Best beach campsites in Australia
AUSTRALIAN COASTLINES ARE dotted with camping opportunities that give nature-lovers the opportunity to spend the night alongside the ocean.
Falling asleep to the sound of crashing waves makes for a relaxing getaway. “A camping spot becomes special when you want to return again and again,” says Peter Counsell, from the beachside campsite, Durras Park North.
But what distinguishes coastal camping from an ordinary camping experience? “Camping to me shouldn’t feel as if you are in a tented suburb,” says Peter. “True camping is having plenty of bush around you, being woken up in the morning by a chorus of kookaburras, or being disturbed at night by possums searching for food.”
Here are some of the most exclusive coastal camping sites that make you feel completely immersed in nature.
1. Whitehaven Beach
Whitsunday Islands NP, Queensland
Blindingly white sand beaches and premiere access to the Great Barrier Reef make Whitehaven beach campsite one of the most renowned in Australia. Campsites in this Whitsunday paradise are nestled among lowland vine forest and eucalyptus woodlands. The campground is approximately 30km east of Shute Harbour, solely reached by boat.
2. Southern Ocean Beach
The colour of the dunes change in the morning and evening light, complementing the stunning sunrises and sunsets at this isolated beach in Coorong National Park, 180km south-east of Adelaide. The surrounding wetlands are home to many species of migratory birds. You need a 4WD to get across the lagoons of this 140km beach, and there are also no facilities, so campers must come prepared to truly spend time in the wilderness.
3. Conto Campground
Leeuwin-Naturaliste NP, Western Australia
Yellow limestone, pearly white sand, and crystal blue water make for unforgettable views at this campsite, 20km south of Margaret River. Campers boast about their experience fishing for fresh salmon and cooking it at the camp. It has full facilities for just $7 per night, per adult. Stay for a weekend or stop by for a night as you do the full Cape to Cape Track.
4. Broome’s northern beaches
This 14km stretch is a hidden gem amongst the more popular beaches on the coast north of Broome, WA, stretching up to James Price Point – though you will need a 4WD to access the area. Sand dunes and breathtaking rock formations are the beaches’ most prominent features; this spot serves as the perfect relaxing getaway, since camping is free and fish are plentiful.
5. Cave Beach
Booderee NP, Australian Capital Territory
The eponymous cave gives this secluded beach at jervis Bay an added feature to this picture-perfect scene. Its spilling waves are great for beginner surfing and its hard-to-reach location – a 300m walk from the car park – keeps the crowds away. Situated in the jointly Aboriginal-managed Booderee National Park – a three-hour drive south of Sydney – Cave Beach campsite is basic, with toilets, BBQs and cold-water showers available.
6. Lucky Bay
Cape Le Grand NP, Western Australia
This spot is rated as one of the country’s top-ranked swimming conditions. This 5km stretch of beach exudes seclusion, allowing campers to pitch a tent near the beach and fall asleep to the sound of gentle waves without witnessing anyone else for days. Lucky Bay is only a 40 minute drive from Esperance in Western Australia.
7. 75-Mile beach
Fraser Island, Queensland
It’s one of the world’s longest beaches, 75-Mile beach is a favourite for four-wheel-drive camping – but it’s so big that you can still feel like you’re the only one on the beach. On the eastern side of World Heritage-listed Fraser Island, the beach is open to the Pacific Ocean. You can camp at just about anywhere along this beach, as long as it’s at least 50m from a water source, and within signposted areas.
8. Johanna Beach
Great Ocean Walk, Victoria
This campsite is one of many accessible beaches on the shipwreck coast near the Great Ocean Road and 12 Apostles. There are drive-in campsites nearby or hikers’ sites if you’re stopping on the Great Ocean Walk. Aside from the mighty Southern Ocean swells, you’ll also see plenty of kangaroos, echidnas and birds.
9. Bruny Island
This exclusive spot has an abundance of diverse wildlife, featuring white wallabies, fairy penguins, fur seals, and various exotic birds. Bruny Island has crystal blue waters and pristine sands. Plus, camping is free.
10. Yuraygir National Park
New South Wales
This park is the longest expanse of undeveloped coastline in NSW, stretching 60km along the northeast coast. The campsite – near surf beach Angourie – features calm lagoons, hidden beaches and blooming vegetation. Campers enjoy canoeing, surfing and walking trails – making for an adventurous, yet exclusive camping experience.