Into the wild: the best campgrounds in Australia

Overseas holidays are fun, but often the most stunning beaches, views and wildlife can be found closer to home.

• Have a healthy holiday at these fitness retreats

With summer the perfect time to embrace the great outdoors, grab a tent, some friends and a car and head to one of these stunning campgrounds.

How’s the serenity?

Western Australia

Cape Le Grand National Park

Spend your days snorkelling in crystal clear water before sunbaking with kangaroos on Lucky Bay’s white sand.

Where? 800km south-east of Perth.
How much? $12 per car.
Best feature?
Stunning beaches.
Level of ‘roughing it’: Easy. Sites have toilets, barbecues and solar heated showers.
Getting there: Eight-hour drive or two hour-flight from Perth. 4WDs welcome.


Lucky Bay. Photo: Explore Parks WA

Karijini National Park

Rugged gorges, waterfalls, rock pools, an abundance of wildlife are circled by trails with spectacular views.

Where? 900km north of Perth.
How much? Unpowered sites from $20, deluxe tents from $189.
Best feature?
Incredible natural scenery.
Level of ‘roughing it’: Medium. Camping sites have toilets and hot showers and there is an on-site restaurant.
Getting there: Nine-hour drive from Broome. 4WDs welcome.


A gorge in Karijini National Park. Photo: AAP

Northern Territory

Bamurru Plains, Kakadu National Park

Unwind in a luxurious open-air bungalow overlooking floodplains at this working buffalo station.

Where? 150km south-east of Darwin.
How much? From $550 per adult, twin-share.
Best feature?
Luxurious accommodation in untouched wilderness.
Level of ‘roughing it’: Glamping. Bungalows feature ensuites and indulgent bedding.
Getting there: Three-hour drive or 30-minute flight from Darwin.


Bamurru Plains Lodge. Photo: Bamurru Plains

Ayers Rock campground

Camp in the shadow of Australia’s most majestic natural wonder.

Where? 460km north of Alice Springs.
How much? Unpowered sites from $36, cabins from $160.
Best feature?
Uluru, of course!
Level of ‘roughing it’: Varies depending on accommodation. Hit the campground or relax in 5 star luxury.
Getting there: Jetstar and Virgin Australia fly direct to Ayers Rock and Alice Springs.


Dinner next to Ayers Rock. Photo: Ayers Rock campground

New South Wales

Paperbark Camp, Jervis Bay

Five-star luxurious tents set amongst eucalyptus trees and next to one of Australia’s best beaches.

Where? 180km south of Sydney.
How much? Tents from $395.
Best feature?
Soaring forests and crystal clear beaches.
Level of ‘roughing it’: Glamping. Tents are decked out with open-air ensuites.
Getting there: Two-and-a-half-hour drive from Sydney.


Luxury tents at Paperbark Camp. Photo: Paperbark Camp

Wollondilly River Station

Voted one of the best campsites in NSW, enjoy swimming, fishing and silent sleep next to the beautiful Wollondilly River.

Where? 160km south-west of Sydney
How much? $15 for adults, $5 for children, per night
Best feature?
Wollondilly River
Level of ‘roughing it’: Easy. Hot showers and flushing toilets on site. Pets welcome.
Getting there: Three-hour drive from Sydney. Cars and 4WDs welcome.


Pristine Wollondilly River. Photo: AAP


The Wrecks campground, Moreton Island

Camp on white sand beaches and spend your days snorkelling around shipwrecks.

Where? 80km north-east of Brisbane.
How much? $5.75 per person, per night.
Best feature?
The shipwrecks.
Level of ‘roughing it’: Rough. Cold showers, no clean drinking water, and mobile phone coverage is unreliable.
Getting there: Access by ferry only. Camping site is walk-in. Camping permit from the Queensland government required.


The shipwrecks on Moreton Island. Photo: Brisbane Marketing

Carnarvon Gorge

Hidden in Queensland’s central highlands, Carnarvon Gorge boasts towering sandstone cliffs, gorges, and Aboriginal rock art.

Where? 700km north-west of Brisbane.
How much? $5.75 per person, per night.
Best feature?
Genuine ancient Aboriginal art.
Level of ‘roughing it’: Easy. Drinking water, hot showers and flushing toilets. No mobile phone service.
Getting there: Six-hour drive from Rockhampton or nine-hour drive from Brisbane.


A natural pool in Carnarvon Gorge. Photo: AAP


Wilsons Promontory

Camp, swim and hike next to isolated beaches and lighthouses, and soak up stunning ocean views only accessible by foot.

Where? 220km from Melbourne.
How much? Non-powered sites $59, overnight hiking $12.
Best feature?
Stunning coastal views.
Level of ‘roughing it’: Varies. Main site has showers, toilets. Remote sites have no amenities or clean water.
Getting there: Three-hour drive from Melbourne. Park and camp, or hike around promontory.


An isolated Wilsons Promontory beach. Photo: Visit Victoria

Grampians National Park

Spend your days hiking across gorges, valleys and cliffs, plus spot the occasional waterfall.

Where? 300km north-west of Melbourne.
How much? $37 per night.
Best feature?
Mountain ranges.
Level of ‘roughing it’: Varies. Car-based sites have toilets and showers. Hiking sites have drop toilets only.
Getting there: Three-hour drive from Melbourne. Park and camp or hike through national park.


A gorge in the Grampians. Photo: AAP

South Australia

Ikara Safari Camp, Flinders Ranges

Safari tents set amongst the bright red Flinders Ranges, native gum trees and an abundance of wildlife.

Where? 360km north of Adelaide.
How much? From $180.
Best feature?
Views of the Flinders Ranges.
Level of ‘roughing it’: Glamping. Tents have ensuites and air-conditioning.
Getting there: Five-hour drive from Adelaide.


Luxurious camping in the Flinders Ranges. Photo: Ikara Safari Camp

Coward Springs Campground

Camp in the Australian desert and spend your days relaxing in hot springs and exploring the Old Ghan railway by camel.

Where? 740km north of Adelaide.
How much? $12.50 per person.
Best feature?
 Camel rides.
Level of ‘roughing it’: Easy. Showers and toilets on site. Pets welcome.
Getting there: Nine-hour drive from Adelaide.


The hot springs at Coward Springs. Photo: YHA Australia


Cradle Mountain National Park

Hike across world heritage listed mountains, rainforests and glacial lakes like the heritage-listed Lake St Clair.

Where? 150km south-west of Launceston.
How much? $24 per car.
Best feature?
Lake St Clair.
Level of ‘roughing it’: Varies. Main site has store, barbecues. Overland track has minimal amenities.
Getting there: Two-and-a-half-hour drive from Launceston. Cars must be left at visitor centre where shuttles take you to camp site.

Photo: Shutterstock

Cradle Mountain. Photo: Shutterstock

Freycinet National Park

Beachfront campsites with a backdrop of granite mountains, blue water, white sand beaches and the famous Wineglass Bay.

Where? About 100km from Hobart.
How much? $13 for serviced sites.
Best feature?
Wineglass Bay.
Level of ‘roughing it’: Medium. Toilets and water at main sites but no showers.
Getting there: Two-hour drive from Hobart. Fire bans on certain days. Take all rubbish with you.

Photo: Shutterstock

Wineglass Bay. Photo: Shutterstock

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