If you want to have a true outdoor experience while in Australia, then camping should be high on your travel planning radar.
From its gorgeous coastlines to its lush forests, tranquil lakes, and the expansive outback, the unique and stunning Australian landscapes give us a variety of environments that are best experienced firsthand in nature.
Most of these settings are sparsely populated. As such, there is plenty to explore and so much room available to experience wild camping.
Not quite sold? Check out these great reasons to visit Australia.
Although camping is usually cheaper than other accommodation options, it is not always that cheap.
Thankfully, some places in Australia offer free camping! And trust me, free camping in Australia comes highly recommended.
Providing a great deal of freedom, free camping is a fun way to explore the county’s vast landscapes with low to no accommodation costs.
Continue reading for a breakdown of the amazing campsites and campervan spots in Australia, as well as some useful camping tips.
Free camping is the unique opportunity to camp in a designated area without any cost and is the perfect option for anyone traveling on a shoestring budget.
Additional benefits include the freedom and flexibility it provides, as well as the opportunity to immerse oneself in the great outdoors.
Before heading out on your ultimate Australian adventure, here are a few things you should bear in mind.
While free camping in Australia is possible, it is not allowed just anywhere. Many councils prohibit setting up camp in and around the towns and cities.
There are many designated free and budget-friendly camping spots to accommodate campers across the country.
There are also free roadside camps and rest stops but these are solely for tired travelers. Be wary of the signs, as camping in a non-designated spot can result in a rather hefty fine.
Be Mindful of Your Fellow Campers: While camping is meant to be fun, do not do anything at the expense of any of the other campers at the site. Try to avoid playing loud music and keep your voice down, especially at night.
Obey the Total Fire Ban: The Total Fire Ban (TFB) is declared on days when fires are highly likely to threaten lives and property. During the ban, open fires are prohibited, and all fire permits are suspended. In these instances, having a campervan or caravan with cooking facilities is very useful.
Do Not Disturb the Wildlife: Feeding and harassing wildlife is strictly prohibited. Also, avoid leaving out any rubbish that the animals might eat. Moreover, local animals are most active at dusk and dawn, so keep an eye out for them when traveling the outback roads.
Now that you know a fair bit about free camping, it’s time to find the perfect location. Below are some of the best sites in various parts of Australia.
Swans Crossing is a popular free campground and picnic spot with both locals and visitors. This New South Wales gem is situated 15 minutes from Kendall amidst the beauty of Kerewong State Forest.
At the camping ground, you will find a large open area surrounded by native forest and hardwood plantations.
Here you will set up camp as the space allows for tents, campervans, and caravans. Just a note – there is no power at this campsite, so be sure to pack in your lanterns and torches.
One of the campsite’s biggest draws is the new, all-natural playground, making it a perfect spot for families with kids.
Other fun activities available nearby include swimming in the shallows of Upsalls Creek, cycling, bird watching, and the Longworths Tramway Heritage Walk.
Situated on the southernmost part of Ninety Mile Beach, in an extended, level gully between grass and bush-covered dunes, is the Reeves Beach Coastal Reserve.
This is the perfect free camping spot for water-lovers as the beach is great for swimming, surfing, and fishing. If you’re lucky, while out on the beach, you may even catch a glimpse of some dolphins or whales.
While the facilities offered are fairly basic, wood BBQs are available, and small campfires are allowed as long as there is no fire ban in place.
Note that this campsite is a popular spot during peak season, so it is best to have a plan B or to book in advance.
Boynedale Bush Camp is ideally situated along the banks of the scenic Lake Awoonga. This bush camp is available free to the public for up to seven days within a thirty-day period.
A popular activity at this bush camp is fishing for Bazza, Sea Mullet, and Saratoga at Lake Awoonga. If you’re lucky, you may even reel in a Mangrove Jack, a truly rare find.
The tranquil waters of the lake are also ideal for paddleboarding and kayaking, as well as swimming and several other water activities.
This popular free bush camping site is situated comfortably along the banks of the Murray River. Much like the previously mentioned Boynedale Bush Camp, this is a great location for those interested in fishing, swimming, and kayaking.
It is also a wonderful spot for birdwatching and taking a scenic walk. This area is also home to one of the largest colonies of the endangered Regent Parrot.
Nearby this free camping area is the lovely Caudo Vineyard and Cellar Door, where you can enjoy a refreshing drink and a tasty meal.
Tullah Lakeside Lodge is a wonderful pub stay that lies right on the banks of the picturesque Lake Rosebery.
As the base of the site is on hard gravel, you will not be able to pitch a tent here. However, accommodation is available for as little as $20 a night.
About 500 meters from the lake is Tullah Tavern. Here you will find a free camp available to self-contained vehicles. The site is pet-friendly and campers are welcome to visit the hotel or on-site bar for a drink or meal.
Regardless of where you’re headed in Australia, be it New South Wales or Tasmania, there will be plenty of amazing free campsites available.
As long as you have a self-contained vehicle and are abiding by the rules, you’re sure to have a wonderful camping experience.
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