Looking to switch-off, kick back and relax while taking in the spectacular sights and sounds of nature? Sounds like you need to take a camping trip.
Camping memories last a lifetime. This outdoor recreation activity gets us disconnecting from our screens and reconnecting with nature. It’s no wonder a camping trip ranks up there with the best Aussie traditions.
If you’ve ever organised a camping trip, you’ll understand the importance of picking the right location.
In this article, we’ll outline the qualities to consider when choosing a campground, and share where to find the best in Canberra.
What makes a great campground?
Choosing the right campground can make or break your experience. Not all campgrounds have the same personality or amenities. You’ll want to select one that meets your needs—whether that’s rustic or a lively campground with loads of activities. You’ll also want to select a campground with the type of facilities you require.
It can be helpful to keep the following in mind when choosing a campground.
- Scenery. As a camper you no doubt love spectacular scenery, so you’ll a campground with “that perfect setting”. Perhaps you prefer a location deep in the bush where you can spot birdlife and wildlife. Or it might be a location near a beach or town.
- Personality. Each campground has its own personality so research and pick the best for your likes and dislikes. Some are quiet and private. Others are more lively and family oriented. Make sure your campground is safe and has good ground surface.
- Facilities. Some campgrounds are basic. Others are fully decked out with water and power. They might also have bathrooms, showers and laundry facilities. Decide what style of camper you are and head to a campground that suits.
- Location. If you’re looking for serenity, choose a campground that’s off the beaten track. But if you want to be busy and take in local attractions, select a campsite that’s closer to the action. You might also want a campground near bushwalks, a beach or other nature-based activities. Perhaps you’ll want lots of sun or trees with shade. Do your research so you pick the perfect spot.
- Extras. Some campgrounds are packed with perks, like saunas, a resort-style swimming pool, boats and other watercraft for rent, sports courts, picnic shelters and even a cafe. Again, do your research so the campground you choose ticks all the boxes.
The best campgrounds near Canberra
RiotACT’s editorial team has combed through 20 years of on-site comments to compile a list of the most recommended businesses according to you.
To be listed in our Best of Canberra series, each business needs to have consistently received positive feedback on RiotACT and Facebook as well as maintaining a minimum average of 4/5 stars on Google.
Alivio Tourist Park is a fully-serviced park with caravan sites, cabins and villas. Only four kilometres from Canberra City, the park is surrounded by tranquil bushland. Alivio Tourist Park has many facilities, including a swimming pool, water play area, playground and tennis courts. It also has laundry facilities, a camp kitchen, bbqs, a restaurant and bar, and takeaway.
On Google, Darren Molineux wrote, “Pool area has lots of options for kids swimming at various levels of capability. Very family friendly.”
Orroral Campground offers traditional tent camping sites for small parties. It is a great vantage point to explore the Orroral Valley in Namadgi National Park. The campground links to the Orroral Heritage Walking Track network. It has flush toilets, fireplaces, picnic tables and wood bbqs (campers must bring their own firewood). The campground does not accommodate large organised group camping.
Ja Chu wrote on Google, “Great place in the mountains with toilets and water.”
Cuppacumbalong is an historic homestead located near the southern outskirts of Canberra. Nestled on the banks of the Murrumbidgee River, this 170-year-old estate offers a range of accommodation, including a campground. Camp at Cuppa is below the Homestead in a paddock with views of the Rob Roy Range and access to the Murrumbidgee River corridor. Unpowered camp sites are available, as are a bbq area, and an amenities building with toilets and showers.
Robyn Whitaker wrote on Google, “Beautiful setting, wonderful facilities … We will be back.”
Set on the banks of the Cotter River, Cotter Campground is a picturesque spot. It’s ideal for a range of campers, including those with swags, vans, 10-person tents and camper trailers. Amenities include hot showers, water, dishwashing facilities, toilets and BBQs. The campground has easy access to walking trails, wildlife, fishing, swimming and canoeing.
On Google, Peter Swift wrote, “Cotter Campground was lovely, big grass area with plenty of trees and an easy-to-follow walking track next to a lovely river.”
Located adjacent to the former space tracking station site, Honeysuckle Creek Campground is a scenic location in Namadgi National Park, suited to couples, families and large groups. A stone’s throw from Booroomba Rocks and the Australian Alps Walking Track, Honeysuckle Campground is a great base from which to explore. Facilities include wood fire BBQ pits, composting toilets and covered shelter with a fireplace and two gas bbqs.
Peta Barnett wrote on Google, “Kangaroos and possums where keeping us company, it was just amazing.”
If you’re looking for more information on adventures in and around Canberra, you might like our articles on the best beaches near Canberra, the best day trips and the best tours Canberra has to offer.
Your experience with campgrounds in Canberra
Thanks to our commenters who have provided insightful feedback. If you believe we have got it wrong, please let us know.
Have you had experience with any of the campgrounds listed above? If so, share your feedback in the comments below.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you choose a great campground?
First, decide what type of camping holiday you want. Second, do your research before choosing a site. You might want a campground that offers peace and quiet, for example. Or you might want one with lots of activities on site.
How much does it cost to pitch a tent in a campground?
Prices vary depending on many factors. This includes location, the size of your campsite and the facilities offered. It can also depend on whether the campground has amenities and other services like organised activities.
What type of facilities can I expect in a campground?
This varies from campground to campground. Some are super basic and might not even have power, water, toilets or shelters. Others do. Some are fully developed and offer a wide range of facilities, including sports courts, picnic shelters, a pool and bbqs.
How far will my campsite be from other campers?
This depends on the campsite. Some campgrounds have plenty of space surrounding each campsite, for guaranteed peace and quiet. Others are more packed out. Select a campground that matches the experience you want. Do you want to be immersed in nature, for example? Busy with recreational opportunities? A bit of both perhaps?
What size campground do I choose?
This depends on your likes, dislikes and needs. Bigger campgrounds, for example, have many campers which is great if you love to socialise and don’t mind noise. Smaller campgrounds can, for example, offer a more natural experience. They’re often less busy and typically quieter.
Can I pick my spot at any campground?
Some campgrounds let you pick your spot and they might even have maps of campsites on their website. Think about location, including proximity to toilets and other amenities. If you have kids, being close to these facilities might be great. If you want quiet, the further away you are the better. Also consider access to sun and shade.