Have you been camping since you were a toddler or starting out a little later in life? It doesn’t matter, there’s always something new to learn. Before you set off on the road you’ll need to consider everything from your vehicle to accommodation, meals and sights. Here are a few tips and resources to get you started.
Suitable Vehicle for Camping in Australia
Your car will determine where you can go and what you can tow. A four wheel drive will give you the greatest flexibility in where you can travel. Many roads and tracks around Australia can only be tackled with a 4WD. If you have a sedan, it’s best to stay on sealed and gravel roads.
Heavy camper trailers, caravans and boats require the height and pulling power of a 4WD vehicle rather than the family sedan. For your family’s safety, make sure your vehicle can safely overtake while towing. Check out Robert Pepper’s 4WD Handbook for information on choosing a vehicle, off-road towing and how to recover your vehicle if you get into trouble off-road.
Australia has a variety of camping accommodation options available. Some of our caravan parks have the facilities of a resort with high quality, self-contained villas and cabins, pools, spas, playgrounds, mini-golf, water play areas, jumping pillows, trampolines and bouncy castles. With so much on offer there’s little reason to leave the park to fill in your days.
Other caravan parks have more basic facilities of an ablution block for powered and unpowered sites. If you are looking to get away from civilisation, you can camp for free in some locations. Details of free campsites are available at Campin Australia. Simply enter your intended destination and the type of accommodation you are after - campgrounds, caravan parks or free camping. Parks and Wildlife have a camp finder facility on their website for locating cheap campgrounds managed by the government department. If you prefer a book, Camps Australia Wide (Camps 9) is considered the bible for all types of campsites throughout the country.
When we think of typical camp meals, sausages cooking on the barbeque springs to mind. However, with quick and easy cooking facilities available, you can easily mix up your meals so you don’t get tired of the humble sausage sizzle.
If you're camping in a major regional town, you will have daily access to supermarkets but if you’re at an isolated site hundreds of kilometres from your nearest town, you will need to take everything with you including water.
There are various options for keeping food cold or even frozen. If you are at a caravan park with a camp kitchen, you can keep your labelled food in the communal fridge. On a powered site you can take a small fridge but on an unpowered site, you will need an esky replenished with bags of ice. In-car fridges and combination fridge/freezers are available if you have a larger car. A second battery fitted in the car allows you to leave the fridge in your car with a slider for easy access to its contents.
With some planning before you leave, you can be self-sufficient for several weeks. Save space and increase the life of meat by vacuum packing. Take tinned food and dehydrated packets plus jars and packets of pasta for quick and easy meals. Wraps are a long-life replacement for bread and rolls.
Plan out your meals and snacks to ensure you aren’t taking an unplanned trip to the next town for supplies. Learn what to take and what to cook in Keeping It Simple: New Recipes from the Caravan Chef, with heaps of recipes for inspiration. Camping in Style: Your Complete Guide to Holidaying Well in a Tent has an outdoor kitchen section detailing everything you need to know about how to set up a fully functional outdoor kitchen and more recipe ideas.
If you have time before your trip, it’s ideal to do some research on the sights and scenes around your destination and along the way. There is nothing worse than passing a big brown tourist sign and thinking that would have made a good break stop. It’s not easy or safe to turn-around particularly if you are towing, so you have no choice but to continue.
A guide or map can show you points of interest so you can plan out your trip and know in advance where you would like to stop and what you would like to see. When travelling with kids, regular rest breaks are needed so if you can stop where there is something to see or do, it makes the travel time more interesting.
1000 Great Places to Explore in Australia is divided into states with details of the best places Australia has to offer, from its famous destinations to the best-kept secrets. All the experiences and attractions have descriptions and photos.
The lack of signposts and clear track when you're off the main road means it’s not hard to get lost. The Hema HX-1 Navigator features topographic and touring mapping for off-road navigation. The HX-1 has the preloaded Hema Explorer map, featuring 1.2 million kilometres of 4WD tracks and outback roads. Read our review of the HX-1 Navigator.
If you are looking for any camping resources, don’t hesitate to call the friendly team at The Chart & Map Shop on 08 9335 8665, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit us in-store.