Australia is a massive country with vast expanses of natural beauty. While there are several world class metropolitan areas spread about the country, the majority of the land is rural, remote and largely unpopulated. Throughout those regions are numerous parks and other areas which offer great opportunities for camping and other outdoor activities. To get the most out of visiting those areas and to experience Australia with the grit of a true Australian it is often best to utilize the many free camping spots located around the country. It is also a great way to save some money while on your journey. Here we will look at some of the best free camping sites in Australia.
First off, let’s talk a little about free Australia camping in general. Like most countries, Australia has rules on where you can camp and where you cannot. If you camp in areas where it is not allowed you can incur fines so you are always better to avoid places where you cannot confirm it is ok to camp. As a general rule, avoid staying the night on the side of the road, in residential areas or in the parking lots of tourist areas like beaches or urban parks. If in doubt, ask a local or someone familiar with the area.
In general, you will find free camping opportunities at or nearby the national parks. Designated free camping areas are generally listed on the park websites. They are also marked by signpost within the park and local tourist offices can be a great source of information as well. Many of the larger rest areas along the major highways allow overnight stays. Many small towns in remote areas have bush camps where travelers can set up camp for free. These are also usually just off the main roads into town. If you are having difficulty locating one, ask around with the locals or visit any tourism offices in town to see where you can set-up camp. There are many other places that will allow you to stay a night or two as long as you are not setting up camp.
There are many resources online or finding free camping areas in Australia. These include websites and phone apps. Doing an online search for “free camping Australia” will provide several great sites. The national and state parks all operate their own websites and many of the state parks also have phone apps. All of these provide great information on free camping opportunities. Finally, The Travelers Autobarn App is an outstanding travel app which includes information on campsites.
So let’s look at some of the best free campsites in Australia. Newnes Campground is located in the Wollemi National Park about 3 hours by car north east of Sydney. This area is a billed as “mother nature’s amphitheater” because it surrounded by beautiful sandstone cliffs. The park itself is very large and offers great opportunities for outdoor activities and getting in touch with the natural surroundings. The campground itself offers 80 first come, first served sites which can accommodate tent, car and campervan camping. Firepits, barbecues and toilet facilities are available but they recommend you bring you own firewood and water for drinking and cooking.
If mountain biking is your thing you may want to check out Bidjar Ngoulin Campsite. It is located on west coast near Perth right on the Munda Biddi Trail, which at over 1000 km is the longest bike route of its kind in the world. Most of the trail is off road and passes through some of the most beautiful remote areas between Mundaring to Albany. The campground itself makes a great base camp for exploring the trail. It has several camp sites available and has onsite toilets and water. It is recommended that you bring your own water though.
For a more holiday park experience for yourself or the family try Lake Somerset Holiday Park northwest of Brisbane. Located on Lake Somerset, there is plenty to do here for the water sports inclined. Waterskiing, wake boarding and some of the best bass fishing Australia has to offer can be found here. The facilities and camping are excellent. While the campsite may be free, many of the additional services are not so you may need to plan ahead and/or budget for that.
Lloyd Jones Weir Free Camp is a free camping area near Barcaldine. This area has about 30 sites, flush toilets, dump site, water and campfires are allowed. Like most free camping areas, bringing your own water is recommended even though water is available on site. The campground is located on the Alice River and offers beautiful scenery and good opportunities for birding or watching other wildlife.
Australia is a huge country with many great places to see and visit. Camping is one of the best ways to stay here as it allows you to go and stay in the remote locations where the best attractions are. Whether you are looking for a free place to camp for a holiday stay just a place to stay the night along your greater journey, there are many great places to choose from.