Sleeping under the stars, cooking on an open fire, enjoying some fresh air – these are all the things we look forward to most during our camping trips with friends and family. Camping has always been a popular holiday activity in Australia, and is growing in popularity still. With over 500 national parks in Australia, many of which have designated camping grounds, it can be hard to choose where to go next. If you’re planning your next camping trip to take off or pass through South Australia, it’s handy to know about the different camping options available, and even better – the penny free ones!
Australia is a beautiful and diverse country with campsites in all sorts of habitats; rainforests, beaches, lakes, bushland, mountain ranges and so much more. It can be hard to decide on a spot to camp when you’re so spoilt for choice. South Australia is home to vast coastlines, incredible wildlife and acres upon acres of Australian Outback. It’s the perfect state to go if you love scenic views and spending time in nature. So, for people who resonate with the relaxed, scenic vibes that South Australia has to offer, here is our list of the top 5 free camping sites in South Australia:
1. Flinders Ranges
Flinders Ranges is located 380km north of Adelaide and is home to the largest mountain ranges in South Australia. There is so much on offer for campers and visitors. Learn about Aboriginal art and culture at Ikara-Flinders Ranges, take your 4WD out for an adventure ride in Arkapena and Arden Hills, or simply enjoy the bustling wildlife on display across the region. Inside this vast region are a number of free camping sites, full of fun activities waiting to be enjoyed.
Here are a few of the top free camping spots in the ranges:
Chinamans Creek, Miranda
Chinamans Creek campground is located along Chinaman Rd in Miranda. This campsite is situated right on the water, with great opportunities for fishing and swimming with spectacular views of Flinders Ranges National Park just behind.There are drop toilets available, and designated areas to park your caravan and pitch your tents.
Hookina Ruins, Hawker
Enjoy the beautiful sights of the beautiful burnt red-orange mountains while the sun goes down at this caravan and camping friendly campground. Hookina ruins is a pet friendly site so feel free to bring your pet along, but don’t forget to also pack all your necessities as there are no toilets or bins available at this unpowered campsite. There is no phone service at this site, a great chance to disconnect for a few days.
Lawrie Park, Nelshaby
For another pet friendly spot to post up for a night, Lawrie campsite is another great option. Located a close 10km from Port Pirie, you’re able to reup on supplies close by. This campsite has everything you need for a great stay; drinking water, public toilets, BBQs, campfire sites, picnic areas and designated spaces to park your caravan.
2. Hancocks Lookout, Nectar Brook
Hancocks Lookout is a 250km drive north of Adelaide and 40km southeast of Port Augusta, offering a free spot for overnight camping and caravanning. This gem offers spectacular sunset views spanning across the top of Spencer Gulf with the Eyre peninsula shoreline in distant view. Bordering Mount Remarkable National Park, the grounds are surrounded by large gum trees that provide the perfect place to rest and enjoy a meal under the shade or at one of the picnic tables.
The campsite is pet friendly, so bring along your four-legged friend, and you will still receive mobile coverage so you can send beautiful pics to family and friends you’ve left back home. There are picnic tables and bins but no toilets or available drinking water, so make sure you pack everything you need. It’s only a short drive from Wilmington if you do need any supplies during your stay. Note that campfires are also not allowed at this site, so if you do plan on cooking, make sure to bring along your portable oven.
3. Coorong National Park, Coorong
Coorong National park is home to beautiful coastal saltwater lagoons stretching 140km. This campsite is great for families as there are so many fun outdoor activities to enjoy: boating, bird watching, kayaking, fishing, surfing, walking, 4wd driving and more. If you’re an avid bird watcher or photographer, you’ll love this spot too, for there are over 230 species of birds that annually migrate from Japan, Alaska, Siberia and China.
This free campsite has amenities including; toilet blocks, available drinking water, and a rubbish dump point.
4. Cable Bay Beach, Innes National Park
Innes National Park, located at the south-west tip of Yorke Peninsula, is vast and sprawling with spectacular beaches, rocky cliffs, and stunning views for beach and ocean lovers. There are so many fun outdoor activities to do under the sun including; kayaking, snorkelling, swimming, canoeing and more. Wildlife abounds in Innes National Park where you can enjoy 30-minute or 4-hour long bush walks to explore the flora and fauna.
The Cable Bay Reserve has nine campgrounds to choose from, with toilets available and direct beach access.
5. Talia Caves, Eyre Peninsula
Talia Caves campground is surrounded by beautiful ancient limestone rocks and scenic coast lines, don’t miss out on the opportunity to enjoy South Australia’s heritage landscape at this free camping spot. Rockfishing and cave exploring should be at the top of your to-do list at this site, along with exploring the natural blowholes and sandstone cliffs.
This site is accessible by 2WD and there is no maximum stay, so post up and enjoy for as long as you like. The campgrounds are unpowered so bring all your essentials and take note that it can get quite windy along the coast. If you’re planning to take a trip here, take a look at our range of heavy duty tent poles to keep your tent secure against strong winds.
It can be hard to find free campsites as you travel, so plan ahead with a few of the top picks on our list. You’ll enjoy every second of your trip at these Must-stay campsites in South Australia and even better, you’ll be doing it all for free. Have questions before taking off on your next adventure? Call our team here at Supex Products who are happy to help with all of your camping needs.
Planning a camping or caravanning holiday through Queensland? Take a look at our pick on the Top 5 Free Campsites in Queensland.