School holidays’ is a popular time to get away for camping families around Australia. Families towing vans, flying or camping often take the opportunity to see another piece of the country, albeit at a potentially busy time. Mid-winter holidays coincide with grey nomads, mostly towing vans, on their yearly pilgrimages to the warmer climates of Australia’s north. Christmas and Easter breaks are often the busiest times to head across Australia as families take the opportunity to get away for a longer stay. Campsite bookings at popular destinations during the busiest times of year often require booking spots months in advance.
I’ve listed two of my favourite destination choices within a day’s drive of all Australia’s capital cities. I’ve also selected a coastal option for each state and bush alternative and camping choices. Intending campers should research the destinations more fully for further information to make sure the locations that I’ve nominated are suitable for their needs.
Carnarvon National Park lies between Roma and Emerald on the Carnarvon Developmental Road. The Carnarvon Gorge section is the most popular area with good facilities and camping within the national park. Short and lengthy walks to visit Aboriginal paintings, sheer sandstone walls and ancient vegetation are a feature. Other sections of the national park are remote but very suitable for self-sufficient 4WD campers.
Bundaberg and the Coral Coast are located a few hours drive north of Brisbane. There is camping available at caravan parks and self-sufficient beachfront camping on the nearby Burrum Coast for 4WD enthusiasts. Turtle watching at Mon Repos CP is popular between November and March, and fishing at any time of the year. A rum distillery and free zoo provide interest in town.
NSW – Barrington Tops
Cool weather enthusiasts will enjoy the lofty forests of Barrington Tops, located via a gravel road between Gloucester and Scone. Bush camping within the national park, with walks to lookouts and natural features. Mountain biking will burn off excess energy for the young ones. There are commercial camping options off the access road west of Gloucester.
Crowdy Bay features laidback camping with bush options just south of Port Macquarie. Fishing, surfing and swimming are popular past times, with beachfront campsites and some walking tracks. Macadamia farm and Norfolk Punch factory open for tours. 4WDs can access the beach with a permit obtainable locally.
VIC – Grampians
There is a large national park centred around Halls Gap, with hiking opportunities, fishing and indigenous art sites. There is commercial camping at Halls Gap, but many bush sites throughout the national park. Wildlife is abundant and the wildflowers stunning in spring. Numerous tourist attractions near town.
VIC – Lakes Entrance
There is beachfront commercial camping at East Gippsland’s major tourist town. Climate is often a few degrees warmer than Melbourne, and the fishing is productive. Nearby national parks and bush drives balance the numerous tourist activities available in town. Explore the Gippsland Lakes by houseboat or private cruise vessel.
TAS – Deloraine
Is a historic town just off the Bass Highway between Devonport and Launceston. Camping is at commercial parks, with the scenic terrain home to local artists. Kids will enjoy day trips to the wildlife park at Mole Creek, fishing the Meander River and waterfall walks.
The scenic coast of East Tasmania with the hamlet of Coles Bay has commercial accommodation and camping. There are bush camps at locations within the national park. There are numerous long and short walks with fishing and swimming always nearby.
NT – Kakadu
Kakadu has numerous camping options across the national park with facilities ranging from very basic to elaborate. Wildlife is aplenty and there is boat cruises, Aboriginal bush tucker and art tours. Fishing is for the adventurous, watch out for kids as numerous crocs severely curtail any water activities. Mosquitoes and sand flies are abundant.
NT – Litchfield
Impressive waterfalls and bathing possibilities attract thousands to this holiday playground barely two hour by car from Darwin. Commercial caravan parks near Batchelor and popular water hole camps throughout the national park. There are some walks, great views and plenty of splashing about to satisfy all.
WA – Stirling Range
Wildflowers carpet this piece of the west, about an hour’s drive north of Albany. Bush enthusiasts will appreciate bird and nature study, with no frills camping at Moingup Springs within the national park. There is a commercial caravan park at Tambellup on the Great Southern Highway, North West of the park.
WA – Kalbarri
There is good camping in town and bush camps in national park. Pelican feeding, parrot enclosure, aquarium, beach walks and fishing are some of the activities great for entertaining kids. The deep gorges on the Murchison River are stunning, and 4WDing opportunities exist on the beach.
Flinders Range is a broad area of outback, largely accessible using the family car, with a number of quirky townships scattered along the main arterial roads. Camping is possible at Wilpena Pound, within the national park, and there are various outback-station stay opportunities. Wildlife is abundant, a lot of aboriginal heritage and bush walks.
Kangaroo Island has a variety of town and country camps scattered across a rural setting, Sea Lion watching in the cold southwest, and swimming in the north. Historic lighthouse and gourmet produce interests the adults. A ferry journey begins the action for kids, just an hour’s drive south of Adelaide at Cape Jervis.
Of course you could fill a book or two on camping destinations across Australia but this is a starting point for you and the family to start preparing before the Easter Holidays are upon us.
Photo credits: Tourism Australia
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