7 must-have tips for free camping in Australia

As travelers on a tight budget, we’re always looking for ways to save our money. One of the biggest expenses when traveling anywhere in the world is accommodation. Hotels and campsites, caravan parks and resorts. They all want a piece of your wallet. In Australia, even a backpacker hostel can set you back $40 and more, for a night in a dorm room. Even plain old tent sites can go crazy, we once paid a whopping $45 for a tent site without power for one night!

What many visitors in Australia don’t know, or even be sure about, is that camping is free. Because Australia is a BIG place with long distances between towns, there are always hidden little roadside spots where you can spend the night for absolutely no money.

Here are our 7 must-know tips for the perfect free camping experience in Australia.

1: First and foremost: Get the Wikicamps app

This is an app for your phone that will show you where the many camping options are located across Australia. It’s $7.99 on the app store and it’s the best $7.99 we’ve spent! It includes a trip planner, a chat forum and you can store its content offline on your phone. You can use filters to view only free camps, hotels, caravan parks, camps with water, restrooms, phone reception, etc. It’s really the only camping app you’ll ever need while you’re in town. Australia. Read the reviews on the site of your choice and leave a review for yourself. This lets the companions know if it’s a good camp or a bad camp.

2: Moving by vehicle

Although people have traveled all over Australia by any means possible, the best way to see it is by vehicle, car or motorbike. There are plenty of back roads and hiding places that can be reached if you have your own transport. Visit sites like Gumtree to find cheap stuff. Although motorbikes are fun, cars are your ticket to easy free camping. Our advice is to buy a wagon or van and sleep in the back. This means you can camp stealthily in city parking lots, beaches, or gravel trails. While you can buy a sedan or motorbike and just pitch your tent as you go, we’ve found that camping in densely populated areas is a bit easier. With some curtains pulled up, you’re more likely to mingle and are less likely to be required to move. Setting up a tent in the middle of a parking lot is sure to attract unwanted attention.

MyDeal Pro Tips: Equip your car with a side porch for the perfect hiding spot.

3: Obey the signs

If you go to a place where you want to camp and there’s a big sign saying NO CAMP, don’t camp there. Over the years, these ‘No Camping’ zones are spreading and are being heavily patrolled as too many visitors ignore the signs and essentially annoy the residents of the town. There are a few Shire in Western Australia that currently do not allow free camping in the entire Shire. If you decide to camp freely in these areas and you get caught, the fines are huge. It’s easier to continue.

4: Camp almost anywhere

As long as you’re not on a private property, or in a designated no-camping area, you can camp. Just be a little smart about it. Don’t create your own music. Always stick to the marked trails. If you start razing your own paths into the bush, it won’t be long before locals notice this activity and that could lead to another off-limits area. Sometimes all you need to do is go down a small path and find a gravel pit or a river. Rivers and creeks almost always have some free camping spots along them. Always respect culturally sensitive areas such as those around Uluru. Don’t destroy them and leave everything when you find it.

5: Trash: Take it with you

Don’t leave your trash behind. Many hidden free camps do not have any facilities provided. Including crate. Take your trash with you and put it in the roadside trash can. If you see some other lazy tourist lying around in the trash, pick it up. Also, if you get a poop in a bush, bury it deeply. No one wants to see filthy toilet paper and other people’s poop. Burying it will keep you out of sight and keep the area looking clean. Again, don’t give locals a reason to hold back free campers.

6: Talk to other campers

These guys will be a great resource for the best camps to come. We had many great camping trips because we took the advice of another traveler. Plus, the tourists are friendly and you can simply sit around the campfire, share a glass of wine and chat. It’s a great way to make new friends as well as get some updated tips.

7: Campfire

Wildfires ravage large parts of the great Australian outback every year. Too many of these were started by careless campers. Always be aware of the current fire limits for the area you are in. Don’t let that tourist ignore warnings and restrictions and end up burning down a town. Most towns and neighborhoods will have large signs showing the current fire hazard. There are some great safety tips to be found on the DFES website. If the place is safe and you have a fire, make sure you put it out before you leave camp. We had rushed up to camp in the middle of the day and the fire was still smoldering and smoking from the night before while the campers were long gone.

Free camping around Australia is a great way to see this amazing country. Waking up to the sound of birds or waves crashing just a few meters from your car just adds to the experience. By being a polite camper and following the basic tips above, you can do your part to help keep free camping exactly the same. Free.


We are Todd and Chantelle, two thirty-year-old Australians with a thirst for adventure, knowledge and meaningful experience.

In 2016, we decided to sell everything we owned, change our lives, and go on an adventure around the world instead of working. And we have never looked back! Learn more about Over Yonda Adventures.

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