The best camping near Canberra, Australian Capital Territory.
History and heritage meet head-on with nature in Australia’s lakefront capital.
The verdant peaks of the Australian Alps roll out south of Canberra into New South Wales and Victoria. On the outskirts of the capital, the rocky peaks and bushlands of Namadgi National Park and Brindabella National Park harbor rustic camping spots with alpine views and plenty of options for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. Further south, the mountain resorts of Thredbo and Perisher are two of Australia’s most popular ski resorts.
Just a half-hour drive north of the city, the green hills of Murrumbateman, Gundaroo and Yass make up the Canberra wine region, where boutique wineries and cellar doors offer vineyard strolls and wine tasting. Some of Canberra’s best camping sites lie among the vineyards, where you can pitch your tent in the hills, cool off with a dip in a natural swimming hole, then tuck into a BBQ around the campfire.
Canberra Nature Reserves
Canberra is encircled by nature reserves, where outdoor adventurers can roam along woodland trails, swim in freshwater creeks, and spot wild kangaroos hopping through the bushlands. Popular getaways from the city include Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, just southwest of the city; Mount Ainslie Nature Reserve to the north; and Kowen Forest to the east.
When to Go
Canberra’s distinct seasons mean that the city’s landscapes are ever changing—autumnal leaves blanket the hillsides with shades of red, orange, and gold, while in winter the mountaintops are dusted with snow. The best time for camping trips, bushwalking, and outdoor activities is from September through May, but it’s busiest in summer (December through February), when it’s best to book camping grounds in advance. Autumn is also a lively time to visit the capital, with a number of festivals drawing in the crowds.
Know Before You Go
- Public transport is limited between Canberra and the surrounding national parks and reserves, so you will need your own transport. Some sites might be reachable only by 4WD.
- Camping sites in ACT’s parks and reserves often have few amenities, so bring everything you need with you, including drinking water and firewood.
- Fire bans are common in ACT during summer and dry periods, so be sure to check local recommendations before lighting your campfire or use the designated firepits.
- A National Parks pass is required to visit, hike, or camp within Australia’s national parks.
- Snakes are common around Canberra—keep your ankles covered if walking through tall grass and pack a first aid kit if hiking or camping in bushland areas.