Spring is arguably the best time to go camping in Australia, so grab your tent and head outdoors with this list of the best places to camp after winter.
Signalling the imminent end of the Outback and Top End travel seasons (as temperatures rise and the Wet season approaches), Spring represents a natural shift in climate, gradually pushing travellers out of Australia’s centre as regions closer to the coast warm up after Winter.
1. Grampians National Park, VIC
After the crisp climes of a highland winter, the Grampians become one of the most idyllic places to go camping in Victoria. Grampians National Park is carpeted in dense forest that’s interrupted by spectacular sandstone ranges, all of which can be explored and experienced by way of 4WD tracks, hiking trails and a variety of well-spread camping areas.
The region is significant to local Aboriginal tribes and features numerous rock art sites, with many stories from the area and further afield captured in stone over years and years. The park is revered amongst hikers, so it makes sense that there are three walkers camps to go with the eight vehicle-access camping areas available to travellers. Outside of its scenic drives, countless walking trails and arresting mountain views, the campsites within the park are a highlight all on their own, many set amongst tranquil forest or well-shaded grassy areas that are certain to please all-comers.
Image: The view from Mt Abrupt (Image credit: Redz Australia)
Encapsulating a narrow stretch of land that bends around the belly of South West Western Australia, D’Entrecasteaux National Park is an unspoilt wilderness of coastal heath that ends in pristine beaches and tall rocky cliffs. The park’s beaches are some of the most recognisable in Australia, their bright sands and sapphire waters typifying paradise – a point that’s reinforced by the park’s inland attractions and camping grounds.
Cold in winter and hot in summer, D’Entrecasteaux is in its prime from September to December. Visits to the ancient tessellations of Black Point, Lake Jasper, Yeagarup’s massive dunes and tall karri forests present travellers with plenty of impressive sights, while sandy 4WD tracks lead to a multitude of camping areas, both coastal and inland.
The campsites at Lake Jasper, Leaning Marri, Black Point and Moores Hut (which you can sleep in) are accessible only by 4WD and require low tyre pressures, while the campsites around Snottygobble Loop and Grass Tree Hollow are 2WD accessible. For a quiet escape, there’s beach camping at Fish Creek, Gardner Beach, Coodamurrup Beach and West Cliff Point, while Crystal Springs is a unique experience thanks to its setting amongst a grove of peppermint trees. Banksia Camp is close to Crystal Springs, and looks out onto a spectacular beach, while it also features a shared facility hut that makes it perfect for larger groups.
3. Girraween National Park, QLD
The word Girraween means ‘place of flowers’, a name that promises much and delivers much more within the green confines of this park during spring. The landscape in Girraween National Park is studded with imposing granite boulders, tors and monoliths, and between them in spring is a wealth of vivid wildflowers that vary wildly in colour, shape and size.
The climate in spring is mild during the day and brisk at night, which, combined with its range of activities and idyllic surrounds, makes Girraween a camper’s dream. There are two campsites in Girraween: Castle Rock and Bald Rock Creek camping areas, which sport shaded sites and plenty of room to launch towards the many walks and scenic sights on offer.
4. East Coast Tasmania
Tasmania is stunning year-round, with its cool temperate climate and range of green landscapes positively distinguishing it from mainland Australia. In springtime, the state’s east coast becomes a highly attractive camping destination; its wilderness areas are at their most bountiful and the climate is amiable.
East Coast Tasmania is replete with national parks (and free camps), each with their own charms and opportunities to enjoy them. South of Bicheno is Freycinet National Park, home to the stunning Wineglass Bay and rugged ranges that butt up against the park’s beautiful beaches. The park is so popular that a ballot system is set up for the December holiday period, with campers rewarded with spacious and private sites in this wild paradise. Douglas-Apsley National Park is further inland, and features bush camping near the carpark and along the Leeaberra Track, allowing travellers to soak in the sights of the park’s gorges and peaks.
North of the Bay of Fires on Tasmania’s east coast is Mt William National Park, a remote riparian region that showcases the state’s magnificent coastline in a wilderness setting. There are five camping areas in the remote northern section of the park – the beachside camps are called the Stumpys Bay campsites – while the Deep Creek Camping Area in the south offers views south to the Bay of Fires and its own orange, lichen-covered boulders that define the coast.
Meanwhile, Ben Lomond National Park features the second-highest point in Tasmania (Legges Tor) and a 14km-long plateau that cuts a jagged figure above the surrounding foothills, which can be admired from the Ben Lomond Camping Area. The park is also Tasmania’s foremost skiing destination, not to mention home to one of the most mind-bending drives in Australia: Jacob’s Ladder.
Image: The Bay of Fires (Image credit: Wild Travel Story)
5. Fitzgerald River National Park, WA
South West Western Australia is the one of the world’s most botanically diverse regions, making it a natural bonanza come springtime. Fitzgerald River National Park, with its range of flora and coastal camping opportunities – 20% of WA’s species of flowers are found here – is an idyllic escape that visually represents the yearly renewal that comes after winter.
Situated 420km southeast of Perth along the state’s southern coast, the park features rolling hills, open plains and abrupt headlands that open up to crystalline waters and pure white beaches. The tracks throughout the park are easy touring routes, and ultimately lead to camping areas that are worth the journey. St Mary Campground sits behind the foreshore near the mouth of the St Mary Inlet, while Four Mile Campground is more popular thanks to its numerous sites and facilities that includes picnic tables and gas barbeques.
6. Blue Mountains National Park, NSW
Another region that is at its most endearing after winter, the Blue Mountains is dominated by a single uplifted plateau, its edges creating imposing escarpments and rock formations (most notably The Three Sisters) that descend into deep valleys and cool waterways. The area features a huge number and diversity of eucalyptus trees amongst its dense vegetation – to such a large extent, in fact, that the evaporation of their essential oils into the air gives the landscape a bluer tone to the human eye, which is why they’re called the Blue Mountains.
In addition to its numerous lookouts and trails, the Blue Mountains has a bevy of campgrounds to choose from. While they are spread throughout the park, they each manage to deliver the same classic camping experience: grassy and open, surrounded by nature, with the promise of adventure nearby. Hikers will find no end to their possibilities, while swimming, canoeing, cycling, four-wheel driving and sightseeing are just as accessible and memorable.
Image credit: Chen Hualin
7. Dirk Hartog Island, WA
Sitting off Western Australia’s naturally rich Gascoyne Coast is Dirk Hartog Island, a secluded island wilderness that is surrounded by one of the world’s most diverse marine areas. To even reach the island, travellers must first make it to the most westerly point of Australia’s mainland – Steep Point – before taking a 15-minute single-vehicle barge over to the island.
Characterised by its sand dunes that are covered in low-lying scrub in most places, the island is discoverable by 4WD tracks that also lead to the numerous camping areas across the island. Outside of the Dirk Hartog Island Eco Lodge and the Homestead Camping Area, the other nine camping grounds around the island have no facilities, simply offering visitors a wilderness camping experience in a sublime natural setting.