Let’s face it, there’s nothing more serene than dozing off to the sound of crashing waves as you lie beneath a canopy of stars. When you trade your toilet for bush and your oven for fire, there’ll be many liberating feels up for grabs as you rough it on nature’s land. We’re talking beachfront camping, and we’re sure Australia remains unbeaten when it comes to coastal wonderlands.
Surrounded by water and covered in sand, the merging of the great outdoors with a tent pitched by hand is an experience guaranteed to send anyone into a state of bliss. Add to the sitcho, an abundance of wildlife, and you’ll be left wondering how you ever experienced life up until the moment you played tug-o-war with a kookaburra for your morning’s share of brunch.
The perfect wave, hike or sunset; whatever escape you’re chasing, beachfront camping is sure to fulfil the requirements of your summer time bucket list. To help you along, we’ve compiled our list of Australia’s best beachfront camping spots that’ll have you driving towards your local Kathmandu store quicker than you can say ‘kumbaya’.
Cylinder Beach Camping Ground
Point Lookout, Stradbroke Island
Cylinder Beach, the oceanic host with the most! For starters, it’s easterly point makes it one helluva vantage point for migrating humpbacks and then there’s the manta rays on standby for your ocean swim (we’ve done our research, that ain’t a common thing). Throw in North Gorge Walk, plus an iconic surf beach, and hello locational gold. Set up camp beneath the trees, ditch your shoes and smother yourself in the laidback vibes created on the world’s second largest sand island.
Noah Beach Camping Area
A heavenly slice of Tropical North Queensland, Noah Beach nails the beachy-rainforest combo. Say farewell to city-life and welcome days of notification-free living based at one of 15 campsites on offer. Flowing from the outskirts of the Daintree, swoon-worthy stretches of sand and turquoise waters lie 50m from the doormat of your tent, and the best part—Cape Trib is so secluded, you’d imagine it to be the location for next season’s Survivor.
Suffolk Park Beachfront Holiday Park
Nestled between Cape Byron and Broken Head lies the tiny gem of Suffolk Park with a dreamy coastline of which you're only ever a few minutes’ wander. The beachfront holiday park offers safari tents, cabins, campsites and all the amenities, including Wi-Fi (yet we’re still to decide whether that’s a pro or con). Furry friends are welcome, too, so plan plenty of nature walks to Broken Head, day trips to Byron and coffee runs to local hangout, Tully's Cafe. Oh, did we mention daily siestas beneath the trees are a thing here?
Seal Rocks Holiday Park
Now, we really didn’t want to tell you about this place because it’s one of the coolest holiday towns we’ve stumbled upon. Three hours north of Sydney, Seal Rocks campground is based smack-bang upon the shores of the Pacific, providing countless sea life watching platforms amongst its smorgasbord of unspoilt beaches. Myall Lakes National Park will serve your daily dose of nature and our favourite thing about Seal Rocks Campground? It’s walking distance to Sugarloaf Point Lighthouse. Go on, break the internet with your outta-control lighthouse pics, we dare you.
Tidal River Camp Area
Wilson's Promontory National Park
With 500 sites over 50,000 hectares of natural real estate, Wilson’s Prom really knows how to make a camper blush. Flushing toilets, showers, washing machines, BBQs and picnic areas seal the deal in placing this campground on the Victorian radar. Wedged between Norman Beach and Tidal River, snorkelling and kayaking are front-runners on the daily agenda unless you visit in summer when the open-air cinema comes to life. Spoilt much?
Johanna Beach Camping Area
Great Otway National Park
Press pause on Netflix and replace Spotify with the soundtrack of crashing waves upon Johanna Beach—this is about as beachfront as you can get. A popular surf beach, often the back-up for comps held at Bells, you’ll be a fool to leave your boards at home. Once you’ve copped enough sun, explore your heart out along the Great Ocean Road. The Twelve Apostles, Great Otway National Park, Apollo Bay; oh ‘Straya, what did we ever do to deserve you!?
Prom Coast Eco Glamping
You'll find these guys at the Yanakie Caravan Park—pretty much the last turnoff before you head into the Wilsons Promontory National Park. Husband and wife team Amy & Matt have twinked out their Lotus Belle tents to perfection. You're set up 5m back from the beach (you can fall asleep to the sound of waves lapping on the shore), and the quality of glamp is seriously high. Luxe bedding, Bluetooth speakers, full BBQ, cups and crockery, power from the mains (for those all-important late-night Netflix sessions) and even some glossy mags for beachside reading. Pack the car, grab your SO, and head down to Prom Coast Eco Glamping.
Ocean Beach Campground
Coorong National Park
A series of ancient sand dunes formed 120,000 years ago, you may remember The Coorong from childhood flick, Storm Boy (anyone?). For those who skipped that milestone, this elemental paradise, 90km south of Adelaide, is home to some of the most magnificent birdlife and fauna in all of Oz. Next-level serenity will be achieved at one of 34 campsites within the national park or 16 beachfront sites if you’ve brought your 4WD.
Talia Caves Campground
Release your inner MacGyver, there’s no avoiding the lack of facilities at this joint. To be clear, that’s a no to toilets and running water, but a hell-yes to freedom and nayyy-cha! The 20-site strong Talia Caves Campground features kilometres of coastline for you to explore by foot, including ‘The Woolshed’, a sandstone cliff that’s transformed into a grotto-like cave due to the relentless force of the ocean. Start and end each day with a bevvie in hand as you admire the sun’s movements upon The Great Australian Bight. Kudos, Mother N, a solid Google review coming your way!
The word glamping gets thrown around a lot these days but Sal Salis is some serious A-grade camping bliss! About 70km from Exmouth, 16 wilderness tents lie in the dunes where the desert meets the reef, gifting you with endless opportunities to observe land and sea life. Swim with whale sharks by day and return to a soiree of chef-prepared meals in the communal lodge by night. The daily rate is a bummer in comparison to conventional campgrounds, but middle-of-nowhere luxe ain’t free, right?
Lucky Bay Campground
Cape Le Grand
Scrolling through the ‘gram on the daily, one thing’s clear; we need to do more of what makes our soul happy. Guys, if that’s our collective life goal then camping at Cape Le Grand oughta be headlining our to-do lists, yeah? The campground, Lucky Bay, complete with solar hot showers, sits on the edge of Australia’s whitest sand beach so slap on your Bali Body and join the kangas for a sunbake, take a dip in the ocean, or reverse last night’s BBQ snags with a bushwalk through Frenchman Peak. Ahh Cape Le Grand, we really, really heart you.
Bay of Fires
Located along the Gardens Road stretch of Tassie’s Bay of Fires, Swimcart Beach delivers with its unspoilt ocean-views; the type only ever witnessed on a postcard. Beachfront camping at this coastline paradise is free of charge. Go on, re-read that last sentence; F-R-E-E, provided your stay is four weeks or less. We’ll let that simmer as you calm your breath paper-bag style. The facilities are limited so BYO essentials or prepare to visit nearby Bingalong Bay. One thing you won’t wanna forget is good company as there’ll be many starry-skied late night chats about life, existence and everybody’s favourite topic, the universe.
Cobourg Coastal Camp
How does beachfront camping with a no-swim policy sound? Disappointing? We thought so too until we stumbled upon Cobourg Coastal Camp, a natural goldmine on the peninsula of Garig Gunak Barlu National Park (try saying that after a few coldies). This is the original croc country, so if you wanna make it out alive, you’ll remain at least two metres from the shoreline and avoid swimming at all costs. Journey through Kakadu and Cahill’s Crossing into a glampsite of eight safari tents fitted with beds, lights, fans and ocean-view decks. Remember your Akubra, mozzie repellent and common sense as you kill time exploring the region’s history, fishing or simply pretending you’re the star of the latest Attenborough film (no judgement).
Looking to take along your four-legged friend? Check out these awesome dog-friendly camping spots.
Image credit: Archie Sartracom | Sal Salis