If there’s one thing I’ve learnt so far about travelling in a campervan, it’s that you’re never quite sure where you’ll be in a few day’s time. Despite this, having some beautiful destinations up your sleeve to stop at along the rambling journey is well worth a bit of forward planning. Below, I explore some of the recommended camping SA spots to add to any camping itinerary.
If you love spending time outdoors, then you’ll definitely want to check out some of the best paid and free camping spots in South Australia. From idyllic coastal locations to stunning national parks, there are plenty of beautiful places to pitch a tent, park a van, or pop the top of your camper and enjoy a few days away from it all.
Free Camping SA
There are plenty of free camping sites available throughout South Australia. Whether you’re looking for a remote location to get away from it all, or a more solo traveller-friendly spot close to amenities, there’s sure to be a free camping site that suits your needs.
Some of the most popular free campsites in SA include:
Explore the Flinders Ranges when you set up camp at the free campsite of the Parachilna Gorge. This bush camp is situated adjacent to the Heysen hiking trail’s northern trailhead and is perfect for stargazing and just enjoying the remoteness of the place – away from the hustle and bustle of the metropolis.
The site has no fire pits and drinking water, but it has non-potable water available at a nearby information shelter. However, you will need to bring your own portable toilet, as there are no toilets at the campsite.
You can explore the area for its abundant wildlife, but do be mindful of the Wheel Cactus that is prevalent in the area.
You can stay connected while camping in the Parachilna Gorge since there is mobile phone coverage in the area. To check mobile coverage with Telstra, visit their coverage map.
Talia Caves Campground
What may seem like a basic bush camp is not that ordinary after all. Set up camp at the Talia Caves Campground, which sits on the edge of lovely limestone cliffs.
To the south of this free camping area is Talia Beach, which is why you need to take extra caution as strong rips and large waves can be found here.
Make sure to bring your camera when exploring the area, especially since the ancient limestone caves look stunning.
The Talia Caves Campground is popular for rock fishing, but do be careful as it can be hazardous. Plus, the edges of the cliff can be crumbly.
For the amenities, there are no toilets and washing and drinking water in the area. This means that you need to be self-sufficient when staying here, bringing with you your personal needs, including picnic tables for your comfort and convenience.
Depending on your network provider, you can stay connected using 3G and 4G mobile phone coverage.
Terowie Railway Yard
If you want to experience something a little different or if you’re tired of the usual beach camping, then the Terowie Railway Yard is worth a visit.
The area is full of history that you could easily miss if not for history enthusiasts sharing local knowledge such as in this video below.
It’s one of the low-cost campsites in South Australia, where you can see and learn about the history of the railway that went through Terowie. It hasn’t been used since 1988, but you can still see some of the old buildings, which they have restored, as well as some of the tracks and the platform.
Though there are no water activities that you can do here, the place compensates with its large parking area where you can join the other camper trailers and big rigs.
During the day, you can take a walk and explore the main street to see what seems like an empty ghost town. At night, you can stay out and enjoy stargazing.
This free camping site has flushing toilets, but there is no water so make sure to bring enough for washing and drinking!
Paid Camping Spots in SA
If you want to camp in comfort, then there are also many paid camping sites that you can choose from. These usually have more amenities than the free ones, so if you’re looking for a place where you can enjoy some luxury while still being one with nature, then these are the places for you.
Explore Mount Lofty Ranges by camping at the Chookarloo Campground, located within the Kuitpo Forest Reserve.
Set amidst a natural Eucalypt woodland that features great amenities, it is a very popular campsite with a high biodiversity and conservation value. It is also located close to Adelaide, making it a great choice even for solo travellers who want to have a quick, last-minute getaway to a bush camp.
The site is very quiet and peaceful, especially at night when you can practically hear a pin drop by 9 o’clock in the evening. During the day, it’s a great place to admire the campsite’s abundant bird life and listen to the rustling of the leaves. Click here to view the campground map.
Amenities-wise, you’ll love the Chookarloo Campground with its fire pits, hybrid toilet system, picnic tables, walking tracks, and picnic area.
Phone reception in the area is good, with 3G and 4G connections. However, an internet connection is not available.
Vivonne Bay Camp Ground
Vivonne Bay Beach is definitely the most popular beach destination not just in SA but in all of Australia, and the Vivonne Bay Camp Ground is just a few steps away.
The camp is a fantastic spot for fishing (by jetty, beach, or boat), surfing, swimming, or even beach combing.
See it for yourself thanks to this video by fellow campers.
Located on Kangaroo Island, you will notice that the sands here are immaculately white while the waters are beautifully turquoise. Pitch your tent anywhere or close to the waters and feel how it is to be camping on Australia’s best beach.
The camp offers you comfort with its powered caravan parks, toilets, barbecue, sheltered picnic areas, walking tracks, and a playground.
While there is no internet coverage on the site, you can still stay connected via 3G and 4G phone coverage.
28 Mile Crossing Campground
Characterised by level grassed areas and other spots that are semi-sheltered by trees, it’s the perfect campground for camper trailers, caravans, and big rigs.
Take the walking trails to the beach that are adjacent to the campground and experience peace and tranquillity. And since it is located within the Coorong National Park, you can have access to a series of saltwater lagoons that are protected by the Younghusband Peninsula’s sand dunes.
Spend the day bird watching, fishing, kayaking, boating, and four-wheel driving. There are just so many things that you can do on this campsite.
And since it’s a paid camping ground, you can take advantage of its facilities that include flushing toilets and water. However, you are advised to bring your own potable water to ensure safety.
Long Point Campground
Still situated within the Coorong National Park, the Long Point Campground is close to the northern lagoons of the park. Though not one of the free campsites in SA, it is a great spot for caravans, motorhomes, and camper trailers. Even big rigs have enough space to maneuver.
You can sit at one of the picnic tables and take in the beautiful views of the water. However, if this is not enough, you can take your boat and explore further thanks to the campground’s boat ramp and small jetty with boat access. Drop toilets available.
This spot is great if you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life since the phone coverage in the area is patchy.
National Park Camping Spots
From the coastline to the outback, South Australia is one of the best places in the world to go camping (so say the locals!) Here are some of the top national park camping spots in SA.
Flinders Chase National Park
One of the most popular tourist destinations on Kangaroo Island, Flinders Chase National Park, boasts a rugged coastline, picturesque lookouts, and diverse wildlife.
There are three camping grounds within the park: Rocky River, Cape du Couedic, and Western River Cove. Fees apply to these campsites, which can be paid online.
However, the toilet facilities are limited, and you are to bring enough food and water to last throughout your stay since there are no drinks or food that are available for purchase on the campground.
The park compensates though through one of its features, the Remarkable Rocks, which sits atop ancient rocky platforms and reveals beautiful orange colours and unique shapes. These make for a great backdrop to your Instagram photos!
Plus, the park is home to unique Australian animals such as koalas, goannas, echidnas, kangaroos, and eagles. So, if you’re lucky, you can spot some of these animals during your camp in the national park.
Acraman Campground – Ikara Flinders Ranges National Park
Imagine camping in the midst of native pine trees, watching the stars at night, and enjoying the views of the coast.
These and more await you at the Acraman Campground in the Ikara Flinders Ranges National Park.
Here, at this campsite, there’s never any shortage of things to do, including fishing or canoeing, especially in the Acraman Creek and the Great Australian Bight.
And if that’s not enough, you can take a boat ride to the shipwreck that lies offshore–caused by whaling activities in the past.
That’s not all because you can also enjoy bird watching at the campsite thanks to an abundance of birdlife, including some migratory waders like stilts and sandpipers.
There are toilets and water in the park, but it’s still recommended that you come here with everything that you need for a comfortable camp.
3 O’clock Creek Campground
Bush camping is exciting, especially when you do it at the 3 O’clock Creek Campground, situated within the Witjira National Park.
A paid campsite, it features shady spots and bore water, which is the last place where you can fill up on potable water just before crossing the desert.
It is the perfect place for camper trailers and caravans, with picnic tables and other facilities.
After you explore the campground itself, you can proceed to check out the rest of Witjira, where you can find 120 mound springs, warm spring waters, unique species of fish, and the Dalhousie Springs.
The Dalhousie Springs is a National Heritage that served as a source of water and food for the Aboriginal people for thousands of years.
And if you come here weeks after a soaking rain, you’ll be delighted to see ephemeral wildflowers in bloom!
What to Look for in a Camp in SA?
Now that you know some of the best camping spots in South Australia, what are the things that you should look for in a camp before finally deciding on one? Here are some factors to consider.
If you’re in a fully self-contained vehicle then this might not be an issue, but I’m hearing more and more of amazing women jumping into their cars and car-camping – which facilitates the need for some facilities 🙂 Make sure you follow the links to the camp grounds and ensure there are toilets available to make your trip a bit more enjoyable.
If you’re planning on cooking your meals while camping, then you should look for a campsite that has picnic tables. This way, you’ll have a place to prepare your food.
I’m personally a fan of relocating my office to a picnic table and getting some much-needed sun on my face (sunscreen is on, of course!).
Access to water
Choosing a campsite that has direct access to potable water is a good move. This way, you can drink and cook with safe water. Alternatively, ensure your tanks are full before you head out. I use the Wikicamps app to find free water all over Australia and can’t recommend it enough!
It’s a bonus of the campsite if it has natural hot springs too.
When travelling with caravans, knowing where the dump points are or if there is a dump point nearby is imperative. This way, you can properly dispose of your sewage. Once again, the trusted Wikicamps app will help you find dump point all over Australia.
If you’re camping in a hot area, look for a campsite that has enough shade. This way, you can avoid getting sunburnt or feeling too hot while you’re outside.
I’ve recently had a Fiamma awning fitted to my van, thanks to the talented duo at Tas Mobile Caravan Service, and I can’t imagine life without it.
Proximity to attractions
When looking for a campsite, you might also want to consider its proximity to attractions. If you’re planning on exploring the area, then it would be best to choose a campsite that’s near the places that you want to go to.
This way, you won’t have to spend too much time travelling from your campsite to the attractions.
Some campsites have shower facilities, which can be useful if you’re planning on staying for a few days. This way, you can stay clean and fresh during your camping trip.
However, if the campsite doesn’t have shower facilities, then you can always bring your own portable showers or bathing supplies. I’ve written about several suggestions for showers in your van, or for shower accessories to keep you clean on the road.
If you’re planning on cooking your meals over a campfire, then you should look for a campsite that has fire pits or grills. This way, you can cook your food easily. You can also use the fire pit for warmth during cold nights.
Make sure you obey any local fire restrictions!!!
In case of an emergency, it’s important to have phone coverage in the area. This way, you can easily call for help if needed.
Can I legally go free camping in SA?
Can I legally go free camping in SA?
Yes, you can legally go free camping in SA as long as you follow the rules set by the state. Check out the South Australian Tourism Commission website for updates.
Can I camp just anywhere in SA?
No, you can’t camp just anywhere in SA. Look for designated paid and free camping areas and get a permit to go camping if it is required.
Do I need a permit to go camping in SA?
You might need a permit to go camping in South Australia, depending on the area that you want to camp in such as national parks or any conservation park. Double check before setting up camp for the night 🙂
What are the ways to find free camps in SA?
There are a few ways to find free camps sites in SA. You can check out the websites for the Department for Environment and Water and Camps Australia Wide.
You can also download the WikiCamps app to find campsites, maps, and details about each site.
Camping in South Australia can be a great experience, whether you’re camping by yourself, with friends, or with family. Just remember to follow the rules and regulations set by the state to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip.
Safe travels! 🙂