Forget hotels or even hostels – go off the beaten track to discover your own piece of paradise in these picture perfect places in South Australia.
BY BRUCE ELDER
The views, the quiet, the sense of being at one with nature; all these elements are offered, in abundance, by South Australia’s best camping spots. Whether you want to sit and gaze at the sunset over Gulf St Vincent, experience the full fury and majesty of the Great Southern Ocean, or even retreat to a bush hideaway in the Flinders Ranges, there is a special place for everyone to set up camp.
Wilpena Pound, Flinders Ranges
To see Wilpena Pound
from the air, the near-perfect circle of hills enclosing the natural amphitheatre, is to marvel at one of the true wonders of Australia. To pitch a tent at the campground just beyond the low-lying range of hills is to be only minutes away from some outstanding walks. Climbing the ridge in the early morning and late afternoon, you can watch the sun rising and setting over the pound. And, of course, you can take flights from the nearby airstrip and eat and have a leisurely drink in the friendly comfort of the resort.
The Flinders Ranges is a special place in South Australia to set up camp.
Cable Bay Campground, Innes National Park, Yorke Peninsula
There is something sublime about Innes National Park. Located at the southern tip of the Yorke Peninsula
, it is surrounded by perfect beaches, outstanding surf and dramatic cliffs. It is so far away from everything that you can spend a day walking and exploring without seeing another person. It is wilderness at its most seductive and beautiful. Pitch a tent at the Cable Bay Campground
and watch the sun rise over the Southern Spencer Gulf Marine Park. Nearby is the historic Inneston ghost town, the rusty remains of the wreck of the Ethel, and some of the best surfing anywhere in Australia.
Vivonne Bay, Kangaroo Island
Kangaroo Island has a large number of excellent campsites, but none compare to Vivonne Bay
where the sands are impossibly white, the waters are turquoise blue and, when the winds are blowing, the full drama of the Great Southern Ocean can be observed from the safety of a bay protected by Point Ellen. Enjoy a beach many consider the most beautiful in Australia, go fishing from the jetty, wander along the white sands and know you have pitched your tent in the place many regard as the best that Kangaroo Island offers.
Ocean Beach, Coorong National Park
There are 34 designated camping sites in the glorious Coorong National Park. They are all located so the camper can enjoy the quietness of the waterway, be overwhelmed by the grandeur of the dunes that protect the Coorong from the Great Southern Ocean or, for the brave, allow for the wild experience of the ocean beach itself. Be brave! Pitch your tent anywhere along the Ocean Beach between the high and low water mark. You’ll need a four-wheel drive (4WD). There are 16 designated beach campsites and each is suitable for only two four-wheel drives (4WDs) and two tents or swags – but the experience of the stars, the roar of the waves and dawn waking you is unforgettable.
Talia Caves south of Port Kenny, Eyre Peninsula
The beauty of the west coast of the Eyre Peninsula
seems intentionally designed to take your breath away. The rugged sandstone cliffs have been eroded into “caves” or “caverns” known as The Woolshed and The Tub. The lonely beaches – wild and dangerous and edged by mountainous dunes – stretch to the horizon. And there, amidst all this passionate beauty, is the Talia Caves campground
- without toilets or water, but with 20 sites for bush camping. You can fish or simply gaze at the beauty of the coastline. As a bonus, you can pitch your tent and watch the sun set over waters which, further west, are pounding against the Great Australian Bight.