We examine how to find the ideal location using apps, GPS systems and good old-fashioned maps.
Camping in Australia is a popular activity that allows people to experience the country's natural beauty and get away from the hustle and bustle of city life. There are many different places to camp in Australia, ranging from national parks and state forests to private campgrounds and caravan parks. Finding a campsite requires knowledge of where you want to travel, the amenities you will need and the season you’re travelling in.
The upsurge in domestic travel prompted by COVID-19 restrictions has prompted many commercial entities to open their grounds to caravanners and campers. Pubs, wineries and historic sites are among the many businesses that now allow travellers to pull up stumps on their properties (see page 158 for our article on pub camping). Many private landowners now also allow camping on their grounds, so the options are plentiful. You just need to know how to find them.
It's essential to understand your own requirements. Are you travelling with small children? If so, land with unrestricted access to ponds or lakes might be problematic. Do you have your own water supply? Do you require power? These are all questions you must answer before taking on the task of finding the perfect location.
In this article, we will explore how to use the Hema X, various Hema products and other applications to find places to camp in Australia.
The Hema X is a GPS device specifically designed for offroad navigation in Australia. It comes preloaded with detailed maps of the country, including national parks, state forests and 4WD tracks. The Hema X also has a built-in points of interest (POI) database, which includes a wide range of information about campsites, including their location, facilities, and fees.
To use the Hema X to find campsites in Australia, follow these steps:
- Turn on the Hema X and select the "Maps" tab from the main menu.
- Select the "Points of Interest" option from the map menu.
- Choose the "Campsites" category from the POI menu.
- Use the Hema X's search function to find campsites in a specific area or near a specific location. You can also use the Hema X's filter function to narrow down your search by selecting specific criteria, such as campsites with powered sites, toilets, or showers.
- When you find a campsite that you are interested in, select it from the list to view more information about it, including its location, facilities, and fees. You can also use the Hema X's "Go To" function to get turn-by-turn directions to the campsite.
In addition to the Hema X, there are several other Hema products that can be useful for finding campsites in Australia. These include:
- Hema Explorer: This is a comprehensive digital map of Australia that can be accessed on a computer, tablet, or smartphone. It includes detailed information about national parks, state forests, and 4WD tracks, as well as a wide range of POIs, including campsites.
- Hema Explorer App: This is a mobile app that allows you to access the Hema Explorer map on your smartphone or tablet. It includes all of the same features as the desktop version, including the ability to search for campsites and get turn-by-turn directions to them.
- Hema 4WD Maps: These are paper maps specifically designed for offroad navigation in Australia. They include detailed information about national parks, state forests and 4WD tracks, as well as a wide range of POIs, including campsites.
Still looking? Websites are a great place to start if you’re still searching for the perfect camping location.
- National park websites: Many national parks in Australia have their own websites, which often include information about campsites within the park. You can use these websites to find out about campsite locations, facilities, and fees. Camping is not permitted in all national parks, so it’s vital to check before you set sail.
- State forest websites: Similarly, many state forests in Australia have their own websites, which often include information about campsites within the forest. You can use these websites to find out about campsite locations, facilities, and fees. In most state forests and national parks, you must be self-sufficient to camp, and you are obligated to take your rubbish with you, so travel light!
- Private campground websites: There are many private campgrounds in Australia that offer campsites for rent. You can use these websites to find out about campsite locations, facilities and fees.
- Caravan park websites: There are also many caravan parks in Australia that offer campsites for rent. You can use these websites to find out about costs, self-sufficiency rules and amenities. Caravan parks are a popular choice for campers who are not self-sufficient and require amenities such as a camp kitchen, toilet and shower blocks and a power supply.
Camping has always been a popular pastime for Australians. COVID-19 piqued our interest in domestic travel, so many apps have been developed to assist aspiring travellers.
Camps Australia Wide: This is a comprehensive guide to campsites in Australia that is available in both print and digital formats. The guide includes information about campsites in national parks, state forests, and on private land, as well as a wide range of facilities and amenities. The digital version of the guide can be accessed through the Camps Australia Wide app, which is available for iOS and Android devices.
WikiCamps: This is a mobile app that allows you to search for campsites in Australia based on your location, preferences and facilities. The app includes information about campsites in national parks, state forests and on private land, as well as a wide range of facilities and amenities. It also allows you to leave reviews and ratings for campsites that you have visited. WikiCamps is available for iOS and Android devices.
CamperMate: This is a mobile app that provides a range of information about campsites in Australia, including their location, facilities and fees. The app also includes information about other types of accommodation, such as caravan parks and hostels, as well as points of interest and activities in the area. CamperMate is available for iOS and Android devices.
National park websites: As previously mentioned, many national parks in Australia have their own websites, which often provide specific information about campsites within that unique park. You can use these websites to find out about camp locations, facilities and fees.
Private campground websites: There are plenty of private campgrounds around Australia that offer campsites for rent. These will often have their own websites where you can find more information about the campsite location and how to reach it, facilities and fees.
Google: This seems a pretty vague suggestion, but Google can be useful if you have no joy with the previous applications. Many private landowners who allow camping on their property do not list with official channels, including councils. Their offerings may only be published on their private websites. Some pubs allow camping on their property, and this may only be listed on their webpage. So, remember, Google is an option!
When searching for campsites in Australia using apps and websites, it is important to keep in mind that not all campsites are suitable for all types of camping equipment. Some campsites may only be accessible by 4WD vehicles, while others may have restrictions on the size of tents or caravans that are allowed. It is also important to check the availability of campsites, as some may be fully booked during peak seasons or on public holidays.
In addition to using apps and websites to find campsites in Australia, you can also ask for recommendations from other campers, local tourism offices or ranger stations. These sources may be able to provide you with information about campsites that are not listed on any app or website, as well as tips and advice on how to make the most of your camping trip.
When you come across a beautiful site that looks prime for camping, remember that you cannot necessarily just drop anchor and set up. Camping is not permitted on some public grounds. If there is no sign indicating the legality of camping at the site, contact the local council to confirm. Otherwise, you may face hefty fines. The onus is on the camper to do the proper research.
Permits are sometimes required, so do your research.
Overall, there are many different ways to find campsites in Australia, and the best method will depend on your specific needs and preferences. By using a combination of the Hema X and other Hema products, apps and websites, and local sources of information, you can easily find a campsite that meets your needs and allows you to enjoy the beauty and adventure of camping in Australia.
Tips to finding the perfect campsite
- Establish where and when you plan to travel
- Set an ideal budget (though you may have to be flexible on this)
- Understand your requirements. Are you travelling with someone with a disability? Are you self-sufficient? What are your fresh water and power requirements?
- Check the abovementioned apps to discover your options in that region
- If you are unable to find the right option, Google ‘private camping options’ in that region
- Always ring ahead to the landowner or entity responsible for that area
- Never just assume that it’s ok to pull up stumps somewhere public and pretty — many travellers are fined each year for camping in prohibited regions