They quit their jobs, joined a carnival and explored Australia

I’ve been enrolled in University for 7 years and have attended for 3 and a half years, the other 3 and a half years I’ve been travelling the world. 12 months ago now, my partner asked if I was willing to quit my job, put off University for another year (which wasn’t unusual for me) and take the time to see our own country. I’d seen 27 countries but had never been outside of Victoria or NSW. The answer to his question was a no-brainer. So that’s exactly what we did; we quit our jobs, said our farewells and began travelling Australia.

When we began our life on the road, we said we would take 5 months to see Australia, clearly having no idea how big this insane country is. Majority of people’s responses were, ‘If it doesn’t work, you can always come home’. In our minds, it was never not going to work. 5 months turned into 8, and 8 turned into 12. Life on the road has been the best thing we’ve ever done, alongside joining the carnival and meeting such incredible people from all across Australia and the world. We’ve lived in a space the size of 1.5m x 2m for the past 12 months and never once have we felt trapped, crammed or regretful of leaving our lives back home.
We’ve driven over 56,000kms in our babies Maxy and Larry (our Van and Land Cruiser) and it’s been such an adventure that neither one of us will ever forget. To so many people, living out of a car would be their worst nightmare, to me, their insane.
Before living on the road, I lived in a 5 bedroom home which consisted of 6 TVs and 4 people; you do the math? It didn’t take me long to question, why do we have all of these material objects in our life when all we need is a car, a road, a map and each other? (Oh and some money helps too!). My point is, you can have all the material possessions you want in your life and still be unhappy, or you can live your life on the road for a while, see these incredible places Australia has to offer and I’m certain that you’ll find a level of happiness you’ve never come across before.

 

56,000+kms in 310 days.
$26,000 spent;
$600 on caravan parks
$100 on National Parks
Can’t even think about the $$ spent on fuel.
3 flights.
2 cars.
2 car breakdowns (stupid choke!).
0 flat tyres (How? It’s beyond me?).
1 fight.
2 hospital visits.
0 accidents.
2 birds hit (R.I.P).
47 degrees was the hottest.
5 degrees was the coldest.
Cheapest meal: $1 for 12 dim sims.
Most costly meal: $200 seafood feast.
Most memorable comment: “Slow down you cockhead!”.
Top 10 spots in Australia:
– Whitsundays (QLD)
– Coolangatta (QLD)
– Uluru (NT)
– Kings Canyon (NT)
– Lucky Bay (Esperance, WA)
– Karijini National Park (WA)
– Wallaman falls (QLD)
– Broome (WA)
– Litchfield National Park (NT)
– Great Ocean Road (VIC)

 

I’ve always been a Gypsie at heart, and now I’ve found my Gypsie man. You learn so much about yourself and each other when you both only have one another. I always say, if we can survive living in a car for 12 months, we can survive anything. It’s now time to go home for Christmas and switch our life on the road from full time to part time; that’s until we get bored and find a new adventure anyway.

If you’re sitting on the fence trying to decide if life on the road is suited for you or even if you’re already on the road, head to www.girlmeetsboymeetsvan.com to check out some entertaining stories of our life on the road or even if you need some visual motivation as to why you should hit the road or places to add to the bucket list, head to @girlmeetsboymeetsvan on Instagram.

8 Tips You Must Know When Camping With Dogs – Campersway

We have our dog Pippy Perry alongside us for the journey – is she a pain? Nope – Andrew is much more trouble than Pip will ever be! We did consider finding her a temporary home but we are gone indefinitely and the thought of not seeing her for a few years was just too upsetting to even think about!

Our advice before you set off on a big trip;

1. Have dog poo bags EVERYWHERE – in the car, your wallet, caravan, handbag. If your dog does do a No.2 PICK it up! If you don’t every other camper will judge you (myself included) & there is nothing worse than treading in it!

2. Bulk pigs ears – our Pip will take approximately 1hr to get through one.

3. A good sturdy water bowl – not the collapsible ones, they become unstable after a few weeks.

4. A few dogs leads & a proper walking harness – we have a lead in the car & on in the caravan.

5. Have a copy of your dog’s vaccinations in the glove box just in case it needs to go in a kennel in an emergency, in a pinch you can always get a copy faxed to you from your vet!

6. Make sure the mirco-chip is up to date!

7. Exercise your dog! Pip goes on at least one walk a day (over 3kms – usually 5kms) not only is it great for me & Pip but we meet so many lovely people locally and also those staying in the same place as you.

8. Where will you stay? Get WIKICAMPS – have the ‘dogs allowed’ filter on! Follow other travelling families/couples who have taken their dog on Facebook & Instagram, see where they are staying! I look up the #travelaustraliawithdogs

Get to know your dog;Are they ok on a lead? They spend a lot of time on the lead when you are on the road – do they carry on like a pork chop when they see other dogs? Knowing all their quirks make life so much easier!

  • Will they be happy to be left on their own for short periods? Can they handle being on their own if you all go to the shower block at the same time? Or if you all go to the camp kitchen for dinner together? Or are they barkers?
  • What are they like near water? Pippy will run & jump off a jetty quicker than you can say ‘croc’ – so she is on a lead before we open the car doors! Good to know in advance!
  • Do they come when they are called? Our Pip is very obedient but I have seen a few grey nomads chasing fluffy white dogs around caravan parks – it’s a bit cute to watch but probably not so cute if you’re the one doing the chasing!
  • Do they get car sick? Pip doesn’t but it seems to be surprisingly common for dogs!

 

The most common question we are asked……

What do you do with her when you go site seeing or to national parks?

We take Pippy almost everywhere & know her very well – she is happy to sit under a tree eating her pig’s ear while we swim in the pool etc. And remember when I said you meet lovely people when you walk your dog in the morning? Most people are happy to babysit your dog in exchange for you babysitting theirs. We have even had people travelling without their dog offering to mind Pippy because they miss their own pooch so much! Most Dog-friendly caravan parks are able to give you advice on local dog sitters, alternatively, there are dog kennels for overnight/longer stays.

We don’t regret bringing Pippy with us – not for one second!

Follow us on Instagram & Facebook @milsypezwardo #milsypezwardo. I’ll be posting regularly about how we find work, distance education, what essentials we brought along, caravan/troopy mods & camp sites!

Don’t be shy to leave a comment below or message us with any questions or with your hot tips of your own that might help us along the way J


5 aussie travel apps

Since our last post, that being our 12 month budget update – we have had a lot of people message and ask about how we keep track and what Apps we use so we have compiled our top 5.

👮 Fuel Map Australia
➖ Particularly since leaving the East Coast, this has been awesome! We can plan ahead. Diesel can be up to 40c cheaper just 20km’s down the road. The savings are better in our pocket! 👮

👮 Google Maps
➖ A fair few people asked who we made the map through.

👮 Gas Finder
➖ Because why pay more then you have to? Generally we just use the Swap N Go at Bunnings for $19.95. But if that’s not available…. this app comes in handy. We were once stung $60 for a bottle…. ummmm…. never again!

👮 WikiCamps
➖ The best $8.99 we’ve spent for the trip and lots of people will already know about it…. but if you don’t, go buy it! It shows free camps, low paid camps, caravan parks, dump points, drinking water taps, points of interest etc within the area. Choose a filter and you get the whole rundown with prices, reviews and recent photos – not just the ‘professional’ ones that parks get done up. Nothing worse then turning up and it looks nothing like their website!! 🗻

👮 Pocket Expense
➖ This is what we use to keep track of our money. You can make your own categories so…. ‘Groceries’, ‘Diesel’, ‘Accommodation’ etc. and then we just log it in as we buy things. So no, I don’t spend hours going through our bank statements to work out how much we’ve spent! ☺️

Free Camp Versus Caravan Parks – what is better?

The majority of comments and feedback we get are positive but occasionally we get comments regarding free camping and “taking money away from Caravan Parks”

Caravan parks are no different from any other business- they offer a service and if people want that service they pay for it. Before our trip we spent our money to become self contained. This allows far greater flexibility where we stop for the night.

This is very important when travelling with young kids because when they have had enough travelling, they are very vocal letting us know! When we do pay for campsites such as national parks and farm stays we rarely use the amenities provided, but instead are paying for the location.

We also like to have more space around us than most caravan parks provide. We always try to leave a site cleaner than we found it and the last job before we hit the rd each day is an emu bob which our kids have turned into a competition.

Growing up in Tassie my dad used to take us camping ‘a lot’ and I dont remember ever having stayed in a caravan park. Even though our tent has wheels and all the amenities of a house l see no reason my kids shouldnt grow up with the same memories of sitting around a camp fire, roasting marshmallows or cooking damper, while looking up at the stars with not another person within cooee.

Everyone has their own journey and this is ours. Life is what you make it. We are able to travel our lap by keeping to a cheaper accommodation budget. It works for us 🙂

-Gibbo

Free Camping at Lake Argyle

The best free camp we’ve had on our whole trip when it comes to views 😍

Set on the river with a mountain backdrop the views were absolutely 💯%. After we started to to set up our camp a couple of girls arrived in their 2wd van and managed to get stuck in the softer sand. Axl and Gibbo jumped at the chance to help out the beautiful Swedish girls. #mazdabt50 #totherescue. We had the most peaceful sleep. I don’t think I heard any noise other than the flowing river. Each morning Gibbo braved going for a bit of a fish while keeping a keen out for crocs that can be found in the river. We left the van parked up and day tripped to the lake where we all had a great time stand up paddle boarding and had a quick dip in the infinity pool. The huge Dam Wall was also a fantastic sight to see.
We intended on staying just one night but 3 days later we packed up due to the bushfire across the river. We loved this free camp and absolutely recommend to ALL!!!
What a way to finish our WA adventure!!

#FANTASTIC #thatview #onedayweshould #travelaustraliawithkids #aussieoutback #thisiswa #justanotherdayinwa #wikicamps #freecamps #10/10 #thebest #camping #caravanning #lakeargyle #lakeargylecruises #standuppaddleboard #bushfire

***FOLLOW ONEDAYWESHOULD ON FACEBOOK AND INSTAGRAM FOR MORE FREECAMPS and travelling with kids info, tips, tricks, pics and more!!!***

 

8 must do’s on the Eyre Peninsula

1.Talia Caves tourist drive South Australia
(just a short drive from Venus Bay)


We drove straight past this place initially as we weren’t sure if the road was suitable for us towing our 3 tonne van! In short- Definitely YES the road is suitable for those towing large vans and Definitely YES you need to stop in there! 😱 HOLY WOW. this place was incredible!

2.Murphy’s Haystacks- Eyre Peninsula SA

After a quick 2km detour off the highway. No hay anywhere to be found BUT we did find some amazing Granite boulders 😜

I think these were the highlight of Axls trip so far. We read the book ‘Are we there yet’ (about a family travelling around Australia) and these boulders are in it. So we planned to stop in and check them out. The kids ran around like crazy! So hyper and excited, climbing all over them and just loving every second! These Huge boulders are just beautiful 😍 cost $5/family to visit and the option of $10 extra if you’d like to park up for the night!

3. Pildappa Rock Camping Area (South Australia’s ‘#waverock’)

This was our first little venture inland as we’ve spent the rest of our time sticking to the coastal routes. I was worried about trekking us all inland 125kms from Port Kenny, South Australia just to see a rock that I hadn’t really heard that much about (Just seen some great reviews on WikiCamps). Well it didn’t disappoint. The kids had a ball playing on the rock with their #TonkaTrucks, walking and riding their bikes around the huge rock and climbing on top (that bit not so enjoyable for me.. freaking out having all 3 kids up there 😬😱 😰). A fantastic place to visit and a really peaceful night’s sleep there too👌#winning

4.Venus Bay – Eyre Peninsula SA

If you’re after a mix of stunning coast lines similar to GOR mixed with beautiful bays, a unique curved jetty and the most magnificent colourings in the water visit Venus Bay!

When driving into the town you get to Bay Road- if you turn left you’ll end up at a lookout overlooking stunning cliffs. If you turn right you’ll end up at a beautiful curving jetty. The jetty becomes even more magnificent when you take the time to walk along it. The colours in the water are absolutely magnificent. So many different shades of blues and greens 👌. A bonus for us was the great Playground at the start of the jetty. It’s always nice to find a fun playground to let the kids run around. There’s something for everyone in Venus Bay 😍👌

5.The #INTENSE Whistling rocks and the Blowholes (Cape Bauer Loop Drive  Streaky Bay, South Australia, Australia)

We went for a drive along the Cape Bauer Rd (loops around the coast and back to streaky) *the road is fine for those towing.

First we stopped at Cape Bauer a nice scenic lookout. Second stop was at whistling rocks and the Blowholes. We started walking along the boardwalk heading towards the sites. As soon as we climbed the brow of the hill we started hearing the intense sound of the whistling rocks. The waves force air and water through holes in the rocks, towards the cliff surface, giving us the sound of whistling rocks. I tried to capture a video of this happening but you really can’t get the same intense feeling from watching it on film. It was crazy, exciting and even a little bit frightening. This really is something you’ll have to go and experience first hand.

Unfortunately for us the tide was too far out to see the Blowholes blowing… Something to keep in mind if travelling out there to see it.

6.Coffin Bay National Park

An unexpected extended stay in the Port Lincoln area lead us to explore the National Park in Coffin Bay. For a National Park we never intended to look through. We ended up staying 4 nights and loved it! Cost $12/night to camp (plus National Park fees)

Fun filled days of driving around the coastline and through the rugged bush tracks. Playing on the sand dunes. Fishing and actually catching fish!!! Friendly roos coming to our door, emus and their babies wondering around the campgrounds. Great walking tracks and the highlight being were pretty much the only ones here except for another travelling family with kids the same age 😍.

Kids had the best of times playing together. I must admit we rather enjoyed our time spent with these guys too. Extra bonus as It’s always great having others to go 4WD exploring with.. just incase 👌

I would absolutely love to come back to this place when it’s warmer. The perfectly blue ocean water with stunning white sandy beaches was so worth the hour and half 4×4 drive! It almost made me want to dip my toes in… almost. The freezing icy winds made me think twice pretty quickly! Instead we lit a fire and watched the boys catch some fish. #onedayweshould come back! Would be amazing in summer 😍

7. Mikkira Station

Picture driving down the road and seeing stunning farmland and white sand dunes in the distance… A sheep or 2 a k-kangaroo. (Yep I went there). This very Aussie ‘Mikkira Station’ had nearly everything. Wild emus, tonnes of Kangaroos and a Koala 🐨 up nearly every tree in the campsite. After just a short walk you’ll find beautiful historic sites and buildings you can even enter . There’s a real toilet and a hot shower for those who need.

This place was well and truly worth the $25/night pricetag. A fantastic place for a true blue Aussie outback experience and only 25mins from Port Lincoln!

8. Point Lowly and Whyalla, South Australia, Australia

Point Lowly Camping Area $8/ night maximum stay 4 weeks.

We found a great little spot with stunning views to park up our van for a couple of nights and who else would pull up beside us? Another friendly Tasmanian! Small world! 🌏

We drove into Whyalla (my place of birth) to have a look around. Whyalla was much smaller and much more industrial than I had pictured but had some nice views and an interesting history.

Upon arriving back to our campsite we were surprised to find a dolphin 🐬 swimming in the water right near our campsite 😍

A couple of other quick stops on the Eyre Peninsula SA worth a mention-

*Camping at Perlubie Beach (near Streaky Bay)

*Sculptures on a cliff top tourist drive in Elliston  – (this drive is suitable for those towing)

*Seal colony at Point Labatt Conservation Park (very hard to see. They blend in with the rocks. take binoculars if you have them!)

*Streaky Bay Jetty (millions of small fish at the end of the jetty, a few jellyfish and a couple dolphins)

*Port Lincoln a fantastic place to chill out and the bonus for us being the 2 large supermarkets (to stock up ready for our journey across the Nullarbor)

16 Travel Apps for your Big Lap around Australia

 

Before you take off on an epic tour around Australia, be sure to download the Best Travel Apps on the market. There is already so much you need to consider before you set off on your Big Lap. Here is a list of apps to help make your journey safer, smoother, and more fun! Written by: Mountain Sun Sea

Campsite Apps

You may have a hard copy of the Australian campsites from Camps Australia Wide 8 (Camps Australia Wide 9 is due in February 2017) – be sure to download both the Camps Australia Wide and Wikicamps apps.

  1. Camps Australia Wide is $7.99 to download but it contains indispensable information about campsites in addition to photographs of listings from both the Camps Australia Wide guide as well as the Caravan Parks Australia Wide guide.

camps8

Camps Australia Wide – Android

Camps Australia Wide – iTunes

  1. Wikicamps basic version is free, but the full version can be downloaded for a small one-time fee of $7.99 that will grant you access to the app for a lifetime. Wikicamps is a user generated database which is kept up-to-date with the latest information. It works completely offline so you don’t have to worry about signal or a wifi connection.

You just simply download all the content you need to your device before you go! You will find information about free and paid campsites and whether they are accessible for caravans or camper trailers. It shows you where there are caravan parks, road side rest areas, public dump points and much more! Wikicamps uses your location to show you nearby points of interest so you won’t miss anything cool on your journey.

wikicamps

Wikicamps Australia – iTunes

Wikicamps Australia – Android

 

Tracking Apps

  1. TrackMyTour is great for keeping family members up-to-date on your location. This app uses GPS tracking to make it easy for you to highlight places on your trip and send photos or other fun updates to loved ones at home. It’s a great app for travel in terms of keeping in touch with friends and family. The TrackMyTour app and website are free to use, but you are restricted to the number of maps. If you wish to create more maps you can then purchase an upgrade from within the app. TrackMyTour is only compatible on iTunes.

trackmytour                    trackmytrip

TrackMyTour – iTunes

The android version is called TrackMyTrip

  1. HemaExplorer – 4WD Maps costs $29.99. This app also uses GPS tracking and it literally follows the exact roads you drive. You do need to purchase maps as they only provide the most basic maps. You can upgrade to HEMA Offline for $99.99 if you are looking at navigating over extremely remote areas, with a real-time offline GPS tracking system and claims to have Australia’s best topographic mapping.

hema

Hema Explorer – Australia – iTunes

Hema Explorer – Australia – Android

WikiCamps also allows you plan your trip and if you need to – move each place as you travel. You can also view your route to help you find and plan other stops along the way. (See link above).

Budgeting Apps

  1. Track-Every-Coin is an app designed for tracking expenses in daily life as well as while traveling. It’s free for download just like you’d expect from a good expense tracker and is a very popular app for travellers.

trackeverycoin

Trail Wallet is a travel budget app designed for iPhones or iPads. It’s free for the first 25 items you track, but then you have to pay to use it.

You could also use Expedition Australia Budget Tracking spreadsheet, hardcopy, or just a book to keep track of your travel expenses.

Fuel App

  1. Fuel Map is a user generated database where the information is added and edited by users showing petrol stations and fuel prices. This app keeps the travellers around Australians in-the-know about the cost of petrol throughout the country.

fuel-map

Fuel Map – iTunes

Fuel Map – Android

Weather Apps

 To keep track of inclement weather conditions en-route to your destination!

  1. Bureau of Meteorology
  1. Weatherzone

weatherzone

Reminder Apps

Use these reminder apps to remember all the important dates and times like when to re-register your car and caravan. It’s easy to lose track of important dates when on the road day-after-day!

  1. Due – iTunes for your iPhone or iPad and E-Reminder for Android

First Aid App

  1. The Red Cross First Aid app is free and it offers access to life-saving information in an emergency.

The Red Cross First Aid app is great to have in addition to your first aid kit.

first-aid

Education Apps

  1. Australian Wildflowers is an essential field guide with more than 70 of the most common species of wildflowers found in our beautiful country! This app will assist you in quickly identifying flowering plants and is a highly valuable reference tool in all locations. This app is well structured and easy to navigate. Perfect for field guides that use picture recognition where every flower in Australian Wildflowers is described in detail showing information about its structure, location, common name, scientific name, botanical family and flowering time. You get all this information with no internet connection – and all images and information is available in real time. Australian Wildflowers is currently only available on iTunes.

aust-wildflower

Australian Wildflowers – iTunes

  1. Michael Morcombe’s Field Guide to Australian Birds app has been called the most comprehensive field guide to Australian birds available in the market today It is complimented by the eGuide featuring an extensive and detailed descriptions of almost all bird species including songs and calls, measurements and breeding behaviour.

The app allows you to save your sightings to a list to include the date and location with room for notes. There is a free ‘lite’ version of the app, but it only lists a handful of the 790 species that the full version has.

Michael Morcombe’s Field Guide to Australian Birds – iTunes Cost is $29.99

Michael Morcombe’s Field Guide to Australian Birds – Android Cost is $28.60

  1. Snakes of Australia is a great app to compliment the First Aid app. Snakes of Australia is a comprehensive electronic field guide of 167 species of Australian snakes. Detailing species profiles including photos, distribution maps, description of key characters, danger rating, similar species, conservation, etymology, pronunciation and more. The great part about this app is the introductory chapters on key aspects of identifying snakes, snake venoms and first aid, and snake biology. No network connection is needed when using this app.

The scale count feature is very handy as is the “filter by location” function cross-checks your location (via iPhone GPS) and shows you only snakes that are likely to occur within your area. This app is currently only available on iTunes

snakes

Snakes of Australia – iTunes Cost is $9.99

  1. Australia is home to many of the world’s most venomous snakes, spiders and marine animals. The free Australian Bites and Stings is an app providing education to our Australian community and will be of use to anyone planning to be out in Australia’s great outdoors – whether it be on the beach, camping, bushwalking or just playing out in a back yard!

A recent study found that despite the vast array of venomous creatures in Australia, the majority of people don’t know what to do if they’re unfortunate enough to be bitten or stung by one. This app is a must have if you are travelling with young children and is also a great compliment to the First Aid app.

bites-and-stings

Australian Bites and Stings

Exploring Apps

  1. GoSkyWatch is a trademark of Apple and as such are only available on iTunes. This app is essential for those nights where you are sitting around the campfire and looking up at the stars! You just point your phone to the sky and start exploring! No buttons to press or selecting modes. GoSkyWatch has a unique rotation scheme with touchless navigation, a red light mode for night vision and magnitude adjustment for great viewing conditions. Planets will show with relative brightness for easy identification, a heads-up information display and a full 180 degree display to see at a glance what is in the sky and where. If you are looking for a particular planet or star – just use the finder and let the arrow guide the way.

goskywatch

Sky Map is the Android alternative with fewer features.

  1. Spyglass is like an advanced compass/GPS Navigation App for iPhone and iPad. Spyglass can be used in the car, on a bike, in a boat, on an aircraft, or walking compass. Spyglass is essential for every traveller! Packed with so many useful tools such as a hi-tech viewfinder (HUD), compass, maps, tactical GPS, waypoint tracker, speedometer, and more! Save, track and share your position, multiple waypoints, and bearings, all in real time.

spyglass

Spyglass – iTunes

Spyglass – Android

Added extra…

The National Public Toilet Map shows the location of more than 14,000 public and private toilet facilities across Australia. This is a great App for families travelling with young children (especially when getting out the spade is not an option)

Using the Trip Planner function, you can plan your journey and locate toilets you can use along the way. The information provides location, opening hours, availability of baby change rooms, and accessibility for people with disabilities and the details of other nearby toilets.

toilet

National Public Toilet Map – iTunes

National Public Toilet Map – Android

One last thing before you go – help us by sharing to let others know who may benefit from this information!

We are about to hit the road ourselves in less than 4 weeks time – so if you can recommend any other awesome apps for travelling around Australia – add them in the comments.

Sharing is caring!

Happy travels everyone!

 

Written by: Mountain Sun Sea

Free Camp the Queensland Coast

Your Guide to Free Camping the Queensland Coast

Do you want to check out all that Queensland has to offer but you’re on a limited budget?

Avoid caravan parks that will cost you a fortune and save your dollars to allow for more activities. We have compiled a list of the best free camps along the Queensland Coast.

 

Hugh Muntz Park – Beenleigh

Situated halfway between the Gold Coast and Brisbane, Beenleigh is the perfect location to set up camp. A quick 20-minute drive along the highway and you are on the doorstep of the Theme Parks. Drive a further 20km’s down the road and you are in the heart of the Gold Coast.

Now that you’ve had a big couple of days visiting the Theme Parks, catch the train from Beenleigh Station into the beautiful city of Brisbane. Spend a relaxing day at Southbank and when you retreat back to camp later that evening, visit Yatala Pies to get dinner sorted.

Wyllie Park – Petrie
Not heading far down the road today, an hour drive to the next free camp located in Petrie. This free camp has plenty of grass and a small playground for the kids. From here, you can head into Redcliffe to have a splash in the lagoon or day trip to the Australia Zoo for some family fun.


                                                                   

Alan and June Brown Car Park – Maryborough
Conveniently located on the main street and within walking distance to the shopping centres, so park up on the bitumen and enjoy all the surrounding grass. Maryborough is an ideal base to explore Hervey Bay with it only being a 20 minute drive.


 

Sharon’s Gorge Nature Park – Sharon

The kids have had their fun at the Theme Parks, now it’s time for the adults to enjoy themselves at the Bundaberg Rum Factory. An easy 15 minute drive out of Bundaberg, you will find Sharon’s Gorge – a comfortable rest area to pull up for the night – arrive early as it gets busy!  

 

Calliope River – Gladstone
A great, quiet campground overlooking the river with clean amenities and large areas to park. Check out the sights of Gladstone or enjoy some down time with a spot of fishing.

 

Kershaw Gardens – Rockhampton

Pull into the Kershaw Gardens, a large gravel car park with beautiful surrounding gardens and directly across from a large shopping centre to stock up on supplies. From here you can head to the Rockhampton Botanical Gardens for a picnic followed by a visit to the free zoo where you will find all the animals to keep the kids entertained – monkey’s, snakes, crocodiles and plenty more. 

 

Home Hill Comfort Stop – Home Hill

A great small town that welcomes free campers by providing them with fantastic free facilities. You will feel right at home with clean toilets, hot showers, a kitchen and a Laundromat across the road. A range of activities are organised by the Bowl’s Club including budget friendly meal deals, karaoke nights etc. An ideal overnight rest area!

 

Babinda RV Rest Area – Babinda

Now we are saving the best til last, be sure to spend a couple of nights at Babinda Rest Area where you will be delighted by clean facilities, large grassed areas, drinking water and a playground for the kids. Day trip to Paronella Park, enjoy a $7 breakfast at the ‘Kool Spot Café’, visit the Babinda boulders or take a 50km drive to check out all the attractions on offer in Cairns.

Follow: The Pyke Clan to keep updated with more of the best free camps

Some great camping spots for 4×4 owners in WA

There’s nothing better than throwing the camping gear in your car and getting away from the city for a couple of days. There are so many amazing places to camp at, and you don’t have to travel for hours on end to get to them. Here are 7 fantastic camp sites near Perth, where you can literally pack on a Friday afternoon, head away and still get a great weekend in.

1. Walyunga

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Walyunga National Park is probably the closest place to Perth where you are allowed to camp in the bush. Located just one hour northeast of Perth, it’s a fantastic spot to check out. I’ve often described this place as a cross between Dwellingup and Serpentine. It has the beautiful Avon river flowing through the National park, a myriad of walking trails, BBQ and picnic facilities and most importantly, a place for you to camp!

You need to book the campsites, which you can do by ringing 9290 6100 and speaking to a ranger. The camp sites are located a few minutes drive away from the main picnic and riverside area, but are in a nice cleared section of bush.

As it is a National Park, day passes apply (unless you have an annual pass). It’s $12 per vehicle. You can find out more about these here. The Camp fees are the usual $7.50 per night.

The wildflowers are spectacular here in season, and with plenty of tracks to walk on you’ll see heaps of them. If you want to know more about the national park, you can read the full post here: Walyunga National Park.

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Easy access, with fire rings available.

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Walking along the Avon River.

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Enjoy a picnic overlooking the river.

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BBQ Facilities available.

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Lots of wildflowers around in season.

2. Lane Poole Reserve

An hour and a half south of Perth lies Lane Poole Reserve, just out of Dwellingup. We’ve been going to Lane Poole Reserve every year for a long time now, and always love it. There are 10 different camp sites which vary from huge open areas to more private sites that only house two sets of campers.

The beautiful Murray River runs right through the reserve and is fantastic for swimming, canoeing, white water rafting and fishing.

Fires are permitted when the fire danger is low, and it is a brilliant spot to enjoy a good fire on a cold evening. It does get very cold in the middle of winter, so take your warm gear!

There are plenty of 4WD and mountain bike tracks in the area too.

Again, National Park and camping fee apply. The entry fee is $12 per vehicle unless you have a National Park pass. Camping fee’s range from $7.50 per night to $10, depending on where you stay.

You can read the full post here; Dwellingup. If you want to book a camp site, you can do so here.

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Fishing in a beautiful part of the Murray River.

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Watching the fog come in on a cold winters morning.

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One of the huge open campsites on a busy weekend.

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Enjoying the little rock slides.

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What a magic place.

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A good campfire on a freezing night.

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Plenty of 4WD tracks around the place.

3. Waroona Dam

Lake Navarino, or Waroona Dam, has long been a popular place to camp. You can stay at the Holiday park, or take the bush camping option (which we do every time!) and stay nearer the dam itself. Both are booked through Lake Navarino Holiday Park.

Waroona Dam is pretty big, and is well known for skiing and fresh water fishing. There’s also fantastic 4WD tracks around the Dam and plenty of places to relax and soak up the scenery.

Fires are permitted in season, and the camping fees range from $12 to $17 per person per night, depending on where you camp, if its peak season and if you need power or not.

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Camping within 50 metres of the Dam.

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Plenty of room for water skiing and tubing.

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When the wind dies off its a magic place.

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Exploring some of the 4WD tracks around the Dam.

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Sunset over the orange gravel is spectacular.

4. Belvidere

If coastal camping is more your thing, Belvidere is a great little spot we found a few years back. The actual campsite is a few minutes drive back from the beach, tucked in between Leschenault Inlet and Belvidere Beach. At only an hour and 40 minutes away from Perth, it’s easily doable on a Friday afternoon.

The beach here is soft, and you will need a 4WD to drive along it. It’s substantially quieter than Preston and Myalup Beach, but the fishing is just as good.

It’s a DPAW camp site, and the fees are $7.50 per person per night. There is also provision for camper trailer and caravan’s here, and the firewood is usually provided.

If you want to read the full post, you can find it here; Camping at Belvidere.

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Set up with the Oztents at Belvidere.

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Your typical camp site at Belvidere.

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Belvidere Beach; fishing for salmon.

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Lots of opportunity for good fish.

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We landed several nice salmon.

5. Honeymoon Pool

If you’ve ever seen the Collie River, you’d know it’s a beautiful spot to stop and soak up the scenery. Honeymoon Pool is a DPAW campsite located right on the bank of the river and is 2WD and 4WD accessible. It’s just 2 hours south of Perth and is a stunning part of the world.

The Lennard 4WD track is well worth the drive, but be aware that it does get closed once the rain hits, to avoid substantial damage to the track.

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Collie River just off the Lennard 4WD Track

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Amazing walks along the Collie River

Honeymoon Pool camping

You can swim, but it gets cold!

6. Martins Tank

An hour and a half south of Perth, 10 minutes drive from the coast lies Martins Tank. It’s another DPAW camp site, set amongst the peppermint trees.

This was done up in 2013 and caters for tents, caravans and camper trailers. Campfires are permitted in season, and fees are $10 per person per night.

This campsite must be booked online in advance, which you can do here.

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Enjoying our own little slice of the beach.

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Martins Tank Campsites.

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Enough shade and the usual facilities.

7. Wellington Dam

The last, but certainly not least camp site near Perth is Wellington Dam. At just over 2 hours south of Perth its a great drive to an even better location. Potters Gorge is the formal DPAW campsite, which has recently been refurbished and caters for a number of campers. This site, however, gets extremely busy very quickly.

If you have a 4WD, there are plenty of other campsites around the dam if you are prepared to do a bit of driving. Even on a popular long weekend, we had no issues finding a handful of good campsites along the banks of Wellington Dam and ended up camping in a beautiful location.

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Could you ask for a better spot?

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We’ve had plenty of fun enjoying the 4WD tracks.

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Sunset over the dam; what a way to end the day.

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Huge tree’s rustling in the breeze.

Look after these places

It is a huge privilege being able to access these amazing camp sites. Don’t wreck them for everyone else; take your rubbish home, go to the toilets responsibly, have a fire with some common sense (when allowed) and don’t be a muppet.

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Orange, Blayney and Carcoar

Whilst free camping at the excellent Carcoar Dam site, we had lots of opportunities to visit surrounding areas by car.

Sunrise at Carcoar Dam

Orange

We did a trip down memory lane when we spent a day in Orange as both Rob and I used to live here at different stages of our childhood. We found we knew some of the same people. For example, Rob’s sister was best friends with Mariska who became my best friend for the few years I spent at Canobolas High School. Some things have changed especially in the shopping heart of Summer Street, yet the iconic lookout at Mt Canobolas is still a rough old gravel road nearly all the way to the top. The road to the summit is about 5kms. The road is sealed at the bottom and also at the top, but there is a rough unsealed gravel section for most of the way. You’d think that the local council would have done this up by now.

Lousy gravel road to Mt Canobolas

From Mt. Canobolas we made our way to Lake Canobolas, a local boating recreation area. The grounds around the lake contain lovely picnic areas, BBQ settings and children’s playgrounds. The area also contains a number of large vineyards, many of which have open cellars and few with cafes or restaurants attached. My husband was ‘shocked’ to find that I used to go skinny dipping in the lake in my tear away teenage years. LOL

Lake Canobolas

 

Carcoar

Another day we went sightseeing around the historic town of Carcoar. I quaint town that time has left behind. Sadly not much was open during the weekday we visited but we are assured it has more to offer visitors on the weekends. Anyway, we drove around and loved seeing the old architecture such as the courthouse, the railway station and of course the beautiful old churches.

Carcoar Catholic Church

 

Carcoar Anglican Church

Blayney

This was our main shopping area for our stay, so we popped in a few times, whether it be to do some actual grocery shopping, buy some excellent fish and chips, visit the op shops or do the laundry etc. We also took our time getting a good look at the historic churches here. My favourite one being this tiny church in the main street but back a little and that I think many people would miss.

Blayney Presbyterian Church

Spring Hill

One place we didn’t stop by was Spring Hill. We were returning back from Orange via a different route and it was late in the day. It looks like it is definitely worth a visit all on its own.

Spring Hill Uniting Church

 

Glorious Autumn

Being autumn at the time of our visit, the trees were putting out their most colourful display in all the towns and countryside.

Autumn colours in Blayney

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