10 Solo Camping Tips For Australia
My Solo Camping Trip in Tropical Queensland Australia
There is nothing like a campfire in the bush and sleeping in a swag. While I went on a guided Outback Camping Safari, camping solo was new. On my solo trip to North Tropical Queensland, I wanted to push myself out of my comfort zone and experience camping solo in Australia. So, I was very excited to see what it is like to go camping alone in Australia.
For my road Trip in North Tropical Queensland, I rented a Jucy Crib Campervan. This was a budget campervan brand. I suggest mid-size and a higher level of comfort, though.
On this site, you can compare and book the perfect campervan.
My solo camping adventure started in Cairns and took me through the fantastic tropical landscapes, from Cairns to Cape Tribulation, Mossman to the Atherton Tablelands and from Mareeba wetlands to the Waterfalls circuit.
Best tips for camping solo in Australia
I have put together this guide with my advice and tips for camping solo in Australia from my Solo Camping Trip in Tropical North Queensland.
- Map out your Solo Camping Trip
Make a list of campsites, supermarkets and fuel stations before setting off. Australian Travel apps like WKI Camp or Map of Australia can help you find 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. There is no space for big bags in small campervans, and you will have to stow them onto your bed.
- Prefer paid campsites rather than free campsites
As a solo traveller, I highly recommend staying in paid camping sites with facilities like a kitchen, bathroom, and reception. This will help you familiarise yourself with the area, create connections, learn about local tours and activities, and use landline phones. Moreover, it is safe to stay at a paid camping site.
- Have all necessary camping accessories and food provisions with you
There are no shops or groceries in remote areas of Australia, and most campsites are. Ensure you have all the essential camping gear before setting off on your adventure. On the way to Cape Tribulation, I bought my food and water supply at Smithfield Shopping Centre, just outside Cairns.
- 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 6.00 pm. Setting off early morning will allow you to drive in the cooler hours of the day and get to your destination before sunset. It makes it easier to get settled in the campsite with daylight.
- Plan plenty of time for stopping along your way
As a solo traveller on the road, you are the only driver—plan at least 50-75% more than the average time for driving a route. If the itinerary from Cairns to Cape Tribulation takes 2.5 hours, plan at least 3, 3.5 hours. You want to stop and rest along your way, and first and foremost, you cannot miss out on taking photos.
- Get familiar with your vehicle
This will not happen overnight. It took me a few days to get familiar with driving solo in Australia by car and with a small Camper. Every day I discovered something new. Ensure you understand how things work and 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.
You should constantly monitor these two essential elements 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 station map and plan accordingly. A good habit is to refill whenever you have used up the half tank. The drinking water supply is significant. Make sure you don’t run out of water when camping alone. You need 2-3 litres/a day and 4-5 litres when walking or active outdoors. Water from fuel stations or small shops is costly.
You can get bottled water from Coles or Woolworths for less than a dollar a bottle. Don’t drink tap water on camping sites unless they have filtered water. Packing your water filter is the best way to have your water supply covered.
- Don’t panic when something doesn’t work.
It’s inevitable. Something will go wrong or will not work as it should. On the one hand, it is annoying, but on the other side, it is a chance to learn how to improve your skills, handle situations, and ultimately make friends with strangers. Whenever something happens, ask for help, as simple as that. Start a conversation with fellow camping mates, and you’ll see how quickly you can sort out things. Be sure you have the camping reception’s phone number for emergencies. Pack a small survival kit with you.
- Solo Camping means being cut off from civilisation – so what?
You have to accept whether 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 enjoyed the Daintree Forest, I couldn’t resist the temptation of creeping into an internet coffee shop and having my daily dose of digital addiction. Please don’t do what I did. If you can, try to unwind, fully immerse yourself in the environment and enjoy camping alone without interference.
Travel essentials for camping solo: a complete checklist
Whether campervan, camping in a tent or sleeping in a swag, there are many things to consider before hitting the road and camping solo in Australia. Every camping checklist varies depending on the destination, the season, the weather conditions, and the length of the trip. I have put together this handy camping list to give you insight and help you shape your solo camping trip in Australia.
Camping sleeping gear
Choose a lightweight and waterproof tent (a pop-up tent can be a good option if you travel solo) along with a self-inflating mattress or a rubber mat. A good quality sleeping bag is essential when camping in a tent. Pick one that best matches weather conditions.
A waterproof camping tarpaulin is another essential item that can be placed underneath the tent to keep moisture away or on top as extra protection from the rain. Likewise, it can be used as a wind or sun shelter.
Camping Food Gear
- An esky fridge and ice packs are essential to keep your food cool outdoors in Australia. I’d suggest a large store of food and a small portable one for hiking or outdoor activities.
- A 10-litre tank with drinking water that you can refill with filtered water at camping sites.
- Cooking food when camping can be tricky as not all campsites offer kitchen facilities. So you may consider a reliable camp stove or grill. It is advisable to pack extra gas bottles for refill. Moreover, camping crockery and cutlery are also necessary.
- Consider buying a washing-up tub, which is very handy on the road; you can purchase it for 10 dollars in supermarkets or camping gear shops.
Lightweight, functional wear is what I pack for my outdoor adventure. Good quality activewear is a must for comfort and excellent protection for camping. My preferred piece is a functional body map that you can use for sleeping and a layer for outdoor activities in cooler months.
Here you can read more about what to wear when travelling in Australia.
10 Must-Have Camping Gear
Below is camping gear that I find very useful for camping in Australia.
- Lightweight fold-up table and chair.
- Floor brush.
- Torch and a headlamp at night when using the toilets and outdoor activities.
- A water filter to always secure clean and fresh water.
- Mozzie net as protection against flies and mosquitos.
- A swiss-army knife.
- First aid kit with medicine, vitamins, and antihistamine tablets to combat allergy to insect bites.
- Good sunscreen.
- Paper towels for multi-use.
- Ziplock bags to store food.
On the internet, you can find helpful resources about caravan and camping accessories to start your camping solo adventure in Australia.
I hope my solo camping tips help you plan your Solo Adventures in Australia.
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First published in 2014, last updated in Jan 2023
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October 7, 2014 @ 4:43 am
Great tips! And it looked like an awesome trip!
Some tips to add:
– Download google maps of where you’re going so you have it available offline, helpful when you find yourself out of signal.
– Sunscreen and flyspray are essential, a good hat comes in handy as well. Australian fly’s are aggressive and bothersome.
October 8, 2014 @ 12:20 am
Hi Amir, the flyspray is essential. I got bitten by an insect and had to take antihistamine to calm down the swelling! Thanks for adding this tip.
October 7, 2014 @ 3:15 pm
Thanks for the tips! Planning to travel solo to Queensland this december.
October 8, 2014 @ 12:16 am
You are welcome, Meck! I am happy to help 🙂
January 11, 2016 @ 3:19 am
I never thought of going on a solo camping. Too afraid to do it, and never thought it to be fun, but the way you said it is just way too tempting. I think I’ll pack up right now. 😀
September 7, 2016 @ 11:59 am
Yes it was good fun, and a bit of a challenge too! 😉
September 7, 2016 @ 4:02 am
Darwin to Alice Springs was a bucket list trip. The roadhouses were great for cold beer and a shower. 4WD was essential once I left the paved roads. Common brown snakes could be a problem if you’re not paying attention south of Darwin. I’d do it again solo in a heartbeat – maybe Western Australia.
September 7, 2016 @ 12:03 pm
Hi Paul, if you are heading to Western Australia, then you may be interested in crossing the Gibb River Road in the Kimberley, North West Australia. You can start from Kununurra and head west, it’s a long way, but if you have enough 4WD experience then it should be fine. Drive slow as a flat tyre is quite common on the ungraded dirt roads.
March 10, 2017 @ 2:07 am
As a solo 53yo female traveller (last year I hiked, hitched rides on motorbikes and camped with Rangers in the Cardamon Mtns in Cambodia for 5 wks) then walked the Balkans (Montenegro, Slovenia, Croatia etc) for 10 wks, then Thailand for 2 wks……you do not need to buy bottled water in Australia. The water from taps is suitable to drink anywhere unless it is signed Bore Water (from underground). Bottled water just contributes to landfill and pollution of our beautiful country.