Australia has long distances between sights, a lack of hostels in smaller towns, and a beautiful natural environment. Therefore, a camping road trip is potentially the best way to explore Australia. Haven’t done that before? These are some tips for camping in Australia.
MOBILE PHONE TIPS
In Australia, there are long stretches of areas without good mobile coverage. However, your phone can still be one of the most useful pieces of camping equipment. So, we have a separate section for tips for using your phone while camping in Australia.
1. Download your favourite maps app offline (and potentially buy an old school map book).
In Australia there are long stretches of areas without good mobile coverage. It’s not the worst thing to do a digital detox, however, you’ll still need to figure out how to get places! Many maps apps allow you to download the maps offline. As long as you’ve downloaded maps, using your GPS as a navigator is at least as good as using a ‘real GPS’.
If you want to buy a physical map book we can recommend Camps 50. This includes not only road maps, but also the locations of different free and low-cost camps in Australia.
2. Download the Wikicamps App.
It’s a mobile app you’ll have to pay a small fee for, but it will save you lots of money. The Wiki Camps app has the most comprehensive list and GPS location of both free and pay camps. However, it also includes a useful search function for many other points of interest. These could include showers, water refill points, tourist attractions and public BBQs you can use. There is a small fee to pay, but you can get free access with a 14-day trial. Android, Apple
There are alternative apps like Campermate (which is free) but in our opinion Wikicamps currently offers much more information and is essential for a camping road trip in Australia.
3. The provider ‘’Telstra’’ is often more reliable in country/rural areas than other providers
However, if you are travelling with someone else it would be a good idea for them to use something that operates under another network such as ‘’Optus”. Telstra has more coverage generally, but there are some places in Australia where Telstra won’t work, but Optus will. For example, as part of the Federal government’s mobile black spot program Optus reception has been introduced to limited places along the Gibb River Road (Darwin to Broome trip) to improve mobile coverage in remote and rural areas.
GENERAL TIPS FOR CAMPING IN AUSTRALIA
1. Bring Water
Australia’s weather can be harsh and unforgiving. Temperatures can often be more than 40C in many parts of the country in summer. Therefore you need to make sure you always have enough water for drinking and cooking for a few days. You can buy a water tank of anywhere between 5-25L that you can easily refill at petrol stations and campsites around Australia. Don’t forget a personal water bottle as well for your hikes – in addition to a water tank.
2. Use a decent mattress
A camping mattress won’t be as comfortable as your bed at home… but a yoga mat is not the answer! That’s unless you are happy to be cold, sleep badly and be sore the next day to save a few dollars. We recommend either getting a self-inflating foam mattress (2nd option) or an inflatable air mattress.
To be honest we think the self-inflating foam mattresses are better. They will protect you from the cold on the ground and last much longer than an inflatable air mattress. However, they do cost a little bit more. On the other hand, you might find an air mattress cheaper and potentially more cushioned. However, it is not likely to last very long and it will provide little protection from the cold.
3. Don’t drive at night
Or do so at your own risk… After the sun sets animals start to move around a lot more and the chance of hitting one is much higher. Many cars have been damaged by kangaroos. This is an extremely important tip while travelling and camping throughout Australia.
The other thing is, if you do see an animal on the road it is much safer to hit it than to swerve. As swerving might mean rolling your car. I know it is pretty horrible… sorry roo.
4. Follow the sun!
Australia is so big it’s always the perfect time to visit somewhere! Generally speaking, if you head too far North in summer you’ll be quite uncomfortable. This is because more Northern regions like Darwin, Broome and Cairns have ‘wet seasons’. Which means the weather would be hot, humid and stormy. However, summer is the perfect time to be somewhere in the South, such as South West WA or Tasmania. Likewise, when it’s too cold in the South in winter, it’s dry and pleasantly warm in the North where you can find Broome and Cairns.
Share Bus organises ‘shared rental’ camping trips for backpackers! The start and end date are set, but the adventure in between is not. Up to 12 backpackers can share the rental of a minibus, trailer and camping equipment. It’s super flexible/self-guided, affordable, you get everything you need for camping road trip, as well as a nice group of travel mates.
Did we miss any tips for camping in Australia? Let us know, and if we agree we’ll add it on!