Forget about caravans, phone reception, flushing toilets or loud generators – sometimes you need to take camping back to basics, with just you, a tent, and some seriously spectacular scenery. Plus all the supplies you need to be self-sufficient, of course. Here are our picks for the best remote and under-the-radar campsites in Australia.
Waychinicup Inlet camping area, Waychinicup National Park, Western Australia
With granite mountains standing guard over white-sand beaches buffeted by the turquoise ocean, Waychinicup National Park is like Wilsons Promontory National Park’s Western Australian cousin – although with added mozzies and no fresh water. You don’t have to book the campsites here; just drive up and nab one of the limited tent-only sites among the coastal shrub just behind the beach. A short 65km drive north-east of Albany, Waychinicup National Park should be more popular, but maybe the basic facilities and dodgy entry road (only accessible to 2WD in dry weather) put people off. It’s our gain!
Boyd River camping area, Kanangra-Boyd National Park, New South Wales
As Blue Mountains National Park’s craggier and more forbidding sibling, Kanangra-Boyd National Park doesn’t get a whisper of Blue Mountains National Park’s visitors, even though it’s right next door. Don’t let that put you off! Boyd River camping area is a quiet nature getaway, with 30 campsites generously spaced out on the banks of Morong Creek under the snow gums. You’ll have to rattle along 20km of dirt road to get there, which might account for the campsite being more popular with native wildlife than with humans. Make sure to visit the unfenced Kanangra Walls lookout, just a few kilometres further into the park, for expansive views over the mountains.
Goldsborough Valley camping area, Wooroonooran National Park, Queensland
It’s a mystery how Wooroonooran National Park, just south of Cairns near Millaa Millaa, has managed to fly under the radar. Part of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, this park looks like something straight out of Indiana Jones(the opening scene of
Raiders of the Lost Ark, naturally), with dense and mysterious rainforests, misty mountains and hidden waterfalls. Goldsborough Valley camping area is a patch carved out of this wilderness, with 13 sites split between a grassy clearing and shady sites on the banks of the Mulgrave River. Those self-sufficient enough to venture in will be rewarded with excellent hiking trails and water-based activities.
Seven Emu Station, Northern Territory
We’ve saved the most remote for last – Seven Emu Station is a working station in the Gulf of Carpentaria, 100km south-east of Borroloola towards the Queensland border. The property is owned by the Shadforth family, who have set up a rustic campground around 7km from their homestead. The sites are spread out under straggly gums along the cliff above the Robinson River, with the toilets – old galloon drums – buried in the ground on the cliff-face. There is excellent fishing, but you might prefer to set up your chairs near the edge of the cliff and watch the water from above … particularly after you spot a saltwater croc or bull shark.