My husband and I love to visit new places with our camper, and the kids just love venturing out of their comfort zones to explore them as well. Over the past 15 or so years, we have seen a fair amount of Australia, and have found some little gems of places to camp. Of course I’m not going to tell you ALL of our special places (and to be honest, we probably couldn’t find them on a map again if we tried), but here are a few of our favourite places from Victoria and Tassie – along with some from our bucket list – that you can easily access.
Most require camping in caravan parks or similar, unless stated otherwise.
Ok, we live in this sunny-sometimes / pouring-rain-other-times state, so we have seen a fair amount of it and know a few hidden gems. Some are kid friendly, others not so much. Here are my top five places to visit in the state.
Beautiful beaches, stunning coastline, wildlife that is usually friendly, coastal bushland - this place has it all. We have lost count of the amount of times we have been here, and the kids just love camping there. We try to go off-season to avoid the crowds, but even weekends in winter can be busy. There are many bushwalking tracks available to explore, from 15 minute walks to multi-day hikes (Refuge Cove is my favourite place in the world!) There is a small playground for the kids, but with nature at its very best, they probably won’t even want to play on it (big statement, I know). Surfing is popular, and for the younger kids, a swim in the shallow and warmer Tidal River is a must. Canoeing is allowed in the deeper rivers around the Prom, too. A ballot system is in place for camping on Easter and Christmas holidays.
This is where the Snowy River meets the ocean. Coastal environments and lovely rivers for fishing make this place great for the whole family. It is a very small hamlet, and over Christmas and Easter it is usually booked out so get in quickly (or go the week after, and it will be back to its quiet self). Water skiing and surfing at nearby Cape Conran is very popular. For those of you who have large boats, ocean fishing is extremely popular and the ramp at Conran is usually safe. The estuary at Marlo is quiet and shallow, perfect for swimming on a hot summers day.
Close to Melbourne (about a two-hour drive on a good day), this place has a lot of beaches to entertain the young and old. Smiths Beach and Cape Woolamai are patrolled over the summer months, however I wouldn’t suggest the latter for anyone except competent adult surfers.
“The Island” is known for its Penguin Parade, and it is well worth a night out to see these Little Penguins coming into shore. The kids will love it, too! Cowes is a great place to base yourself, although I prefer the quieter atmosphere of Newhaven for my family (the beach at Newhaven is lovely for younger kids).
In the North East of Victoria is a little town called Bright, and we think it is one of Victoria’s most understated gems. Close-ish to Mt Hotham and Falls Creek, it’s a great jumping off place for skiing in Winter, but we love this place in Summer for the kids. It has an awesome playground, the likes of which I have never seen, and a water park (free) attached to the adjoining river, which also has Lifeguards on duty at certain times. Bike riding, paragliding (ok, not really a kid-friendly feature, but one worth mentioning), horse-riding, hiking, 4 wheel driving…the outdoor experiences are endless. And the brewery makes a wicked Parma….. enough said.
There are literally thousands of potential free campsites along the Murray River. We tend to camp near Torumbarry, which is about 20km West of Echuca, making it easy to nick into town to collect supplies when needed. Take care though – the river is very deep and usually fast flowing with snags underneath the murky waters. Care needs to be taken with younger children. We haven’t taken our kids there to camp, as I believe it is too dangerous for them yet. Our dog used to love it there, though…
Just superb for the family. Gorgeous beaches and hiking trails make this area fun. A hike up to the lookout toward Wineglass Bay is a must for older children (it may be a bit too steep or slippery for really young kids). Fantastic place for canoeing too!
Stanley and the Nut
Such a picturesque place to visit, the nut is a stand of rock amid the ocean. A quiet hamlet, and one you should definitely visit.
This place has many easy walks for children of all ages, and is the start of the famous “Overland Track”. The caravan park here is amazing, and has a huge covered bbq area for colder days. Wildlife is abundant and even includes Tassie Devils!
Lake St Clair
Go to this place if you want quiet and serenity. A very small park to camp in, but if you are up for some adventure, walk out to Pine Valley (a full day of hiking) for an overnight stay amongst the wild, untamed bush. It’s a place you will never forget!
Be sure to check out Cristie's top camping spots in VIC and Tassie, Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory!