Article Australia's Best Budget Camping
It doesn't take tons of money to get out and have the trip of a lifetime; it just takes a little planning. Renting a campervan for your next trip is not only a great way to get an authentic experience by travelling like a local; it's also a great way to travel on a budget.
While you're on the road with your killer deal of a campervan, you'll probably need a few trusty camping spots on hand, and you're in luck in Australia, because here there are tons of great budget options!
Take a look at these free campgrounds in Australia and map out your upcoming trip in a way that you can enjoy all the wild splendor and still have a nice place to set up camp.
Blue Pool Camping Area, Brigalong State Forest Imagine walking up, making a quick thermos of coffee and opening your caravan door to a dry eucalyptus forest for as far as the eye can see. Blue Pool Camping Area is the perfect little hideaway for those steeped in nature to get just the necessary luxuries of a toilet, barbecue open sites to camp for the night. Don't forget to walk through the fern gully to the Blue Pool and take a refreshing dip!
Ada River Camping Area, Errinundra National Park Nestled in the ancient foliage of Errinundra Saddle groves is the Ada River, and in the drier months, this little spot makes a very scenic stop. Hike up to the Ocean View Lookout for a fantastic panorama or just marvel at sharing this temperate rainforest with so many rare and endangered species.
New South Wales
Ellenborough Reserve Camping Area, Ellenborough Nestled between Mount Seaview and the lengthy coastline of New South Wales, Ellenborough Reserve Camping Area is a little oasis for campers and caravaners. This large, open spot and is a great place to get a wood barbecue going, however there are only 10 sites total, so arrive early the day that you wish to stay for better chances at securing a spot.
Four Mile Reserve, Brewarrina Fishing, swimming, boat docks and birdlife: Four Mile Camping Reserve has it all! Cold showers, toilets and spots for a campfire are also creature comforts at this tidy little spot nestled next to the Barwon River.
Benedictine Monastery Oval, New Norcia Just 132km north of Perth is a small monastic town that is just as much a sight for sore eyes as it is a for a tired soul. In this town, self-contained vehicles camp for free, so just ask permission at the visitor center and find out there where is best to park it for the night. If you are not in a self-contained vehicle, rates are still very budget friendly as powered sights for 2 people are $20 and unpowered for $10.
Whalebone Bay, 25km south of Denham For a night of free stay directly on the beach, head over to Whalebone Bay. This World Heritage Area is a great place to catch some sun, soak in the ocean air and explore Shark Bay. You must have a permit first before camping, so head over to the Shark Bay District and Visitor Information Centre before parking. There are only 4 sites where the first night is free, however there are many other budget friendly option in the area if those are taken for the night. These campsites are fairly stark, so be prepared with your own drinking water and know how to leave only your footprints.
Shelly Point, Scamander Conservation Area For some of the best views of coastline in the country, head over to Shelly Point. You'll have to pinch yourself to make sure you're not dreaming, especially when noting that this campsite is free. Just 3km north of Scamandar, Shelly Point lies directly on the eastern beach coast of Tasmania. The grounds are sheltered but without frills, so bring your own water and firewood.
Lake Gairdner Campsite, Lake Gairdner National Park Located in the Moina central highlands of Tasmania and directly on the Lake Gairdner, this free site is a great respite if you are travelling in a completely self-contained vehicle. Right on the edge of this great salt lake, this area is a favourite among birdwatchers and botanists alike.
Little River Rest Area, Cape Crawford If you're looking for a break from the road and a place to park for the night, Little River is a great little stop. Suitable for small caravans only, this free overnight rest area doesn't have a toilet, water or barbecues, but is a good place to rough it and get some rest for the road.
Oolloo Crossing Camping Area, Ooloo Camping Conservation Area If your rental is fully equipped for bush camping and has 4WD, Oolloo could make a good, free spot on your way through the Northern Territory. A favourite for fishers and wildlife lovers, this camp is set along the Daly River. This spot is home for a number of turtles, crocodiles, wallabies and a plethora of birdlife, so keep your eyes open and be cautious at all times.
Bushy Parker Park Rest Area, Rollingstone A great place to relax, refill and enjoy a refreshing dip is Bushy Parker Park. Just a short distance from Balgal Beach, you'll have the option to hop into the ocean or simply take a quick dip in the creek which runs adjacent to the park. Facilities include toilets and an outdoor cold shower. Power is not available here, however there is a convenient store nearby to restock a few essential items.
Bedford Weir, Blackwater For fishing, boating and skiing, Bedford Weir is a truly a great find! Nestled in Blackwater under a few shade trees, this campsite has hot showers, flushing toilets and wood for barbecues and fireplaces. There is also a playground for children and dogs are welcome. Everyone can take a load off and refuel here, so mark it on your map! While this is a free site, it offers a lot and the managers take extra care here, so be sure to leave something in the donation box.
Terowie Railway Yard Rest Area, Terowie Terowie is a little town with tons of charm and makes for a great stop on your South Australia leg of the trip. Self-contained caravans and motorhomes can camp here for free and enjoy all the charms of this quaint little place. Enjoy the historic Main Street as well as a friendly cafe, general store, post office and roadhouse.
World's End Gorge Campground, Kingston SE Kingston is teeming with beaches, fishing and pubs and is a great spot to stretch out and set up camp for the night. Admittedly, this is a pretty popular site, so only visit this campground on the off season when large and loud groups are less likely. The facilities do include toilets but no showers or water is available.
While you're off on your grand adventure, make sure to always respect your fellow campers and the surrounding wilderness by leaving no trace. While these campgrounds are all free of charge for overnight stays, some within national parks will require the park entrance to be paid in order to camp. Whenever you stay at a free campground, make sure to look around for a donation box, so you can spread the camper love and contribute to the future of this wonderful way to travel.