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A Guide to Free Camping in Australia – Wiki Camps App


Ever wondered how you can travel in Australia without paying for accommodation? The answer is simple. Buy a Backpacker car’ (a term used in Australia for cars that come fully equipped for long-term roadtrippers) and the WikiCamps to do Free Camping in Australia!

How to travel in Australia without paying for Accommodation // Roadtrip in Australia on a Budget // Aussie road trip // The cheapest way to travel within Australia is by buying a 'backpacker car' (as opposed to a camper van) and make use of the Wiki Camp app that helps you find free camping spots all over the country. Australia was actually one of the cheapest countries we travelled in thanks to this incredibly useful app.

Your ultimate Aussie road trip will cost you the fraction of what it usually costs! We saved tons of money on accommodation fees thanks to this! Thankfully when we bought our car, the previous owners invited us to the secret world of free camping.

We had never ever heard of this WikiCamps before – and it is an app available for Australia, New Zealand, the USA and the UK. We would have always chosen official camping sites – simply because we didn’t know of all those incredible free campsites in Australia. And there are plenty!

So, I decided to compile this guide on how to use WikiCamps for a road trip in Australia. *Smiley Face* (by the way, I’m not being paid to write this – I really honestly wholeheartedly LOVE this app and want the whole world to know about it)!

Camping in the wild - Australia

So, what is this Free Camping App?

Wiki Campers are regular people, like you and me, who drop pins on an interactive map to indicate where all paid & free campsites (and showers, point of interests etc.) are located within Australia, so that future campers can find these and make use of them. Campers then comment on their experiences on these campsites (ordered by date), so you always know what the current state of affairs is in regards to (especially free) campsites all over the country.

Wild camping in Australia

Why is it so useful?

Free camping in Australia, in many parts of the country, can be illegal. If you are unlucky, you could end up paying a huge fine for parking up somewhere random to sleep in your car or camp (in the Byron Bay area someone reported to having had to pay a fine of AUD $1000…ouch!). This is why Wiki Camps is so wicked! The free camp sites are generally safe to use, tried and tested by hordes of budget campers – just look at the comments and see what other’s have said about the site. We read comments of policemen doing their rounds – but generally  they leave without saying anything or simply check up on you to make sure you are ok. We camped free for a whole month, with a few exceptions where we used paid campsites only because we liked the look of them, and were never ever visited by the police.

Roadtrip through Australia

How does it work?

It’s very simple. This crowdsource – based database makes it simple. Are you currently in Perth? 1) Then look up all campsites near the city and select a site according to your criteria. We usually filtered the sites by ‘free campsites’ as this is what we were most interested in. 2) Read the comments and make a decision where you would like to camp. If you find a pin is incorrectly placed, simply edit and change it – Wiki Campers rely on each other’s accurately placed pins (please be a team player and update anything that is incorrectly placed or has wrong information in it). 3) Drive to the location using WikiCamp’s map. 4) Camp free and enjoy! Note: If you download all content prior to starting your road trip, the app works offline too! Fabulous hey?

A guide to wild camping in Australia - WikiCamps

Wildcamping in Australia - WikiCamps

 

What about showers?

Good point. This is where it becomes a little bit tricky – but not really. If you decide to camp for free, you will have to shower at public showers near beaches (the hot showers are marked in the app – just look at ‘point of interest’ generally – Wiki Campers, including me, would make sure to indicate HOT showers wherever we spotted them…please do the same). The beauty about camping for free in Australia, is that you have all the freedom in the world to camp almost everywhere – but because it’s free…you generally don’t have shower facilities or toilets nearby. We had a stretch on the long Nullarbor desert route where we did not shower for three days. Yuk, right? Nah…could be worse. We used water, soap and baby wipes to freshen ourselves up.

It’s part of the adventure and not the end of the world, really. Is it now?

Wildcamping in Australia - Roadtrip

How much does it cost?

The Australian version is more expensive than the rest – because it is the most widely used and has the biggest community (that also makes it even more awesome as it is packed with info on free campsites). We only paid AUD $ 7.99 for it (which is more than I would usually pay for an app) – but an investment which is definitely worth making, as you save so much money on accommodation by camping for free.

Especially in countries like Australia, this means massive savings!

Wildcamping in Australia - Roadtrip

What should I keep in mind when using this app?

Free camping will only ever be possible thanks to campers who are respectful towards the environment and the neighbourhoods they chose to camp in. Keep in mind, that both the locals and the police turn a blind eye to you camping for free, more often than not. As long as you don’t litter and keep the noise levels down, no one will say anything. For now, free camping is still a possibility. But that may change if you don’t behave.

I was shocked to see how much litter was left behind by fellow free campers! It’s a sad sight and makes me really angry. Then everybody is surprised if hefty fines are imposed in certain areas all of a sudden – well, no wonder…the locals are fed up to find big piles of poo and toilet paper dotted around beaches. Seriously. I have seen it all.

Wildcamping in Australia - Roadtrip

Please take your rubbish with you!  This includes toilet paper (yes even the used one). Just put it into a plastic bag and take it with you and dump it into the next bin. It’s that simple! If everyone keeps the free camping sites clean, we will be able to travel like this for a whole lot longer – hopefully. Keep in mind that if free camping in Australia is not possible anymore, you’ll have to pay for a camp site averaging – AUD$ 10-20 per person (a little less if you are lucky) – out goes the  ‘campsites- for – free’ way of travelling throughout Australia. And to be honest: camping in the outback is so much more fun than sleeping at dedicated camp sites. It really is the quintessential adventure.

Don’t wreck it for everybody else.

Wildcamping in Australia - Roadtrip

Where can I download it? The app is available for both Android devices and Iphone – simply search for ‘WikiCamp’ and select the app for the relevant country.

Want to learn more? Check out the WikiCamp website and if you are still confused about how to use it, the guys from Wiki Camp did an amazing job to compile many useful You Tube Tutorials . Of course, please feel free to contact me, if you have any questions!

Roadtrip Australia - a guide to wild camping

Happy Free Camping!

Heart IconHave you ever done a epic road trip? Have you used WikiCamps before? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below. 

 

***No. This is not a sponsored post. I wrote a blog post about these guys because I think they rock!

 

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Guide to Free Camping in Australia

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15 Comments

  • WikiCamps

    29.08.2015 at 01:40 Reply

    Awesome write up guys! We’re glad you got such great use out of WikiCamps. Happy and safe travels always!

    • Serendipity Tess

      28.09.2015 at 10:31 Reply

      Thanks Russ! We also used WikiCamps in New Zealand and it was awesome! I can’t wait to come back to AUS one day and do some more extensive travelling out there! I loved it – and if it weren’t for your amazing app, it would have not been as much fun!

  • Michele Fleming (shelted)

    12.01.2016 at 19:48 Reply

    I have wiki camps and it’s the only thing I use for my stays and stops for either free camps and caravan parks. I tell people all the time to use it . Some do, some go on camps 8 or 7. I like to be up to date on changes and books are not up to date on changes. Wiki camps is the best. I also love to add comments and photos if they are different than what’s on show

    • Serendipity Tess

      13.01.2016 at 05:17 Reply

      Hi Michele 🙂 thank you for leaving a comment! I totally agree with you. I love the community spirit of people helping each other out to find the best camp spots out there! And by doing so, we can rely on up-to-date information! Happy Camping 😉

  • rona chadwick

    16.02.2016 at 00:29 Reply

    hi tess,i love your site and generosity. thanks for the info. well worth reading..

  • budget jan

    05.03.2016 at 23:42 Reply

    I am an Aussie and recently we bought a caravan. We were introduced to the WikiCamp App around the campfire one night on the Atherton Tablelands in N.Q. one night. Best $7.99 every spent and we fell in love with Australia all over again, staying in out of the way places and seeing the real Australia.

    • Serendipity Tess

      06.03.2016 at 07:35 Reply

      Hi Jan! I love your feedback – particularly because you are an Aussie (you guys rock!) 🙂 I agree – it was the best money spent! I don’t think our trip would have been as amazing if it weren’t for this kick-ass app!

  • Oliver Jones

    17.05.2016 at 23:13 Reply

    Going on the vacation or camping with a minamal cost is possible now.You don’t need to pay any extra cash when you can have a free area to camp with.Neverthless that will be a great idea.

  • Marija fickling

    03.01.2017 at 10:33 Reply

    You are absolutely correct about Wikicamp, best app for travelling Australia ever. Got us to places we had never heard about because the Wiki community shares and respects care of the sites. Yahoos are “outed”. we are oldies getting what travelling we can before the big sit in the nursing home [just shoot me!] and love free camping in this beautiful country.
    There is definitely a bonding when someone says ” have you got the Wikicamp app?” Perfect strangers unite socially and can chat for ages about the advantages of the app and how to use it.

    • Serendipity Tess

      07.02.2017 at 16:37 Reply

      Hey Marija, ahhh bless you! You are only as old as you feel. And by the sounds of it you are young at heart!!! Travel for as long as you can and enjoy every moment of it. Yes, the Wikicamp apps is hugely beneficial when travelling in Australia. Incredibly useful!

  • Samantha

    23.01.2017 at 13:14 Reply

    Hey!

    So do you just sleep in your car? How do you fit everything in incl. a mattress?! Or can u use tents too?
    x

    • Serendipity Tess

      07.02.2017 at 16:43 Reply

      Hey Samantha, you can also carry tents with you and sleep in tents but we found it so much more comfortable sleeping in a car with a comfy mattress. The car was big enough for us to be able to sleep stretched out – there was plenty of room. But by all means, feel free to camp 🙂 Just be careful with the spiders…make sure to double-check your tent carefully each night. But then again, they can crawl into your car also…Didn’t mean to frighten you…

  • Mary egerton

    26.02.2017 at 09:33 Reply

    I love the pic of you making peanut butter sandwiches in the back of the car. My cousin and I dragged our grey haired mothers across Canada on a road trip and we lived out of a cooler. We stayed in really cheap hotels cuz the old ones were not really into camping…lol. But I must say, they were very well behaved and enjoyed themselves. Especially the gin and tonics as a night cap. Canada is massive, and the road is really long. Come here. You will find enough camping to last you for the rest of your life. We have free stuff too.
    Nice post. I will be heading to Australia in my traveling future. Thanks for sharing.

    • Serendipity Tess

      01.04.2017 at 13:32 Reply

      Hi Mary, thank you so much for your lovely comment! And yes, Canada is definitely another big dream of mine! And if I can roadtrip it…why not!! 🙂 I’m pleased you enjoyed the post – and YES to peanut butter sandwiches 🙂

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