This does require a little bit of research pre-trip and you’ll need to invest a short amount of time checking out spots when you arrive at your destination but you’ll be rewarded in knowing you are definitely camping in the best spot there is and can unearth some hidden gems in the process!
- Look on google maps before you leave to zoom in on any ‘green’ areas, national parks, larger parkland areas, beach carparks, dead end streets near the beach/parkland, areas that would be nice to park and sleep overnight and might not be very populated with minimal passing traffic.
- Take notes on directions, screen shots etc of places found above that you want to check out when you get to your destination.
- Google paid campgrounds in the area and read the reviews/look at some pics of the camp sites.
- Check out any spots in the area on the Wiki Camps app.
- Arrive at your location and check out the free camping spots you found on google maps and work out if any of them are actually good in reality:
- Do they have any ‘no camping’ signs? This isn’t necessarily a deal breaker. See below points.
- Does it look like there’ll be police patrolling overnight? Is there a local police station?
- Does it look like there’ll be hoons or young people coming there at night (are there empty bottles around/burnouts?)
- Will there be much/any passing traffic overnight?
- Do the locals seem friendly ie how do you think they’d react if you stayed overnight?
- Are there any big bins or a collection of bins that might be picked up very early in the morning and wake you up?
- Is it a surfing break carpark? Again this isn’t a deal breaker but keep in mind you’ll have loads of cars arriving early in the morning with people checking the surf. Again, this may not be a problem if the locals seem nice and you don’t sleep too lightly!
- Is there a public toilet block nearby? Always handy!
- Drive to the paid camping spot/s that you found online that looked good and ask to see their best/most private sites and check them out before you check in. Get a park map from the staff and ask them to highlight any sites that are available. Go for a walk around the park to see for yourself where the nice sites are and how full the park is.
- Now you have all of your information you can make a decision on where to camp that night. It could be a paid campground or a national park carpark. At the end of the day you are safest if it’s a paid campground to just book one night to start as with any camp spot you are never going to know how good it really is until you’ve spent the night!
What are your tips on finding a good spot to sleep paid or unpaid in a new town?