ALTERNATE USES FOR WIKICAMPS
Everyone knows Wikicamps is great for finding awesome free camps. But did you know it has a whole heap of other uses? We've been using it solidly for years now to find excellent places to set up our Cub Camper, so here's a list of some of the other things we use it for
Finding awesome campsites
We're pros at finding the very best places to camp. We find them two ways - on Wikicamps, and by recommendation from fellow travellers (either in person or on social media).
Here's how I find the best options on Wikicamps:
1. Choose a region you're going to visit
2. Drop a pin in the middle of the area
3. Create a 'distance and direction' filter and choose which direction and how far from the pin you'd like to see campsites
4. Check the map and make sure the region you plan to visit is covered. If not, modify your 'distance and direction' filter
5. Go to site list. You'll now see all the sites within the distance you've set your filter to.
6. If you only want to see campsites then go back to filters and 'site types and features'. Here you can choose to show campgrounds, and caravan parks. Or if you're looking for points of interest then you can show them. If you'd only like to see free & by donation camps then choose the 'without cost' filter. Similarly if you want only sites with toilets, or only sites with showers then use those filters accordingly.
7. Click 'sort list' and choose 'Star Rating'. You'll now see all the options in the area you've chosen, with the filters you've set in order of highest star rating to lowest. (Be aware that some will have 5 stars because they've only been rated by one person, who may be the campsite owner). Go through the list, check out the options, read the review and look at the prives. Then 'favourite' all the options that you think look good and want to save for later. We stop once we get below a 3 star rating, as we're only looking for the best options.
8. Go back to your map, clear all filters, remove your pin, and then click on the 'favourites' filter to just show up all your campsites that you've saved. Now you can plan your route accordingly, choosing the best options along the route you plan to travel!
And if a fellow camper recommends a great place, or you see a post on Facebook about a spot you think looks awesome, then open up Wikicamps, put the name in the search bar (note you need to have correct spelling or it won't come up) and 'favourite' it for later.
Believe it or not there are dozens of free showers all across Australia that you can access. We use Wikicamps to find these too! Simply go to filters and choose the 'without cost' and the 'requires showers' filters, and bob's your uncle, they'll all come up on your map. Currently there are 1692 spots on Wikicamps that meet this criteria! So zoom in on your area, or the area you plan to travel and see if there are any nearby. You'll then need to click on each one and read to comments to find out if they're cold outdoor showers, or nice warm indoor ones where you can have a real scrub.
Finding drinking water
Finding places to fill your tanks is super easy in some parts of the country, and super hard in others. Often there's a drinking water tap hidden near a dump point, or by a tourist info that you'd never know about if you didn't know it was there. So Wikicamps is great for finding these as well. Simply choose the 'requires drinking water' filter, and then you'll probably also want to hide the campgrounds, caravan parks and hostels (although in some places these will be your only options to fill up, and you may need to pay a fee). Then just zoom in on your area and see whats available. You may need to read the individual comments on each one to find out more.
Tracking or planning your route
Wikicamps brought out their trip planner feature a little while back now and it's FAB for both planning your route, and for tracking it.
Personally I think it's fairly easy to use and self explanatory, so I won't go into great detail here. But basically any place you find within Wikicamps can be added to your trip planner. Just slick on the site, then the 'add to planner' button. You'll have three options: 'Use smart insert' which will automatically add the place in among your previous places on the most logical route. 'After trip progress bar' which will add it to the next spot on your list - good if you're adding places as you go. Or 'End of: My Trip' which will add it to the end of your route. Good if you are planning your route in advance.
You can then go back to the main menu screen, click on 'Trip Planner' and it will bring up your list. You can then click and hold a place and drag it to re-order it. Or move your progress bar down as you travel. The route will appear on your map (unless you turn it off), with the route in red showing where you've been, and the route in green showing your planned route.
You can also make multiple routes and plans. So for us because our trip has been so long I have one per year for 2016, 2017 & 2018. If you want to share and image of your route, just screenshot it!
If you're anything like use you'll pull into a campsite then spend a few minutes arguing about the best place to set up, and what the best way is to face the camper. Having a compass helps tremendously - knowing where the sun will rise and set and therefore where the shade will be at what time makes you more likely to have a pleasant experience. There's nothing more frustrating than setting up for a long stay and finding you've stuffed up with the direction you're facing.
If you've got the space on your phone it's definitely worth downloading maps and content for offline use. That way you can still use the maps, and still see site information even when you're off grid and not connected to the internet. We just keep the content for the state we're currently in, rather than for the whole of Australia.
Finding alternative points of interest/playgrounds/anything else
We do this the same way we find campsites, just with different filters. The possibilities are endless - just use the appropriate combination of filters for what you are looking for!
A few other notes...
Wikicamps is essentially a user generated platform. Meaning most of the information on it has been generated by other users and therefore may not be 100% accurate. Keep that in mind and take everything with a grain of salt. Just because a place says it's a campsite on Wikicamps, doesn't mean it's actually a legal spot to camp. Similarly, just because a place says on Wikicamps that you must be self contained doesn't necessarily mean that is true - check local signage/information to make sure. And just because Wikicamps says a place is safe to swim and croc free definitely doesn't mean it is true!! Again, always verify information locally.
And to get the most out of this app make sure you give something back! Add reviews, photos, prices etc. to help the next person. And if you find a great spot that's not on the app, then add it on!
Hope this helps, and happy camping :)