The best campgrounds near Canberra

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Image of tent in a forest by a fireplace.

Where are the best camping spots in Canberra? Photo: file.

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.

Orroral Campground

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

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.”

Cotter Campground

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.”

Honeysuckle Creek Campground

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.”

Alivio Tourist Park

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.”

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.

What's Your Opinion?


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23 Responses to The best campgrounds near Canberra
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Thumper Thumper 8:32 am 21 Oct 10

Mystery Bay is a fave of mine too

Stunningly beautiful and slightly eerie on winter mornings.

Gungahlin Al Gungahlin Al 6:35 am 21 Oct 10

I too like Honeysuckle, but it is a bit too close to the Tuggy Thuggies, who make the trip throughout the night for cruising and boombox sessions. Avoid weekends?

Lin Lin 10:08 pm 20 Oct 10

I love Wee Jasper when it’s not busy (ie. anytime outside of school hols) but unfortunately they don’t allow fires at all during the bushfire season (ie. half of the year). And what is camping without a campfire? Great from 1 April till 1 November though. My favourite spot is Swinging Bridge. Camp right next to the river and go “fark it’s beautiful” every mornning when you walk out of your tent.

Mystery Bay is a fave of mine too. Gets VERY busy over Xmas and Easter, but is quiet any other time. I went there in July and there were 3 other campers there and it’s big.

Mimosa is beautiful. But is getting quite popular. The last two times I went there Gillards beach had been taken over by grey nomads or raving teenagers.

If I can now tag my own question onto this one: I’m looking for nice weekend camping spots where you can have a campfire and I’d like to throw a dog in the mix. Also, I don’t like bogans but do very much like some privacy. Don’t care about showers or running water though some sort of toilet is nice to have nearby. And I love being near water.

So anyone know spots like that that are easy to drive to after work on Friday just for the weekend?

Does Woods reserve get quite packed when it gets warmer?

Davo111 Davo111 10:46 pm 19 Oct 10

Pommy bastard said :

The Cube Nightclub has a camping night, doesn’t it?

I wonder if the manager will stab for free?

funkfaerie funkfaerie 12:47 pm 17 Oct 10

Pommy bastard said :

The Cube Nightclub has a camping night, doesn’t it?

Hehe… i’d be a happy with that but my boyfriend might be a little afraid. Don’t think he’s up for that sort of camping.

Thanks everyone for the suggestions! Good to know there are so many spots out there.

Pommy bastard Pommy bastard 1:56 pm 15 Oct 10

The Cube Nightclub has a camping night, doesn’t it?

KB1971 KB1971 1:05 pm 15 Oct 10

jimbocool said :

There are heaps and heaps of awesome camping spots on the south coast, especially south of Moruya. Araganu in Mimosa Rocks national park is one, and the uninspiringly named (but pants-wettingly beasutiful) picnic point just south of Mimosa is another.

Ohh, yeah I forgot (how could I when I grew up on the Sapphire Coast), Brogo Dam, Saltwater Creek, Bittangabee (both in Ben Boyd NP), Fisheries Beach on the southern side of Twofold bay, Wonboyn Lake.

If you go down the Cann Valley Hwy to Cann River you have Croagingalong NP, about 3.5 hours drive but a beautiful spot.

johnny_the_knife johnny_the_knife 1:01 pm 15 Oct 10

Try Sasafrass in the Budawangs. Accessible by car in dry weather, 4×4 needed in the wet.

jimbocool jimbocool 12:30 pm 15 Oct 10

There are heaps and heaps of awesome camping spots on the south coast, especially south of Moruya. Araganu in Mimosa Rocks national park is one, and the uninspiringly named (but pants-wettingly beasutiful) picnic point just south of Mimosa is another.

rosscoact rosscoact 12:30 pm 15 Oct 10

there’s a couple of books which are the ducks nuts

4wd Touring – South East New South Wales and east Gippsland and

camping guide to NSW

jessieduck jessieduck 12:14 pm 15 Oct 10

Tom Groggin campground up in the Snowies is gorgeous. Last year we were camping with 4 wild brumbies and about 4,000 roos. The river is a great place to cool off in summer.

There are great drop toilet facilities and the campsites generally have a good stash of firewood to use as well. It’s about a three hour drive from Canberra and totally worth it.

Amanda Hugankis Amanda Hugankis 12:05 pm 15 Oct 10

Depends what kind of camping you want to do – but for an overnighter or two and a tent …

http://www.tams.act.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0013/13243/campinginnamadgi0504.pdf
http://www.sca.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/9922/Bandeela-Camping-Ground-Fact-(Bendeela can sometimes be peppered or unfortunately over-run with the great australian bogan, replete with ute, stock to rival a small to medium BWS, car stereo, and children, so be choosey when you go … otherwise its free and fantastic).
Mystery Bay (down south of Moruya)
Mimosa Rocks – south coast, just off beach – Gillards campground – http://www.wildwalks.com/camping-in-nsw-parks/south-coast-and-highlands-campsites/gillards-campground.html

Love, The Happy Camper

p1 p1 11:40 am 15 Oct 10

My votes:

Beach Campsite: North Head
End of the beaten track: Blue Water Holes
Close by: Honeysuckle Creek (ex-tracking station)

akpv akpv 11:10 am 15 Oct 10

Are you looking for car camping? Here are some spots:

Flea Creek – Brindabellas **** (4wd required to get back up)
Meroo – South coast *****
Woods Reserve – Corin ***
Cotter **
Tent embassy (great location) ***
Bournda – South coast ****
Shoalhaven – Warri Bridge **
Honeysuckle Creek – Namadgi ***
Island bend – Snowy mountains ****
Bendeela – Kangaroo River ****
Mt Clear – Namadgi ***
Honeymoon Bay – Jervis Bay ****
Mystery Bay – South Coast ****

chris820 chris820 10:58 am 15 Oct 10

Billy Grace at Wee Jasper
Blue Waterholes in Kosciusko NP
Bendethera valley in Deua NP (4wd only)
Along the Goodradigbee river near Brindabella
Or anywhere in Namadgi: Honeysuckle Creek, Mount Clear, Boboyan Valley

Would you prefer camping out of a car, or don’t mind a bit of walking?

KB1971 KB1971 10:55 am 15 Oct 10

Ok, where do I start,

In the ACT:
Honeysuckle Creek
Orroral Valley
Mt Clear

In Kosi:
Blue Waterholes (any hut on Long Plain actually)
Emu flat
Dubbo Flat
Gungarlin River
Island Bend
Geehi
Have a look at the KNP website, it list all the campsites.

Also, have a look here:

http://www.khuts.org/

You can camp at all the huts in Kosi & this website gives all the locations.

Bentethera is a great spot but you need a 4WD with clearance & low range to get there (not a Honda CRV).

The list is endless, maybe have a look at this book:

http://www.campsaustraliawide.com/

Captain RAAF Captain RAAF 10:47 am 15 Oct 10

Oh Purlease, are you that gullible?

Your boyfriend wants to go camping so he can….oh never mind!

eyeLikeCarrots eyeLikeCarrots 10:43 am 15 Oct 10

Woody Mann-Caruso said :

Wee Jasper Reserves.

A most excellent place, unfortunatley the Stales Tavern in Wee Jasper recently closed its doors which is a real pity.

Deckard Deckard 10:32 am 15 Oct 10

The snowy mountains have plenty of camping. Although this weekend they might be a bit snowy.

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