Free camping in Kosciuszko National Park, Tom Simpson
Free yourself from budget worries by staying at these free campsites.
You can camp for free at more places than you’d expect around the country. And aside from being free, many of these campsites are also dog-friendly – talk about hitting the jackpot. Here are 25 free campsites around the country.
New South Wales
Acacia Flat camping area (walk-in camping), Blue Mountains National Park
Experience one of the best bush camping sites in New South Wales – for free. Hidden in the famous Grose Valley (it’s a steep walk down), you’ll sleep underneath the blue gums. There are toilets, and you can drink the creek water, after you’ve treated it.
Bendeela Recreation Area, Kangaroo Valley
Bendeela Recreation Area is a large, grassy area surrounded by trees and next to Kangaroo River. There are toilets, but that’s about all there is to the site and probably all you really need.
Ben Halls camping area, Weddin Mountains National Park
As the main campground in the national park, you’ll find a good range of facilities here. Situated on the western side of the park next to the historic Seatons Farm, the sites are grassy and shaded.
Lobs Hole Ravine camping area (northern section), Kosciuszko National Park
Ain’t no mountain high enough to keep you from getting to a campsite this good. This free campsite is only accessible for those in 4WDs, and you’ll need to be completely self-sufficient, but the trade-offs are great trout fishing, swimming and that fresh mountain air.
Snakes camping area, Upper Goulburn Historic Area
Don’t let the name put you off. There aren’t that many snales at this campsite. The sites are spacious and spread out next to the river, and there are great walking tracks nearby. It’s also dog friendly.
Loch Valley (The Poplars) camping area, Noojee
You’ll find Loch Valley (The Poplars) camping area approximately 7km from Noojee, a small town on the way to Baw Baw National Park. This campground is free and dog friendly, and has toilets and picnic areas. You can fish and swim in the lake, although you might find that you have to warm yourself up by the campfire after taking a dip. But get in quick – Loch Valley closes down over winter.
Little River Junction camping area, Snowy River National Park
It’s a long way to the bottom of Victoria’s deepest cleft, the Little River Gorge. Visit the lookout at the gorge on your way to Little River Junction camping area. The junction is between the Snowy and Little rivers, and the camping area is perfectly placed for some swimming or canoeing.
Meredith Park camping area, Colac
This is a well-known free camping area on the northern shore of Lake Colac. The fishing here is great, and the area can become crowded with anglers.
Bear Gully camping area, Cape Liptrap Coastal Park
Quieter than neighbouring Wilsons Promontory National Park, Cape Liptrap is on a charming section of the Gippsland coast, only a short distance from Walkerville. Bear Gully is the only camping area in the park, and you’ll find its shady sites just behind Maitland Beach.
Artimore Ruins camping area
Rattle down the Public Access Track in your 4WD until you come to Artimore Ruins. Nestled in a valley, this is a secluded and often quiet site with absolutely no facilities, so be prepared to rough it. The surroundings make this spot ideal for telling ghost tales around the campfire at night.
Marrinup camping area, Dwellingup
There’s really only one word to describe Marrinup camping area – pleasant. It’s a pleasant camping area, with a pleasant location in the forest next to Marrinup Brook. There are pleasant walks around the camping area, with pleasant wildlife-watching. It’s also pleasantly free and dog friendly.
Eagle Bluff camping area, Francois Peron National Park
We’re as shocked as you – you can get free camping just a short swim away from the marine wonderland of Shark Bay Marine Park. The water is the main drawcard here, but there’s also good birdwatching. The sites are spread out amongst the coastal vegetation on the foreshore.
House Beach camping area, Fitzgerald River National Park
You need to have a 4WD and be completely self-sufficient to camp at House Beach. But other than those obstacles, this is a great beach campsite with good fishing and swimming.
Alligator Billabong camping area (bush camping), Kakadu National Park
Camp for free in Australia’s biggest national park at Alligator Billabong camping area. This site is only accessible by a 4WD-only track, and has no facilities.
Birthday Waterhole camping area, West MacDonnell National Park
Birthday Waterhole camping area is a free campsite on the Larapinta Trail, which treks across the West MacDonnell Ranges from Alice Springs to Mount Sonder. There are no facilities here, so you’ll have to be entirely self-sufficient.
Curtin Springs Roadhouse, Curtin Springs
You can camp for free at this roadhouse, which is on a working cattle station. Also on the station? Mount Conner, a monolith that is often mistaken for Uluru. The real Uluru is still 87 kilometres up the road. The campsite has good facilities.
Limmen Bight Fishing Camp, Limmen
Among certain circles, this is a famously good free campsite – so don’t tell anyone we let you in on the secret!
Chinchilla Weir camping area, Chinchilla
On the banks of the Condamine River, this basic site has a maximum stay of two nights and is popular with water lovers, as you can swim, boat, waterski and canoe on the river. There are picnic tables, fireplaces and toilets here, but not much else. On the plus side, it’s free, doesn’t require booking and is dog friendly.
The Boulders camping area, Babinda
You’ll find this camping area near one of the best swimming holes in Queensland. Sites are strictly limited – there are only five, with space for five people on each.
Broadwater Recreational Reserve camping area, Nanango
Twitchers, take note! This camping area is known for being a good birdwatching site. But it’s not known for much else. To camp here, you need to be completely self-sufficient.
Cockle Creek camping area, Recherche Bay Nature Recreation Area
You’ll have to go deep into the south to find this campsite – as far south as you can go by car in Australia. These campsites range along the final kilometres of Tasmania’s southernmost road. While you can’t camp on the ocean side of the road, the grassy sites have a great view and easy proximity to the beach. The only things provided by the campground are toilets and the views. You’ll have to be entirely self-sufficient and bring everything else (including your dog on a leash, if you want to travel with the whole family).
Green Point camping area, Marrawah
If you don’t feel like going south, how about taking on the Wild West? At Green Point you’ll have an unimpeded view of the mighty waves rolling in from South Africa. The facilities are good here, but this is a very exposed campsite, so bring shelter.
Hazards Beach camping area (walk-in camping), Freycinet National Park
Freycinet National Park is on most people’s must-visit list for Tasmania. But what a lot of those people don’t realise is that you can camp for free inside the national park – you just have to be prepared to walk in. The camping area is at the southern end of Hazards Beach, a 2 hour walk from Wineglass Bay.
Paddys Island camping area, St Helens
Get million-dollar views at Paddys Island camping area – for free. The campsites are nestled in the shrub just behind white-sand beaches that stretch as far as the eye can see. Catch your own dinner fresh from the ocean and cook it on the supplied fireplace.
Apsley Waterhole camping area, Douglas-Apsley National Park
Sometimes you have to work a little harder for the free sites – but Apsley Waterhole camping area is worth it. The campground is a 10 minute walk from the parking area, but once you arrive at the campsite and see it (hopefully) bathed in dappled sunlight, you’ll agree that it was worth it. The sites are only a short walk from a great swimming hole.