By Jennifer Adams, founder of TV travel series Places We Go, mother of 7 year-old daughter Charli, and lover of the adventurous life.
Summer Camping, Best Places For A Long Weekend
Taking a long weekend in the Australian summer is kind of like a ritual. Australia Day generally presents itself as the ideal opportunity to pack the car and head away for an extended weekend, especially as we tend to incorporate very ‘Aussie’ activities into those weekends such as camping, firing up the barbie, and hitting the beach.
Whether you take some time over our national holiday, or any other weekend in the summer, it’s beneficial for everyone to maximise the great weather and celebrate summer in our wonderful backyard, by setting up a tent and enjoying the great outdoors.
"Enjoying the good life with our camping family"
As most of us on this site would know, camping is not as ‘rough’ as it is sometimes made out to be. These days, every ‘luxury’ under the sun can be emulated on a campsite, depending on what your needs are.
When we drove around Australia, we took our little portable coffee machine and enjoyed lattes around our campsites. It all depends on what you can and can’t live without!
From holiday parks with water parks, games rooms, full camp kitchens and jumping pillows, to bush camping, there is something for everyone. Here are some of my personal favourite camping destinations around Australia to get you thinking about your own plans for this summer.
Wilsons Promontory, Victoria
The ‘Prom’, as it is known, is simply one of the most beautiful parts of Australia in my books. At the very southern tip of mainland Australia, and about 3.5 hours drive southeast of Melbourne, the campground at Tidal River in the middle of the National Park is sublime.
"Wilsons Promontory, Victoria"
Set right on Norman Bay, the main beach here is phenomenal. Expansive sand makes it perfect for beach cricket, while the waves suit families and surfers alike. Surrounded by cliffs and wilderness, the landscape is perfect for hikers, or simply walkers and you can do any number of hikes from easy one hour return circuits to multi-day bush hikes.
"Beach Cricket on Norman Beach"
But the community and fun of the campground is what I enjoy each year. We have never had ‘neighbours’ that we didn’t leave as friends. Wombats and wallabies are always frequent visitors (much to the delight of the kids) and for a few days, you can simply sit back with friends or family and relax, doing as much or as little as you like. You literally feel a world away from civilisation and it can be just the kind of tonic you need after the craziness of the Christmas season.
Bay of Fires, Tasmania
The spectacular Bay of Fires region on Tassie’s Northeast Coast immediately struck me as one of the most incredible camping locations I had ever seen. We camped in the Holiday Park in the fishing town of St Helen’s, about a 15 minute drive from the Bay of Fires stretch of coastline and situated on a beautiful inlet. The coastline itself is named the Bay of Fires not for the red lichen covered granite rocks that dot the pristine beaches, but for the many fires the Aboriginal people were burning on its shore when Captain Tobias Furneaux saw it from his ship in 1773.
"Bay of Fires, Tasmania"
The combination however of the red rocks, turquoise waters and pristine, white sand, is a sight to behold. And due to the regions climate, a coastline that on mainland Australia would probably have been fully developed by now, remains free of development and protected within a conservation area.
"Go snorkelling along the pristine coastline"
The ‘Bay of Fires’ itself is a 13 kilometre stretch of coast and is hugely popular with campers, beachgoers, and birdwatchers.
If you want a camping site directly on one of the most beautiful beaches of the world, this is your place. There is free camping in sections along the coast, fronting directly onto the sand. The view out of your tent is sublime.
"Ah the seafood of Tassie!"
When you are not simply enjoying the view, you can enjoy the café at Binalong Bay, which sits at the start of the stretch of coast, go diving for rock lobster and abalone (remember you will need permits or go with a registered group), snorkel in ‘The Gulch’ amongst the granite boulders and rockpools or take one of the guided walks that have been established alongside the coast.
Kiama, New South Wales
Just a couple of hours south of Sydney is the coastal town of Kiama. Where rolling green farmland meets the Pacific Ocean, a giant blowhole wow’s visitors and passionate local producers create gourmet goodies to satisfy any foodie’s cravings.
"Southcoast of NSW is a treasure"
We have camped a number of times on Easts Beach. Just a few kilometres from the town centre, you enjoy a gorgeous mountain backdrop and beach frontage. This neck of the woods sports golden sandy beaches, turquoise waters and the stunning 22 kilometre Kiama Coast Walk passes right through.
"The historic Kiama Lighthouse"
You are spoiled for choice for things to see and do. Whale watching is popular, and you have to check out the iconic lighthouse. Learn to surf, check out the art and antique stores in town and make sure you visit the local wineries and artisan food producers to satisfy your belly.
Fishing, golf, and a number of local markets also fill in your time here, but sometimes it’s also best to just relax in the beautiful surroundings and enjoy the view.
North Stradbroke Island, Queensland
Just 30 kilometres southeast from Brisbane, North Stradbroke Island (or ‘Straddie’) is an easy escape for the whole family, and one of my absolute favourites in Queensland.
Situated in Moreton Bay, the island is accessed by regular car ferry’s and once you are on the island, you are literally spoiled for choice with how to spend your time with five main beaches and over 100 freshwater lakes.
"The pristine waters of North Straddie"
We love to camp near Cylinder Beach, which is in the north of the island and one of the most popular surf beaches. The shady campground faces the beach, giving you iconic views from your tent.
The beach has something for everyone, with a smaller swell for surfers and body boarders and rolling waves that are fantastic for the whole family as it never gets rough or choppy, being protected by the headland.
The island has a great pub in the Stradbroke Island Beach Hotel, and some of the beaches have mobile coffee carts and sausage sizzles operating during the day.
"What a way to fish!"
We totally recommend a fishing adventure here, and loved our experience fishing from sea kayaks near Amity Point. If you don’t catch your dinner, you can always grab it afterwards from Rufus King Seafoods!
Other states – my honourable mentions!
Other top contenders for me include Albany on the South West coast of Western Australia (famous for it’s whales), the Fleurieu Peninsula in South Australia (the beaches, food and wine here are out of this world and only 45 minutes from Adelaide) and Echuca-Moama on the Murray River on the border of Victoria and New South Wales, where heritage charm combines with river adventures!
"Albany, Western Australia" "Fleurieu Peninsula, South Australia" "Echuca-Moama Murray River, Victoria"
Wherever you choose go, we are certainly spoilt for choice in Australia. Would love to know your favourites. Jen x
For more travel inspiration go to www.placeswego.com
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