Recently Time to ROAM Magazine stopped by The Seek Society and asked ‘what campsites in Australia make our Top 5 must visits’? It’s a tough question, really, there are so many remote and stunning locations in Australia all of which are outstanding in their own way, but we have compiled a short list of accessible and rememberable campsites to visit when on your next Australian road trip adventure. Whether you’re decked out with a roof top tent, one of our amazing canvas bell tents or in your caravan or camper trailer each is a must do and is surrounded by its own unique wilderness area.
Fraser Island, the world’s largest sand island, surrounded by lush and dense tropical rainforest has so many amazing locations to camp. Suited to 4wd car campers or 4wd camper trailers, the east beach access from Eulong on to 75 mile beach provides access to these camp zones. There are so many camp areas along this very long stretch of beach so you are guaranteed to find a remote spot away from any crowds, particularly when travelling outside of school holiday periods. We love to pitch our bell tent around Eli Camp Zone, as it’s close to Eli Creek for freshwater swimming, and not too far from internal roads to access the many lakes and hiking trails on offer. Camping out in our Londonderry 4m bell tent was the ultimate, it allowed us to set up a comfortable campsite to return to each night after a full day of 4wd’ing and to kick back in style under a star lit sky right on the beach. One of our highlights at Eli camp zone from our last trip was opening the bell tent door for sunrise whilst watching a whale and it’s calf breaching, truly magical.
A trip to Fraser is not complete without a visit to Lake McKenzie, we suggest heading there either early morning or late afternoon to avoid day tour groups visiting Lake McKenzie. The pure white silicone sand and blue hues of the freshwater lake are sure to impress. Stretching out on our own patch of silicone sand, we quite literally almost spent a full day here, breaking for some lunch and then returning again to bask in the glory of Lake McKenzie before heading back to camp.
This stunning property is owned and maintained by the Australian Wildlife Conservancy and provides a beautiful base for some outback adventure and getting up close with nature. Located about half way between Broome and Kununurra in the Kimberley, off the Gibb River Road, the creekside campground has excellent toilet and hot water shower facilities, however all sites are unpowered. The focus at Mornington is on conservation, so they limit the campground to a maximum of 50 people or 25 cars at a time, and Wildernesss Camp Passes can be purchased for just $20pp per night which gives you access to all of the facilities and gorges on the property. Mornington is only accessible in the Dry Season, so be sure to check with management that the property is open and the road conditions make it accessible. It’s important that you radio ahead when you arrive, there is a radio booth 100m off the Mt House/Mornington access roads off the Gibb River Road, radio ahead here to advise of arrival and from here you will be updated on accommodation availability, if you haven’t pre booked, as well as road conditions in to the camp. There is a licensed restaurant on site that is accessible to campers, which we love, and in our opinion offers some of the best food along the Gibb! They also host engaging educational evenings discussing the ecology and current conservation projects after dinner most nights.
Mornington has magnificent birdlife, three of Australia’s nationally threatened bird species find refuge here. We suggest waking up for sunrise and strolling down from the campsite areas along Annie Creek to catch a glimpse of these beautiful creatures, from the elusive white-browed Robin to the Gouldian Finch. Enjoying an afternoon canoeing Dimond gorge and then sunset here is breathtaking, you can easily spend a few nights at Mornington!
El Questro Station is one of our favourite campsites and places to visit in Australia, there is so much to see and do around this property and camping at the Station Township offers the perfect base to explore and do everything on this million acre wilderness area. As this campsite is also in the Kimberley, 1.5 hours drive from Kununurra, access is during the Dry Season late April-September when the Gibb River Road is open. We suggest pre booking a campsite if possible, our preferred sites here are the private riverside campsites, however if you’re after a powered campsite the Black Cockatoo powered campsites are available. El Questro Station is popular for good reason and facilities here are excellent, including; flushing toilets, hot showers, general store, bar and restaurant as well entertainment on a weekend night!
Give yourself at least a few nights camping at El Questro, you’ll want to visit Emma Gorge, Amelia Gorge, El Questro Gorge, Zebedee Springs and Champagne Gorge to name a few! A must do if you find yourself in North Western Australia.
Jervis Bay is a hidden gem located only 2.5 hours drive south of Sydney, NSW. Booderee National Park offers three main camp sites managed by NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, these include Green Patch, Bristol Point and renowned Cave Beach. We typically stay at Green Patch when in the National Park as both Bristol Point and Cave Beach are walk in campsites. Green Patch is suitable for car campers, caravans and camper trailers and offers full facilities including fresh water, toilets, barbecue facilities and hot water showers. You can go online to NSW Parks website to pre book your campsite, which we highly recommend, as weekend and holiday periods can get busy here. We typically try to camp here as a mid week escape from Sydney, the surrounding beaches such as Hyams beach and surrounding Marine Park (covering 215 square kilometres) are simply spectacular and all just a quick easy getaway out of Sydney.
We were unaware of this campsite and found it by chance one afternoon travelling south from Darwin. We had heard about the Springs, and knew that it was an uncrowded place that had some beautiful hidden gorges around it so decided to explore. If you are travelling south, take the Old Stuart Highway scenic route from Adelaide River, it’s approximately 200 kilometres from Darwin, the last 7 kilometres into Tjuwaliyn is a gravel road providing dry season access (late April/May – September) for all vehicles. Towing caravans and trailers is usually possible here and we camped in the non generator section of the campsite. You don’t typically have to pre book sites so can be a bit spotaneous if you’re in the area, there is an honesty system and box upon entry for camp fees. The Springs are fabulous, particularly mid Dry Season, but whilst you’re in the neighbourhood we highly recommend hiking nearby Butterfly Gorge, there’s a beautiful fresh water pool and waterfall at the end of the gorge.
By Charity Turner