WHERE TO CAMP
When it comes to camping in Australia you will definitely be spoiled for choice! There are tons of fabulous Caravan Parks, but they are definitely not your only option. We’ll list an overview of some of the types of camps available, but the VERY BEST thing you can do to ensure you find the best campsites on your travels is to download the Wikicamps app. It’s available on both Android & Apple, and it is 100% the best resource around for finding great free camps, caravan parks, station stays, points of interest, and even things like drinking water & free showers. Plus it now has a great trip planner feature you can use to plan & track your travels.
Ok, lets look at some of the options:
Not the cheapest of options, but definitely the hot choice if you’re looking for a few creature comforts like powered sites, hot showers, camp kitchens, playgrounds, pools, jumping pillows and the like. They generally start at about $30+ for a powered site, with most places charging extra per child. We’ve met families with a few kids that regularly pay over $100/night, so it can definitely add up.
There are a couple of large chain groups who have loyalty programs that you might consider joining if you are planning to stay in Caravan Parks a lot – Top Parks, Big4 & Discovery are probably the biggest ones.
This is our number one choice – we free camp at every opportunity, and some of the very best campsites you’ll find actually don’t cost a single cent.
We meet a lot of people that are actually very nervous about free camping for some reason. They worry about safety, and about power needs. But really, free camping is very easy, and not any less safe than any other camping option.
Every free camp is different – you will find many with toilets, and even some with showers (often cold only, but occasionally hot). Some are totally free, others have a donation box for you to contribute to. Some will have water (sometimes drinkable, sometimes not) available, others will have none. Some will even have things like a camp kitchen area, picnic tables, playgrounds, book swaps, swimming areas, bins, and fire pits (sometimes even with wood provided!).
But as a general rule you are going to want to be fairly self sufficient if your free camping. You will need your own water supply, your own toilet (or the knowledge & ability to dig a bush dunny), and your own power source (from batteries, solar or perhaps a generator, although generators are not allowed at many camps). And if you’re concerned about safety stick to some of the more popular sites until you’re more comfortable heading out to find those awesome out of the way places that you’ll have all to yourself.
Camping on a farm or a station is a great experience, and something you should definitely try and do on your travels. As Station Stays are on private property they are all different. Some will be dirt cheap (or even free!), others will actually be a bit pricey. Some will give you a glimpse into life on the Station, others will just purely offer you a place to park your van. Check out the reviews on Wikicamps to find the best ones.
All states offer National Park camping, but they certainly aren’t all the same. As an example the camping in QLD is super affordable, and the pricing is the same across all national park sites, regardless of the facilities offered. Whereas in NSW it varies greatly from place to place – some spots are free, others quite expensive. And in Victoria it’s generally cheaper to stay in a Caravan Park with all the bells and whistles that it is to bush camp in a national park with nothing but a drop toilet. So my point is choose wisely – National Parks can be a fantastic option, but not always 😉
Another option to consider is a help exchange. This is where you ‘volunteer’ in exchange for accommodation, and sometimes food. We do a bit of this through www.helpx.net, and it obviously varies greatly from place to place. But it’s a great alternative option if you want to try something different on your travels
If you find you’re a bit sick of your home on wheels and want to have a TV, couch & flushing toilet again for a little while then house sitting is a fantastic option. It basically means you get to stay in a house, for free! Of course it usually comes with a few jobs like maintaining gardens, keeping the house clean & safe, and caring for pets, but it’s a great way to travel a little differently. We use Aussie House Sitters