DEW0522 143
DEW0522 143

Everything you need to know about your next (or first!) camping trip in a national park

26 Mar. 2024 5 min read

New to camping in a national park? Or maybe looking for a more challenging adventure? Here’s everything you need to know.

Choosing the right equipment

When it comes to camping gear, your tent is your home away from home, so choose wisely based on size, durability, and ventilation. Opt for a slightly larger tent to accommodate both sleeping space and gear storage, ensuring a comfortable experience.

Next, consider other essentials like a ground sheet for protection against moisture, a mallet to secure tent pegs, and versatile tools like cable ties and duct tape for emergencies.

Prioritise a good night's sleep with quality bedding, including an air mattress, sleeping bag, and pillow. For couples or those needing extra space, a double sleeping bag provides ample comfort, while a bedroll paired with a sleeping bag offers a minimalist option. Don't forget to pack an extra blanket for added warmth on chilly nights!

Planning a hike during your stay? Check out our guide of what to pack, as well as the best ways to stay safe (link to hiking blog).

Choosing the right national park

South Australia boasts over 300 national parks, each offering unique landscapes and recreational opportunities.

Use the "Find a Park" tool on the National Parks and Wildlife Service websiteto discover parks with facilities such as caravan-friendly sites, picturesque hiking trails, or tranquil swimming spots. Consider factors such as proximity to amenities, availability of activities, and environmental considerations when choosing your ideal park.

Top campsites for beginners

For novice campers, selecting the right campsite can significantly impact your experience. We’ve recommended some campsites that cater to beginners and have facilities such as toilets, showers, picnic tables and barbeques, as well as being surrounded by amazing scenery and wildlife:

  • Stringybark at Deep Creek National Park: Enjoy stunning coastal views and easy access to hiking trails.
  • Mambray Creek at Mount Remarkable National Park: Explore scenic gorges and tranquil waterways in this picturesque setting.
  • Wilpena Pound in Flinders Ranges National Park: Discover the rugged beauty of the outback while enjoying modern amenities and guided tours.

Cooking essentials for camping

Preparing meals while camping can be both practical and enjoyable with the right equipment and preparation. Here's what you need to know:

  • Choose cookers and utensils suitable for campfire restrictions and park regulations.
  • Pack essential cooking items such as a frypan, kettle, chopping board, and foil.
  • Enhance your culinary experience with specialty items like a long-handled jaffle iron for delicious toasties and a stove-top espresso maker for your morning caffeine fix.
  • Keep perishable foods fresh by investing in a portable fridge for the car or packing an esky full of ice.

Some campgrounds have public gas barbeques, but it’s always handy to carry your own equipment. Depending on which park you’re visiting, and what time of the year it is, this can range from a basic butane-fuelled, single-burner cooker up to a portable gas barbeque. However, please be aware that different parks have different fire restrictions, so be sure to do your research before you head off.

When it comes to utensils your basics can be as simple as a frypan, kettle, chopping board, bowl, a couple of sharp knives and a roll of foil. Add a plate, bowl, mug, knife, fork and spoon per person and you’re set. It’s always a good idea to throw in a roll of paper towel and the tomato sauce.

Managing waste

Responsible waste management is crucial for preserving the natural beauty of our national parks and minimising environmental impact. Here's how to manage waste effectively:

  • Pack all rubbish in leak-proof bags and remember to take it with you as there are no bins in national parks.
  • Bring a bucket for extinguishing campfires safely and minimising fire risk. Remember, campfires must be put out with water, not sand or dirt.
  • Practice Leave No Trace principles by cleaning up after yourself and leaving your campsite in better condition than you found it.

Booking and preparing for your camping trip

Before embarking on your camping adventure, take the time to plan and prepare thoroughly. Here are some tips for booking and getting ready for your trip:

  • Reserve campsites and pay vehicle entry fees online in advance to secure your spot, especially during peak seasons.
  • Check mobile phone coverage in your chosen park, as some remote areas may have limited or no reception.
  • Download Avenza Maps for official park maps and offline navigation, ensuring you can navigate safely even without internet access.
  • Ensure you plan to arrive and leave the park during daylight hours and avoid sunrise and sunset as this is when wildlife will be most active in the park. Always drive carefully.
  • Familiarise yourself with park regulations, safety guidelines, and emergency procedures to ensure a smooth and enjoyable camping experience. And if you’re look­ing for­ward to snug­gling around a camp­fire make sure you do the right thing. There are some impor­tant rules and safe­ty mea­sures you need to fol­low to make sure you and our nat­ur­al envi­ron­ments stay safe.

By following these tips and recommendations, you'll be well-equipped to embark on your first camping trip in a South Australian national park. Whether you're seeking adventure, relaxation, or simply a connection with nature, our parks offer something for everyone.

So pack your gear, grab your friends and family, and get ready for an unforgettable outdoor experience!

Keen for a bushwalking adventure? Find out more here.


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