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Your Ultimate Guide to Camping at the Beach

September 25, 2015
Your Ultimate Guide to Camping at the Beach

If you’re looking for some of the best holiday locations, look no further than Australia’s coastal beaches. Camping near the beach offers you many choices, from relaxing on the warm sand to snorkeling or swimming in the ocean, you can plan your perfect getaway. To get started planning a holiday camping trip to the beach, you want to decide where to go and what to pack. It also helps to know how to set up camp. This guide should assist you with all that you need to know when planning a camping holiday at the beach.

Camping directly on the beach is not permitted in most places, but there are a few that allow it. In other areas, you want to find a camping spot near the beach, so you can be close enough to enjoy your favourite beach activities.

Let’s take a look at some good camping locations that allow you quick access to local beaches.

Beach Camping in Queensland

Queensland is the second largest state in Australia. It’s bordered by the Coral Sea and the Pacific Ocean to the east. QLD offers some secluded areas where you can camp and not see another campsite for miles. It’s a great site to catch a glimpse of humpback whales and dolphins.

Fraser Island

Fraser Island is off the coast of Hervey Bay and offers both formal and informal camping areas year round. Formal campsites provide toilets, taps, sinks and gas barbecues. Formal campsites on Fraser Island include:

  • Waddy Point Beach Front

  • Waddy Point Top

  • Central Station

  • Dundubara

Informal camping sites are marked and located behind the dunes. Permits are required for both formal and informal camping.

Getting to Fraser Island requires a barge ride if you plan to take a vehicle. You must have a permit and a 4WD vehicle, and you should know how to drive safely in sand.

Beaches near Fraser Island with holiday parks include:

  • Hervey Bay has Palms Caravan Park and Harbour View Caravan Park nearby.

  • Airlie Beach has Airlie Cove Resort and Van Park and Island Gateway Holiday Park.

  • Rainbow Beach is near Rainbow Beach Holiday Village and Rainbow Water Holiday Park.

Moreton Island

If you want to camp right on the beach, consider setting up camp on Moreton Island. If you have the appropriate camping permit, you can hop on a ferry along with your 4WD vehicle and camp in this secluded area. Here you can enjoy scuba diving, snorkeling and fishing and then relax and watch a beautiful evening sunset. You can also explore sunken vessels along the shoreline, as well as the area’s wildlife.

See also: Scott Ivey lists Moreton Island as one of his favourite destinations for camping in Australia

Beach Camping in Western Australia

If you’re looking for adventure during your holiday and you love snorkeling, Cape Leveque Dampier Peninsula is a great choice. This area has 26 campsites — both powered and unpowered, and some with wood barbecues. You’ll need a 4WD vehicle to get around the area. It’s also a great place for camping trailers.

If you’re aiming to be as close to the beach as possible, check out some of these holiday parks:

  • Francois Peron beaches has Shark Bay Caravan Park, Blue Dolphin Holiday Park and Holiday Village nearby.

  • Cable Beach is close to Cable Beach Caravan Park and Broome Vacation Village.

  • Yallingup Beaches are near Caves Caravan Park and Yallingup Beach Holiday Park.

It’s best to plan a beach camping trip to Western Australia in the winter because floods are common with the summer rains.

Beach Camping in Victoria

Looking for a holiday where you can fish, enjoy fun beachy activities, and then relax by the ocean after a long day? Then consider The Ship Wreck Coast. You can also enjoy the beautiful scenery travelling along the Great Ocean Road.

You can find both powered and unpowered camping sites at the tourist park in Peterborough. It’s a well-protected area near the Curdies River inlet — a great place for swimming, diving, fishing, surfing and sail boating.

A couple of can’t-miss beaches lie along this area and offer camp sites:

  • Lorne Beaches is in close proximity to Cumberland River Holiday Park.

  • Apollo Bay is near Apollo Bay Recreation Reserve and Marengo Holiday Park.

As you decide when to plan your holiday, keep in mind that summers in this area are dry and hot, and winters are windy and wet.

See also: Cristie's guide to the best places to camp in VIC and Tassie with kids

Beach Camping in Tasmania

Bunny Island, which is actually two islands connected by an isthmus, has several campgrounds available. You’ll need to take a ferry ride if you plan to bring a vehicle.

You can camp at Jetty Beach in South Bruny National Park for fee, but the sites have no facilities with the exception of pit toilets.

You could instead set up camp at the Bush Camp at Duck Pond Reserve. This camping area has no facilities, so you’ll need to bring your own food, water, fuel and other essential gear, such as a first aid kit.

Get closer to the beach with these nearby camping sites:

  • Coles Bay is close to BIG 4 Iluka on Freycinet.

  • Binalong Bay is close to both Hillcrest Tourist Park and Mini Market and BIG4 St Helens Caravan Park.

The best time to plan a holiday beach camping trip for Tasmania is in November through to early March.

See also: Why not check out Freycinet Kayaking Adventures while you are in Tassie

Beach Camping in New South Wales

New South Wales is located on the East Coast of Australia. The beaches located along this coast are ideal for fishing, surfing, swimming and boating.

Yuraygir National Park is an ideal location if you’re planning to surf, canoe or simply enjoy the walking trails. You can choose from nine campgrounds.

You can also choose to camp near these beaches:

  • Jervis Bay Beaches is close to Jervis Bay Caravan Park, and Jervis Bay Cabins and Camping and Hidden Creek Real Camping.

  • Byron Bay Beaches is close to Byron Bay Tourist Village, Belongil Fields Conference & Holiday Centre and Glen Villa Resorts.

  • Kiama Beaches is near Surf Beach Holiday Park and Kendalls on the Beach Holiday Park.

Plan a beach camping trip to NSW any time of year.

Beach Camping Necessities

After you determine the location of your beach camping holiday, it’s time to decide what to bring. Whether you’re roughing it at a campsite that offers no facilities or staying at a formal campground, you’ll need the same type of beach camping gear. You also need to know how to set up your campsite.

Here’s a beach camping checklist to help make sure you don’t forget the necessities.


You should make a checklist of items to bring, so you don’t forget anything. The best way to make a list is to break it down into different categories, such as camping, cooking, bedding, personal, recreation and miscellaneous.

Camping Items

Camping items you don’t want to forget include:

After the tent is up, you’ll need certain comfort items:

You’ll need to bring certain bedding with you to get a good night’s sleep outdoors:

Cooking Gear

Cooking outdoors is different than cooking at home, so don’t forget any of the following important items for meal preparation and cleanup:

Personal Items

You should also pack personal items for you and your family:


Depending on where you stay, you might be able to participate in fun beach-related activities, like snorkeling, surfing, swimming, sea fishing, sea kayaking, canoeing and hiking. Bring recreational necessities, so you can enjoy all that the beach has to offer:


Any other random items you might need vary depending on your situation, but here are a few essentials to consider:

See also: St John Ambulance offers advice for handling common outdoor injuries


Whether camping in a secluded area or a popular camp ground, properly setting up camp near the beach is essential to thoroughly enjoy your holiday.

Water Source

Water is essential when camping. When beach camping, you won’t always camp near the ocean, but instead near rivers or streams. If you plan to gather water for your campsite, choose a location with a water source nearby.

Shelter Location

Start by deciding where to set up your campsite. You want to set your tent or caravan on high ground above high tide and away from the dunes. Try to choose a spot where you can set up your tent in the sand and still have shade from nearby vegetation.

Here are some other things to consider:

  • Are there a lot of animal tracks in the area? If so, you may want to choose a different location with less animal traffic.

  • How’s the view? Keep in mind this area is your home away from home, so choose a place with a relaxing or enjoyable view.

Setting up the tent begins with preparing your camp area. Here are a few tips:

  • Clear away pebbles or rocks in your camp area. Even small pebbles can make sleeping in a tent uncomfortable.

  • Lay a tarp on the ground where you plan to set up your tent. This keeps you dry if it rains and helps keep sand out of your tent.

  • Consider a second tarp. For extra protection in case of rain and to keep sand out, place a second tarp on the inside floor of your tent.

  • Find your bathroom area. If you’re staying at a formal campground, find the facilities. If you’re staying at an informal campsite, find an area at least 100 metres away from your campsite to avoid contamination. Make sure you properly dispose of toilet tissue.

  • Make a clothesline. Use the string you brought for a clothesline and string it across two trees. If you can, put it in the sun to dry wet clothes and towels after a day at the beach.

Campfire Location

It’s too dangerous to cook in your tent, set up a designated cooking area to build your fire. The ideal area for a campfire is flat — and not close to vegetation or brush that may catch on fire.

Set up your seating near the fire for relaxing at night. Place lanterns near your sitting area and make sure you have flashlights in the tent.

See also: Scott Ivey lists the top five common camping mistakes he sees people making on his adventures

Rubbish Collection

You should leave your campsite free of debris, so collect all your rubbish into one container or bag and place in an area away from your tent and out of reach of animals.

Other Tips

Carefully plan your beach holiday if you want to get the most out of your holiday. Here are some more beach camping tips to consider when planning your holiday:

  • Before choosing a beach camping location, find out if reservations are required in advance.

  • Ask about pets — some areas are pet friendly and some are not.

  • Is there a curfew for noise?

  • Are you allowed to bring a generator?

  • What fees are there, if any, for adults and children to stay?

  • Are there any special requirements needed to get to your camping location, such as ride on a ferry or barge?

People love beach camping for many reasons. Whether you want to get away to the beach to relax, to enjoy all the recreational activities, or both, you can make your trip more fun and enjoyable with the proper planning.

Beach camping is fun and offers you and your family a broad range of activities. There is something for everyone. With careful planning, you can enjoy a memorable holiday.

Make sure to explore all of your options when choosing a beach camping location. Find the one that is right for your holiday plans. Proper planning and taking the time to carefully set up your campsite goes a long way in helping you enjoy your time near the beach. Once you’re finished setting up camp at the beach, all that’s left to do is enjoy the water and beach activities.

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