There’s no place like home — especially when these ‘places’ boast gorgeous, natural hot springs in the middle of a desert, incredible views of mountain ranges, white sand, blue surf, and eerie rock formations.
South Australia is home to all this — and more. And if you’re ready to take your campervan rental on a veritable adventure, we’ve put together a list of 5 free camping spots in South Australia that you would be crazy to miss!
Since your Travellers Autobarn campervan hire comes with everything you need and you’ll be packing the essentials, all you’ll really need is a rough plan of what you’d like to do and where you can rest your head.
And, if you head to the campsite and decide you’d like to look for something else, access the Aircamp AU app to find a more suitable spot. Travellers Autobarn also offers free roadside assistance so you’re really never alone, even if you’re bush camping.
We’ve vetted these 5 free camping spots in SA for you, though, so take our advice and get your campervan adventure started!
Sitting high atop the Razorback Lookout, the South Australian mountain ranges, burning red and orange in the sunset, look back at you. In that moment, as you gaze across the dotted shrubbery and vast expanse, it will hit you: This might be the most incredible view you’ve had all day — until, of course, tomorrow, when you hit an entirely new trail and lookout point.
Every minute at Flinders Ranges and Outback is a memorable one and there is plenty to do, besides taking in the stunning views. Visit the nearby airstrip for a broad horizon overview of the rugged landscape or head for a round of hiking on the Black Gap – Heysen Trail.
Wilpena Pound, a massive bowl-like crater stands above the rest of the par and offers campgrounds with easy access to the ridges, for stunning sunsets and sunrise moments. Don’t forget to pack your DSLR.
Edeowie Gorge is also a fantastic, if strenuous trail that passes the beautiful Malloga Falls. If you’re looking for a taste of history steeped in the land, you shouldn’t miss undertaking a ridge-top tour of Arkaroola, a privately-owned 610 square kilometres of wilderness sanctuary.
Here, travellers flock to see the rare yellow-footed rock wallaby and undertake a guided 4WD tour on the spine of the ridge. You can also witness rock walls painted over with Aboriginal art, including red ochre emus, snakes, ceremonial circles and leaves. End the evening stargazing at one of the area’s two observatories.
When exploring the Flinders Range, check out the Hookina Ruins campgrounds, located five minutes from Flinders Ranges, just off of The Outback Highway. It’s a free camping site that has:
You could also book a spot at Horrocks Pass Bush Camp. While this site is free and has many more amenities, it’s still an hour and 27 minutes away from Flinders Ranges. Horrocks Pass Bush Camp includes:
Cross this one off your bucket list: Kangaroo Island is a must-see if you’re planning a free camping trip in SA. Here, sun, sand, surf, impossibly blue, crystalline waters and warm breezes await you. And while Kangaroo Island has many fantastic ‘paid’ sites including Vivonne Bay, there are quite a few free camping spots you can pitch your proverbial campervan rental for the night.
Once you’re done with a day of kayaking on the Chapman River, swimming in Vivonne Bay, going fishing from the jetty or even checking out the local cellar doors in the region, head to your first free camping SA site, Dunes and the Sea. This free camping ground site is 35 minutes from Kingscote, at Pelican Lagoon, and includes:
If you’d like to remain close to Vivonne Bay (and, really, who can blame you?), check out Neds Bay, a free camping site that includes:
As if 130 kilometres of saltwater lagoons was not enough, visitors and campers to Coorong National Park can also enjoy incredible outdoor activities like boating, bird watching, kayaking, fishing, camping, walking, 4wd driving and more.
You can also access the Coorong Northern Lagoon by boat, via Murray Mouth. If you’re using a campervan rental, however, get here via Meningie and Kingston off the Princes Highway. If you’re driving in from the south, enter the park via Kingston.
Ocean Beach, in particular, is a fantastic place to set off from and access the spectacular beaches, launch your sea kayak or canoe from or set up for a day of swimming and fishing. Because of its water access, Coorong is home to a number of rare migratory sea and coastal birds. Its beaches and bush give campers plenty of safe and marked trails from which to explore the area’s cultural and history.
While the Ocean Beach campground is a great place to pitch up a tent and fall asleep by the water, it’s not 2wd accessible. For free camping opportunities where you can also navigate with your campervan rental, we recommend Loop Road Campground. This site includes:
You can also check out Wyomi Free Camp, a great spot for self-contained vans and campervan rentals. There are no bookings required and you can stay for a maximum of five days. Besides, this you also have access to:
Innes National Park is absolutely rife with spectacular beaches, perfect and pristine, rugged surf, rocky cliffs and stunning views to accompany these. The park is so vast and sprawling, you can walk and explore without ever meeting another soul.
This wilderness is not just nature at its best, it’s also nature at its most luxurious. Even though you’ll be camping in your self-contained campervan rental, this is one of the best free camping spots in SA because of its unique activities.
For example, while you can definitely head for some swimming, canoeing and even fishing at the tip of the Yorke Peninsula, you can also check out the Southern Spencer Gulf Marine Park, the historic but ghostly town of Inneston, the remains of the wreck Ethel, and undertake a little surfing along the way.
We recommend heading to the Cable Bay Reserve to make your home for the next five nights. It’s a quiet, serene but rocky beach that features golden sands, rocky cliffs and bright blue waters. To get here, drive south from Awanui to Kerikeri along State Highway 10, which will take you past Cable Bay, just south of Taipa. The Cable Bay Beach Campground site itself includes:
However, keep in mind that:
Have you ever wondered what it might be like to freedom camp in SA at a spot surrounded by ancient limestone caves?
Talia Caves Campground provides campervan rentals and travellers the chance to undertake bush camping right at the edge of beautiful limestone caves. To get here, simply take the signposted Talia Caves Rd off Flinders Hwy, 44 km north of Elliston. Besides the opportunity to rockfish and explore the caves themselves, campers can also access Talia Beach.
The wave-hollowed caves below provide absolutely stunning views of the beach and are large, cavernous and almost desolate.
Known as ‘The Tub’, which is essentially a large crater, with a granite base, feeding into the sea, and ‘The Woolshed’, these mountainous dunes are simply not to be missed. If you’re camping here, however, take note that there’s not a lot of shelter from the wind, which can really pick up.
The sandstone cliffs, with their intricate honeycombed ceilings and natural blowholes
give travellers ample opportunity to wander, get lost and explore. Make sure to bring your camera with you, however. The Talia Caves campground includes:
If you’re camping in the high season — usually the holidays — it can be hard to find ‘free’ camping spots in SA, since these might be full by the time you get there, so plan ahead and give yourself time. Since your Travellers Autobarn campervan rental comes with all the amenities you need for a good night’s sleep, you can park at most spots, really, that allow 2wd access. Just make sure the spot is a legal, so you don’t get fined.
Travellers Autobarn also provides you with several options to reduce your spending when it comes to selecting campgrounds during your trip. All customers will receive on pick-up a booklet that will highlight free campgrounds all around Australia – meaning instead savings for you. We also get a discount on specific holiday parks we partner with! The benefits are endless.
Come and speak with Travellers Autobarn’s friendly staff and hire a campervan, we can help you plan your trip and suggest a few alternative spots so that you always have a couple of back-ups without venturing too far off the beaten path.