You don’t have to leave your dog behind this Easter long weekend – at least not if you camp at one of these five dog-friendly camping areas. These five spots offer some of the best camping outside of a national park. Even better? Most of these campsites don’t take bookings, so you’ll still be able to nab a spot.
Main Beach camping area, North Stradbroke Island, Queensland
This could well be paradise – a spacious campground with 300 unpowered sites spread behind a 38km-long beach on the east side of North Stradbroke Island. This island is only a short drive from Brisbane, and it’s a local classic, full of old-fashioned camping areas meant for enjoying the sun, the sand and the sea with the whole family, including the pooch. There are zero facilities at Main Beach, and it’s 4WD-access only. You will need to book in advance.
Danjera Dam camping area, Nowra, New South Wales
You’ll find one of the best campsites in the south coast area around 30km west of Nowra. That’s right – this isn’t a beach camping area, but rather a spot on the shores of Danjera Dam, a man-made reservoir that covers the old town of Yalwal. Although the dam is surrounded by forest, the camping area itself is a cleared, spacious area with toilets, picnic tables and barbecues; and the water, which is excellent for swimming as long as you avoid the skeletons of old trees, is right on your doorstep. It’s free, no-bookings and dog-friendly.
The Quarries camping area, Briagolong State Forest, Victoria
The Quarries is the most popular area in Briagolong State Forest, an accessible spot often full of happy campers splashing in Freestone Creek. But don’t let its popularity put you off, as the campsites are spacious and shady, potted about under the trees on the banks of the creek. This is the only campsite in Briagolong where you have to pay a fee.
Hastings Forest Picnic Area camping area, Southern Forests, Tasmania
You’d want to camp at Hastings Forest Picnic Area camping area even if you couldn’t bring your dog. This camping area is a gem, with campsites spread out on the mossy banks of the Esperance River, a coolly magical spot deep in the Southern Forests south of Hobart. And even though the campground is free, no bookings and allows dogs, it has good facilities, including toilets and picnic tables. It’s pretty much perfect.
The Gap camping area, Yorke Peninsula Reserves
What The Gap camping area lacks in shade – apart from a few coastal shrubs, you won’t find any protection from the wind here – it makes up for in coastal views. This camping area is right on the long, isolated beach, with campsites arrayed in a no-fuss space in the coastal dunes. It’s the sort of place made for running along the beach with your dog … and for fishing, of course. This camping area, in the hardy north-west of the peninsula, is one of those run by the local council; check their website for information on how to get a permit. There are no facilities, and you’ll need to be entirely self-sufficient.