Humans are creatures of habit. We re-order our preferred dishes at favourite restaurants, listen to the music we love on loop, and often return again and again to our favourite travel destinations. Nothing wrong with any of that, of course. But sticking to what we know can rob us of the opportunity to make exciting discoveries. This is especially true when living in one of the most geographically impressive and diverse countries on earth.
Of course, anyone who’s planned a restorative camping weekend away will tell you the trickiest part isn’t packing the car, loading up on supplies and getting away on time, but actually finding a camping spot that hasn’t been booked out months in advance – and isn’t teeming with other humans.
Here’s five off-the-beaten-track options worth bookmarking for your next adventure.
Ord Valley Delight, Western Australia
Set on farmland overlooking the magnificent Ord Valley in The Kimberleys, Ord Valley Delight boasts two main camp site locations, each offering privacy and sublime views of the surrounding ochre landscape. Soak in the sunrise and sunset framed by stately boab trees, head to the nearby Ord River to fish for barramundi, inspect examples of Indigenous art close to the campsite and meet the property’s friendly poddy calves. Despite the remote appearance of the site, campers can stock up on necessities in the nearby town of Kununurra, a ten-minute drive away. Dogs are welcome but you (and they) will need to provide your own camping toilet, as well as shower and water supply – there are no facilities out here. Ord Valley is all about unplugging, disconnecting and recharging in nature.
Wally’s Roost, Queensland
An 80-minute drive southwest of Cairns, Wally’s Roost features three separate secluded camp sites – options are farmland and hill views, or creek-side). There also happens to be plenty of furry friends to keep you company. The owners are wildlife carers who have turned their property into a fauna reserve. Residents include agile wallabies, bettongs, brushtail possums and a bevy of birds – hosts may even arrange a night-time tour upon request. There’s plenty of other options for nature escapes, with Granite Gorge Nature Park, Davies Creek National Park and Emerald Creek Falls all within a 30-minute drive. Each offers excellent bushwalking and hiking options.
Ayrshire Downs, Queensland
Situated in central north Queensland, Ayrshire Downs has a significant place in Australian colonial folklore. It’s home to the remains of an original Cobb & Co coach pub and the original shearing shed ruins from the 1891 shearing strikes and it’s also where the poet Banjo Paterson penned Waltzing Matilda. Ayrshire Downs Caravan and Camping puts you in the centre of such history, located along the picturesque Wokingham Creek featuring plenty of nearby public swimming spots. Water, cold showers, flushing toilets and a picnic shed with seats are all available on the camping property, as is a communal fire pit should you like to mingle with fellow campers. Tours and shearing demonstrations are also available on request.
Captain Matthew’s Hideaway, Tasmania
Off the southeast coast of Tasmania between Murdunna and Eaglehawk Neck you’ll find this aptly named spot, a true hideaway. Sitting on the Forestier Peninsula overlooking Norfolk Bay, here you can set up camp by the bay’s calm waters and let the hours float by. Swim, fish, and paddle to your heart’s content on the secluded beach, while the surrounding thickets of trees invite bushwalking, birdwatching and spotting some of the area’s wildlife. Nearby Murdunna offers a range of activities, including 4WD and off-road tours, and is the place to stock up on local honey and craft gin, while historic Port Arthur is a short drive further south.
Jackaleah Farm Stay, Victoria
Just a few minutes’ walk from Sam Miranda winery and the famed King River Cafe, and a five-minute drive from Milawa Cheese Company, Jackaleah Farm Stay is a gourmand’s delight. On the farm itself is a lagoon for paddling, ample greenery and shade – thanks to excellent irrigation in the area – and stunning views of the surrounding mountains. A bike path connects Miranda and Oxley to Wangaratta, just 31km north of the camp site, should you feel like a little exercise to offset the indulgence. Ideal for a romantic weekend away or break with family and friends, Jackaleah is just 2.5 hours north of Melbourne by car.
This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Hipcamp. Find yourself outside – book with Hipcamp.