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From glamping in the middle of Sydney Harbour to witnessing the full drama of the Great Southern Ocean at Vivonne Bay in Kangaroo Island, there’s a camping experience that’s perfect for you in Australia.

Remember when Annette Benning’s family crash John Candy’s camping vacation at a beautiful lakeside mountain resort in Wisconsin? Perhaps the most popular camping movie in 80’s The Great Outdoors, is a classic family-friendly movie centred around a family who decides to take everyone on a camping vacation. Nature has always been a source of solace and inspiration for movie directors like Howard Deutch.

Keeping the present world situation in mind, the philosophy still holds true – how our brain reacts positively when we step outside – and why nature is so inspirational for us.

As many of us are looking for ways to step out and reconnect with nature, Australia, one of the most beautiful continents in the world has a plan in store.

From glamping in the middle of Sydney Harbour to feeling the white sands at Vivonne Bay in Kangaroo island, there’s a camping experience that’s perfect for you somewhere in Australia, even if you don’t know how to pitch a tent. Here’s a list of the 10 best camping spots that Australia has to offer:

Under the stars in Noosa North Shore

Camping under the sparkling stars of the sunshine coast in Noosa North Shore, image by Australia.com

Camping under the sparkling stars of the sunshine coast in Noosa North Shore, image by Australia.com

Noosa is known for its charming beachside town, but trade the ocean for the everglades and you have one unforgettable camping experience. Habitat Noosa Everglades Ecocamp offers a range of accommodation including all-weather glamping tents and powered campsites. The 26-hectare (65-acre) property rests on the Noosa River and under a canopy of leafy trees, giving campers easy access to the unique nature of the Noosa Everglades. Float down the peaceful river on a canoe or cruise tour before pitching your tent under the sparkling stars of the Sunshine Coast.

Rent a tent on Sydney’s Cockatoo Island

The most unusual camping experience on Sydney’s Cockatoo Island, image by Australia.com

The most unusual camping experience on Sydney’s Cockatoo Island, image by Australia.com

Cockatoo Island – a post-industrial paradise in the middle of stunning Sydney Harbour – offers one of the world’s most unusual camping experiences. The island, formerly a colonial jail, school and naval dockyard, retains many of its historic buildings. Wander the site and spend the night. Bring your own camping gear, rent a tent or opt for a glamping package. The waterfront campground includes hot showers and a communal kitchen.

Sleep Safari-style in Byron Bay

Peaceful safari-style camping in Byron Bay, image by Australia.com

Peaceful safari-style camping in Byron Bay, image by Australia.com

Byron Bay is one of Australia’s most beautiful beachside spots, but it can get crowded, particularly during summer and school holidays. Have a more peaceful time at Suffolk Park, seven kilometres (four miles) to the south. Suffolk Beachfront Holiday Park offers safari tents that sleep up to six people, along with spots to pitch a tent that are within earshot of the breaking surf.

Go tent-free in Grampians national park

An innovative spot in Grampians national park, image by Australia.com

An innovative spot in Grampians national park, image by Australia.com

Roll out a sleeping mat at the Fortress, a natural rocky overhang with views across the rugged Grampians landscape in western Victoria. The unusual camping spot is the first stop in a three-day circular hike from Harrop Track car park. It is best to pack a tent for the other night on the track and remember to register your trek at the Brambuk Cultural Centre, a striking building with fluid lines that resemble a cockatoo in flight.

Spot wildlife by night in Narawntapu National Park

Camping by the night in Narawntapu National Park, image by Australia.com

Camping by the night in Narawntapu National Park, image by Australia.com

The island state of Tasmania is famous for its national parks and wildlife. The critters at Spring lawn in Narawntapu National Park, east of Devonport in northern Tasmania, are comfortable with campers sharing their environment. Watch the wombats nibble at the grass from up close. You might also spot Tasmanian devils, Forester kangaroos and Bennetts wallabies coming out to forage, especially around dusk.

Unwind in the wilderness of the Kimberley

Camping in the vast landscapes of the Kimberley, image by Australia.com

Camping in the vast landscapes of the Kimberley, image by Australia.com

El Questro Wilderness Park, 110 kilometres (68 miles) west of Kununurra in the east Kimberley, is a vast expanse of wild, untamed landscapes. It’s also home to one of Australia’s prettiest and most unexpected hot springs. Loll about in the palm-fringed Zebedee Springs in the morning, when it’s open to all, before returning to the Black Cockatoo Campground or to a Private Riverside Bush campsite.

Pitch a tent in the Red Centre

Camping in the spiritual heart Uluru, image by Australia.com

Camping in the spiritual heart Uluru, image by Australia.com

Uluru is the spiritual heart of Australia. Ayers Rock Resort, 15 kilometres (nine miles) from the striking red monolith, offers a wide range of accommodation, including campsites. Pitch your tent on lush grass underneath native desert oaks. The campground includes a swimming pool, barbecues, an outdoor kitchen, and laundry facilities. Campers can catch the resort’s free shuttle to the onsite supermarket, bars, shops and restaurants.

Climb the ridge at Wilpena Pound

Camping resort style at Wilpena Pound, image by Archie Sartracom

Camping resort style at Wilpena Pound, image by Archie Sartracom

Pitch a tent at the Wilpena Pound campground, just beyond the circle of hills enclosing the natural amphitheatre. There are powered and unpowered campsites, as well as permanent tents and bus bays. Climb the ridge in the early morning and late afternoon and watch the sun rising and setting over the pound. You can also take scenic flights over this wondrous landscape from the nearby airstrip and eat and have a leisurely drink in the friendly comfort of the resort.

Rustic camping at Cable Bay Campground

Camping in solitude at Cable Bay Campground, image by Australia.com

Camping in solitude at Cable Bay Campground, image by Australia.com

There is something sublime about Innes National Park. Located at the southern tip of the Yorke Peninsula, it is surrounded by perfect beaches, outstanding surf and dramatic cliffs. It is so far away from everything that you can spend a day walking and exploring without seeing another person.

It is wilderness at its most seductive and beautiful. Pitch a tent at the Cable Bay Campground and watch the sun rise over the Southern Spencer Gulf Marine Park. Nearby is the historic Inneston ghost town, the rusty remains of the wreck of the Ethel, and some of the best surfing anywhere in Australia.

Beach camping at Coorong National Park

Enjoy the quietness of the waterway at Coorong National Park, image by Michael Ellem

Enjoy the quietness of the waterway at Coorong National Park, image by Michael Ellem


Enjoy the quietness of the waterway at Coorong National Park, image by Michael Ellem

Enjoy the quietness of the waterway at Coorong National Park, image by Michael Ellem

There are 12 campgrounds with 63 designated camping sites in Coorong National Park. They are all located so the camper can enjoy the quietness of the waterway or be overwhelmed by the grandeur of the dunes that protect the Coorong from the Great Southern Ocean.

Full drama at Vivonne Bay, Kangaroo Island

Camping along the great southern ocean at Vivonne Bay, Kangaroo Island, image by Ben Goode

Camping along the great southern ocean at Vivonne Bay, Kangaroo Island, image by Ben Goode

Kangaroo Island has a large number of excellent campsites, but none compare to Vivonne Bay where the sands are impossibly white, the waters are turquoise blue and, when the winds are blowing, the full drama of the Great Southern Ocean can be observed from the safety of a bay protected by Point Ellen.

Get back to nature at Talia Caves, Eyre Peninsula

Camping in the lap of nature at Talia Caves, Eyre Peninsula, image by Rob Blackburn

Camping in the lap of nature at Talia Caves, Eyre Peninsula, image by Rob Blackburn

The beauty of the west coast of the Eyre Peninsula seems intentionally designed to take your breath away. The rugged sandstone cliffs have been eroded into “caves” or “caverns” known as The Woolshed and The Tub. The lonely beaches – wild and dangerous and edged by mountainous dunes – stretch to the horizon. Among all this passionate beauty is the Talia Caves campground with 20 sites for bush camping. ◼

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© This article was first published online in July 2020 – World Travel Magazine.

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