Camping

Camping in Australia

Australia offers you many places to camp, both in the bush as well as on paid facilities. It is however not allowed to put up your tent alongside the road, but sleeping in the car is on the other hand allowed. The latter is even recommended by the government because of the enormous distances and the heat that wear you out. Hence, to pass the nights in your car is an economical way of travelling and being (almost) everywhere allowed, it is the cheapest way of camping.

We understand that you wouldn’t want to spend your whole trip sleeping in a car so here below the two options, as far as camping is concerned, are specified;

 

1. Bush Camping

2. Paid Camping

 

Bush Camping

Australia is still the country with unrivalled opportunities for bush camping.

Some websites persuade you to buy maps of Australia in your home country. Don’t do this! Do buy your maps locally as any country in the world will have its own best maps, so has Australia. We were stunned time and time again by the amount of information, as well as its accuracy, on the maps of “Camps”.

“Camps” can be purchased at any AAA (Automobile Club of Australia) and offers an overview of all camp spots in Australia. These camp spots are indicated state by state and on the (road) maps themselves you will find all camping facilities indicated with a tent marker. In the back of the book you will find detailed information on the concerning camp spot area; whether you have to pay, drinking water available, toilet/shower facilities, etc.

 

A very practical map and even their business slogan is a certainty; “worth its weight in gold.” Once, on a rainy day, we did the maths ourselves and it appeared to be even true.

 

NOTE: If you choose to go bush camping in a tent, keep in mind not to set up your tent under a gum tree. These trees can spontaneously, even on a windless day, loose a branch. If you put your car or tent below such a tree, it can have serious consequences for your trip.

These trees are all over Australia and fortunately easily recognizable by their white bark. It often seems like they’re peeling when their white bark makes place for a brown bark. They have fairly narrow leaves.

For any clear picture of such a gum tree, try Google.

 

Paid camping

Besides the many free camp spots you may also choose something more luxurious as a campground. Here, however, you will have to pay for all the facilities. A cheaper solution, which also has some more luxury, are the bush campgrounds. These campgrounds (often in National Parks) have many amenities such as clean showers/toilets, hot water, drinking water etc. In most cases you will pay around $ 8.- per night to stay on such a bush campground. (which is still a lot cheaper than a hostel in town)

 

Sometimes these bush campgrounds are monitored by a ranger, a kind of

forester, who will see to a correct use of all facilities and who collects the money that you are supposed to drop in the money box daily. The so called ‘honesty system’. Often, especially in low season, the ranger doesn’t stop by every day and many backpackers take advantage of this by disregarding the honesty system staying for free. Please try to give at least some sort of donation, up to your means, in order to keep the bush facility open which simply costs money to maintain it.

 

Another inexpensive option for a fairly luxurious way of camping is to go camping at a roadhouse. These are often gas stations (mostly in the middle of nowhere) with a campground at the back. They are often very cheap, think about $ 5 per person per night. The price/quality ratio is very good. You get clean facilities, sometimes even a swimming pool, (almost) free BBQ's and places in the shade. Quite a luxurious stopover in the dessert! You will meet many Australians on holiday on these roadhouses and therefore it is a good place to exchange information and other experiences. (TIP: 'talk to the locals.’)

 

In the city (or nearby), you will often find expensive campgrounds such as BIG4 (http://www.big4.com.au/) which are the most luxurious caravan parks there are. Also possible to rent a trailer or even a small house. Of course you can also simply put up your own tent, but the price will easily go up to a $ 25 per night (per tent). It is worth your money though if you are attached to facilities like swimming pools, a shop, a children's playground, bike rental, etc.

 

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