Top five Easter camping locations around Adelaide
Kuitpo Forest, Fleurieu Peninsula. Image courtesy: South Australian Tourism Commission – Jack Brookes
Easter is one of the most popular camping times of the year. With its public holidays, school term break and relatively mild weather, this is a superb opportunity to get outdoors and explore the many beautiful regional and coastal towns that are on your doorstep, as opposed to having to jump on a jet.
While South Australia has some of the country's most spectacular camping experiences, the four-to-five-hour drive to places like the Flinders Ranges, Cable Bay and Kangaroo Island might be a bit out of reach for families looking for a camping experience closer to home. So, here are five of the most popular Easter camping locations around Adelaide within a three (and a bit) hour drive from the city.
Remember, wherever you decide to go, familiarise yourself with the COVID-19 restrictions in place at your destination before hitting the road.
Chookarloo Campground, Kuitpo Forest
Located less than an hour from Adelaide, and on the doorstep of the famed McLaren Vale wine region, Kuitpo Forest's Chookarloo Campground is a fantastic Easter camping location.
The dense canopies provided by the surrounding eucalypts provide excellent shade if the sun starts shining, and it's an outstanding base camp for enjoying either the Chookarloo or Heysen hiking trails.
With a morning soundtrack provided by the many native birds that call Kuitpo Forest home, Chookarloo features 23 designated camp areas, picnic tables, fire pits and a hybrid toilet system with disability access.
Mount Crawford Forest Reserve
Choose from two camping areas at Mount Crawford in the Adelaide Hills - Chalk's Campground and Rocky Paddock - less than an hour's drive from the city. Both sites are well-grassed areas, ideal for tent and swag campers, with drop toilets and a bush hut with fireplace.
The redgums at Chalk's provide ample shade for keeping cool while doing as little as you can get away with or enjoying the various walking trail options. The rocky outcrops and pine plantation of Rocky Paddock make for a spectacular bush camping experience at Easter.
Wirra Campground, Parra Wirra Conservation Park
North of the city is the ideal spot for first-time campers with families, and one of the reasons why Wirra Campground is a popular Adelaide Hills Easter destination.
Just south of Gawler and on the western side of the Parra Wirra Conservation Park, the campground has 19 unpowered sites and accommodates tents, small campervans and camper trailers. Home to over 100 different species of birds - including the chance to get up close and personal with emus, if you're lucky - the picnic area features BBQs, picnic shelters and toilets. There's also a plethora of invigorating walks and mountain biking trails for the more active in your group.
Explore the history of the Barossa Goldfields or, for a truly unforgettable experience, head off at dusk with torches to see some of the local inhabitants come out at night.
Note: Bookings are essential for Easter as the Parra Wirra Conservation Park is closed while necessary works take place on selected dates. Visit https://www.parks.sa.gov.au/know-before-you-go/closures-and-alerts/para-wirra-conservation-park-1 for more info.
Clayton Bay Riverside Holiday Park, Clayton Bay
On the banks of the Murray River and only an hour from Adelaide, Clayton Bay Riverside Holiday Park is the place for those who want to indulge in watersports at Easter. Enjoy kayaking and canoeing (the park offers guests a range of kayaks for free use), sailing and motorboating and some excellent fishing spots for anglers of all experience levels.
The park boasts powered and unpowered sites with well-grassed areas, magnificent views of the mighty Murray, plenty of shade, toilet and showering facilities with disabled access and coin-operated washing machines. There are also firepits for hire with firewood for sale, Wi-Fi and no shortage of places for the foodies in your group with Strathalbyn, Goolwa and Langhorne Creek all nearby.
Deep Creek Conservation Park, Fleurieu Peninsula
With the Fleurieu Peninsula's largest natural vegetation region, Deep Creek Conservation Park is the camping pick for birdwatching, hikes and bushwalks, 4WDing, fishing and surfing - located roughly 100kms from Adelaide.
Select from Stringybark, Trig, Tapanapp and Cobbler Hill campgrounds, all of which can be accessed by 2WD vehicles, while, for the experienced bushwalker, Eagle Waterhole on the Heysen Trail is Deep Creek's hike-in only option.
The four main campgrounds feature toilet facilities and hot showers but you'll need to bring your own drinking water from home. Consider Deep Creek to be your more rustic option for Easter camping.
Make it an Easter camping experience to remember (for all the right reasons) with these camping essentials:
- An easy to set up and durable tent;
- Reliable sleeping bags, airbeds, stretchers and hiking mats to help you get a good night's sleep;
- Outdoor furniture like camp chairs and hammocks;
- Purpose-designed cooking facilities, cookware and utensils and premium cast iron cooking products;
- A portable energy source, if your campsite doesn't have access to mains power;
- Camp toilets and portable camp showers for staying fresh at campsites without water connectivity.