Start packing your bags, here are 13 of the most amazing free camping sites in Australia

There is only one thing that legitimately beats camping and that is free camping.

Australia is full of some pretty impressive free campsites, from lakeside beauties and seaside sites to campgrounds nestled deep in pine forests, there’s a great range of natural getaways worthy of your next road trip. -trip.

Prepare your sleeping bags and enough snacks, here are the best free camping sites in Australia.

New South Wales

Ellenborough Reserve Campground

Port Macquarie

Ellenborough Reserve is a dream camp, period. This one takes just over four hours to drive from the heart of Sydney (in other words, select your favorite podcast and get started) and it won’t cost you anything to set up during any time of year. holidays or weekends. This area is quite large and open with a bunch of flat, grassy pitches, suitable for any motorhome or even caravan enthusiast. Here, the toilets are flush (a luxury in the camping world), pets have been given the green light, and you’ll have a huge swimming gorge to enjoy (don’t drink the water). However, as Ellenborough is very busy, the maximum stay is 48 hours.

Distance: four hours drive from Sydney
Facilities: Restrooms, BBQ, fire pits, picnic tables
Animals accepted: yes

Wingello State Forest


This former forest camp inside a pine forest offers a range of different clearings, which means finding your perfect spot will be a breeze. You will find it located four kilometers southwest of the village of Wingello and campfires are only permitted from Easter to the October long weekend. This corporate headquarters camping area is surrounded by a radiata pine forest, so you’ll have a glorious, enclosed space that blocks noise and wind. There are also restrooms and barbecue facilities around these parts, so you are completely set for all the secluded camping thrills.

Distance: two hours drive from Sydney
Facilities: 4×4 tracks, mountain bike tracks, horse riding, barbecue, 2×4 access, toilets
Animals accepted: yes

camping in the pine forest on a starry night


Elphinstone Lake

Mackay Region

Inland from Mackay, this angler’s delight stretches along Lake Elphinstone, where you can swim, fish, canoe and kayak during your days in rural Queensland. Breathe in the fresh backcountry air and immerse yourself in that “nowhere to be” goodness. Pets are allowed at these free digs, but you’ll want to travel with your own drinking water, as it’s not always available on site (and no one has time to boil water for 10 minutes when you get a little thirsty in the backcountry).

Distance: 11 hour drive from Brisbane
Facilities: Restrooms, wooden BBQ, nearby lake, fishing, picnic tables, kayak
Animals accepted: Yes (under conditions)

two people sitting by the river with a small fire, looking out over the river at sunset

Gregoire River


Gregory River is hands down one of the most beautiful places to camp in Queensland (and it happens to be free). Located across the street from a river, you’ll be within walking distance of the town of Gregory, so you’ll be on the supply side, and if you feel like being really adventurous, there’s even a secret campground. above the river (you ask the locals about this one) if you prefer an ultra secluded getaway.

Distance: four cars from Brisbane
Amenities: Swimming, fireplaces, fishing, caravan and trailer access
Animals accepted: yes

Four wheel drive vehicle crossing low causeway on the Gregory River during the dry season, near Boodjamulla National Park, Gulf Countries, Queensland, Australia.


Blue Pool Campground


This little guy is located in the Briagolong State Forest and you can absolutely pitch a tent with all the natural shade. A short walk from the current campsites is Blue Pool, an incredible swimming spot at the bottom of a basalt gorge. You’ll also find a ton of short and long hikes (for those with more stamina) here to fill your time too.

Distance: three hours drive from Melbourne
Facilities: Washrooms, fire pits, swimming pool
Animals accepted: yes

Logs stacked for small campfire on river bank in forest

Meredith Park Campground

Colac Lake

You’ll be totally lakeside at Meredith Park Campground. The campsites here are fairly flat and grassy with a number of shaded sites that you can also visit. This free campground also has super easy grounds to launch your kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards right into the lake.

Distance: two hours drive from Melbourne
Amenities: Toilets, drinking water, swimming, fires allowed, fishing, hiking trails
Animals accepted: yes

silhouette of people camping by the lake with campfire during night fishing

Western Australia

Rowles Lagoon Conservation Park

Ora Banda

Rowles Lagoon is a scenic camping site and birdwatching paradise located in the Goldfields area. The lagoon and nearby lakes rely on rainfall and runoff to maintain their depth, but when the season has been good the area is perfect for splashing around and scouting for wetland wildlife.

Distance: Seven hour drive from Perth
Facilities: Washrooms, picnic tables, fire pits, information shelter
Animals accepted: No

Four wheel drive with overhead campsite set up at sunset in the Australian outback

cliff head


Located on Indian Ocean Road between Leeman and Dongara, Cliff Head is home to three campsites surrounded by limestone cliffs and stunning coastline. Campers are allowed to stay free for up to three days in a 28-day period, and you’ll be happy to know that dogs are welcome too. Cliff Head Central has access to a covered area with a sink, tables and communal fire pit, as well as eco-toilets, while the North and South sites are smaller and only have access to eco-toilets.

Distance: four hours drive from Perth
Equipment: Covered areas, eco-toilets, taps, picnic tables, communal fireplace
Animals accepted: yes

aerial view of the cliff campsite

southern australia

Murtho Forest Landing


This free campsite in South Australia is located about 10 minutes from the small town of Paringa. Super easy to get to, there are about 30 campsites to choose from and just about anywhere along the Murray is a solid choice.

Distance: three hours drive from Adelaide
Facilities: Swimming, fishing, trailer access, fire pits
Animals accepted: yes

group of camping tents in nature reserve extra starry night

North territory

Little River

Cape Crawford

There are so many places to camp in the Northern Territory, but if we had to pick just one free site, it would be the Little River Epic Sites. This area is about 10km west of Cape Crawford and is a riverside cruising spot to stop for a few days.

Distance: Eight hour drive from Darwin
Amenities: shade, access for caravans and trailers (note: there are a minimum of amenities in this campsite)
Animals accepted: yes

three people camping by the river at sunset


Lake Mackintosh


We’ll be honest, this site has hardly any facilities, but well worth a visit if you can stock up on supplies (ie bring your most organized camping buddies). The lake here is stocked with trout, so bring the rods and be prepared to cast a few lines, as well as a number of bush walks. The hike to the top of Mount Farrell is strenuous, but here you will get one of the most breathtaking views of your life.

Distance: four hours drive from Hobart
Facilities: fishing, bird watching, boat launch, bush walks, kayaking, mountain biking
Animals accepted: yes

camper van isolated with bright torch at night

Bay of Fires Conservation Area

The gardens

Say it with us – free camping by the beach. If those aren’t trigger words for you, we don’t know. If you decide to pitch a tent here, there are designated sites along the coast and then higher sites among the trees that offer views of the shoreline. This campsite offers, quite literally, one of Australia’s most beautiful and blue coastlines to explore. Filled with white sand, granite boulders, swimming spots and loads of boardwalks, there’s no way you’ll be short of activities to get in here. And even if you would like to move here, the maximum stay is four weeks.

Distance: four hours drive from Hobart
Facilities: boat launch, campfires, trailer access, fishing, picnic tables, kayaking, snorkeling, washrooms
Animals accepted: Yes (dogs on leash)

ute parked on a campsite near the beach in summer

Australian Capital Territory

Mulloon Creek Campground

Palerang (New South Wales)

Although Mulloon Creek Campground is in New South Wales, it is the closest free campground to the heart of the country in Australia – the ACT. The sites for this one aren’t marked, but the good news is that this campground is relatively unknown, which means you’ll more than likely find a spot year-round. Set near a small creek (sorry it’s too shallow to swim in) and a bunch of eucalyptus trees, there are 4×4 tracks to try your hand at and loads of walks too. To make the most of your time here, bring enough drinking water, cooking water, and firewood.

Distance: One hour drive from Canberra
Equipment: Picnic tables, BBQ, parking, toilets
Animals accepted: No

A motorhome is set up, ready to camp in a quiet, secluded part of the Australian bush.

You might want to check out the best off-grid Airbnbs in Australia.

Image credit: Totajla, Alexa Soph, Jonathan Forage, Mickey Wiswedel, Auscape, Kevin Erdvig, Julie Rotter, Mike Holford, Gagandeep Singh, Caleb Loeken, Chalit Saphaphak, Melissa Walker Horn, Andreas Rønningen, NickRH

Sally J. Minick