Every caravanner has their special “secret” place around Australia, but many of them are difficult to access and lack essential facilities. Dallas Sherringham uncovers 10 top secret spots for your next camping trip.
They keep their spots a closely guarded secret; otherwise, it won’t be a secret anymore. However, I want to tell you about my little known spots which have full-on onsite facilities available for caravan and motorhome owners and in most cases also provide cabin style accommodation.
In each case they are beautiful spots that give you an immersive experience that allow you to enjoy the tranquil scenery by day and have a fun night out.
Cape Tribulation, QLD
The Daintree trip from Port Douglas is a one day adventure for many visitors to North Queensland and it is one of the great secret camping spots of Australia, but I recommend you spend a few days camping at Cape Trib. Walking on deserted beaches by day and swimming in the crystal clear creeks followed by a night under the stars listening to the rainforest birds is an amazing experience. Friendly little bars can be found for those who like beer and some Aussie tucker.
Wellington Caves, NSW
One of the best camping spots in western NSW, the Caves caravan park is set beside an excellent 18 hole championship golf course. During the week there is practically no-one on the course and you can enjoy a great walk in the afternoon and watch the kangaroos come out to play. There is a swimming pool, barbecues and guest accommodation. Explore the beautiful caves and the beautiful town of “Wello” is just 10 minutes north.
The Omeo riverside setting is the most beautiful campground in Australia during the autumn. It is set in a lovely little valley just out of town and has towering trees that give an amazing display as the days turn cooler. The site has full facilities, lots of space and they even cook pizzas for guests.
Barkly Homestead, NT
Most people heading along the epic Barkly Hwy stretch between the Three Ways and Camooweal stop at Barkley Homestead for fuel. However behind the fuel station is a lovely little camp ground with a swimming pool and green lawns. At night you can enjoy a meal and wine at the homesteads bistro.
For those visiting the bustling Central Coast or Sydney and looking a quiet little spot, Patonga fills the bill, especially if you like fishing. It is set right at the southern end of the coast beside a little village that is hidden away from the rest of the world. Out of season, it is quiet and the local fish and chips is excellent. You can catch a ferry to Palm Beach for a swim at “Summer Bay”.
A lot of travellers on the Stuart Hwy don’t bother calling into Woomera which is a shame. It has a couple of great clubs, a fascinating museum and a nice little campground. And of course it was a major player in the cold war days when it was a secret space base.
Daley Waters, NT
Stopping for lunch, a selfie in the bar and a cleansing ale is mandatory for travellers on the Stuart Hwy. Made famous in movies like Last Cab to Darwin, the pub has a charm all its own. However camping there is the way to go because at night the beer gardens rocks along to music and comes alive. Take a spare pair of undies and a bra (for the ladies) to hang in the bar.
Palm Cove, QLD
Known for its ritzy hotels and shops and its stunning main street beside the golden sands, Palm Cove is also a great place to camp. At the northern end of the beach is the campground, within walking distance of the pub and the lovely little coffee shops and restaurants. The beach is 50m away and the jetty is great for fishing. Just a quiet walk along the sand at sun-up or sundown will keep you wanting more.
If you are visiting the Newcastle area and want a secluded little caravan park on its own”island” the Belmont Lakeside Park is perfect. It juts out into beautiful Lake Macquarie and towering Norfolk pines give the campground a unique feel. There is camp kitchen and dining room set on a high hill and there is an excellent function centre beside the swimming pool.
Mitchell Falls, WA
If you’re looking for a great secret camping spot in Australia, this is the only campsite I have featured without full facilities and it is difficult to get to in a 4wd. However, it is such an amazing place in the middle of the Kimberleys with the majestic three-tier waterfall within walking distance. You can enjoy a cool swim in the rock pool above the falls.
It is a large campground with separate generator and non-generator areas near Mertens Creek at the beginning of the walk trail to the Falls.
Some campsites have their own fire ring. Firewood must be collected before entering the park. Firewood collecting areas are signposted along Port Warrender Rd. Preferably use your own portable gas or fuel stove.
There are toilet facilities around the campground however there are no showers. There are water taps at all of the toilet facilities but it is recommended that water is boiled or otherwise treated before drinking.