Lush rainforests, pristine coastlines and dramatic outback landscapes make Australia one of the world’s premier camping destinations. With native wildlife for company, starry skies to sleep beneath and campgrounds surrounded by natural wonders, it’s an adventure worthy of the top spot on your bucket list.
As the world’s sixth largest country the chances are that you’re wondering how to conquer the land Down Under on your camping trip of a lifetime. The beauty of Australian travel is that you’ll never see all of it, but trying might just be your most epic travel goal yet!
To help you get started planning we’ve put together the ultimate guide on when and where to go camping in Australia, the equipment you’ll need and top camping spots for the beach and outback lovers.
The first question you need to ask yourself is whether you want to camp in a tent or take a campervan on the road.
No matter where you go, you’ll find campgrounds suitable for both options so base your decision on your unique needs. For example, if you love the comforts of home, a campervan with a sink, fridge, gas stove and bed off the ground has everything you need. For the intrepid traveller, a tent gives you that true sense of life in the great outdoors.
As camping in Australia is so popular, you can buy or hire equipment in every capital city and most large towns. If you choose to take a tent, here’s a checklist of the essentials you’ll need:
When you want to check out Australia’s top campgrounds with a little more comfort and a whole lot less setting up, consider buying or renting a car or campervan.
Station wagons are the perfect option if you want the choice of taking a tent but prefer sleeping in a vehicle in the case of bad weather. They’re cheap to run, you can pick one up from all over the country and they include your cooking gear and esky. As they’ll seat two to five people, you’ll keep petrol costs down too.
Cost: Rent a station wagon from Travellers Autobarn from $35 a day. You’ll get access to free campgrounds, discounts on caravan parks, 24/7 roadside assistance, unlimited kilometres and a toll free service number. If you’re looking at buying, costs range from about $3000 – $6000.
When you want to check out as much of Australia as you can on an extended camping trip, campervans offer life’s little luxuries, including fridges, kitchen sinks, gas stoves and power plugins. From basic vans for backpackers to those suitable for families and groups, you’ll have room to move with little to no setup.
Cost: Hire a campervan from Travellers Autobarn from $35 to $85 per day, with access to free campgrounds, discounts on caravan parks, 24/7 roadside assistance and a toll free service number for peace of mind.
Australia is world-renowned for sunny days and clear, blue skies, but weather extremes can make or break a camping adventure. Here’s a rundown of where to go to experience the best of the seasons.
Tasmania’s untouched wilderness and Victoria’s food and wine trails are top choices for campers. Australia’s southern states see European-style seasons, with dramatic changes enhancing the landscape. Temperatures drop in winter, however, sometimes to as low as -7°C in the Alpine region. The best time to camp is between October and April, with comfortable average temperatures between 20 – 28 °C.
You can camp right on the sand or in the heart of the outback throughout Northern and Central New South Wales, South Australia, Southern Queensland and Southern Western Australia. Coastal regions offer the hot summer weather that’s perfect for swimming and cool, though rarely freezing, winter days. Inland temperatures can be a little more extreme, however, it’s possible to camp across the entire region year round.
If you can’t wait to explore the tropics, Northern Western Australia, the top of the Northern Territory and Northern Queensland offer daytime temps of about 25°C and 35°C all year. What you need to consider, however, are the wet and dry seasons.
The wet season runs from November to March. Though places like Kakadu National Park are at their lush best, camping in many areas at this time is best left to experienced campers with 4WDs. Flooding often causes road closures and some campgrounds shut down for the season. Humidity is also at its highest and it’s stinger season on North Queensland beaches, so cooling off without a stinger suit isn’t a good idea.
Head to the tropics between April and October in the dry season to make the most of the incredible scenery, with fantastic weather for quality time spent in the great outdoors.
Always wanted to see Australia’s vast, inspiring Outback landscapes and iconic sites, like Uluru? The Red Centre, West MacDonnell Ranges, Simpson Desert, Flinders Ranges and Tennant Creek are best seen between April and October. This way, you’ll avoid excessive heat in summer, when temperatures soar as high as 40°C.
Life doesn’t get much better than camping by the ocean. With more than 10,000 beaches, there’s plenty of spots to choose from. Here are some of the country’s most breathtaking beachfront campgrounds.
Nestled in the Otway National Park, the campground at Johanna Beach is the perfect base for exploring the famous Great Ocean Road. Pick up your campervan and equipment in Melbourne, keeping in mind that you’ll need your own cooking equipment and water supply. Then, simply surf, hike, whale watch and relax with spectacular ocean views.
Jervis Bay is home to the Booderee National Park and the popular Green Patch camping area. Here, you’ll snorkel in calm waters lapping powder-soft, white sand and spot wallabies, king parrots and rainbow lorikeets. Owned by the Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community, you’ll find cultural programs for kids, plus bush tucker walks and campfire yarns. Jervis Bay is a three hour drive from Sydney, where you can hire your equipment.
When you’re hiring your campervan in Perth, you’re spoilt for choice with campgrounds in Western Australia. Swim in turquoise seas while kangaroos laze on the beach at Lucky Bay, near Esperance. The idyllic arc of sand stretches for five kilometres in the Cape Le Grand National Park. The caravan and campground here offers picnic areas, showers, toilets and barbeques.
It’s hard to believe you can camp both in the rainforest and on a beach fringing the Great Barrier Reef, but Noah Beach makes the dream come true. Depart from Cairns and head to Cape Tribulation in the stunning Daintree National Park. Bird watching, picnic on the beach, snorkel with abundant marine life and explore the world-heritage listed forest.
Solitude, serenity, millions of stars and vast landscapes of astounding beauty are just some of the reasons camping in Australia’s Outback is a journey like no other. From places to spot rare wildlife to remote cattle stations and striking natural landmarks, get ready for a unique insight into the country at these top spots.
Pick up your campervan and supplies in Darwin for a camping trip through the Northern Territory. Ayres Rock Campground is located within Ayres Rock Resort so you’ll sleep under the watchful eye of the incredible sandstone landmark. With facilities like a pool, barbeques, self-service laundries and an outdoor kitchen, you’ll be well looked after in the Outback.
Parrots chatting in Coolabah trees, bird-filled wetlands and Red Kangaroos await at Kilcowera, a working cattle station 1200 kilometres west of Brisbane. It’s open to campers from March to October with all the facilities you need for comfort. Try yabbying, canoe on the lagoon and swim in refreshing waterholes. Currawinya National Park is close by for day trip explorations.
World Heritage Mungo National Park is home to the famous Mungo Lady and Mungo Man, some of the oldest modern human remains found outside Africa. Main Camp is the spot to base yourself, close to the Visitor Centre and Mungo Woolshed. To get there, drive to Mildura or Wentworth from Sydney.
Mighty sandstone mountains, roaring waterfalls, colourful wildflowers and abundant wildlife characterise the Grampians region. Just a three-hour drive from the hustle and bustle of Melbourne, kangaroos, kookaburras and incredible mountain views keep you company at Grampians Paradise Camping and Caravan Parkland.
The Bungle Bungles are world-famous geological landmarks. The orange and black sandstone domes rise to about 300 metres in the Purnululu National Park, located in the Kimberly region. With a community fire pit and travellers from across the globe, the Bungle Bungle Caravan Park rests at the gateway to natural wonders, making it the ideal gathering point to explore this majestic area.
To put it simply, a campervan road trip is the only way to see Australia. Speak to the team at Travellers Autobarn for more information and to book your campervan today.