Are you stressed by the fast-paced life of the city? Then, it’s time to go file that vacation and go camping on a budget.
When it comes to taking a break in the wilderness, one place stands out: South Australia (SA). The region has more than 100 camp grounds, situated mainly in vast national parks, rolling mountains, lakes and rivers.
The activities you can do is almost limitless- from hiking the rugged trails of Flinders Ranges, boating on the tranquil Murray River, to simply stargazing while you’re in the Outback. All of that sounds nice, but what if you are short on cash? Here is a guide to help you plan a South Australia camping on a budget on board a campervan or motorhome.
Choosing Where To Camp in South Australia
Park Entry Fees in SA
Almost 90 percent of South Australia’s parks are free if you enter by foot or bicycle. The remaining 10 percent requires entrance fees. A few charge on a per person, per day basis like Kangaroo Island.
On average, national parks in South Australia charge $10 per vehicle. If you are a regular park visitor, use your Park Pass to save time when paying your vehicle and camping fees. Most camp sites allow online payments.
BY Paul Asman and Jill Lenoble
South Australia Camping Fees
Camping sites charge anywhere between $45 to $100. This fee covers the use of basic facilities like running water, toilets, rubbish disposal, and barbecue and picnic areas. Camping sites in SA are on a first come first basis.
Remember to secure a permit before you set up camp. You get this document at the park information office and pay for it together with the entry fees.
Below are some parks that accept online booking:
- Lincoln National Park (Memory Cave)
- Flinders Ranges National Park (privately operated campgrounds)
- Belair National Caravan Park
- Brownhill Creek Tourist Park
Most national parks allow a campfire, with the exception of summer months. Before leaving your camp, extinguish your fire properly. About 6 percent of all bush fires in South Australia are linked to camp fires that weren’t properly put out.
BY Michael Theis
Free Camping Sites In SA
If you are really cash-strapped there are free camping sites all over SA. The following are just some examples:
- World’s End Gorge Campground (Worlds End Highway, Burra)
- Terowie Railway Yard (1 Telford Ave., Peterborough)
- Murtho Forest Landing/ Headings Cliffs (Murtho Forest Reservation)
- Kingston SE Jetty Parking Area (34 Marine Parade, Kingston)
Camping On A Budget: What You Can Do
After you have chosen where to camp in South Australia, the next step is to find ways to save money on this trip. If you live far away from SA, we understand how this can be a challenge so we have compiled some tips on how you can raise money for your trip and be as thrifty as possible when you begin your camping adventure around South Australia:
Invite More People
As they say, “the more, the merrier.” Invite your friends or close associates to go camping with you. This way you can share expenses such as food, gas, camping fees and tents. Plan group meals depending on the number of persons with you, or ask everyone to bring or cook a dish during the trip. This way you can save on ingredients and enjoy tasting someone else’s cooking.
Opt For Used Camping Gears
Don’t even think of buying brand new camping gear. They are expensive, especially when you buy from retail outlets. Instead, shop at local garage sales or online stores.
Websites like Craigslist, eBay and even Facebook groups post pre-owned camping gear like tents, sleeping pads, backpacks, and even outdoor cooking equipment. Not fond of buying items online? Check your attic and you may find durable items sitting around. Who knows? You may find some old camping tools of your parents’ or grandparents that are still usable.
If you are still missing some of the essential camping equipment, then it’s the only time to buy the rest. Check discounts on websites like Wildearth, Anaconda Stores, and Discount Camping. Another option is to buy from fellow camping enthusiasts, just make sure you return their stuff on time.
Stocking Up on Food and Warm Clothing
If your vehicle still has extra space, fill it up with food. You don’t want to go hungry while camping do you? And don’t forget the s’mores!
When packing food, make sure you have planned a menu to avoid missing ingredients. Shop in bulk for dehydrated items like beans and fruits. Instead of buying condiments, bring the ones currently in your kitchen. Wondering where to store them? Tic-Tacs and film containers are great storage for condiments, while you’re on the go.
When it comes to clothing, bring clothes that can keep you warm during those cold nights in the wild. Don’t bother matching colours or styles. You will be in the wilderness, and no one (maybe a few) will criticise you for your fashion choices.
Roughing It Out
There are many styles of camping. You can camp in comfort with all the amenities including a hot shower, powered sites, electric barbecue that are all accessible while you’re in the camp site. Or you can choose more secluded camps, like Memory cove near Lincoln National Park, where you can have the place all to yourself.
But if you really want to have the ultimate camping experience, roughing it out with just the basic equipment and no facilities is the way to go. Not only will you save money, it will also bring out your resourcefulness.
If you are ready take this challenge, head on to Mount Remarkable National Park in Wilmington or the Simpson Desert in Oodnadatta. Don’t forget to bring extra supplies for cooking and remember to follow these simple tips when you’re out camping on a budget in South Australia.
When going with a group, hire a campervan or motorhome. Travelling with a vehicle is more convenient and time-saving. To get the most affordable rentals out there, check out Cheapa Campa’s fleet by visiting our website today!