at East Gippsland’s major tourist town. The weather at Lakes Entrance is often a few degrees warmer than Melbourne, and the fishing is great! Nearby national parks and bush drives balance the numerous tourist activities available in town. Explore the Gippsland Lake is great for exploring by boat!
TAS – DELORAINE
Deloraine is a historic town just off the Bass Highway between Devonport and Launceston. Camping is at commercial parks, with the scenic terrain home to local artists. Kids will enjoy day trips to the wildlife park at Mole Creek, fishing the Meander River and waterfall walks.
TAS – FREYCINET NATIONAL PARK
The scenic coast of East Tasmania with the hamlet of Coles Bay has commercial accommodation and camping. There are bush camps at locations within the national park. There are numerous long and short walks with fishing and swimming always nearby.
NT – KAKADU
Kakadu has numerous camping options across the national park with facilities ranging from very basic to elaborate. Wildlife is aplenty and there are boat cruises, Aboriginal bush tucker and art tours. Fishing is for the adventurous, watch out for kids as as there is a big croc population in this part of the world – not to mention the mosquitoes and sand flies.
NT – LITCHFIELD
Impressive waterfalls and bathing possibilities attract thousands to this holiday playground barely two hours by car from Darwin. You’ve got access to commercial caravan parks near Batchelor and popular water hole camps throughout the national park. There are some walks, great views and plenty of splashing about to satisfy all.
WA – STIRLING RANGE
Wildflowers carpet this slice of western paradise, about an hour’s drive north of Albany. Bush enthusiasts will appreciate the bird life, with no frills camping at Moingup Springs within the national park. There is a commercial caravan park at Tambellup on the Great Southern Highway, North West of the park.
WA – KALBARRI
There is good camping in town and bush camps in the national park. Pelican feeding, parrot enclosure, aquarium, beach walks and fishing are some great options for entertaining kids. The deep gorges on the Murchison River are stunning, and there’s 4WDing opportunities on the beach.
SA – FLINDERS RANGES
Flinders Range is a broad area of the outback, largely accessible by car, with a number of quirky townships scattered along the main arterial roads. Camping is possible at Wilpena Pound, within the national park, and there are various outback-station stay opportunities. Wildlife is abundant, and there’s a lot of Aboriginal heritage and bush walks.
SA – KANGAROO ISLAND
Kangaroo Island has a variety of town and country camps scattered across a rural setting, with Sea Lion watching in the cold southwest, and swimming in the north. Historic lighthouse and gourmet produce will keep mum and dad interested. A ferry journey satisfies the kids, just an hour’s drive south of Adelaide at Cape Jervis.
Of course, the most popular spots will be more difficult to find space at – so where possible, book ahead, or head a little further off the beaten track! You never know what gems you might uncover.