Camping near Bairnsdale

This small town on Victoria’s eastern coast is the gateway to the Gippsland Lakes.

93% (1144 reviews)
93% (1144 reviews)

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Camping near Bairnsdale guide


Bairnsdale is a small town on Victoria’s East Gippsland region on the eastern coast, around 280 kilometres (or 3.5 hours’ drive) east of Melbourne. Being on the banks of the Mitchell River and near the inland waterways of the Gippsland Lakes, it’s a popular spot for fishing, boating, surfing, and camping. Beach enthusiasts will love camping on the thin strip of land between the ocean and the lakes, parts of which are designated nature reserves and national parks, and campers seeking a forest escape can also find this at inland parks.

Where to go

Gippsland Lakes

The Gippsland Lakes are a series of lakes, backwaters, and waterways, many of which appear to be harbours except they’re separated from the sea by thin strips of land. The Lakes National Park and Gippsland Lakes Coastal Park, as well as other smaller reserves, cover some of the broader lakes area, and are havens for bird and wildlife-watchers, outdoor swimmers, walkers, and campers. Family-friendly Emu Bight Campground in the Lakes National Park offers unpowered sites for tents and caravans/campervans, and many other basic campsites are strung out along Shoreline Drive, between the ocean and the lakes.

Mitchell River National Park

The inland Mitchell River National Park is about 45 minutes’ drive north-west of Bairnsdale. Here travellers can hike through rainforest gullies along the two-day Mitchell River Walking Track, or discover local First Nations culture on shorter walks. Campers have a few options: there are basic walk-in campsites along the Mitchell River Walking Track, a couple of basic campsites with four-wheel-drive access only, and a couple of basic and more accessible sites with toilets, fireplaces, and picnic tables.

Lakes Entrance

About 30 minutes’ drive east of Bairnsdale, the smaller town of Lakes Entrance is on the end of Ninety Mile Beach, where the Gippsland Lakes meet the ocean, and offers somewhat easier access to beaches than from Bairnsdale. Campers can enjoy well-equipped holiday parks in and around Lakes Entrance, right beside the beach. Lakes Entrance is an especially appealing option for campers with caravans or campervans, as you can find powered sites here with easy access and good facilities.

When to go

The whole Gippsland Lakes region is especially busy during the summer–between November and February–as it’s an accessible camping area quite near Melbourne. To stay at a popular holiday park near Bairnsdale, book your site as far in advance as possible, especially during midsummer. You can also visit outside the summer, when you can still enjoy the natural attractions, but the climate will be cooler.

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Hipcamp acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders past, present and future and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.