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Canberra Camping Advice?

wicklow 18 August 2011 25

I was looking for any tips regarding camping in and around the ACT. I’m a novice camper and really was just interested in 2 nights relaxing by a campfire. However, things don’t appear this simple. I understand a lot of sites don’t allow open fires (even in winter) and some require a 4WD (which I don’t have).

I thought I’d try it over the next few weekends, but not too sure about the cold and also about creepy crawlies this time of year. Equally unsure about the safest, nicest places.

Seems a tall order doesn’t it? I really just wanted to do some info gathering, so any and all thoughts are welcomed.

Thanks!


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chris820 chris820 7:31 pm 22 Aug 11

wicklow said :

A few more questions for you: many of you mention camping in places that I can’t seem to find info about site fees on the net (eg. Wee Jasper, Brandy Flat). Does anyone have that sort of info?

‘Should only be around $8 a night at any of the Wee Jasper reserves.
The local ranger has a residence at the Billy Grace reserve. That also happens to be a very comfortable spot to camp. With showers, BBQs, and purchasable firewood.

Um, I’m not sure about Brandy Flat. But I’d suggest a stop in at the Namadgi Visitors Centre on your way through.

Gungahlin Al Gungahlin Al 7:29 pm 21 Aug 11

wicklow said :

Thanks to all for your replies; a lot of helpful info has been posted. A few more questions for you: many of you mention camping in places that I can’t seem to find info about site fees on the net (eg. Wee Jasper, Brandy Flat). Does anyone have that sort of info?

Also, a few people mentioned some remote options. Just wondering with all these sites, how safe the spots are for a female camper (or two females)? Sounds ridiculous I know, but like I said, I’m a novice and would like to choose somewhere that ticks the safety box on my first out. 🙂

Thanks to all for the links to “official” info. As for firewood, where do most of you get yours from? What sort of prices would you be looking at and how much firewood is enough for 2 nights?

Car camping I assume is where you can park your car next to your spot? How far away do most of you park your cars when camping? Seems like an interesting point to consider.

Again, it’s great to hear from all the experienced campers here at RA. It’s even better to be able to learn such useful camping tips from you.

If you don’t have tools for chopping stuff up, then you’ll find many servos have firewood in bags out front.

Car close to camping spot (aka glamping – glamorous camping) would be fine for many of the spots mentioned – esp Honeysuckle etc in Namadgi.

As for safety I can’t make an observation re female. But I think the greatest risk is that anyone can find themselves at a site with drunks being morons, and the upshot of that can always be a luckydip. So I think the safest is away from others, or away from weekends at least. I always regard a camping trip during which I see no-one as a good trip.

KB1971 KB1971 6:43 pm 21 Aug 11

Hehe, unless you are talking about truck convoys, Action buses, car v bike or politics you will usually get some helpful advice 🙂

Can’t help you with the fees but yes, car based camping is where you drive into the camp area, pick a site & camp near your car. You usually only have to cart your stuff about 20m max + most of the sites mentioned are acessable by 2wd vehicles.

Safe, want do you mean by safe? Safe from dickheads or wildlife? Dickeads are ever present & the more remote the better generally. Wildlife? Too early for snakes & bugs so you will be fine there. Wild dogs? They will usually leave you alone, you will hear them but that’s all. Homeless had an incident one night but he was alone & obviously looked vulnerable so the dogs had a go. Very rAre though.

Firewood, I usually gather close to camp (within a few km’s) & always carry a bow saw. If I am going for a long time & there are a heap of us we will take the chainsaw. Bunnings always have bags though for about 20 bucks a bag.

I will add some more later as i am about to tuck into a lamb roast…..

thatsnotme thatsnotme 6:07 pm 21 Aug 11

wicklow said :

Car camping I assume is where you can park your car next to your spot? How far away do most of you park your cars when camping? Seems like an interesting point to consider.

I think this is more referring to the fact that you’re driving right up to your camp site, so the amount of gear you can take with you isn’t limited by how much you can carry. So instead of needing to buy an expensive sleeping bag, that weighs next to nothing and packs down to the size of a postage stamp, you can take a cheaper bag – and a couple of blankets or a doona if you want to!

wicklow wicklow 5:45 pm 21 Aug 11

Thanks to all for your replies; a lot of helpful info has been posted. A few more questions for you: many of you mention camping in places that I can’t seem to find info about site fees on the net (eg. Wee Jasper, Brandy Flat). Does anyone have that sort of info?

Also, a few people mentioned some remote options. Just wondering with all these sites, how safe the spots are for a female camper (or two females)? Sounds ridiculous I know, but like I said, I’m a novice and would like to choose somewhere that ticks the safety box on my first out. 🙂

Thanks to all for the links to “official” info. As for firewood, where do most of you get yours from? What sort of prices would you be looking at and how much firewood is enough for 2 nights?

Car camping I assume is where you can park your car next to your spot? How far away do most of you park your cars when camping? Seems like an interesting point to consider.

Again, it’s great to hear from all the experienced campers here at RA. It’s even better to be able to learn such useful camping tips from you.

chris820 chris820 11:29 am 19 Aug 11

For car camping on the Shoalhaven. Try Oallen Ford.
All sealed roads via Bungendore > Tarago.

KB1971 KB1971 9:18 am 19 Aug 11

dvaey said :

While not in the ACT, there is also a nice little camping area about 10km on this side of Braidwood, near the Shoalhaven River. There is plenty of space for all methods of camping, from a simple swag to a big motorhome or caravan. Plus you can have your own fire, and theres often firewood provided. There is also a ‘free camping’ area just near Majors Creek, google will find it for you.

I have often thought about camping there as we drove past but we stopped on the way home from Batemans Bay at Easter & I didnt really like it.

The Majors Creek one would be OK.

Grail: where is Brandy Flat?

dvaey dvaey 8:02 am 19 Aug 11

While not in the ACT, there is also a nice little camping area about 10km on this side of Braidwood, near the Shoalhaven River. There is plenty of space for all methods of camping, from a simple swag to a big motorhome or caravan. Plus you can have your own fire, and theres often firewood provided. There is also a ‘free camping’ area just near Majors Creek, google will find it for you.

Overheard Overheard 1:32 am 19 Aug 11

If you or others are looking for people to hook up with to go camping with in the Canberra region: http://www.meetup.com/Camping-Canberra/

Grail Grail 8:51 pm 18 Aug 11

Brandy Flat is a lovely quiet little place, has a nice view over part of Canberra while still being far away from it all. There was a nice hut there last time I visited, though it may have been burned/vandalised/stolen in the meantime.

Only a couple of km off the road, so those who aren’t used to hiking don’t have to die to get there 🙂

wildturkeycanoe wildturkeycanoe 7:35 pm 18 Aug 11

Cotter camp ground if it’s open. Only half hour away, open fires, nice river, walking tracks. I stayed there often when I worked in A.C.T but lived further away and it wasn’t too expensive [$6/night??] and firewood was provided. Toilets and showers for comfort too.

KB1971 KB1971 6:51 pm 18 Aug 11

Do you have all the gear Wicklow? If not then yep, expect 5-10 degrees cooler overnight. I think Camping World hire camping gear.

Also, do you mind a bit of a walk? Pryors Hut is a nice place & is about 6pm return from the gate at the bottom of MT Gininni. You can camp inside so if it rains you will be sweet.

Of all the campsites mentioned, take your water. There are tanks at most of them but they can have bugs in them. That or water tabs.

Kowen is another, one of my workmates camped there & he said it wasn’t bad even though it was close to Queanbeyan.

Further astray out that way is Lowden park in Tallaganda SF, dirt to get there but passable by car (no fire trails). Fire places & plenty of wood as it’s state forest.

There are also Wyanbene Caves & the Big Hole camp grounds. All easily acessable by car.

Even further again is Snowball out towards Bendethera but the river has to be low to cross but there is plenty of room to camp either side

alaninoz alaninoz 5:46 pm 18 Aug 11

Great time to camp. Not many insects around, and the snakes are all home by the fire.

Gungahlin Al Gungahlin Al 5:20 pm 18 Aug 11

p1 said :

My vote would be for Honeysuckle Campground. Absolutely beautiful spot, and the bonus of the former Honeysuckle Creek Deep Space Tracking Station.

http://www.tams.act.gov.au/play/pcl/bookings_permits_and_payments/camping/namadgi

Big Up for Honeysuckle. And take a telescope with you for outstanding stargazing. Best to take a bit of firewood too, rather than stripping it out of the surrounding bush (homes for bush critters).

The walk up to Booroumba (sp?) rocks is a big climb for kids but absolutely worth it – stunning massive granite buttress outlook that will blow you away. Scary look over the edge too…

Only problem is it is that bit too close to Tuggers and you get some wonderful examples of humanity up there on weekends. Be prepared to have to tell someone to STFU.

Orroal Tracking Station ruins is a picnic area only – the campground is a fair bit before Orroal itself. Not I think anyone would be around there to ping you…

dtc dtc 4:58 pm 18 Aug 11

Don’t forget the cold – most of the places suggested will be at least as cold, and probably colder, than Canberra itself. It can be unpleasant this time of year unless you have some reasonable gear (in particular a good sleeping bag plus sleeping mat). Long underwear is also useful… Buying cheap stuff will just lead to a bad experience.

That said, you dont need the $800 4-season tent designed for the Alps; and as an irregular car camper you dont need a super lightweight compact down sleeping bag either.

Classified Classified 4:55 pm 18 Aug 11

If you’re happy to do a couple of hours drive, there are some very nice spots down near Moruya. Well worth a look, I reckon.

qbngeek qbngeek 4:30 pm 18 Aug 11

It a little further than the others mentioned, but I would recommend Wee Jasper.

braddonboy braddonboy 3:57 pm 18 Aug 11

If you want to go a little further afield, try the Micalong Creek reserve just south of Wee Jasper for open fire places beside a free flowing creek. You can take your own wood or buy it from the ranger. Toilets available. Ditto statements re Orroral campground.

PBO PBO 3:51 pm 18 Aug 11

Wee Jasper has always been a favorite of mine. Cagves, hiking, climbing, fossicking, swimming and heaps of other things to do.

dvaey dvaey 3:50 pm 18 Aug 11

+1 for Ray-Ray’s comments about Woods Reserve.

Its just out near Corin, wide open camping area with many open fireplaces, and a couple of amenities blocks and sheltered areas for when the weather turns bad unexpectedly. You can camp next to your vehicle or some distance away at your choice. There are often others around but you can normally find your own quiet little spot, even if youve got a few kids.

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