Top 5 dog-friendly camping areas for the Easter long weekend

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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

North Stradbroke Island by TripAdvisor reviewer NattyGol

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

Nowra by TripAdvisor reviewer Nirvikar Y

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

Briagolong State Forest by TripAdvisor reviewer Heather R

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

Hastings Caves by TripAdvisor reviewer Kobosake

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

Yorke Peninsula by TripAdvisor reviewer rmakani

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.

Four off-the-beaten track camping areas

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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

Waychinicup National Park by TripAdvisor reviewer FabGab13

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

Kanangra-Boyd National Park by TripAdvisor reviewer Saddo33

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

Wooroonooran National Park by TripAdvisor reviewer senzaester

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.

Classic Australian road trips you have to do

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There’s only one way to see most of Australia – and that’s by car. Australia’s highways are a roadmap to adventure; start your exploration with one of these classic road trips, which cover wide open roads from the red centre to the coastal fringe.

Stuart Highway from Alice Springs to Darwin, Northern Territory

This road, cutting through the heart of the country between Darwin and Adelaide, is one of the great Australian adventures. And the 1500km section between Darwin and Alice Springs is a track to the best of the Northern Territory: there’s the Devils Marbles, ancient rock formations carefully balanced on top of each other like a cheerleaders’ pyramid, the hot springs at Bitter Springs and Mataranka, the eerie termite mounds of Litchfield National Park, the waterfalls and gorges of Nitmiluk National Park … and that’s not even mentioning the charismatic roadhouses along the highway (the one at Wycliffe Well is famous for alien sightings). This is a road trip full of personality.

Great Ocean Road, Victoria

This insanely picturesque route is the Australian version of driving along the Amalfi Coast. The Great Ocean Road winds its way between tree-covered mountains and the endless rolling surf and, just like in Italy, there are charming seaside towns here too, from the barista boomtown of Lorne to the picture-perfect cottages of Port Fairy. The road starts just south of Torquay and runs for 278km along the coast past famous landmarks like the Twelve Apostles and Cape Otway Lightstation. You could drive the route in a few hours, but follow the example of the locals and chill out, slow down and enjoy the scenery.

Savannah Way from Cairns, Queensland to Katherine, Northern Territory

This bumpy road connects Queensland with the Northern Territory through the heart of the Gulf country with its river crossings and crocs – plus the odd interestingly named roadside stop, like Hells Gate Roadhouse. After leaving Cairns, the Savannah Way quickly passes through the lush Atherton Tablelands on its way to more wild and adventurous territory, like the true-blue gold-mining towns of Croydon and Normanton, which proudly displays a statue of the biggest croc ever caught. From Normanton, it’s a 700km stretch of unsealed road through some of the best barramundi-catching territory in the country on the way to Katherine. Just watch out for road trains!

Princes Highway from Sydney, New South Wales to Melbourne, Victoria

As you sit crunching your feet into the white sand of Hyams Beach at Jervis Bay, you’ll ask yourself why you ever drove the Hume Highway. While the Hume is the quickest route from Sydney to Melbourne, the 1000km meandering coastal road along the Princes Highway is by far the more interesting. It starts just outside of Sydney and rolls by the South Coast’s famously laid-back coastal towns, like Ulladulla, Jervis Bay, Eden and Lakes Entrance. You can also duck into the protected coastal environs of Royal National Park, Ben Boyd National Park and Croajingolong National Park. And if that’s not enough to convince you – there’s also good coffee.

Crossing the Nullarbor from Ceduna, South Australia to Norseman, Western Australia

Crossing the Nullarbor means driving 1200km between Ceduna in South Australia and Norseman in Western Australia across the Nullarbor Plain, a massive featureless expanse where you’ll also find the 90-Mile Straight, a 146km stretch of straight road. It’s enough to strike terror into the heart of any driver. Luckily there’s plenty to distract you along the route if you know where to look, from the 200km-long Bunda Cliffs, where the Nullarbor drops off into the ocean, to the Nullarbor Links, potentially the longest golf course in the world, where the holes are stretched out along the length of the highway. Then there are the roadhouses, peopled by outback characters and, in one case, a NASA museum. Yup, it’s fair to say that the Nullarbor is as interesting as you make it.


The best roadhouses in Australia

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A roadhouse is so much more than just a place you can get petrol and an iffy pie. For drivers travelling along Australia’s isolated highways, a roadhouse rises like an oasis of good ol’ fashioned hospitality on the side of the road. Their proprietors might well rescue you and your car if you fall into trouble nearby, too. We’ve picked the best roadhouses in the country – no iffy roadside pies here!

Hells Gate Roadhouse, Savannah Way, Queensland

Hell’s Gate Roadhouse by TravelPod member Macphails

Don’t believe everything they tell you – hell isn’t that bad. At least it’s not at Hells Gate Roadhouse, a friendly and surprisingly green stop on the rough and tumble Savannah Highway in Queensland, around 50km from the border with Northern Territory. You’re a long way from anywhere up here, and Hells Gate Roadhouse is a sight for dusty eyes … especially as it’s got petrol, food, cold drinks, and a place to stay for the night. Oh, and there’s even an airstrip, if you’d prefer to drop in by air.

Birdsville Roadhouse, Birdsville, Queensland

Birdsville Roadhouse

If you get stuck in the Simpson Desert within 300km of Birdsville and you call the RACQ, the man who’ll come running – eventually – is Peter Barnes, the proprietor of the Birdsville Roadhouse. While the Birdsville Pub might be more iconic, it’s the Birdsville Roadhouse, which has been run by Barnes’y and his wife Bernadette for decades, that should be top of every travellers’ list. It’s got fuel, friendliness … and, perhaps most importantly if you’ve just been driving through the desert, a vehicle workshop.

Tjukayirla Roadhouse, Great Central Road, Western Australia

Tjukayirla Roadhouse by TripAdvisor reviewer Alai1498

You’re a long way from anywhere at the Tjukayirla Roadhouse, an outpost on the Great Central Road in the Great Victoria Desert. This classic Australian building, with a corrugated roof extending over a veranda that’s surrounded by shrubby and shady gums, is a welcome spot of hospitality after you’ve been bouncing over the unsealed road for hours. And even though the roadhouse is, well, in the middle of nowhere, it manages to serve up some of the best burgers this side of Texas. The roadhouse isn’t open in the evenings, so unless you’re planning to stay in the clean and thoughtfully considered accommodation, remember to check the opening hours.

Nullarbor Roadhouse, Nullarbor, South Australia

Nullarbor Roadhouse by TripAdvisor reviewer Seafergie

The Nullarbor Roadhouse might be the friendliest roadhouse in the country – which is great news for travellers, as hospitality is just what you need when driving the long and isolated stretch of road between South Australia and Western Australia. The Nullarbor Roadhouse has been open to travellers since 1957, and while the original roadhouse still remains as an interesting historical feature, the facilities have been upgraded somewhat since then, with hot showers ($1 for 5 minutes), clean rooms, great coffee (they even have soy!) and food so good (they even have roast lamb) you’ll want to turn around and do the drive again, just for a repeat taste.

Emerald Springs Roadhouse, Stuart Highway, Northern Territory

Emerald Springs by TripAdvisor reviewer MBB1952

Emerald Springs Roadhouse, at an easy 180km drive down the Stuart Highway from Darwin, is perfectly situated for your first pick-me-up on the road. And you’re in luck! This roadhouse, although situated in an area that’s famous for nothing much, is itself famous for its excellent food and coffee, as well as for its cheeky and charming owners – oh, and the large, cool veranda.

Best hot springs in Australia

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Exploring Australia is a tough business – luckily, the country is full of naturally occurring hot springs popping up in the most unexpected places to help wash the cares of the road away. So say farewell to fancy spas … and hello to the best hot springs in the country!


Zebedee Hot Springs, El Questro Station, Western Australia

Zebedee Hot Springs by @robynchalk – Instagram

By the time you’ve bounced your way along the rough Kimberley roads into El Questro Station, you’ll have plenty of aches and pains to wash away. So you’ll be counting your lucky stars that the property is home to the ridiculously pretty Zebedee Hot Springs, a series of small pools nestled in tiered layers down a rock-face among tropical palms. The water hovers at around 38 degrees Celsius; it’s guaranteed to relax your muscles. The hot springs are only open to the general public from 7am until 12pm in season (the afternoons are reserved for guests of the station’s luxury homestead), so get in early to beat the crowds.


Lightning Ridge Hot Bore Baths, Lightning Ridge, New South Wales

Lightning Ridge Hot Bore Baths by Tripadvisor reviewer Julia J

A long way in both location and style from Zebedee Hot Springs, Lightning Ridge Hot Bore Baths is a large circular pool in the middle of a dry and dusty plain with shrubby trees. But we’d expect nothing less from the idiosyncratic opal-mining town of Lightning Ridge, which is renowned for its frontier feel. The baths are just outside of town, and, with water temperature that’s around 40 degrees Celsius, are the perfect spot to relax after a long day travelling or opal mining – but unless you’re visiting the town in winter, best leave the swimming to early morning or late at night.


Artesian Mud Baths, Eulo, Queensland

Artesian Mud Baths by Tripadvisor reviewer CocoGELM

You’ll find hot springs with a large side of personality at Eulo in Queensland. Owner Nan has inventively placed four large claw baths in an enclosed area that’s open to the sky. The baths are filled with the naturally hot artesian water and infused with artesian mud, for the most unique beauty experience you’ll have this year. You can even book your bath at night, and sip on a glass of wine while leaning back in the tub and staring at the starry, starry night. It’s an experience you won’t soon forget.


Bitter Springs, Elsey National Park, Northern Territory

Bitter Springs by Tripadvisor reviewer Lesley2402

Bitter Springs, just two kilometres south of Mataranka, has long been a hot spot for its hot springs. Near the equally famous Mataranka Thermal Pool, Bitter Springs is famously beautiful, with interconnected pools of sparkling aqua overshadowed by palms and tropical grasses. The water is a balmy 34 degrees Celsius, and you can hire a noodle from the nearby camping area and float from the top pool to the bottom – don’t forget your snorkel for a glimpse of underwater life. Word to the wise: there are crocs about, so stay alert.


Dalhousie Springs, Witjira National Park, South Australia

Dalhousie Springs by Tripadvisor reviewer family_of_four_qld

On the edge of the Simpson Desert lies the dusty Witjira National Park, which hides a hot secret – around 120 mound springs full of artesian water. The most well known of the springs is Dalhousie Main Spring, a National Heritage–listed pool surrounded by palms and hardy desert trees where the water sits at around 37 degrees Celsius. The largest pool on this list, the oasis is a pretty good reward for braving the long, bumpy and dirty road into the park.