Best campsites to stay at this autumn

Autumn isn’t the time to stay in front of the home fire – rather it’s the perfect time to explore the wild places of Australia that are too hot, too wet, too inaccessible to visit over summer. We’ve picked our five favourite campsites that will entice you away from your couch and onto the open road.

Leliyn (Edith Falls) camping area, Nitmiluk National Park, Northern Territory

Edith Falls

Leliyn (Edith Falls) camping area is paradise found, a lush campground deep in Nitmiluk National Park, just west of Katherine in the Northern Territory. While the camping area itself is great – grassy, unpowered, well-defined sites under shady trees with good facilities (including washing machines!) – the real attraction is just next door, as the camping area is a few steps away from a ridiculously picturesque swimming hole fed by Edith Falls. These sites are first come, first served, so get in quick.

Koolamon camping area, Ikara–Flinders Ranges National Park, South Australia

Flinders Ranges National Park by TripAdvisor reviewer Steve W

Aroona Valley, with its ochre mountains that glow with colours from red to purple to orange, has inspired famous artists such as Hans Heysen; and as you set up your campsite next to a creek overlooked by the Heysen Ranges, you might feel tempted to reach for a paintbrush yourself. While the camping area is accessible to both 2WD and 4WD, it’s for self-sufficient campers only, as there’s not much here apart from toilets (and the views – did we mention the views?).

Lower Davies Creek camping area, Davies National Park, Queensland

Davies National Park by TripAdvisor reviewer Sbug79

Once you’ve set up your tent next to Davies Creek amid the dramatic boulders, you’ll wonder why more people visiting tropical far-north Queensland don’t leave the beach behind and head inland. Davies National Park is only a short drive south-west of Cairns, a landscape of winding creeks (where you might get a glimpse of an elusive platypus), deep, inaccessible bush and granite outcrops. You’ll find peace and quiet at this campsite, particularly as there is no mobile coverage. You need to have a permit and be entirely self-sufficient to camp here; the sites are also a short walk from the carpark, so don’t bring anything you can’t carry.

Dales camping area, Karijini National Park, Western Australia

Karijini National Park

Karijini National Park is an oasis in the middle of the desert, a surreal landscape of gorges with tropical swimming holes hidden around every bend. Dales camping area is one of only two camping areas in the park, and it’s just a short walk to all the major attractions – Circular Pool, Fortescue Falls and Dales Gorge. There are 140 campsites, spread out on the red dirt amid the straggly and shady gums. This is the desert, so you’ll need to be relatively self-sufficient. But what Dales camping area lacks in facilities, it makes up for with peace, quiet and a night sky luminescent with stars.

Homestead Creek camping area, Mutawintji National Park, New South Wales

Mutawintji National Park

This is what people mean when they talk about the outback – rugged mountains, ancient and proud gums, deep gorges, red plains prickly with saltbush, and an aura of the sacred about the whole thing … yup, Mutawintji National Park, north-east of Broken Hill, has it all. Homestead Creek camping area is the main campground in the park, and although you’ll need to be self-sufficient, it has good facilities, including barbecues, hot showers and wide shady sites.