Yes, it’s been difficult, but here are our best camper destinations, state by state.
Let the disagreements commence!
The Grampians — home to The Arapilles, one of the world’s great rock climbing destinations, is, naturally enough, chock-full with top ranked dirtbag climbers or wannabe dirtbag climbers. Rock climbing is the land-locked equivalent of surfing, so rock climbers are a fairly passionate breed. They like their passion to be carefully tended, so the camping services in the Grampians are typically well-appointed.
The hiking and trekking potential is fantastic too, with trails leading to waterfalls like the towering MacKenzie Falls and to lookouts such as the Balconies, with views of the Victoria Range.
Northern NSW coastal camping is something special. With thousands of kilometres of Pacific Ocean coastline, Aussies often take this asset for granted. Coupled with the perfect northern NSW climate and you have a destination that approaches the definition of paradise. Check out Fingal Head for something different. Cook Island, less than a kilometre off the beach makes for an interesting feature and a large swathe of the coastline is protected from development due to it being culturally significant to the local indigenous folk.
Cape York — the ultimate inhospitable, untouched, and little traversed overland route. In recent years it certainly has become more popular with the 4WD brigade, but it still presents a first-rate entree into one of the world’s great frontier micro-environments. Once you leave Cooktown, there’s really nothing until you reach Bamaga, about a thousand miles to the north. Of course, there are a myriad of potential side-destinations that could tickle your fancy, from the famed Chilli Beach, near where Captain Bligh first made landfall after being set afloat during the infamous mutiny on the Bounty, to a veritable smorgasbord of secret fishing spots and secluded coastal camping sites.
Flinders Ranges. Majestic, unassuming and jam-packed with campsites. Blessed with a patchwork of quaint small towns and unique flora and fauna, it really is one of Australia’s most under-appreciated destinations. Wilpena Pond, alone, is a geological phenomenon on par with Uluru.
The Kimberley. The obvious choice. Remote, tropical, teeming with wildlife and sporting a distinctively Australian color pallette. It’s been on everyone’s bucket list since Malcolm Douglas popularised it courtesy of his seminal 80s documentaries featuring monster crocs, surging tidal seas and lip-smacking barramundi feasts. Uniquely Australian and far away from civilisation, The Kimberley truly is a remote off-road destination.
Coming in a close second, though, is Margaret River, down south of the state. Lush, green and full of good things to eat and drink. Completely different from The Kimberley. Perhaps do both, although they’re separated by a few thousand miles of road. Western Australia, the biggest state, probably deserves two trips.
Coastal roads — Tasmania’s beaches are the most under-appreciated in all of Australia. They’re even better than the ACT’s (jokes)
It’s a small island, so it makes sense to circumnavigate it by 4WD. You’ll often have a cove all to yourself and the island is justifyingly world-famous for its providores. Think world’s best cheese, whisky and seafood as a campsite meal with a difference, set off against a backdrop of dramatic Tasmanian beach coastline.
Family safari — Kakadu, Normanton and the Savannah Way, Australia’s Top End is a destination where you’ll best experience Australia’s unique flora and fauna. We might not have Africa’s Big 5, but Australia’s animals are definitely worth seeing in the wild. Plus the birdlife up there is without peer.
What better way to holiday with your family than by introducing the kids to Australia’s unique wildlife. Big crocodiles, Jabirus, flocks of Magpie geese and giant water buffalo are but a few of the attractions.
Namadgi National Park, is a secret little place the locals like to keep all to themselves. It’s extensively crisscrossed with walking trails that suit all level of walker (or trail runner) and has well-serviced campsite options. The ACT is becoming world-renowned as a MTB destination and Namadgi and the surrounding area has many trails for the biking enthusiast.
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