Coastal camping is really about finding a little patch of your own, as far away from other people as possible. It’s about fresh, salty air; falling asleep to the roar of the ocean; and waking up with morning swims instead of showers. It’s where you can go just a little bit feral – but in the nicest possible way (it’s impossible to feel dirty with a sparkling ocean on your front doorstep).
It’s Robinson Crusoe living at its finest – pick the right spot and you’ll have abundant fresh seafood at your beck and call; a gorgeous beach all to yourselves; and the recipe for some fantastic family bonding time. Kids can get hands-on with everything from pitching the tent to collecting wood for the fire, before being let off the hook to catch a few fish on their own. Even washing up doesn’t seem so bad, when it’s done in a bucket by the campfire under a brilliant blanket of bright stars after downing a few perfectly-burned marshmallows and mugs of tea.
It’s a good idea to research your chosen campsite before setting out so you’re familiar with the facilities and whether bookings and permits are required.
Gillards or Middle Beach Campgrounds, Mimosa Rocks National Park: Located on the South Coast, Gillards is the go for campervans and Middle Beach is great if you don’t mind a short walk to your tent from your car.
Red Cliff and Lake Arragan, Yuraygir National Park: About 150 kilometres south of Byron Bay, near the famous surf beach of Angourie, you’ll enjoy panoramic coastal views, abundant bird life and isolated beaches.
Johanna Beach, Great Otway National Park: A perfect stop-off along the Great Ocean Road.
Thurra River, Croajingolong National Park: Located in coastal woodland on the shallow Thurra River, there’s a nice long beach, sand dunes and forest to explore.
Pondalowie Bay, Innes National Park: The largest of seven campgrounds in Innes National Park on the Yorke Peninsula offers good waves, a bunch of great fishing spots and even a shipwreck.
Rocky River, Flinders Chase National Park: Kangaroo Island is a nature-lover’s paradise. Flinders Chase includes the Remarkable Rocks and Western Kangaroo Island Marine Park.
Cape Tribulation Camping, Cape Tribulation: Surrounded by rainforest, you can start snorkelling metres from your tent.
Dundubara, Fraser Island: Amenities include dingo fences, a communal fire ring and hot showers.
Cosy Corner, Bay of Fires National Park: Peaceful Cosy Corner has two areas: one for larger vehicles, and another with more protected sites.
Camping at Bruny Island, Cloudy Bay: This pet-friendly, 50-acre timber reserve with flushing toilets offers a range of campsites for different-sized groups, close to the beach. Bookings essential.
Cape Range National Park, Coral Coast: Roll out of your tent and onto the reef for a spot of snorkelling.
Lucky Bay, Cape Le Grand National Park: For sheer, white-sand-hitting-turquoise-sea beauty, you can’t beat this place.