How to Free Camp in Australia

How to free camp in Australia

Are you on a budget and want to see as much of Australia as possible? Or maybe you just want to get away from it all and enjoy the remoteness of Australia.

Whatever your reason why you want to free camp, here is a guide to get you on your way to discovering the land down under!

You need wheels!

Most of the free camps are off the beaten track. This means you will need a vehicle to access these campgrounds. Some rural towns may have free camps that can be accessed by public transport. To make the most of your free camping experience you will need a vehicle.

Often backpackers will purchase a car to use while they are in Australia and sell it when they go home. In fact, we sold our old troopy to a girl who was travelling around oz. You can also hire a car or mobile home and free camp to keep your costs down.

Camping on the Nullarbor

How do I find Free Campgrounds?

I am a bit old school and prefer to look at a map book instead of an app. Is anyone else like that?

Camps Australia Wide – This book is wonderful if you are travelling around Australia as it lists all the free camping spots and low-cost sites. We often use our book to pick out a campsite as it has over 4 900 listings, including rest areas.

Each campsite listed in Camps Australia Wide has symbols to indicate if it has toilets, showers, water, BBQ’s and so on. If you prefer Camps Australia Wide also has an app which is $9.99 for a yearly subscription.

WikiCamps App – Not only does Wikicamps list all the campgrounds it also shows points of interest in the area. Each campsite has a symbol to indicate the features available. Other users can leave comments and photos on the campground. This gives you an indication of what to expect.

The app costs around $8.00 and it is relatively easy to use.

Word of Mouth – Get chatting to other campers as they will often tell you about some awesome campgrounds that you may have otherwise bypassed. Online there are plenty of people sharing their camping experiences in Australia. Blogs, Instagram and Facebook is another great way to discover some hidden gems!

What can I expect from a Free Campground?

Holland Track Bush Camp

To be honest you never really know what to expect from a free campground. Some are very basic with just a clear patch of land to set up your tent. Others can have beach front access with toilets, showers and dump points.

You are unable to book into a free campground so you run the risk of not being able to get a spot. Especially during school holidays and long weekends. It is best to try and get there in the daylight so you have time to find an alternative campground if it is full.

Some campgrounds may only be suitable for tents while others can accommodate caravans and camper trailers. Make sure you do your research before you get there to make sure it can accommodate your setup.

If there are toilets available they are usually long drops. It is always a good idea to pack plenty of extra toilet paper as they often run out.

Many of the campgrounds have a maximum stay of 24-72 hours.  Water may be available at the campground however it is best to boil it before use. It will state if the water is unsuitable for drinking. We always bring our own drinking water as you don’t want to risk getting sick.

Cliff Head Sign

What camping gear do I need?

You can manage with the basics camping items or you can go all out and have an elaborate setup.

Shelter – The choice is yours! It can be as simple as a swag or tent or something more elaborate like a mobile home, camper trailer or caravan.

Bedding – There are numerous options but a self-inflating mattress, sleeping bag and pillow is always a good place to start.

Cooking – Gas camping stove, pot, frypan, utensils, plate, bowl and cutlery.

Water – You will need to carry your own water. A hydration pack is always a good option as you can easily carry it around with you while you are out exploring.

Light – Make sure you have some form of lighting as once the sun goes down it is dark.

Camping at Cliff Head

Tips for Free Campgrounds

  • Water may not be available or limited so be water-wise. Take plenty of drinking water with you as Australia can get very hot.
  • Pack plenty of toilet paper.
  • Don’t expect telephone or TV reception.
  • Take your rubbish with you or if there are bins provided please use them. Leave no trace.
  • You usually have to bring your own firewood if you want to have a campfire.
  • Obey fire bans.

If you have any questions about free camping in Australia please leave me a comment below. Happy camping!

** Some of the links in this post are affiliated links. If you click to buy an item, I make a little commission but you don’t pay any extra. **

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8 thoughts on “How to Free Camp in Australia

  1. There is some great advice here Anne. Thank you. Free Camps are my favourite places.
    I would like to share this to my other ‘new’ blog page at
    We will be setting off on another roadtrip to Exmouth in WA soon. This will be helpful


  2. Free camping is great. We have stayed in many great free camps so far on our travels around Australia and it has gone a long way to helping us to keep to our travel budget.


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