The best camping near Canberra, Australian Capital Territory.
History and heritage meet head-on with nature in Australia’s lakefront capital.
Canberra’s museums, galleries, and national monuments offer plenty of culture, but the city’s best asset is its natural setting. Hemmed in by sloping peaks and nature reserves, here outdoors enthusiasts can enjoy bushwalking, cycling, and wildlife trails, or head to Lake Burley Griffin to sail, kayak, or stand-up paddleboard with views of Parliament House. Campers have aRead more...
Canberra’s museums, galleries, and national monuments offer plenty of culture, but the city’s best asset is its natural setting. Hemmed in by sloping peaks and nature reserves, here outdoors enthusiasts can enjoy bushwalking, cycling, and wildlife trails, or head to Lake Burley Griffin to sail, kayak, or stand-up paddleboard with views of Parliament House. Campers have a wide range of options, whether parking your campervan or caravan on the outskirts of the city centre, or sleeping out in swags beneath the stars.
Where to Go
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 and Brindabella national parks harbour 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 the country’s most popular ski areas
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 here, 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 you 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 the mountaintops are dusted with snow in winter. The best time for camping trips, bushwalking, and outdoor activities is from September through May, but the region is busiest in summer (December through February), when it’s best to book camping grounds in advance.
Know Before You Go
- Public transport is limited between Canberra and the surrounding national parks and reserves, so you will need your own car. Some sites are only reachable by 4WD.
- Camping sites in the ACT’s parks often have few amenities, so bring everything you need with you, including drinking water and firewood.
- Fire bans are common in the ACT during summer and dry periods, so be sure to check local recommendations before lighting your campfire.
- 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 when hiking or camping in bushland areas.