With an influx of ‘environmental’ stressors felt in our everyday lives, it’s no wonder people are searching for a way to get ‘off-grid’ and back to basics in order to slow things down and realign themselves.
Free camping, or ‘FREEDOM camping’ as so many call it, can have this very effect. There’s nothing quite like immersing yourself in nature and staring up at a star-filled sky in the quiet darkness to reinvigorate the soul.
To help you get your free camping fix, we’ve compiled a list of the best free camps that we, and other travellers alike, have found as we tour the diverse Australian countryside.
With amazing sunsets over the billabong and surrounding trees offering shade, this peaceful camp with plenty of wildlife is around two kilometres from Winton on the Winton-Jundah Road in the heart of Queensland’s outback.
Housing only self-sufficient campers (as there are no facilities on site), the area is prone to being affected by rain and floodwater, so awareness is key during times of rainfall.
A perfect base camp while doing the Winton leg of Australia’s Dinosaur Trail, or attending the annual camel races.
A short drive from Cooktown in Queensland’s tropical north, these stunning secluded beach camps on Archer Point Road are spread along the shore all the way to the lighthouse.
Accessible to all off-road set-ups, you need to bring your own everything, as there are no facilities available.
Spot abundant marine life including fish, turtles, dolphins and other wildlife surrounding the camps, particularly during the magnificent sunrises over the Coral Sea.
With a sandy beach in front of a safe swimming area, a ramp for those boat and water sport enthusiasts and facilities by way of barbecues, picnic tables and toilets, this little camp off Brunker Street in the southern NSW town of Hay will provide a relaxing short break.
Large gum trees provide shade over the spacious camping area, where you’re able to stay for up to three days.
A shared pathway that loops into town along the Murrumbidgee River houses some interesting artwork and abundant wildlife, and is well worth the trek.
Bingara River Camp
Found on Old Keera Road in northern NSW, this picturesque riverfront camp along the Gwydir River is a delightful spot to recharge your batteries.
Suitable for all camping set-ups, the area is clean, open, flat and spacious. There are no amenities available, so campers need to be self-sufficient.
The river and surrounds is full of birdlife, fish and wild brumbies – which you can spot grazing around the river. Be sure to take a blow-up tyre, kayak or paddleboard to float downstream on.
Brooks Hill Reserve
The sites just on the border at Brooks Hill Reserve in the suburb of Bungendore can make a great base for exploring our capital city.
Found on Kings Highway, the camp is accessible to all set-ups and offers toilets, picnic tables and bins for amenities. A popular place for hikers, there are some lovely bushwalks to trek where you’ll find some gorgeous views along the way.
Barmah National Park
These secluded bush camps along river road in Yielima are a wonderful spot to lose yourself for a few days.
Located within a national park, the area is frequented by hundreds of kangaroos, emus and wild horses, giving it that unique ‘untouched’ bush feeling.
Enjoy cooling off in the river, fishing, or taking a stroll along some of the walking tracks nearby.
Gadds Bend Reserve
Along Murray River Road in Walwa, you’ll find a peaceful and quiet campground by the river, where you can simply sit – breathe – and watch the river flow past.
Take a kayak or paddle board for a leisurely cruise along the water, swim, or simply sit on the banks and flick a rod if that’s your preferred relaxation method.
Try to spot the owls and possums while you kick back around a fire and experience the magical sunsets and moon rise over the water.
You do need to be self-contained to use the camps at the impressive Lake Mackintosh along Mackintosh Dam Road, in Tullah on the West Coast of Tasmania.
A dog-friendly state forest, the scenery here will blow you away. Known as a fisherman’s paradise, it can get busy at times, so there is a second campground beside the boat ramp (which is closed when dam water is being released).
An incredible place to spot possums, wallabies, wombats and Tasmanian devils in the surrounding forest, and if you love a challenging bushwalk, the view from the summit of nearby Mt Farrell is just amazing.
A picturesque and protected little bay, the campsites on Cockle Creek Road in Recherche make a fantastic base point for those undertaking the South Cape Bay Trail.
With a heap of secluded sites, the pristine wilderness and unique mash up of forest, beach and mountain views will leave you in awe.
The camps are in a national park, offering various walking tracks, places to fish and swimming areas. You can pick your own deliciously fresh oysters here on low tide too.
Wan’t more beautiful campsites in Tasmania? Find our ultimate guide here…
With sites right on the river frontage and well-maintained roads making it accessible to all set-ups, anyone can enjoy the gorgeous Murray River views at Plushs Bend.
Housing bins, toilets, a safe swimming area and easy access for small boats, canoes and kayaks, this camp on Plushs Bend Road in Crescent, South Australia is one of the fancier free camps around as far as amenities go.
Be sure to catch the pelicans and other birdlife soaring over the water, making stunning silhouettes as the sun fades below the horizon.
Freycinet Trail Campsite
These campsites on Fitzgerald Bay Road in Port Bonython offer million-dollar views across the bay. Self-sufficient campers are permitted to use these sites as there are no facilities, with semi-private spots all along the track.
The beach is rock, not sand, but still great for a cool off, and with walking tracks and 4WD tracks to explore close by, it’s a great place to base yourself for a few days or more.
Don’t forget to wake up for the breathtaking sunrises over the water, try your luck at fishing, and look for the dolphins that swim past regularly.
Pull up camp along the Ord River and lose yourself in the beauty of the surrounding landscape while enjoying some recreational fishing.
Found off Parry Creek Road in Kununurra, you do need to stay croc safe around these waterways, as they’re located within the East Kimberley region of Australia.
4WD vehicles are recommended with the terrain difficult in areas, and with no facilities, only self-contained campers are permitted. Base yourself here while exploring the many waterholes and falls surrounding Kununurra.
A fantastic camp close to the beach, these sites along Quondong Point Road in Waterbank provide the best of coastal camping, whale watching and turtle spotting.
Suitable for all self-sufficient and off-road set-ups, if you park up along the top of the cliff you’ll feel like you have the beach all to yourself.
There is a limit of 72 hours at this free camp, so be sure to use your time to explore the 4wd and walking tracks, the sandy beach and rock pools, as well as the dinosaur footprints and fossils close by.
Wan’t more beautiful campsites in Western Australia? Find our ultimate guide here…
For the diehard adventurers, the Tanami Road is a familiar bucket-list track, crossing from the middle of the Northern Territory across the border into Western Australia and testing not only your driving skills, but your rig’s capabilities too.
The Diggers Rest campground is found in the suburb of Anmatjere and is popular because it is frequented by wild camels and varied birdlife.
4WD and off-road set-ups are a must, as is bringing your own everything – as there are no facilities here. With hardly another soul in sight, you’ll have an unrivalled view of the incredible sunsets behind the old windmill.
Mt Connor Lookout
If you’re headed into the Red Centre then this campground along the Lasseter Highway in Petermann could be the perfect base before exploring Uluru.
With a magnificent view of Mt Connor – a large rock that many mistake for Uluru from a distance – and a surprisingly large salt lake over a sand dune across the road, it offers spectacular scenery.
Toilet facilities are available and trees provide some shade over the camp area, which is big enough to fit a few small caravans, or vehicles with rooftop tents.
Camping is always best enjoyed with your nearest and dearest – so go grab some friends and family and start planning your next stress-free holiday to one of these epic free camps.
While you’re at it, throw in some of these hiking tracks for an extra ‘off-grid’ challenge.
You’ll thank us for it later!