Treat yourself to summer holidays accommodation that won’t even come close to breaking the bank with our list of free, no-bookings campsites across Australia (although you’ll find most camping areas down south).
And Victorians, you haven’t missed out. Even though Parks Victoria has introduced bookings and fees for many of their previously free campsites, the good news is that we’ve found plenty of other free campsites in Victoria (and around the rest of the country, of course!).
New South Wales
This campsite in the Kangaroo Valley is a hidden and picturesque gem! The sites are on a large, shady area next to the river.
This campsite rocks. Set above the Goulburn River, you’re only a hop, skip and a leap away from some great swimming holes.
Free, dog-friendly, spacious camping next to a river in summer? Count us in.
The perfect stop off the Princes Highway, this picnic spot also doubles as a shady and spacious camping area.
We like Coachwood camping area so much we almost don’t want to tell you about it. This pretty-as-a-picture campsite is next to a river in Chichester State Forest, which neighbours the magical Barrington Tops National Park.
These remote huts are left unlocked for campers to use. It might not be ‘proper’ camping with a roof over your head, but as you wake up to the black cockatoos squawking in the eucalypts, you won’t care so much about those pesky details.
On the other side of the Telegherry River to Coachwood camping area, this picturesque campsite is justifiably popular.
It’s a campsite with a view – and then some! This free camping area overlooks the beautiful Capertee Valley in the Blue Mountains.
What makes Ingar camping area so good? It’s near Wentworth Falls AND a swimming hole, has toilets and easily accessible walking tracks. There are only eight sites though, so if you snooze on the morning you’re meant to leave, you may lose out on a spot.
Only a short drive from Jindabyne, Jacob’s River camping area gives you more than enough reasons to visit the alpine area in summer. It’s an attractive camping area set next to Jacob’s River. While away the time swimming and fishing.
Cool down by camping on the banks of the Manning River under the temperate rainforest. The fishing’s not bad, either.
There are only five sites, but chances are people will overlook this lovely inland spot in favour of a place on the beach. Their loss – situated next to the river in the midst of the forest, Newtons Crossing camping area is a winner.
You’ll fall in love with this simple camping area near Paddys Falls, where you can swim, fish or go bushwalking.
You don’t have to pay to camp here, but you’ll probably enjoy this small, casual camping area with its view over the dam so much you’ll be happy dropping a few coins into the donation box.
Give us a campsite among the pine trees at Olney State Forest, with good facilities and lots of shade.
You’ll strike gold at this free campsite – maybe even literally! You can hire fossicking equipment at the visitors centre. Otherwise you can just relax at the shaded campsite and cool down in the swimming holes in the river.
Walk down the steep gorge to find a deep blue pool surrounded by trees. You can’t pay for a summer cool-down this good – and at Blue Pool camping area, within easy walking distance of the pool, you don’t have to.
With clean, tidy, grassy and shady campsites on the bank of the Glenelg River, Fort O’Hare is a pleasant spot to camp.
At this simple campsite among the trees, you’ve got access to walking and lookouts (but no actual horseriding facilities, sorry!).
A good spot for anglers next to Hollands Creek near Mount Samaria State Park.
Bounce in with your 4WD, set up tent on the grassy, shaded sites, enjoy how picturesque it looks, before bouncing off again to tackle some of the 4WD tracks in the park.
Victoria has less free campsites than it did at this time last year, so expect Vaughan Springs to increase in popularity. The sites aren’t the most scenic, but it is a spacious camping area with swimming nearby.
Pleasant sites under the trees near some excellent bushwalks.
On the shores of Lake Albacutya, this camping area is peacefully situated under the river red gums.
You’ll find this family-friendly camping area north of Adelaide. Splash about in the shallow waters or try your hand at crabbing – just don’t get crabby if you come up empty handed.
Campsites along the Heysen Trail
These campsites are all well maintained and normally free! There are sometimes huts at these campsites so you can ‘camp’ with a roof over your head.
One of a few free camping areas along the coast in the Yorke Peninsula Reserves, come here for the water-based activities. Permits required.
Campsites along the Bibbulmun track, south-west of Perth
Designated campsites along the Bibbulmun Track are free and no-bookings sites (although the sites are normally small), so go to town and camp all along the track (some of the camps are walk-in only)!
This basic campsite is on the Munda Biddi Trail. The peace, quiet and beauty of Bidjar Ngoulin, nestled as it is in a towering forest, more than makes up for the limited facilities.
A bush campsite surrounded by Western Australia’s remarkable jarrah trees. This campsite is on the Munda Biddi Trail, which is always a good option for free campsites.
Babinda Creek camping area, Babinda
This free campsite is 6km from Babinda, near the swimming hole at Babinda Boulders (which rates as one of our favourite swimming holes on the east coast) and has toilets, showers and barbecues. Note: you can only stay for 48 hours.
Camping in Queensland in summer? You’ll be glad there’s a lagoon nearby where you can cool down. A seriously charming campsite with good, clean amenities and plenty of water-based activities.
This increasingly popular camping area has good facilities and great fishing. The view’s not bad either.
As you swim in the Apsley River swimming hole near your free campsite in Douglas–Apsley National Park, you’ll ask yourself: does life get any better than this?
Boltons Green is the end of the road in Southwest National Park – from here it’s all walking tracks and endless ocean vistas. You need to get a permit for this camping area.
Set on the shaded banks of Lake Sorrell, camping doesn’t get much better than this. And since fishing is banned, it doesn’t get as crowded as you’d expect.
Water, water everywhere at Green Point camping area. This unprotected camping area (bring a strong tent!) overlooks the wild and beautiful Southern Ocean.
You might expect a free camping area to be ugly, with bad facilities and nothing to do. Well, may we introduce you to Hastings Forest Picnic Area camping area, which is nestled beside Esperance River on soft, mossy ground with toilets and all the activities you could want nearby?
Come here for the angling (permits required) and stay for the views and peace and quiet.