Nothing says summer like camping near the beach, and hitting the surf before breakfast. Carly Brand lists the best beach campsites in Australia for families who love to fall asleep to the sound of crashing waves.
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Beach camping is simple, back-to-basics fun. It’s missing a shower because you went in the surf instead, sandy toes and long days of surfing.
Make sure you bring the sunscreen. These are the best beach campsites in Australia.
Allison Camping Area, Rottnest Island
This patch of paradise off the coast of Perth is the perfect place to relax and enjoy some swimming, fishing, snorkelling and boating. Situated on Rottnest Island, your family can hire bicycles to explore. There are 43 sites and bathroom, barbecue, kitchen and laundry facilities. Keep an eye on your food supply due to the cheeky quokkas.
Bottle Bay, François Peron National Park
At Bottle Bay, there are basic facilities such as toilets and gas barbecues. Bookings do not apply and park entry fees are $11 per adult and $3 per child per night. This spot is popular for fishing, swimming and snorkelling. Make sure to visit the beautiful Shell Beach at nearby Shark Bay.
Lucky Bay, Cape Le Grand National Park
Lounge on the white-sand beaches at Lucky Bay and enjoy one of the 22 individual campsites accommodating tents, campervans, camper trailers and caravans. Facilities include a kitchen, barbecues and hot showers. It is $10 per adult per night for entry into the park and bookings cannot be made beforehand.
Coledale Camping Reserve, Coledale Beach
Just 30 minutes north of Wollongong, this small campsite has it all. The amenities blocks have hot showers, toilets, a kitchen, sinks and a laundry. Powered and unpowered sites are available and be sure to make use of the electric barbecues.
Cave Beach, Booderee National Park
This entry into the best beach campsites can be found at family-favourite Jervis Bay, a three-hour drive from Sydney. This is the place for lightweight camping clans. Pitch your tents on the grassy area among coastal tea trees and steps from the beach. You’ll find freshwater, toilets, cold-water showers and a sheltered barbecue area on-site.
Diamond Head Campground, Crowdy Bay National Park
This spot, near Port Macquarie, is great for tents, caravans and camper trailers. The amenities block has picnic tables, barbecue facilities, showers and toilets. Reservations should be made beforehand and supplies can be purchased 10 kilometres north of the campground in Laurieton. Daily rates are $24 per night for two adults ($12 for every additional adult), not including the park entry fee.
Gym Beach Campground, Innes National Park
Located 300 kilometres from Adelaide, the road trip to this secluded campground is part of the excitement. Choose from six sites with coastline views from just $15 a night per two adults. There are two beaches for swimming, snorkelling and fishing; long-drop toilets; a rainwater tank; and campfires are permitted.
The Bamboos, Yorke Peninsula
Just 17 kilometres from Adelaide, this spot is located in a wide-open space among large sand dunes and coastal shrubs. Tents, caravans and camper trailers are allowed. The beach is shallow and protected and is great for fishing. There are no facilities and dogs are allowed. The campsite is free, but permits must be obtained.
Ninety Mile Beach, Gippsland Lakes Coastal Park
Set up camp on the edge of the beach, among the coastal scrub. This is one of the best beach camping spots in Australia. But You will need to be prepared to rough it a little. The toilets are long drop, there is no drinking water or cooking facilities, but there are hot showers.
With 55 camping sites, fees are only $11.70 per night. The spot is a 40-minute drive from the local town of Sale. Dogs are permitted, so take advantage of this pet-friendly locale.
Johanna Beach, Great Otway National Park
The camping ground at Johanna Beach is nestled behind the dunes on an open grassy area. Dogs on leads are permitted. There are non-flush toilets, no drinking water and fuel stoves and gas barbecues must be used for cooking. Book one of the 25 sites for $34 per night. Johanna is located a 90-minute drive south from Lorne.
Rye Foreshore, Mornington Peninsula
Enjoy the pristine beaches and turquoise waters at Rye Foreshore Reserve, home to 174 sites, both powered and unpowered, with tents and caravan access. Facilities include showers and toilets, kids’ playgrounds and barbecues. Foreshore camping is only permitted from the last weekend of October until April. Bookings for campsites are taken. Rye is a one-hour drive from Melbourne.
Cylinder Beach Camping Ground, Stradbroke Island
This shady beach campsite peers over Cylinder Beach, one of Stradbroke Island’s most iconic surf beaches. The campground is close to the cafes, boutiques and restaurants of Point Lookout, and the renowned Stradbroke Island Beach Hotel. There are laundry facilities, playground equipment and woodfire barbecues. Booking one of the 60 unpowered or eight powered sites is essential.
Waddy Point, Fraser Island
This fenced clearing is open to tents, camper trailers and beachfront camping. There are flushing toilets, hot showers, communal fire rings, picnic tables and gas barbecues. Before entering Fraser Island, a vehicle access permit must be purchased. Camping permits are also required and must be purchased prior to setting up camp. Make sure to visit the nearby Champagne Pools for a picturesque dip.
Moreton Island Camping, Moreton Island
There are 10 campsites on Moreton Island suitable for tents and camper trailers. There is water available, which must be treated before drinking, septic toilets and cold showers, which are perfect for balmy nights. Fuel and gas stoves are recommended for cooking. Some sites have easy access to a surf beach or the kid-friendly Blue Lagoon.
1770 Camping Ground, Joseph Banks Conservation Park
In a secluded bay inside Round Hill Headland, pitch your tent on a white sandy beach. This beach campsite caters for tents and campervans. Enjoy swimming, reef fishing – with many safe areas to moor your boat – and evening campfires on the beachfront.
Friendly Beaches, Freycinet National Park
This campground provides the ideal escape along one of Australia’s most pristine and undeveloped coastlines. There is a $24 entrance fee for Freycinet National Park, but no additional fee for camping at the Friendly Beaches Campground. There is a toilet on site but other facilities are limited and campers will need to bring drinking water and a gas or fuel stove. The sacrifice of little luxuries is more than worth it for the fantastic oceanfront location and the park’s spectacular cliff-top lookouts, azure waters and pure white beaches.
Jetty Beach, South Bruny National Park
This camping ground is located behind the curve of Jetty Beach, facing a sandy cove of clear water perfect for swimming, snorkelling and fishing. There is also plenty of shallow water areas here for little ones to splash about. The sites are dotted under a stand of shady eucalypts. There are long-drop toilets, barbecues, picnic tables and fire pits, however, you will need to bring your own store of fresh water.
And finally.. the best beach campsites in the Northern Territory
Gunn Point Beach Camping, Darwin
Immerse your family in the great natural landscape at this 4WD-accessible campsite with tent sites, water and ample shade just one hour from Darwin. There is plenty of space for kids to play on the beach. Camping is free and pets are welcome.
Smith Point Camping Area, Garig Gunak Barlu National Park
This is the perfect camping spot to witness the NT’s stunning sunsets and spot native wildlife. The campground has beautiful coastal views and fishing spots, but no swimming due to saltwater crocs. There are composting toilets, solar hot water showers, barbecues and picnic tables. There are also areas set aside for those camping with generators, and other areas for those who prefer their peace and quiet.
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