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Let's jump right in and explore camping in Australia!
The types of camping grounds in Australia
You'll find plenty of different types of camping grounds across Australia, from caravan parks and holiday parks to National Parks and even freedom camping spots. Each offers a different experience, and your family might enjoy trying out all three while you're on your campervan trip.
Caravan Parks (or Holiday Parks) offer great amenities like playgrounds, pools and laundry facilities and are great for socialising. You might be surprised at the new friends you and your kids make. Often holiday parks will offer hire facilities for bikes, paddleboards and other gear. Plus, the locals will be able to provide plenty of advice on the best spots of ice cream, sunset pictures, shopping and just about anything else.
National Parks are beautiful and are a great option if you plan to explore and visit anyway. Australian National Parks are each managed by the local state authority, meaning entry fees, permits and camping costs vary. You'll find some National Parks offer amenities like showers, while others are freedom camping friendly. Depending on the National Park you're visiting, you may be able to book a spot online. Otherwise, some sites run on a first-come-first-served model.
Free camping offers a low-cost option and is excellent for long trips or more intrepid families. You'll be able to totally disconnect and take a peaceful escape away from the hustle and bustle. If you are interested in freedom camping, it's a good idea to double-check that it's okay to stay there via the thl Roadtrip App or check on websites like Freecamping Australia. It’s vital that you follow responsible camping guidelines and only freedom camp in a fully self contained vehicle. Here are a few spots to get you feeling inspired!
Where you can legally camp in Australia?
While you're on holiday, there are some important considerations to make before you park up and set up your campsite for the night.W
Some areas do not permit overnight camping, and your budget-friendly, peaceful overnight stay could end up costing you if you're fined for parking up illegally! Keep your eye out for signage, or find a legal spot easily with the thl roadtrip app.
It's important to respect the Aboriginal culture and their land. Some sacred areas are not suitable for camping. If in doubt, check it out!
To ensure you don't miss out on a specific spot, or if you're travelling a long way in one day, consider booking in a campsite, so you have some peace of mind about where you're camping for the night when you arrive.
Is camping in Australia safe?
Camping is a popular pastime in Australia, and as long as you take the kind of precautions you might take at home, you should be safe and secure. Keep these top tips in mind while you're on your road trip:
- Keep your campervan locked and your gear put away when you're not using it to avoid anything going missing.
- Keep Australia's wildlife in mind. In some parts of the country, you'll find animals roaming free, be careful when driving.
- If you come across some native fauna, don't approach or touch the wildlife unless you know it's safe.
- Be mindful of changing weather conditions. Some areas can be scorching in the day and cold at night so pack appropriately.
What to look for when choosing a family-friendly camping ground
Whether you're looking for a spot to power up or cool down, family-friendly camping spots offer a chance for the kids to burn off some energy and socialise, while grown-ups can chill out and get some of the life admin sorted without a fuss. To make the most of booking in at a family-friendly site, look out for these amenities:
Laundry facilities. Kids are great at having fun and getting down and dirty! Pick a holiday park with laundry facilities so you can clean the kid's clothes, freshen up everyone's swimming gear and towels and give the sheets and other bedding a wash, especially on long or hot trips.
Playgrounds. Give the kids somewhere safe and fun to play with and let them burn off energy after being on the road.
Media rooms. The perfect spot for some chilled out downtime in the evenings. Catch up on some TV or a movie or two, or just hang out in a comfy area to read a book.
Power. Powered sites allow you to charge up the tablets, speakers, camera batteries and anything else that might need some juice. Powered sites may also mean you can keep the fan on if it's hot and keep some cheeky treats cooler in the fridge.
Hire items. Think bikes, kayaks, paddleboards and other fun equipment. Hiring it only when you need it saves on space and means you don't have to try and pack your own.
Location. Check out the places you want to go and the things you want to do. Are you planning on beach trips, bush hikes or city adventures? This will help you choose the campsite that is best suited to your activities while on your journey.
Things for the kids to do! Explore nearby attractions that will get your kids excited, and ensure there is space to enjoy the outdoors and play safely while you chill out.
Best family-friendly campgrounds and holiday parks in Australia
To get you feeling inspired, we've gathered together some of the best family-friendly campgrounds in Australia, all in one place. Check out what's on offer and start thinking about your unique family road trip.
Located just a 10 minute walk from the beach and a couple of minutes from Exmouth town centre, you'll find a resort-style swimming pool, up-to-date camp kitchen and recreation room at Big4 Exmouth Cape. Hire bikes or snorkel gear for the kids, and explore the nearby Ningaloo reef, where you can get up close and personal with whale sharks and fish.
Situated on a working beef and sheep property, you won't run out of space here! Escape to rural Margaret River in Western Australia. With great wine, food, surf and nature-based activities to enjoy, you'll find yourself parked up near plenty of fun activities for all ages. Explore caves, sample some local produce at wineries, give surfing a go or sit back and relax on a whale-watching cruise. Come back in time, and you'll have the chance to feed the farm animals on-site! Give the kids a full-on rural experience by cooking and eating in the barn-style kitchen and relaxing by the log fire as night draws in.
Explore tropical Darwin's many attractions on the doorstep of the Kakadu and Litchfield National Parks. But don't leave too quickly - you'll want to take some time to enjoy all the facilities on offer, including a water splash park, saltwater pools, a spa, and more. With a local pub just down the road, food van visits, and bus transfers to the Mindil Beach Sunset Markets, you might just find yourself sticking around a few nights.
Located just 2kms away from the Katherine hot springs and 6kms from the centre of town, Katherine holiday park includes the best of the outback and the tropics. Enjoy some bird watching as the local wildlife make their way around the park, or head to the Low-Level Nature Park and Katherine River and have a go at catching some fish.
Less than 30 minutes out of the big city, the Adelaide hills will make you feel like you're thousands of kilometres away. There's plenty of fun to be had out and about with kids in mind. You can explore the Adelaide Hills Kids' Food Trail, the Hahndorf Farm Barn, and the nearby Big Rocking Horse and National Motor Museum. Back at the campsite, you'll find giant chess, mini-golf, a library, and an on-site bistro catering to all tastes during the peak season.
Surrounded by an array of breath-taking walking and bike trails, the kids will love the adventure playground and jumping pillow, which can keep them entertained for hours! Spend your time in Port Elliot learning to surf, getting up close and personal with the animals at Urimbirra Wildlife Experience and exploring popular Goolwa.
Explore all 26 acres of tropical gardens at this huge campground. You'll find a swimming pool, a spa and even a waterslide park to keep the kids cool. Plus, an adventure playground, 18 hole mini-golf, a tennis court, and an outdoor cinema. You may never want to leave! But make sure you don't miss out on all the beach-time fun that Arlie has to offer, including sailing, helicopter trips, sea-side markets and more.
Located barely 10 minutes north of Surfers Paradise, you'll find yourselves conveniently located between all the major theme parks that Queensland offers – Dreamworld, Movieworld, Wet n Wild and Seaworld. With an onsite waterpark, swimming pool, playground and restaurant, you'll also have the opportunity to book discounted tickets to local attractions. Bonus!
New South Wales
With a popular Kids Club hosted during the School Holidays, a games room, and plenty of lake-based watersports on offer, the whole family are well catered to here! With plenty of outdoor activities to get involved in, like surf lessons, kayaking and fishing, any water-babies in the family will be happy.
Explore the Northern Coast of NSW with the family by enjoying whale watching, snorkelling with turtles, bushwalking and scenic hikes. Back at the campground, you'll find a tidal saltwater billabong that is great for swimming, fishing, and kayaking. Out of the water, you'll find a playground, pedal karts and an on-site coffee cart to make getting up just that much better.
Take your time exploring the Grampians region and the National Park. Based near the country town of Halls Gap, you can start your adventure by exploring the bushwalking trails. You'll find plenty of natural attractions to keep the whole family busy. Once you're back at base, enjoy the chance to play some volleyball, tennis, go pedal-karting and more.
Near the northern end of the Great Ocean Road, Anglesea offers a chance to stop and refresh along the way. You'll find boats for hire, plenty of walkways to explore, surfing spots and lovely beach-sides to relax on. Once you're parked up, the family can enjoy the adventure playground, cinema room, games room, and even a visit from some local kangaroos!
Just a few minutes drive from Port Arthur Historic Site and heaps of local attractions, including Eaglehawk Neck and the Remarkable Cave. You'll enjoy having a go on the wood-fired pizza oven, and the kids will love tiring themselves out at the playground or the recreation room.
Explore Freycinet National Park and Wineglass Bay, and don't forget to try out the local seafood and fresh berries. You'll stay on 10 acres of natural bushland, an ideal location for just relaxing or making the most of the great outdoors by having a go at fishing or swimming at the local beaches. You'll find everything you need at the local bakery, tavern, takeaway and supermarket, so you can rest easy and enjoy your trip!
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