There is nothing like a campfire in the bush and sleeping in a swag under the Australian sky. While I have been on guided Outback Safari Tours, I had never been camping alone before. On my 5th solo trip I wanted to push myself further out of my comfort zone andexperience solo camping in Australia, for the first time. So, I was very excited to see how camping alone is like.
My solo camping adventure started in Cairns and took me through amazing landscapes, from Cairns to Cape Tribulation, Mossman to the Atherton Tablelands, the Mareeba wetlands to the Waterfalls circuit, south of Cairns.
Before telling you about my experience and showing the places I discovered on my seven-days Solo Camping Trip in Tropical North Queensland, I have put together a list with 10 tips for travelling and camping alone in Australia.
My 10 tips for solo camping in Australia
- Map out your Solo Camping Trip with campsites, supermarkets and fuel stations before setting off. Australian Travel apps like wikicamp or Map of Australia can help you find a suitable camping sites and deliver driving routes and options.
- Travel light with a small bag
I know, this is easier said than done, do your best to travel with less than 10kg. Bulky luggage will kill your solo camping adventure. On small campervans there is no space for big luggage and you will have to stow it onto your bed.
- Prefer paid campsites rather than free campsites
As a solo traveller I would highly recommend staying in paid camping sites offering the use of facilities like kitchen, bathroom and also having a reception. This will help you getting familiar with the area, creating connections, finding out about local tours and activities, making use of landline phones. Moreover it is safe to stay in a paid camping site.
- Have all necessary camping accessories and food provisions with you
In remote areas of Australia and at most campsites there are no shops nor groceries. Make sure you have everything with you before leaving. I bought my food and water supply at Smithfield Shopping Centre, just outside Cairns, on the way to Cape Tribulation.
- Start your day early in the morning
Australian days start early. Naturally adjust your day to the morning light and make the most of your activities in the morning. At 7.00 am there is plenty of sunshine. While in the afternoon, sunset starts setting in early around 6.00pm. Setting off in the early hours of the morning will allow you to drive in the cooler hours of the day and also get at your destination before sunset. It makes easier to get settled in the campsite with day light.
- Plan plenty of time for stopping along your way
As a solo traveller on the road you are, of course, the only driver. Plan at least 50-75% more than the average time for driving a route. If the route Cairns to Cape Tribulation takes 2.5 hours, plan at least 3, 3.5 hours. Along your way you want to stop and rest and first and foremost you cannot miss out on taking photos.
- Get familiar with your campervan
This will not happen overnight. It took me a few days to get familiar with my Jucy Campervan. Every day I discovered something new. Make sure you have an overall understanding on how things work, ask all questions you have when picking up the vehicle. Everywhere else is just a matter of learning by doing it.
- Check Fuel level and water supply
These are two important elements you should always monitor during your Solo Camping Trip. Don’t wait to have the red light flashing telling you to stop at the next fuel station. Instead, have a fuel stations map and plan accordingly. A good habit is to refill whenever you have used up half tank. Drinking water supply is very important. Make sure you don’t run out of water when camping alone. Roughly you need 2-3 liters/a day and 4-5 liters when walking or active in the outdoors. Don’t buy water from fuel stations or small shops, as it is very expensive, about 4-5Dollars/bottle. You can get bottled water from Coles or Woolworths for 75-95Cents/bottle or cheaper for a 6-bottles package. Don’t drink tap water in camping sites, unless they have filtered water. Some campsites do offer filtered water.
- Don’t panic when something doesn’t work
It’s inevitable. Something will go wrong or will not work as it should. On one hand it is annoying, but on the other hand it’s a chance to learn how to improve your skills and handle situations and ultimately make friendship with strangers. Whenever something happens, ask for help, as simple as that. Just strike up a conversation with fellow camping mates and you’ll see how quickly things can be sorted out. Be sure you have the phone number of the camping reception for any emergencies.
- Solo Camping means being cut off from civilisation – so what?
This is something you have to accept it, that you like it or not. No internet, no mobile phones, no Social Media madness. I thought I was going to welcome this as a digital detox cure. But it wasn’t really like this. I did not succeed with my intention. While I truly enjoyed the Daintree Forest I couldn’t resist the temptation of creeping into a internet coffee shop and have my daily dose of digital addiction. Don’t do what I did. If you can, try to unwind, fully immerse yourself into the environment and enjoy your solo camping experience without any interference.
I hope these 10 tips for Solo Camping in Australia are useful for planning your next adventure.
Now is your turn! Have you ever gone on a solo camping trip? If so, please tell us about your experience and leave a message here below.