Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Six months in, our top ten free / cheap camps

Now that we have been on the road for just over six months, I thought it might be time to share our top ten free or cheap camps that we have been lucky enough to experience.

When you are on the road for long periods of time, it makes sense to use free camps to make your dollars go further. Free camps can have a reputation for being nasty or lacking facilities, these free / cheap camps prove that you can save money and still enjoy all Australia has to offer.

This is not a list of all of our free / cheap camping experiences, and many people may have experienced these camps and have a completely different opinion. These are the places that made an impression on us, places that we enjoyed just being at rather than using as a place to park the van. We could have added many more (Hart Lake, Henbury Meteor crater, Georgetown memorial park, Martins bend Reserve, Virgin Rock, Paronella Park, Camooweal Billabong, Long Waterhole Winton) but I wanted to keep our list to an even ten.

August to January DerryGoRound free / cheap camps in reverse order (10-1)

10. Carrow Wells, SA, Free

Not far from from Port Neil, lies the campground of Carrow Wells, there is not much there other than a quiet beach, lots of sand and plenty of space to park your caravan and get ocean views. It is windy, the ground is hard but it is a top spot to spend a night or two, you really feel like you have the whole place and the beach to yourself. You are not camping right on the beach, but you are not far off it.

There are no facilities so you need to be fully self contained.

WikiCamps link
Google Maps link Carrow Wells Campground

9. Reedy Lake, Vic, Free

It was late in the afternoon and we needed somewhere to stay, we found Reedy Lake Rest area on Wikicamps and even though it didn't have a heap of stars, we thought we would give it a go. We camped about three metres from the lake on grass. The lake was brown but very clean and great for swimming, pelicans would swim by as the kids played in the shallow water. Right next door is a park with toilets, bins, BBQ's and tables. Maybe it is a case of our opinion being tainted because we had so much fun, but that is what these lists are all about. A nice place to stop for an overnighter.

Toilets, BBQ's and a park, the only thing missing is a hot shower. Easy access and not far from the highway.

WikiCamps link 
Google Maps Location Reedy Lake RV rest area

8. Snowy River Camp, Vic, Free

Driving along the snowy river on the way to Marlo, there are heaps of rest stops and cleared areas, we found a grassy one that we had to ourselves. It was right on the road by there was hardly any noise. One side you have the snowy river and the other farmland. It was quiet, the view spectacular and we made a great game of trying to see the fish as they constantly jumped out of the water. Another great spot for an overnight stay

There are no facilities, so you need to be fully self contained.

Google Maps Location Snowy river free camp

7. The Wells, Mungo Brush, NSW, $25 a night

The most expensive site on our list, but at $25 a night it is well worth it. It is a National Park, so  at least the money will keep the facilities going. We camped right on the lake, lots of wildlife,  fire pits, drop toilets and a short drive to the beach and some cool bush walks. It was the perfect place to relax for a couple of days as we started our trip. It is still one of my favourite places we have stayed on the trip

There are drop toilets, tables, fire pits and non potable water.

WikiCamps link
Google Maps Location The Wells campground

6. Corella Dam, QLD, free

30 Mins West of Cloncurry on the way to Mount Isa is a great free camp right on Corella Dam, there are no facilities and not much else other than peace, solitude, great views and lots of birds and wildlife. We managed to have a fire (lots of firewood around) and enjoyed dinner overlooking the Dam. Lucky we called into the Cloncurry visitor information centre as they let us know that there is a dummy locked gate that you need to open to get in. Just follow the directions on WikiCamps and enjoy some water in the outback.

No facilities, so you need to be self contained.

WikiCamps link
Google Maps location Corella Dam

5. Greenock Centenary Park, SA, donation

This one is all about location, right in the heart of the Barossa, lies the sleepy little hamlet of Greenock, you can stay at the village green / park which overlooks the cricket ground. You can walk into town (wineries, cafes, brewery) and easily drive to a plethora of wineries, markets, towns and Maggie Beer's farm shop. Adelaide is only 45 mins away. The kids loved the playground across the oval. A nice budget option when visiting the Barossa.

There are toilets at one end of the oval, a dump point and water in town. Lots of space (not a lot of even sites) and heaps of shade.

WikiCamps link
Google Maps Location Greenock Centenary Park

4. Florence Falls, NT, $6.6 per person $15.4 per family

If you are visiting Darwin, then you should visit Lichfield National Park, and if you visit Lichfield National park you should stay at Florence falls. You camp right up above the falls, (ten minute walk down for a swim or some photos). One side of the campsite has views over the park. There are fire pits, plenty of wood and excellent facilities, flushing toilets, hot showers and sinks to wash your dishes. It is a quick drive to many of the park attractions and a top spot for a night or two.

The facilities are excellent (toilets, showers, fire pits and wood) and well worth the expense.

WikiCamps link
Google maps location Florence Falls Campground

3. Devils Marbles, NT, $7.7 family $3.3 per person

There is something special about being able to camp right in the middle of an iconic Australian site. That is exactly what you get when you camp at the devils marbles. Plenty of space, incredible views, spectacular night skies, tables, fire pits and lots of peace and tranquility for only $3.3 per person per night or $7.7 for a family. Well worth stopping at when you are heading south (or north) on the Stuart highway, it is about 100km south of Tennant creek.

There are drop toilets, fire pits and some tables

WikiCamps link
Google Maps location Devils marbles campground

2. Bunda Cliffs, SA Free

At the start of the Nullarbor on the South Australian Side, just off the highway lies Bunda cliffs, you can camp as close to the cliffs as you like, incredible views, spectacular sunsets, plenty of space and it doesn't cost a cent. You will need to keep an eye on the kids as you are literally camping right on the cliffs. A worthy second place contender on our top ten list.

There are no facilities so you need to be fully self contained.

WikiCamps link
Google Maps location Bunda Cliffs

1. Perlubie Beach, SA $10 a night

This place has been one of the highlights of our trip. Camping right on the beach, plenty of space, crystal clear water that is also shallow and calm, a long beach perfect for swimming, cricket, soccer, walks and riding. The most incredible sunsets. It does get windy in the afternoons but this place is magic and is only a $10 donation per night.

There is a drop toilet at the entrance to the beach and some man made shade structures that you might be lucky enough to grab, but we were happy enough to have our own space up the beach and use our own toilet and shower.

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