Highway One: free camp sites

By Catherine Lawson 7 November 2013
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On a Big Lap around Australia, you can keep the costs down by opting for free camp sites.

Catherine Lawson and David Bristow, along with baby Maya, are doing a lap of Highway One, the road that circles Australia.

I LOVE A GOOD bush camp. In fact, the more remote the merrier. I’ll happily forgo caravan park creature comforts – hot showers, camp kitchens and access to a toilet I don’t have to dig myself – for a sound night’s sleep and the chance to wake with the birds.

The best camping sites are those we discover on remote outback runs: beside rivers, at the end of dirt roads that rise to the top of small ranges for dusk and dawn views, and along lonely beaches. There are times and places when alternate accommodation is the only option.

In capital cities and holiday spots like Broome, caravan parks provide a chance to spruce up, and when the weather turns ugly, like it did on the final leg of our NSW adventure – a good cheap motel usually does the trick.

A lot of people have asked me about free community campsites and roadside rest areas which can be a real money-saver, and whether I feel safe during the night, especially with a baby on board. David and I have never had any problems, but we are particularly picky about where we pull up for the night.

There is safety in numbers, and on remote stretches of highway, north-west WA is a good example – many travellers use the rest areas which are generally off the highway and offer some basic facilities. We generally skip the roadside stops close to capital cities and big towns, and those so close to the road that your presence might draw interest from passing traffic.

…More Highway One articles
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Camping: the classic Aussie past-time
Top 5 great Aussie road trips
Australian Geographic’s top 100 icons of all time
Top 10 Australian outback experiences
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Australia’s 8 greatest surf spots
6 great Australian train trips