Find the perfect spot to pitch a tent with these Easter camping ideas.
Take advantage of the last of the season’s good weather, without forking out the high-season prices of hotels and resorts. We’ve picked 18 spots across Australia that are prime for camping this Easter, with plenty of wilderness and places to swim. A lot of these are renowned locations that draw visitors from across the country and overseas, and sites can be booked out weeks, or even months, in advance for popular times like the Easter long weekend.
New South Wales
Sitting within Twofold Bay on the Sapphire Coast, Eden’s within easy reach of eight national parks. The area is a popular spot for whale watching and is home to more beaches than you can probably visit over one weekend, even an extra long one. Where is Eden? It’s a 3-hour drive south of Canberra, 6-hour drive south of Sydney and 6.5-hour drive east of Melbourne.
Covered with countless walking tracks for all abilities and dotted with freshwater swimming holes and waterfalls, the Blue Mountains is an easy getaway from the city. Plus, it’s accessible by Sydney Trains, which makes it ideal for those without a car. Where are the Blue Mountains? It’s a 1.5-hour drive to Katoomba, the main town, west of Sydney, a 3-hour drive southwest of Newcastle and a 3.5-hour drive north of Canberra.
Explore the area’s waterways and bushland, or just relax by the riverside. The Hawkesbury is an easy-to-get-to spot surrounded by national parks and dotted with campsites. Where is the Hawkesbury? It’s less than an hour north of Sydney and about two hours south of Newcastle.
Where to stay
The world’s largest sand island is the perfect place to camp. The island is limited to 4WD access, and the sand tracks throughout it lead to pristine lakes, sand dunes, beaches and cold-water creeks. Where is Fraser Island? It’s a 1.5-hour journey from Hervey Bay and a 6-hour trip from Brisbane. You’ll need to take a 10-minute barge from Inskip Point near Rainbow Beach, a 30-minute journey from River Heads, which is included in the travel times above.
Sunshine Coast Hinterland
An easy drive from Brisbane and the Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast Hinterland is home to the beautiful Glasshouse Mountains and surrounding rainforest. Where is the Sunshine Coast Hinterland? Inland from the Sunshine Coast, which is 1.5 hours north of Brisbane and about two hours north of the Gold Coast.
Stay amongst UNESCO World Heritage rainforests and consider day-tripping out to the Great Barrier Reef, all from base camp. Being the shoulder season, it should be a bit drier and cooler than going in the heat of summer. Where is the Daintree Rainforest? The Daintree River Crossing is about two hours north of Cairns, with the main highway heading north into the rainforest from there up to Cape Tribulation.
Where to stay
Great Ocean Road
One of the world’s most scenic coastal drives, Great Ocean Road is a must-do for any Australian. Winding coastal roads, iconic surf beaches and inland rainforests are just some of the highlights along the 243km route. Where is Great Ocean Road? The east end of the route begins a Torquay, about an hour south of Melbourne, while the west end at Warrnambool begins about 6.5 hours east of Adelaide.
Teeming with wildlife, wildflowers and waterfalls, the Grampians area is a nature lover’s paradise. It’s named after the set of rocky ridges boasting panoramic views over the surrounding national park. Where are the Grampians? Grampians National Park is about three hours north-west of Melbourne and five hours south-east of Adelaide.
Where calm lakes meet surf beaches, Lakes Entrance is ideal for water lovers. Lakes and inlets offer kid-friendly swim beaches, while all the waterways offer playgrounds for fishing, waterskiing and surfing. Where is Lakes Entrance? It’s a 4-hour drive east of Melbourne and a 7.5-hour drive south of Sydney.
Where to stay
Perched on South Australia’s Limestone Coast, Robe is a bit cooler than Adelaide, making it a perfect escape. Plus, it has beautiful beaches and a few historic buildings to check out while in town. Where is Robe? It’s a 3.5-hour drive south-east from Adelaide or a 6-hour drive west of Melbourne.
Spot seals lounging on beaches, kangaroos hopping through bushland and other wildlife on the island. It’s small enough that you can drive around and see most of it over a weekend, but chances are you’ll want to stay much longer. Where is Kangaroo Island? South of Adelaide and accessible by ferry from Cape Jervis. It’s a 1.5-hour drive to Cape Jervis and then a 45-minute ferry ride across.
A little taste of the outback mixed with regional Australia, the Murray River region offers a laid-back vibe that’s perfect for those looking for places to kayak, go on quiet bushwalks and dip into refreshing swimming holes. Where is the Murray River? Running from the border of Victoria, popular tourist spots, including Renmark, Berri and Morgan, are between 2 and 2.5 hours from Adelaide.
Where to stay
Margaret River region
Much more than just wine, the Margaret River region is just as much a playground for children as it is adults. From the calm waters of Busselton to the more than 150 cool caverns below the surface, there are plenty of kid-friendly options in the area. Where is the Margaret River Region? It’s about 2.5 hours south of Perth.
Home to pristine beaches and a cooler climate than most of the state, the South Coast from Esperance to Albany borders the clear turquoise waters of the Great Australian Bight. It’s a great area to spot kangaroos hopping along beaches.) Where is the Margaret River?
Often referred to as one of the best places in the world to dive (but much less frequented than the East Coast’s Great Barrier Reef), the Ningaloo Coast offers easy access to dive and snorkel sites from Exmouth down to Coral Bay and gives a taste of the outback at national parks like Cape Range National Park. Where is the Ningaloo Coast? It’s an 11-hour drive north of Perth to Coral Bay or 13 hours to Exmouth. Alternatively, fly to Learmonth (near Exmouth) in about two hours and rent a car.
Where to stay
Located on Tasmania’s east coast, Bicheno is ideally situated between Douglas-Apsley National Park and Freycinet National Park. The latter being known for one of the state’s most famous bodies of water, Wineglass Bay. Where is Bicheno? It’s about two hours south-east of Launceston and 2.5 hours north-east of Hobart.
A unique combination of historic (and possibly haunted) buildings and the pristine coastline of Tasman National Park, the Port Arthur area has plenty to keep you busy for a long weekend. It’s also near the soaring heights of Cape Pillar, Australia’s highest sea cliffs. Where is Port Arthur? It’s just 1.5 hours south-east of Hobart and three hours south of Launceston.
While it’s not the highest mountain in Tasmania, it certainly is the most famous. The iconic peak of Cradle Mountain is surrounded by a national park riddled with hiking trails where you can spot Tasmanian devils, platypuses and wombats. Where is Cradle Mountain? It’s a 2.5-hour drive east of Launceston or a 4-hour drive from Hobart.
Where to stay
Tips for an unforgettable trip
A well planned camping trip can be unforgettable for all the right reasons, and none of the wrong ones. The key is to set things up so they can go off without a hitch and to be prepared.
- Researching your destination ahead of time, and making an advance booking is key. After travelling a long way you want to know you have a place to stay.
- Make sure you know how to use your gear. If it's dark or raining you really don't want to be reading up on how to use it. Getting it ahead of time and spending a bit of time "camping" in your backyard, or any other convenient spot, is a fun way of trying it out and making sure it all works.
- Know what to expect from the weather and the temperature. This helps you pack only what you need to travel light, and make sure you won't be left shivering or overheating at night.
If you want to go camping without giving up too many of the comforts, campervan hire can be an excellent way to keep some of the finer things on a tight budget. It's also worth noting that a lot of camping spots are off the beaten track and best handled by a 4WD, especially if you want to be able to get around and see more of the area. Getting a free rental car upgrade or discounts on a rental campervan can help you get the benefits without losing the outstanding value holiday that camping offers.