…This summer? We’ve got 10 of the best warm-weather camping locations lined up for you, and we’ll even tell you how not to die when you’re there
With the warmer weather on our doorstep, we thought it was high time we had a look at some of the popular, and not so popular places you need to be pitching camp this summer. We’ve got every state covered, oh, and if you’re the type of folk who prefers towing your digs behind you, make sure you check out:
- Coffs Harbour
Forget Movie World, Coffs Harbour is an adventure theme park. There’s crystal clear beaches, tropical rainforest and tracks to suit every skill level, all just minutes from town. If you’re serious about your summer adventures, Coffs needs to be on your list.
- Kosciuszko NP
It’s covered in snow for a large chunk of the year so summer is your only shot to explore one of Australia’s most stunning and difficult to spell Alpine regions. You might be surprised what you find.
- Cervantes to Jurien Bay
Two days of low-range adventures along the beach through two large dune systems with nobody in sight? This run is one of Western Australia’s best-kept secrets with stunning sunsets over the water and hours of fun in the dunes just waiting to be experienced.
Righto Tasmania, you guys get about 20 minutes of summer a year so make up for it with your own beach adventure between Bellingham and Bridport. Two days of beach driving with a pub feed at the end and endless dune tracks to explore… what more could you want?
- Coorong NP
We know the recent storms were just a ploy to keep us away, but South Australians have one of the best beach adventures in the world all to themselves. 130km of beach on one side and lake on the other? How is this not on every off-roader’s bucket list?
- Croajingolong NP
Where the forests meet the ocean, Croajingolong is the definition of a hidden gem straddling the NSW and Vic borders. Camping right by the beach with no crowds and plenty to explore, you couldn’t dream a National Park better than this.
- Nightcap NP
Queenslanders, rather than standing in queue at paradise this summer, head south to Nightcap National Park in some of the most sparsely populated country on the east coast. You’re right near Byron Bay so swing past; or if Xbox and hating the government is more your thing, Nimbin is just around the corner.
- Byfield NP
A little slice of the Cape around 40 hours closer to home, Byfield NP is a beach paradise backed by endless dunes, tropical jungles and remote campsites all to yourself. There’s plenty to do from swimming and fishing through to good old-fashioned exploring, so plan a couple of days to make the most of it.
- Litchfield NP
If you’re from NT and haven’t spent time in Litchfield yet, you’ve seriously dropped the ball. When summer hits it’s the perfect escape with swimming holes and waterfalls around every corner. The park covers 1,500km2 so there’s plenty of 4X4 exploring to be had as well.
- Coffin Bay NP
Another secret South Australians are keeping all to themselves, Coffin Bay NP is an 8-hour drive from Adelaide on the Eyre Peninsula. Beachside camping with plenty of back tracks to explore. Rocky headlands and dodging a pack of roving emus are in store for anyone adventurous enough to make the trek.
SURVIVE THE AUSTRALIAN WILDERNESS
Australia has a reputation around the world as somewhere where everything wants to kill you. Obviously us locals know that’s not true; some things only want to maim you. Regardless, here’s how to survive Australian wildlife this summer.
- Box Jelly Fish
Basically Hitler in gelatine form, box jelly fish can grow up to 3m across, move at 2m a second and put you into cardiac arrest before you can get out of the water. If someone is stung you’ll need to soak any remaining stingers in vinegar for 30 seconds before removing them. In mild incidents, painkillers and ice can help. Anything serious may require CPR and a quick drive to the nearest doctor.
Just like my ex, dingoes will watch for any signs of weakness before striking and presumably taking half your stuff. That said, you’ll want to keep children at arm’s length, keep all sources of food locked away, and travel in groups. If confronted stand tall, back away slowly and act confident, never looking away… this advice is sound for both dingoes and the ex.
- Blue-Ringed Octopus
Much like box jelly fish, the blue-ringed octopus can induce cardiac arrest so after coming into contact your next trip should be straight to the doctor (even if they’re 10 hours away). They’re not aggressive so accidents generally happen by inadvertently stepping on them. You’ll need to apply a medium pressure bandage over the affected area and then slowly cover the whole limb and immobilise it before setting off to a hospital.
- Saltwater Crocs
Assume any body of water in the top end has a croc in it and you’re off to a good start. They’re apex predators and will happily watch your routine for days waiting to strike – so don’t make a habit of 8am toilet stops down at the river, and camp at least 50m back from the water. They can move at 12m a second so your best bet is to get quick at running, you might need that capability.
Let’s be honest, you’re more likely to die choking on a piece of toast. But sharks sure do look scary. If you’re trying to stay out of the news (for all the right reasons) do everything in your power to not look like a target. No flashy colours in the water, don’t go out by yourself, leave the water calmly if fish start losing their minds; and if all else fails, fight like hell. Apparently sharks are averse to being punched in the face.