There is nothing quite as quintessentially Australian as camping. With over 500 national parks covering a staggering 28 million hectares, camping and cooking outdoors is part of the Australian experience.

Aussies are tough and laid-back, adapting to their environment rather than dominating it; traits that have become even more important following the bush fire crisis in early 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic later in the year. After uniting to protect their beautiful national parkland and wildlife, Aussies hope to soon be sharing their unforgettable nature experiences with visitors again. To enjoy the very best socially distanced outdoors experience, follow these tips on how to camp and cook responsibly in Australia.

 

Tips for camping in Australia

  • Be prepared. The Australian environment can be incredibly harsh and changeable. When camping and cooking outdoors, bring plenty of water with you. Check the weather forecast and pack the right clothing and footwear.
  • Set up camp correctly. Protect the land by avoiding camping on low or poorly drained areas, instead look for hard ground and sandier soils. For safety, remember not to set up underneath loose, dead or overhanging tree limbs.
  • Respect local wildlife. These animals are wild and shouldn't be approached or fed for both their safety and yours.
  • Be a considerate camper. There is nothing worse than disrespectful campers. Keep noise to a minimum at night. Take away all rubbish when you depart, regardless of whether your waste is 'biodegradable' or not.
A campfire in the bush, made with large logs in a triangular shape with a stone circle around it
Check if there's a fire ban in place before lighting up © Getty Images

How to cook outdoors safely

  • Keep up to date. It’s critical when camping and cooking outdoors to follow all fire safety information. If a fire ban is in place, you cannot light a campfire or solid fuel barbecue or stove. Download the Fires Near Me app and check in for regular updates.
  • Only light fires in designated areas. All fires should be completely extinguished before leaving an area or going to sleep; never leave fires unattended.
  • Use camp facilities. Many camp sites in Australia have electric BBQs for use, which are a great way to cook outdoors safely.
  • Ever thought of a solar cooker? It shouldn't surprise many people that Australia is hot; Perth has an average of 265 days of sunshine a year! Why not invest in a solar cooker avoiding the need for an open fire completely? Higher end models can reach 500°F (260°C) and are arguably a more environmentally friendly choice.

Australian camping essentials

  • Make like a swagman. The Swag tent is ideal for packing light when for camping and cooking outdoors. The modern swag, taking its name from the 19th century swagmen who traveled miles on foot seeking work during the Great Depression, can be rolled and strapped onto a backpack. Hit the trails with your swag and begin your own adventurous walkabout.
  • Don't forget your cool box. An Esky is a popular brand, and considered an essential piece of camping gear. Keep your food and most importantly, beers, ice cold while exploring. You can pick one up cheaply from Bunnings or K-Mart.
  • Stay away from critters in a rooftop tent. Consider a ute (pick-up truck) for your road trip that allows you to attach a rooftop tent. They're convenient, comfy, and make camping and cooking outdoors a breeze.
  • If your budget allows, motor homes provide home comforts, including self-contained cooking facilities, which can help you to enjoy dining under the stars safely and responsibly.
An aerial shot of a white car on a red-dust road heading into the outback
You can save on vehicle entry fees with a National Parks Annual Pass © ronnybas / Shutterstock

Conservation while camping

  • Purchase a National Parks Annual Pass. In New South Wales, you’ll save money on vehicle entry fees whilst supporting facilities, protecting threatened species, and conserving places of cultural significance.
  • Support local businesses. Following the bush fire crisis, grass roots organisations are actively promoting local businesses that need support. Choose camping destinations using Road Trip for Good, skip the supermarket and instead fill your Esky with supplies for camping and cooking outdoors from local producers. 
  • Volunteer or join a conservation tour. There are plenty of volunteering opportunities within the national parks including bush regeneration and bush fire recovery. Ecotourism Australia also showcases fantastic tour providers offering volunteering and multi-day conservation experiences. Make conservation part of your camping trip and help keep this time-honored Australian experience available for generations to come. 

You might also like:

"A thrilling new way to experience the Great Barrier Reef": Exploring Australia's Museum of Underwater Art  
This ghost town in Western Australia could become an eco-tourism destination  
Australia's 6 best nudist beaches  

Get more travel inspiration, tips and exclusive offers sent straight to your inbox with our weekly newsletter.

Explore related stories

Where-Locals-Go-Australia.png

Beaches

Discover where locals travel in Australia

Feb 27, 2024 • 6 min read