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The 5 Best Camping Sites in South Australia

The 5 Best Camping Sites in South Australia

South Australia is a haven for natural outdoor beauty that you can immerse yourself in. The views, the quiet, the sense of being at one with nature; all these elements are offered in abundance at South Australia’s many camping sites. Whether you’re setting up camp in a forest, a rocky mountain or the white sandy beaches, you’ll always find something to do in the beautiful outdoors. Light a campfire, gaze at the starry night sky and let the serenity wash over you as you take in nature. That is the beauty of camping. 

Today, we’re looking at some of the best campsites you can find in South Australia. Amongst inhospitable desert country in the north, a stunning coastline, or white beaches, these are some of the must-camp areas in this beautiful state. 

Before you continue, check out our store for the best camping and hiking gear and accessories for your next trip!

 

1. Cable Bay Campground, Innes National Park

    Image from: National Parks South Australia

     

    If you love outdoor adventures that have access to a beachfront camping site, then Cable Bay Campground, located within the beautiful Innes National Park is the place for you. Frequently mentioned as one of South Australia’s most beautiful campsites, this camping spot is great for fishing, swimming, snorkelling, canoeing, and hiking along with the beautiful limestone cliffs and bushland. 

    Innes National Park is located about 3 and a half hours away from Adelaide, and is relatively easy to reach. At Innes National Park, bushwalking is a great way to discover everything, with walking trails ranging from 30-minute strolls to four-hour treks. You’ll spot an abundance of birds and animals while you catch some of the best coastal views in South Australia.

    The campgrounds offer toilets, wood barbeques and firepits. This is wilderness camping at its best, so don’t forget to pack your tent. You will have to get your own drinking water and your own firewood though, and since it’s mostly in the wilderness, you will have to make sure that you take all your rubbish with you when leaving. 

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    2. Deep Creek Conservation Park

    Image from: National Parks South Australia

    Deep Creek Conservation Park is located within the rolling valleys and breathtaking coastal views of the Fleurieu Peninsula. In fact, this is the largest remaining portion of natural vegetation and is home to some of Australia’s widest array of native wildlife. Located just 100km from Adelaide, the Deep Creek Conservation Park is a perfect destination for your weekend camping trip.

    The walking trails are a big draw for those who love hiking. There are 15 walking trails in the park, which provide spectacular scenery of Backstairs Passage, Kangaroo Island and the rugged Deep Creek Valley. There are several levels of walking trails, ranging from easy to difficult; perfect for all ages and abilities. One of the more popular walking trails includes sections of the famous Heysen Trail too!

    There are a variety of facilities available within the park. Toilets, water and fire pits are available at all campgrounds, except for Eagle Waterhole. We would recommend Stringybark campgrounds, because of the additional inclusion of hot water showers and picnic tables. However, if you’re in for an adventure, you can consider the Eagle Waterhole campground, which is a 'hike-in' only campground situated on the Heysen trail. This campground is very basic, and wood fires are not allowed. 

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    3. Witjira National Park

     

    Image from: National Parks South Australia

     

    Going out further than you would normally consider, you will find the Witjira National Park on the fringes of South Australia. This is essentially the Australian outback experience, with the vast sandy dunes and desert plains a sight for sore eyes. The main attraction is the Dalhousie Springs, a National Heritage-listed site used by Aboriginal people for thousands of years as a source of food, shelter and medicine. However, visitors can rinse off the red sandy dust by soaking in Australia’s largest thermal artesian springs.

    There are two easy walks at Dalhousie Springs - one around the main spring and the other out to Kingfisher Springs. You can also stroll around the Purni Bore wetland. We recommend the Balcanoona Creek Hike, a 6km hike which brings you through the Balcanoona Range to the Weetootla Gorge and its network of hikes for a real adventure. 

    There are three available campgrounds available in the National Park; the Dalhousie Springs Campground, the Purni Bore campground and the3 O'clock Creek campground. In terms of facilities, all three campgrounds have basic facilities like toilets and cold shower facilities. Hot showers, toilets and shade shelter are available and. Drinking water is available from the bore at 3 O'clock Creek campground, which is the last place to fill up on drinking water before you cross the desert. Do note that campsites for Dalhousie Springs and 3 O'clock Creek campgrounds need to be booked prior to arrival.

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    4. Chookarloo Campgrounds, Kuitpo Forest

    Image from: Forestry South Australia

    If you’re after a camping trip in the serene and peaceful forest, you should explore Kuitpo Forest. With over 3,600 hectares of plantation and native bushland, this is the perfect place to enjoy a eucalyptus woodland. Kuitpo Forest is less than an hour's drive from Adelaide on the Fleurieu Peninsula, which means it is perfect for a day trip, or even just a weekend away. Plus, the forest is even more magically during winter, as you discover the amazing wildlife as you stroll under dense canopies. Nothing feels better than snuggling up by the campfire, toasting marshmallows and falling asleep underneath the stars. 

    We recommend the Chookarloo Campgrounds, which has a high conservation and biodiversity value. It features 23 designated camping sites, with toilets, fire pits and picnic tables available. Rainwater is available for cleaning and washing, but you should bring your own drinking water. The campgrounds are also a perfect base for hikers looking to challenge the Heysen and Chookarloo walking trails.

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    5. Lincoln National Park

      Image from: National Parks South Australia

      Lincoln National Park may be a ways off from Adelaide, but if you’re really looking for a beautiful camping trip, then this is the spot. Lincoln National Park overlooks Boston Bay, the largest natural harbour in Australia, with granite headlands, sheltered bays and scenic offshore islands. On the southern side of the park are the massive, wind-sculpted sand dunes of the Sleaford-Wanna dune system and the pounding surf of the Southern Ocean. It is also where the Memory Cove Wilderness Protection Area, a secluded bay with pure white sandy beaches, is located. Memory Cove is a perfect spot for a one day adventure, and you will not regret it, as you are able to see a true haven for native wildlife and seabirds. 

      There is an extensive network of walking trails in Lincoln National Park that will take you through native scrubs and woodlands. We recommend you try the walking trail from Fisherman Point to Cape Donington, where you will be able to see panoramic views of Port Lincoln and Boston Bay.

      The campgrounds in Lincoln National Park have easy access to beaches, bays and walking trails, making them an ideal base to explore the parks’ natural features. There is a campground for all campers, with relatively well-developed campsites with toilets and fire pits available. We recommend you choose the Fisherman Point campground, as it is a well-sheltered campsite off the Spalding Cove with access to much of the park’s features. However, you may have to book your campsite in advance due to limited space available. 

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      So what are you waiting for? The best way to explore the natural beauty of South Australia is with a weekend long camp. South Australia’s national parks go above and beyond when it comes to nature escapes. Trust us when we tell you that this stunning state offers endless spots to pitch a tent and sleep under the stars. 

      It’s time to go camping!

      What did you think about our article? We’d love to hear from you. Share your thoughts in the comment section below! Take a look at our list of essential camping gear for 2020 to help you better plan out your next camping trip or check out our store for more camping gear!

      The south not doing it for you? Check out our list of the best campsites in Western Australia!

       

      Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

       

      1. I am looking for the best hiking trails in South Australia. Which one is it?

      While there are plenty of hiking trails that go through some of the campsites in our list, the Heysen Trail is the one we would recommend. 

      The 1,200km Heysen Trail is one of the world's great walking trails and the longest dedicated walking trail in Australia, starting at Cape Jervis and winds along the beaches and sea cliffs of the south coast before passing over rolling hills and rural landscapes of the Fleurieu Peninsula and Mt Lofty Ranges. The trail continues on over to the rugged peaks and valleys of the Flinders Ranges as it heads to Parachilna Gorge where it ends. 

      While you won’t be able to walk through the entire trail in one weekend, some of the campsites that we have featured do have smaller trails which lead in to the Heysen Trail, so you can get a feel for it. 

       

      2. Do I need to pay anything for camping in South Australia?

      Yes, if you’re camping in the state’s National Parks, you will have to pay an entry fee for your Parks Pass. This pass remains valid until you leave the park. Some campsites are free, but there are some campgrounds that require you to pay a minimal booking fee to rent your campsite. You can check all these information at the National Parks and Wildlife Service South Australia website.

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