My Solo Camping Trip in Tropical Queensland Australia
There is nothing like a campfire in the bush and sleeping in a swag. While I have been on guided Outback Camping Safari, I had never been camping alone. On my solo trip to North Tropical Queensland, I wanted to push myself out of my comfort zone and experience solo camping in Australia. So, I was very excited to see what it is like camping by yourself.
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.
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 my best tips for camping solo in Australia.
My best tips for camping alone in Australia
- Map out your Solo Camping Trip
Make a list with campsites, supermarkets and fuel stations before setting off. Australian Travel apps like wiki 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. On small campervans, there is no space for big bags and you will have to stow them 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 setting off on your camping adventure. 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 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, 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 vehicle
This will not happen overnight. It took me a few days to get familiar with driving in Australia by car and with a small Camper you. 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 essential 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 the half tank. Drinking water supply is significant. Make sure you don't run out of water when camping alone. Roughly you need 2-3 litres/a day and 4-5 litres when walking or active in the outdoors. Don't buy water from fuel stations or small shops, as it is costly, 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 the one hand, it is annoying, but on the other side, it is a chance to learn how to improve your skills and handle situations and ultimately make friends 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. Pack a small survival kit with you.
- 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 an 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 camping alone without any interference.
I hope these ten tips for Solo Camping in Australia are useful for planning your next solo adventure in Australia.
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