There can be few Australian families who haven’t been out camping.
The fresh air, clear skies, twinkly stars at night and waving goodbye to your everyday life holds great appeal.
That’s reflected in the number of camping spots our country has to offer, ranging from off-the-map wilderness to glamping.
So what are some of our best camping spots? Here are our top five.
Cockatoo Island, Sydney Harbour
You don’t have to leave civilisation to enjoy camping in Sydney.
Cockatoo Island is smack bang in the middle of the harbour and offers waterfront camping offering unbeatable views of our largest city.
Accommodation ranges from from basic camping packages to glamping with all the add-ons. And you don’t have to worry about hauling in food. There are two cafes that will also provide picnics if you so desire. There are also free barbecues and large groups can book the campsite’s kitchen.
Don’t limit yourself to staring vacantly over the stunning views, there are also guided tours of the island’s historic convict and dockland areas and an adults-only ghosts tour. Spooky.
I am constantly surprised at the number of Australians who have never been to Uluru. Everyone should go.
To be frank, staying at the resort or other accommodation is expensive so a good way to offset your costs is by camping, which starts at $30 a night for an unpowered site.
But you don’t have to miss out on all the luxury. There are free shuttle buses to the resort’s restaurants and bars, shops and supermarket.
Attractions include a pool, barbecue facilities, laundry and free daily activities including guided walks and talks with the traditional owners.
Check the website for deals. They are currently offering 30 per cent off for four or more nights.
Our advice. Check the average weather. You don’t want to be camping under canvas when the average daily high is 36 degrees as it is in December. And as it is a desert climate, in winter it regularly gets down to zero degrees overnight.
El Questro, Western Australia
If the Kimberly is on your bucket list, one of the best ways to break your journey is the campground at El Questro.
El Questro covers 283,000 hectares of wilderness in the heart of the Kimberly area. There are several camping accommodation options including pre-erected tents, caravan sites and bungalows.
If you are feeling a bit fancy, there is The Homestead retreat if you want to splash your money around.
Anyway, back to the camping. There’s a range of options from unpowered sites through to El Questro’s own tents and bungalows, some with air conditioning.
You can stay on riverside sites or in the grounds of Emma George Resort in safari-style cabins.
Use El Questro as a stop on your journey or as a base for exploring the region including the stunning Emma, Explosion and Chamberlain gorges.
Top tips, you will need a 4WD to get into El Questro, but they do offer transfers from Kununurra. Time your visit as it is closed November to April for the wet season.
Johanna Beach, Victoria
There are many famous destinations along the Great Ocean Road, but some are still going under the radar and Johanna is one.
Johanna Beach Campground is not going to appeal to those looking for a lot of luxury. It really is just a space to put up a tent and that’s it. But it’s got ‘laid back’ in spades and must be one of the few affordable options left on the Great Ocean Road.
Oh, and access to some of the best surf beaches in the world. When Bells Beach is out of action for the World Surfing Championships, they transfer it to Johanna beach.
There’s also great fishing, you can enjoy the Great Ocean Walk and there’s whale watching from July to September.
Prices begin at $16.40 a night and bookings are essential.
Coffin Bay National Park, South Australia
Don’t be put off by the moniker – it’s named after a person – but it’s hard to believe this area on the tip of the Eyre Peninsula is not more well known.
There’s a choice of seven camping spots in the Coffin Bay National Park, all starting at $21 a night. It’s basic accommodation, some sites don’t even have toilets, but the surroundings more than make up for it.
As far as landscapes are concerned, there is a lot to choose from, including windswept cliffs, massive dunes, surf beaches, untouched bushland and sheltered sandy bays.
Great for swimming, fishing, kayaking, mountain biking, bush and beach walks and surfing.
What’s your favourite camping spot? Why not share it in the comments section below?
Also read: Ultimate Australian Camping Tips