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Free camping in Australia

After writing my last post about my time in Mildura, I thought it would be interesting to write a post about free camping in Australia. You can find free camping all around Australia and it’s a brilliant option for backpackers trying to save money or even just for the odd night or two on a road trip. There are of course plenty of paid campsites all over the country with electricity and other facilities, but I wanted to write about my experience of doing it the cheap way! … 

Free campsites are usually found in or around small country towns to encourage travellers to stay a little longer and explore the area. The are almost always next to some kind of natural attraction such as a lake or a river, much like the site where I stayed in Mildura, and as they are set up by the local councils and not private owners they are almost always free to stay at! Some may have donation boxes if there are facilities on site that need maintaining but most of the time they are totally free.

Sometimes free campsites can be found around National Parks which is great when travelling to tourist hotspots, so keep an eye out for those. There are also heaps of rest stops along highways or main roads that have signs permitting camping overnight which is brilliant when doing long car journeys. This also means there is typically a toilet on site which is of course an added bonus. 

The facilities at free campsites vary as they are maintained by various different councils in many different locations. Most tend to not have amenities such as toilets or showers, but its definitely possible to find some that do offer them. Some even offer free barbecues which is pretty handy, and adds to the Aussie experience!

TIP: When I was free camping while working we would stop off at the BP garage and use their showers. More often than not they would let us use it for free or it would cost around $5.

As I’ve said, there are heaps of free campsites all over Australia, but of course finding them can be a little difficult. I found the easiest way to find them on the go is using certain Apps such as WikiCamps, Free Camping App and Campin Australia. There may also be information available in certain guidebooks but typically they tend to only mention paid campsites which will usually cost you between $5 and $35 a night, depending on the site and which facilities you choose. Theres also a range of information online from various websites including www.freecampingaustralia.com.au and a lot of the camper van rental companies have some good articles on their websites, so theres plenty of information out there to help you find free campsites all over. 

I did want to just add a little note about something called ‘leave no trace camping’ which is essentially just camping responsibility and leaving the site how you found it. I am environmentally conscious so I did want to quickly go over this topic as I’ve seen a lot of people abusing the flexibility than comes with free camping and leaving sites in a bit of a state. Basically all ‘leave no trace camping’ is making sure you dispose of all of your waste properly and leave nothing behind, making sure you camp on durable surfaces that you won’t damage, being respectful of wildlife and other visitors at the site and minimising any impacts of campfires.

TIP: A quick side note on campfires also; in a lot of areas in Australia it is illegal to have campfires in open areas due to the risks of bushfires so be sure to make yourself aware of these restrictions and regulations!

So that is pretty much all of the information I have to offer on free camping in Australia based on my experiences, I hope you guys found it interesting or helpful in some way. If anyone has any other information or tips on the subject I would love to hear them, feel free to leave a comment below!

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