10 Free Camping Spots in Australia For the Savvy Camper
When embarking on a trip around Australia one way to help cut costs is by free camping as much as possible. Free camping entails camping in designated areas without any costs. The type of camping area can vary depending on the environment, in some places this may look like a campground with green space, other times it can be a designated carpark or roadside stop. Suffice to say, expect the very basics when free camping.
However, the below is a list of incredible free camps, some with private beachfront locations, flowing streams surrounded by wildlife, mountain views, towering gorges and tropical rainforests. It is beneficial to be completely self-sufficient when free camping as this will allow you to camp in some pretty incredible places for extended periods of time.
WikiCamps lists a variety of free camp options in each state with all the necessary information, including accessibility for 4WD or 2WD, facilities, fees, ratings and reviews by previous campers.
Below are our top ten free camps in Australia… so far.
Alexander Bay (JCP campsites)
The Esperance area is one of those destinations that must be seen to be believed. White, powdery sand that squeaks between your toes with contrasting crystal clear blue water. Travellers can choose to either camp behind the sand dunes or on the beach. It is important for travellers to check the tide and sand conditions before accessing the beach, as at times this area should only be reached with 4WD. This picturesque camping area does not have any facilities or phone reception. Alexander Bay appeals to many travellers who enjoy beach fishing, surfing, boating and 4WDing.
Newman, in the Pilbara region of WA offers an incredible free camping site beside a swimming hole within a stunning Pilbara gorge. The colours at sunrise are a stunning sight, the morning light igniting the red gorge walls. It's the perfect place to enjoy a refreshing dip in the creek or sit back and enjoy the birdlife within the gorge. The road is only accessible by 4WD and quite the adventure to reach with six river crossings. There are no facilities at this campsite therefore it is only suitable for full self-sufficient campers.
James Price Point
Dampier Peninsula in the West Kimberley is a free camper's dream and not to be missed if you enjoy sitting back admiring this impressive coastline, 4WDing, fishing or boating. James Price Point is located roughly 50 km north of Broome with roughly 30 km of unsealed roads. Depending on the time of year this road can become heavily corrugated due to the number of visitors to the region. Once you reach James Price Point you can choose to perch yourself on the red cliff tops or right down on the beach. It is truly an iconic WA free camp experience. There is plenty of room to camp and beach to launch your boat from. There are no facilities or phone reception at this free camp and it is recommended for 4WD capable campers.
Near Adelaide River is a peaceful Northern Territory free camp situated on the banks of a small creek. Campers can reach a three-tier waterfall by following the creek and climbing over small rocks and tree roots along the way. Once you reach the falls you can enjoy a refreshing swim in the plunge pool under the falls. The campground is filled with unique Northern Territory birdlife, butterflies, fish and bettongs making it a fantastic spot to set up and relax by the creek watching all the wildlife pass by. Robin fall is easily accessible off the main road, 20 minute drive outside Adelaide River. There are multiple areas people can choose to camp and rubbish bins are provided, however, there are no toilets at the campground.
This Northern Flinders Ranges spectacular free camp is situated north of Flinders Ranges National Park. Making this campsite an easy base and affordable option when exploring the area. This peaceful camp has endless options to set up and enjoy the surroundings. At the end of the track you can embark on a short walk down the river bed to reach some Indigenous rock carvings and art or if you're feeling more adventurous hike to Mount Chambers. During sunset the gorge lights up and bird life erupts. The road conditions are rocky making it only accessible with 4WD.
Aire Crossing Campground
This campground in the Great Otway National Park is situated under the canopies of towering ancient eucalyptus and lush ferns. Only a short drive off the world famous Great Ocean Road this free camp allows travellers to escape the crowds and become immersed in the impressive rainforests. There are five designated campsites for travellers to choose from, only a 5 minute walk from the pristine Aire River. Aire Crossing is accessible with a 2WD and can be enjoyed by all travellers in any type of set up. There is a drop toilet a short walk from the camping area for campers to use. This peaceful free camp allows travellers to relax by the river, swim, fish or use it as a base to explore the impressive Great Otway National Park.
The Victoria High Country is an iconic Australian filming destination. This iconic hut was erected for the filming of the Australian classic, The Man from Snowy River. From the hut you have panoramic views of the surrounding mountains, making it the perfect sunset or sunrise viewing area. During the summer visitors will be surrounded by greenery and wildflowers. Campers are able to look inside the hut and read about its history. The designated free camp is situated a short walk from the hut. It is a large open, grassy space allowing multiple campers to enjoy. The camping area can be reached by 4WD or hiking. There are no facilities at the campground but there are composting toilets, fire pits and picnic tables situated at the day use area at Craig Hut. Keep in mind this site is seasonal and not open during the Winter due to road closures.
Cosy Corner North
The Bay of Fires area is a free camper's dream. It does not get any better than this. Campsites are situated right along one of the most picturesque beaches in Tasmania. White sand, crystal clear blue water and the famous bay of fires orange lichen-covered rocks. It's hard to believe this camping area is free! There are no designated campsites however, there is plenty of room for campers with a range of setups, caravans, camper trailers, tents and rooftop tents. There are composting toilets, minimal phone reception and accessible with a 2WD. Cosy Corner North is only a 15 minute drive from the tourist town of St Helens and fifteen minutes to the beautiful 'Gardens'.
The Moina/ Lake Gairdner campsite is a spectacular free camp in Tasmania located in the Central Highlands on the banks of Lake Gairdner. Alternatively, you can choose to camp along the beautiful creek which leads into the lake. You might even be lucky enough to spot a platypus playing in the afternoon from your campsite. This peaceful campsite is perfect for all kinds of campers as there is plenty of flat space and the road into the lake is in great condition. Lake Gairdner free camp is a great spot to base yourself to avoid paying exorbitant caravan park fees when visiting the incredible Cradle Mountain National Park. There are no facilities at the free camp therefore it is only suitable for fully self-sufficient campers.
Boltons Green Campground located in the Southwest National Park is a tranquil grassy free campground situated on one of the southernmost bays in Tasmania. The sheltered coastline is dotted with little coves with sandy beaches perfect for swimming, finishing, boating and kayaking. There is an abundance of hiking trails that all start from the campground where you are guaranteed to see some wildlife. There are no designated sites although there are some that are tucked away behind the dunes which are more private with private access to the beach. There are composting toilets allocated around the campground which makes this free campsite suitable for all travellers and is 2WD accessible. Be sure to check out the information boards displayed at the entrance which informs campers of the rich cultural history of the area. Cockle Creek is truly a special place for all free campers to enjoy.
Australia is an incredible country to explore, with contrasting landscapes every night you can fall asleep somewhere different from the previous night. Free camping really allows travellers to escape the crowds and find incredible places to immerse in the surroundings. The above list of unique free camps highlights this. From the dramatic coastlines of Western Australia to lush rainforests in Victoria, secluded lakeside free camping in the Tasmania high country that contrasts the red centre of South Australia. Free camping is a great way to help reduce costs while traveling around Australia.