Australia and New Zealand are two countries known for their striking unspoiled landscapes and pristine natural wildernesses. Plan a camping trip in either and you’ll be guaranteed of some seriously spectacular scenery. From the world’s whitest beaches to gigantic sand islands, here are 10 of the most beautiful places to camp in Australia and New Zealand…
Booderee National Park, Jervis Bay, NSW
Known for being an area of outstanding natural beauty, Booderee National Park is only a two-hour drive from Sydney. The sheltered position of Jervis Bay makes the seawater unbelievably clear but it’s most famous for being home to the most blinding-white sand beaches in the world. The area has three (un-powered) camping grounds to choose from – Green Patch, Bristol Point and Cave Beach and if you time your visit in June or July you might catch a glimpse of migrating humpback whales making their way to the warmer waters of Queensland.
Fraser Island, Queensland
There’s nothing quite like camping on the world’s largest sand island. This World Heritage site, located off Australia’s East Coast, is known for its unusual natural landscapes, sculpted by wind and strong sea currents. The scenery is completely unspoiled and beautifully surreal, consisting of lush rain-forests, sprawling peat swamps, huge colourful dunes and crystal clear ‘window’ lakes complete with tiny freshwater turtles. Hire a 4×4, get a camping permit and then wake up next to a dingo on a wild windswept beach.
Karijini National Park, Western Australia
Karijini National Park is one of the largest – and arguably most beautiful – national parks in Australia. Home to red craggy landscapes, gushing waterfalls, marbled rock tunnels, gorgeous gorges, native wildlife and some of the most ancient rock formations on the planet, this is a place that’s been two billion years in the making. Here you can camp under the stars, outback-style or enjoy rustic luxury in an on-site eco-retreat. To combine a city and country trip, hire a Campervan in Perth and then take the highway upwards.
Hook Island, Queensland
This tiny but beautiful island is almost uninhabited, so makes a great option for those looking to really avoid the tourist hoards. Almost entirely contained in the famously beautiful Whitsunday Islands National Park, the island is known for its pristine azure waters, gorgeous white sands and sub-tropical Queensland climate. There are a number of National Park camping grounds to choose from, and although basic, they all offer some pretty spectacular scenery.
Cradle Mountain, Tasmania
Although you’ll have to venture a little farther from the tourist trail, the vast uninhabited landscapes of Tasmania make this isolated island an excellent option for nature lovers. Once there head for Cradle Mountain in Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, one of the most beautiful places in Tasmania. It’s a serene spot with a rugged mountain range, glacial lakes lined with ancient pine trees and resident wildlife which includes platypus, wallabies and wombats. There are a number of camping options available including tents, caravans and cabins, all based within the National Park itself.
Ahuriri Valley, Ahuriri Conservation Park
This is a great place to try Freedom Camping in New Zealand. South Island’s Ahuriri Conservation Park is a huge, rugged wilderness with plenty of opportunities to explore from your base camp. There are many camping areas in the park, and for the more experienced adventurers, a selection of basic huts to trek between. Walking and mountain biking are popular, as well as horse riding, fishing, and climbing. The park’s wetlands are home to some endangered species of bird, and marked tracks mean you can explore without the need of a car.
Tawharanui Regional Park
Just an 80-minute drive north of Auckland, Tawharanui is set on a peninsular jutting out into the Pacific Ocean. A popular camping spot, the park is home to a wide array of flora and fauna, and boasts gorgeous sandy beaches. Swimming and surfing are very popular here, as are walking and biking on the park’s many trails. Book early and head to the East Campground for a larger choice of spots to pitch your tent before heading to Anchor Bay to swim, or walk the Ecology Trail – a 3km loop taking in parkland and bush. Tawharanui is near enough to Auckland for a day-trip and large enough to wander in relative isolation.
Anaura Bay Motor Camp
East Cape, in the northeast of North Island is home to the Anaura Bay Scenic Reserve – a beautiful area with forests and sandy beach – and one of Captain Cook’s landing points in 1769. Camping here is relatively basic, but there are showers and a small shop, and with views to die for, you’ll be glad you pitched here. There are trails to explore, and that gorgeous beach for a spot of swimming and sunbathing.
Glendhu Bay Motor Camp
Set on the shores of Lake Wanaka in a glacier-carved valley, Glendhu Bay Motor Camp benefits from incredible scenery and surrounding mountainous countryside. The facilities include showers and a communal kitchen, and the lake provides plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities. Try jet skiing, power boating and canoeing, or head to the nearby town of Wanaka for a chance to try skydiving, go-kart racing and in the winter, heliskiing.
Milford Sound Lodge
Milford Sound is 300km from Queenstown and is one of New Zealand’s most visited areas – a jewel in South Island’s crown. Effortlessly scenic at every turn, Milford is worth seeing, and staying for as long as you can. The Milford Sound Lodge offers tent sites, dorm-style rooms with bed and breakfast, and for those wanting a touch of luxury, riverside chalets, complete with wi-fi, flat screen tv and a super king-size bed. Kayaking, diving, walking and even scenic helicopter tours are available here, and with rain on 180 days a year, be sure to make the most of any dry weather!