how to go camping in australia

Rent a car and set off Saturday morning. Drive 200km north (or in my case, sleep in the backseat while a friend drives). Arrive Nelson Bay, wander around the grocery store like a bunch of zombies looking for pancake batter. Locate pancake batter.

So many beaches!

Set up tents at Melaleuca Backpackers campsite and listen as Mick, the friendly proprietor, lays out the perfect 2-day itinerary, including what time to watch the sunset. Walk 5 minutes to One Mile Beach, past a koala snoozing in a tree. Set up shade tent and dip various things in hummus. Apply sunscreen when shade tent is disassembled after nearly blowing away. Frolic on dunes. Frolic in the shallow water, do 360s in gentle waves, lie under said waves and watch them break overhead. Read a book about Western Australian pioneers and fall asleep under a big felt Akubra.

paddle game!


Wake up. Drive to Birubi Point, to watch the sun set behind the largest sand dune system in Australia at Stockton Beach. Ditch shoes behind a bush. Find burnt out car and have dramatic photo-shoot for way too long. Continue to wander along a small fraction of the 32Km long dunes. Walk backwards so as not to miss a moment of the sunset as it turns the sky from blue to gold to fuchsia.

sunset over the dunes

Return to campsite and use the hostel’s kitchen to cook a feast that leaves you sitting on the patio unable to move. Fall asleep in the tent awakening every so often in fear that the hostel’s domesticated ‘roo, Josephine, will play the game where she sticks her toenail through the wall of your tent. Wake up and make pancakes with white chocolate chips, banana, blueberries and real Canadian maple syrup.

Throw tents in the trunk and drive to Tomaree Lookout, walk (you really can’t call it a hike when it’s a 1Km long paved brick path) up to the former radar station and take in the panoramic view. Walk back down – this time not backwards. Have a coffee at Fingal Bay and continue on to the nearly deserted Zenith Beach. Swim and read more about pioneers.

View of Tomaree Hill from Zenith Beach

Grab fish n’ chips at Aussie Bob’s in Shoal Bay. Drive back to Sydney and try to get the sand out of everything.

That was easy.



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One response to “how to go camping in australia”

  1. Lily says :

    Just follow your nose! I wanna go!

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