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Best Winter Camping: Outdorians share their fave destinations

June 01, 2018
Best Winter Camping: Outdorians share their fave destinations

We’re pretty blessed in Australia when it comes to winter camping. Even if you’re not psyched about pitting yourself against the blustery, blizzardy delights in your southern state, the swimmer-friendly temperatures further north are just a road trip away. Whether you make a break for the backcountry while the insects are few and fire bans lifted, or prefer to find respite where the sun still shines, there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy the cold snap on your own terms – or avoid it completely.

Keen to unearth some more secrets of this huge, climatically-varied country of ours, we asked the travellers in our Outdorian community, as well as the crew here at Base Camp: where do you love to camp in winter? And we’ve gotta say, our weekends over the next few months just filled up pretty fast.


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Our Designer sends his apologies for having no photographic evidence of the fire pit’s awesome swivelling table. Please try to enjoy these average views of Kanangra Walls instead.



Kanangra-Boyd National Park, NSW

– Zik, Designer & Birder at Outdoria

The Boyd River campground is a quiet spot where you can camp surrounded by tall snow gums. In winter you won’t have to fight for a spot; other campers are pretty spread out and you’ll have a lot of space to yourself. We were able to pitch three tents comfortably around the fire pit, which even featured a swivelling metal table for cooking. Wildlife, such as wallabies and possums, can be easily spotted around the campsite . The start of the hiking route to the Kanangra Walls is only a few minutes drive from the campsite and boasts a spectacular view of the area’s cliffs and Eucalyptus forests.


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If you’re even remotely afraid of heights, you might consider exploring the Eyre in winter while there’s no-one else around to see you cry.


Eyre Peninsula, SA

– Laura, Champion the Wonder

If you’re a fan of unspoilt natural landscapes and don’t mind watching your breath fog around a campfire on crispy cold evenings, the Eyre Peninsula in wintertime might just be your bag. The most western of South Australia’s peninsulas, the Eyre boasts some of the best free-camping around. Here, more than any other area we’ve visited, we felt alive and buzzing on the raw forces of nature. With nothing much between campsites and Antarctica but thousands of kilometres of ocean, it’s not for the faint-hearted, but it is a camping experience that will stay with you always.


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Waterfalls are generally more impressive with, well, water. Just one of the reasons why we’re all about braving the Grampians in winter.


The Grampians, Vic

- Pete, Annie, Liam & Mia, Four Hands in a Tin Can

Camping right on the edge of the Grampians in winter – with awesome sunset views and access to great 4WD tracks – allowed us to explore everything the region has to offer without the searing heat of summer and the associated flies. We had the luxury of experiencing the Beehive Falls with running water, we explored MacKenzie Falls and the surrounding walks in comfort, and we even picnicked at Lake Belfield. Some nights were very cold, but nothing a campfire and our van’s trusty diesel heater couldn’t handle!


Pilliga Scrub, NSW

- Pete, Annie, Liam & Mia, Four Hands in a Tin Can

Situated in north-central NSW, the Pilliga region has everything from hot natural bore water, to salt caves and even a ghost known as the Pilliga Princess who allegedly haunts truckies at night. We camped at the Pilliga Bore, which provides little more than a couple of flushing toilets and a cold shower, but is where you’ll find glorious hot artesian bore water to soak in. You’ll often find other campers joining each other for an afternoon happy hour around one of the many campfires, and wood is sold on site for those who run short after deciding to extend their stay. The nearby town of Coonamble is also worth a look-in for the water tower painted by the talented John Murray.


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Outdoria's Content Editor swears by taking beach holidays in July. Wouldn’t have anything to do with the fishing, would it?



Bundjalung National Park, NSW

– Jacob, Scribe’s Captain at Outdoria

Bundjalung National Park sits just north of Yamba on the NSW coast. We love it in winter because it's still warm enough to swim* and for the kids to play and explore the area's many sheltered rock pools. There are several spots that provide beach-side camping with open fires so it's easy to warm up after a day on the sand.

The fishing is awesome with a range of options including surf, estuary and cliff. And the temperate rainforest that backs on to the beach in many places is great for walks and general exploring. Yamba is a nice little town to visit if you're craving a brief return to the civilised world and has a heap of cafes as well as some good surf breaks.

*Disclaimer: we're southerners


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While most nomad’s flock north for winter, Laura and Jono prefer to stay put – and claim places like this all to themselves.


Albany, WA

– Jono, Champion the Wonder

Camp here in wintertime to escape the crowds, enjoy beautiful beaches without another human in sight, and witness whales migrating. The oldest colonial settlement in Western Australia, Albany is also a place that takes you back in time. The area has so much to offer and acts as a gateway to amazing nearby destinations including the Stirling Ranges, the towering karri forests, and West Cape Howe National Park to name a few. You can find a decent burger, too.


Innot Hot Springs, Qld

– Eleonore, Data Wizard at Outdoria

I remember getting to the park at sunset. Even though it was winter it was pretty hot and I was very tired from driving. The campsite was quiet and the hot pools were nothing but lovely. After driving more than two hours from Cairns it was honestly a blessing to relax in the springs and be pretty much by myself for a late night soak. The range of natural heated pools with different temperature levels both inside and outside is unique, and even though I have travelled a lot in Australia, I have never seen this anywhere else!


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While awesome in its own right, camping lakeside at Jindabyne is a means to an end for the snow-obsessed.


Jindabyne & Kosciuszko National Park, NSW

– Suzanne, Word Genie at Outdoria

Powderhounds with ears pricked for the sound of snowmageddon make Jindabyne no place for avoiding crowds in winter. But if your snow obsession is half as unhealthy as ours, you won’t care. Situated only 30 minutes from Perisher and Thredbo ski resorts, we’re big fans of camping lakeside at the holiday park or free-ranging in the national park not only because it gives you the freedom to drop weekend plans at a moment’s notice to chase unexpected dumps, but to do it without bleeding your pockets dry. Just remember to pack a -15 sleeping bag and lots of warm, fuzzy thoughts!


The Great Ocean Road, Vic

- Pete, Annie, Liam & Mia, Four Hands in a Tin Can

The best thing about exploring the Great Ocean Road in winter was the lack of crowds. We often had campgrounds to ourselves, and we could explore sights like the Apostles in relative peace – there was no-one jostling to get a view or to take the perfect picture. Every town along the way has something different to offer, from the Great Ocean Road Chocolatier – where the kids got a masterclass in chocolate making – to Bells Beach, Cape Bridgewater and Portland, and travelling here in winter allows you to take advantage of some great winter specials on offer at the caravan parks.


A special shout out to the legends at Champion the Wonder and Four Hands in a Tin Can for their submissions!


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