Tassie’s Top 10 Campsites

As visited by A Lazy Lap of Oz

So many people think that Tasmania is only a small place, I only need a week or two to explore it. Everyone who says this is so wrong! If you can take the time and have the budget we strongly believe that in 2 and 4 months you can give it a good go. Yes it costs a bit to bring your van over ($2300 for us) although we believe that the availability of free camps and low costs camps will outweigh this cost when you are staying for an extended period.

The best places to camp

A question we often get asked by those planning a trip to Tasmania is where is the best place to stay? Well, for us we like to mix it up with camps that cost us, and those that don’t. Tasmania is really a place you go to explore nature. There is so much variety and options when it comes to campsites so as a family we have pulled together our top 10!

In our time in Tasmania we stayed at 26 different campsites for varying lengths of time from 1 night to more than a week. We stayed at a combination of free campsites to caravan parks that cost us as much as $56 per night. All of our sites are pet friendly as we had Miss Molly with us. We decided on our top 10 basically by which sites stick out in our memories and why. So here they are…

Boat Harbour Beach

  • Free
  • Facilities – toilets, drinking water, rubbish, phone service, pet friendly, onsite café,
  • To do – swimming, fishing, hiking,

Just west of Wynyard on the north coast, Boat Harbour is a beautiful little holiday spot, with the amazing advantage of a council endorsed free camp. There are flushing toilets on site which are thoroughly cleaned daily, and rubbish bins that are emptied weekly. There is no dump point onsite, but it isn’t too far to either Sisters Beach on Wynyard for this facility. This site can get a little boggy after rain, and is extremely busy in summer, so get in early. Or be like us and enjoy it on your own out of peak periods. Here is the Wikicamps link for this site.

Old Mac’s Caravan and Motorhome Farm

  • Low Cost Camp
  • Facilities – toilet, water (small fee), rubbish bins, fires, phone service, pet friendly,
  • To do – close to Launceston, Ben Lomond – zig zag road, Cateract Gorge, bushwalks, farm animals.

This awesome low-cost camp is super convenient for those visiting the Launceston area. At $10 per site per night it is very convenient, affordable, well maintained and super close to the city. The sites are huge and grassy with plenty of space for the kids to ride their bikes and go and explore. There are some really nice walks on the site as well as farm animals that the kids to feed.

The owner has put some good rules in place to ensure the smooth running of the site. There is a toilet onsite at the top of the hill at the restaurant, or if you are self contained the dump point is only 5 minutes away. There is water available for a gold coin honesty payment per tank. This is a very popular place over the summer months so get in early to secure a spot. This site is also only open from September to May each year and is pet friendly. Here is the Wikicamps link for this site.

Waterhouse Conservation Area

  • Free
  • Facilities – toilets, pet friendly, campfires (except when banned),
  • To do – swimming, fishing, bushwalks

We stumbled upon this little gem when we were caught out by being unplanned and didn’t have a site for the long weekend. Waterhouse is on the north coast, east of Bridport. The area has 9 different campsites with varying sized campsites for sways, camper trailers and caravans. We found with our 21ft van that the spots were limited, but with my husband’s extraordinarily amazing parking skills we were able to find an amazing spot at Casuarina Campground.

We loved this area for many reasons including the beautiful beaches and endless exploring, but also for how quiet it was on a “busy” long weekend. The fishing wasn’t bad, but we did wish we had a boat or Dean’s spearfishing gear at this point to really enjoy the waters of the north east. There are well maintained drop toilets on site, is pet friendly and there is plenty of wildlife including birds and quolls. There is minimal phone service and little tv reception (both a positive for us) and be advised that in summer this site is extremely popular, and is also home to Tassie’s deadly Tiger snakes. Here is the Wikicamps link for this site.

Swimcart Beach, Bay of Fires

  • Free
  • Facilities – Pit toilets, pet friendly, phone service
  • To do – water sports, fishing, rock exploring, Bay of Fires Conservation Area

STUNNING! This is the only word to describe this location. Caravans line the beach, each being able to secure their own little piece of paradise . . . . all for Free! Located on the east coast, north of Binalong Bay. The turquoise waters, the white beaches, the orange lichen on the rocks and the beautiful stingrays that scoot up and down the beach each day, are all parts of what makes this place unforgettable.

The campsite is pet friendly and has onsite pit toilets. There are campsites that are in more protected positions if you are unable to secure the front row seats, as well as the other popular campsites of Cosy Corner which are just as amazing as Swimcart. Within the surrounding area there are so many things to explore including the Bay of Fires, St Helens and Binalong Bay. From here we also explored the Blue Tier and Pyengana areas. We could have stayed here forever, but we limited ourselves to a week. Here is the Wikicamps link for this site.

South Arm RSL & Community Club

  • Free/Low Cost
  • Facilities – Toilets and Showers (small fee), non portable water, park, phone service
  • To do – Fishing, Restaurant, water sports, lookout

We headed to South Arm, south-east of Hobart, after setting ourselves up with spearfishing gear and reading about the abundance of fish in the area. The RSL and Community Club is one of the best I have visited. It has the most amazing dedication to our diggers out the front. The club itself is lovely, with clean modern toilets and showers, pool table and they serve beautiful meals. If you are fully self contained you can stay here for free, but we decided to support the club and make use of the beautiful hot showers and toilets in opening hours and pay the $5 per person per night. They didn’t charge us for the kids. Here is the Wikicamps link for this site.

Scottsdale Northeast Park

  • Donation
  • Facilities – Toilets, Water, showers (small fee), rubbish, dump point, phone service
  • To do – Bushwalks, Train Track walks, Wildlife, Park.

The Northeast park is situated just on the outskirts of Scottsdale and this campsite was amazing for kids and parents alike. There is a large park and playground for the kids to play in as well as beautiful ponds to search for platypus and other animals. The campsite is maintained by the local Lions and a donation is requested to stay. For this small fee you get access to clean toilets, water and dump point all onsite and also hot showers for a small additional fee. Sites are level and well mown. We enjoyed the beautiful walk along the Old Railway walk which winds its way from town out to the Northeast Park. From here we explored Bridport, Targa area, and Derby. It was a great central location for the exploring the North east cente. Here is the Wikicamps link for this site.

Pumphouse Campground, Arthur’s Lake

  • Low Cost
  • Facilities – Toilets, Showers (small fee), non-portable water, fires, pet friendly
  • To do – fishing, water sports, snow in winter
Frosty Morning

We arrived at Pumphouse as a stopover between Hobart and the north to be blown away by the location. It was a freezing afternoon, 3 degrees at 4pm, but we had a great 2 nights here. The lake was beautiful, and I can only imagine being there in the warmer months enjoying the waterways and the fishing. For a tiny $4 per person per night Onions, the caretaker, keeps the place looking spic and span, with the best smelling pit toilets I have ever sat my bottom on! The hot showers take $1 or $2 coins and these too are kept beautifully clean. Kids had a great time mixing with the other families and riding their bikes around. There is a real family friendly feel about this place, and I think it all comes down to the beautiful caring caretaker. The Wikicamps link is here.

Left Of Field

  • Campground
  • Facilities – Power, Toilets, Shower, Decadent Bath (additional fee), fires, portable water, BBQ, camp kitchen, park, Pet friendly
  • To do – Mount Field NP, Putt Putt Golf (small fee), Gordon Dam,

The Left of Field experience is something that I had been hearing about from all the travelling mum’s since hitting Tassie shores. Left of Field is a bush camping experience that you need to have in Tassie! Adrian will be your amazing host and he will go above and beyond to ensure that your experience is one to remember. Bonus, if you stay 3 nights or more you don’t pay extra for your kiddies.

You are welcomed to site with the tradition of a Chupa-Chup while you do the “boring stuff” at check-in. The kids are welcomed individually, as was our puppy Molly. There is plenty to keep the kids entertained with swings and slides and a putt putt course for a small fee. Adrian can fill you in about the amazing walks that you can take from the site without having to move your car, as well as visits out to the amazing Gordon Dam, and how else you can fill your time in the local area.

The outdoor bath was my Mother’s Day pressie, although I think I would have done it anyway. Adrian has draws of decadent bath bombs to make your experience next level. Yes the air temp was a chilly 5 degrees, but I wasn’t missing out on this amazing experience. The kids and I met Adrian at the communal fire and were led to the secluded area where the bath has been placed in the most magical circle of trees. Lanterns hung from the tree, the campfire roaring, and the bath full with steaming hot water . . . what more could you want. You need to visit this campsite. It is so worth the $$. Here is the link for Wikicamps.

Gowrie Park Wilderness Village

  • Caravan Park
  • Facilities – Power, Toilets, coin operated showers, non-portable water, dump point, Pet friendly
  • To do – Sheffield, Mount Rowland, Devils Gullet, bushwalks, Water sports on Lake Barrington.

Gowrie Park is where we ended up meeting some friends for the Easter break. It is located in the central north near Sheffield, the town of murals. It is a small little family owned caravan park with beautiful facilities and is very reasonably priced. The surroundings are stunning with beautiful Mount Rowland towering above you. Most caravan sites are on the smaller side so make sure you communicate the size of your van with them. They were very accommodating to our group and our large vans.

The van sites are generally gravel, with the camping sites grass. If you don’t have your own shower these are $1 for 5 mins, and all reports say that they are super hot. We enjoyed a campfire with friends as the wallaby’s as hopped around, what more could you want? From here we explored Sheffield, Devils Gullet, Lake McKenzie, Tasmazia, Lake Barrington, and Cradle Mountain. Here is the Wikicamps link.

Finns Campground – Cockle Creek

  • Free
  • Facilities – Toilet, non-portable water, pet friendly, fires, minimal phone service
  • To do – hiking, fishing, swimming, boating,

After a couple of weeks in a house sit we were super excited to travel to the end of the road and arrive at Finns where there were only a few people and minimal phone service. The campsite was a little wet after recent rains, but the puddles soak in quickly in the sandy soil. We were able to enjoy a campfire, although you need to travel a little to collect wood. The drop toilet was adequate, not too smelly.

This location is quite remote so you need to bring in all your own food, water and supplies. The beach is amazing. Kids loved exploring and building sandcastles with their new friends, while the adults enjoyed a bit of fishing. The biggest highlight of this campsite for us was the oysters you can collect off the rocks at low tide. They are just epic in size and flavour. There are a few nice hikes from this location. I can see why it is extremely busy in the warmer months. Here is the Wikicamps link.

Has that wet your tastebuds for Tasmania?

With easy access to water, free camps and dump points, Tasmania is really a free campers paradise. Mix that up with a bit of luxury in some really lovely low cost campsites and caravan parks you really will have the most amazing camping experience.

If that doesn’t wet your taste buds for the amazing places you can visit in Tasmania, I don’t know what will. Maybe the top 10 attraction in Tasmania will put you over the line . . . keep any eye out for that post coming soon. Link will be here once live.

If you loved this blog post, you might like to read one of our others below…

Most Used Travel Apps

We have been recently asked about what apps we are constantly using on the road. When we thought about it there are quite a lot that we are using everyday to make our lives easier or to save us money. So we thought we would pull them all together for you.

Wikicamps

Unsurprisingly our number one App is Wikicamps Australia. This app for the tiny price of $7.95 has saved us this hundreds of times over. Not only can you search for caravan parks, showgrounds and campsites, but you can also find portable (drinking) water and non-portable (shower/washing up) water, dump points, attractions, lookouts and parks just to name a few. The feature that we used the most within this app is the comments and costs. Users are able to make comments about the points of interest and also any costs associated. This has been really helpful in planning our budget, seeing if there are extra charges for kids, and deciding if the campsite will fit our big car and caravan. We can also plan our next steps and save favourites that other travellers have suggested. To us this app is indispensable and our life pretty much revolves around Wikicamps.

BOM – Bureau of Meteorology

Living an outdoor lifestyle has lead us to living by the weather. The most reliable app for this we have found is the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) Weather app. The app is similar to most weather apps in allowing us to see the current temperature, winds, and rain predictions. The predictions are 1 week in advance allowing us to plan our activities for the coming week. It has the radar and as they are the department that issues weather warning we receive these by notification first. This is super important to us to ensure we can pack away our awning and outdoor equipment before it is damaged in the wind or rain. 

Polarsteps – Travel Tracker

Polarsteps – Travel Tracker is an app that automatically tracks your route (even when out of phone service) and places that you visit along the way. By just carrying your phone in your pocket you will have a beautiful travel journal at the end.

How it works is that you create a trip (i.e. Tasmania from 2nd March to 20th June) and then once inside these dates the app starts recording your travels, locations and tracks the photos you take at these time intervals. I know a bit big brother, but the part we love is that we can share our personal link to our families, and at anytime they can see we are still ‘travelling’ and alive and well. As well as this they can see the photos and comments we upload.

Once you have time to sit down in internet service you click into the app and all your locations are uploaded into the tracker. Suggested stops are there for you to look at. You can add these in, or just select different spots and load your own stops along the way by choosing the timestamped dots on your route. You can attach photos, comments, and also landmarks/campsites/points of interest to each stop.

At the end of your trip you can order your beautiful travel journal including all your routes, comments, statistics and photos. It is printed on 200gsm paper and has pricing listed on the app inclusive of shipping depending on the number of pages in your book.

We love that with a little bit of work along the way we will end up with a beautiful journal to remember our travels forever.

Fuel Map Australia – by Wikicamps

Fuel Map Australia is another app that has saved us quite a bit of money. This is a great app and it allows us to;

  • Look up where the closest, or cheapest fuel station is to us
  • Allows us to find where certain brand fuel stations are for applicable discounts
  • Tracks our fuel ups including L/100km, km/L, km/$, $/100km, average distance and litres between fuel ups.
  • Accumulative distance, refills, litres and costs which is great when tracking or planning a trip.

Across our time in Tasmania we have saved ourselves money on most fuel ups by shopping around and planning our fuel. The prices in a small area can vary quite a lot.

There is a disclaimer to the app though. The data in the app on the prices is only as good as the users that are entering them. If people aren’t entering up to date prices, you might be basing your fuel ups on incorrect information. There is a timestamp on when prices were last entered so you can make an informed decision. To help this we always try to enter the prices into the app when we stop for fuel, so that they are accurate for the next person.

Geocaching

One of our newest pass times since hitting the road is Geocaching. For those who don’t know what it is there is basically millions of various sized containers hidden all around the world, and this app lists them all. We as geocachers then head out to find them based on the coordinates and clues that have been placed into the app.

There are different levels of access within the app. There is the free version of the app where you just download it, create an account and off you go. The only thing we have found with the free version is that there are all the caches/containers that we couldn’t access without a subscription. This became quite frustrating for us as you can see them on the app, but not access the clues or log them.

After about 2 months on the road we assessed that the geocaching is something that the kids and us adults quite enjoyed, and as a bonus it was taking us to many places we wouldn’t have normally gone and we were learning so much more about this country that we wouldn’t have otherwise. We then looked into the subscription and for $38.71 per year we could access all the caches within the app. For us travelling full time was a no brainer.

One of the things we love most is the caches that are created by passionate cachers is that they include an abundance of history and information about the locations that the cache is hidden. Often we will read the information to the kids in the car or on the walk to the cache’s. This is increasing all of our knowledge of this beautiful country, and we recon that is worth the $38 a year.

Fishing

Being the fishing loving family that we are, Australian Tides (Au Tides) and TasFish Guide have become our two favorite free fishing apps. The Au Tides app has taken all the guess work out of reading the tides for us. The app automatically picks up our location from your mobile phone and selects the closest tide location. It has allowed us to plan our fishing trips in locations that we are unfamiliar with, and make sure that when we turn up we aren’t greeted with a sandflat instead of water!

Although the TasFish Guide is Tasmania specific most of the other states have similar apps (FishSmart NSW, QLD Fishing, NT Fishing Mate, Vic Fishing, SA Recreational Fishing Guide, RecFishWest). The apps outline the fishing rules for each specific state, most including regulations, licences, size and bag limits as well as photos of the fish so you can identify them. Seeing as we have just ventured into the world of spearfishing, this app as been so helpful in identifying the fish before we catch them.

In summary there are so many apps out there these days that you need to work out what ones are useful to you and your travel style. But for us the ones above have been indespensable and have saved us so much money and time along the way.

Got any questions . . . hit us up below.