After our long travel series in Tasmania, we unearthed heaps of fantastic bush camps. Here are five of the very best to keep on file for your next trip to the Apple Isle
Words & images Jan Hawkins

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Fortescue Bay – Tasman Peninsula

This corner of the national park peninsula is a must for the 4X4 traveller, and of a number of campsites the best is Fortescue Bay Camp.

In peak times it is recommended that you book ahead. The beach at the campground is exceptionally beautiful and well sheltered, the 4X4 tracks thereabouts provide lots of fun. Also on offer is fishing, boating, hiking and wildlife.

It’s from here you can undertake the world-famous Cape Pillar Walk. There is also the highly-regarded Three Capes Track – a magnificent journey from the Port Arthur Historic Site to Fortescue Bay. You will find some of Australia’s highest sea cliffs, and accommodation along the way with host rangers. Cape Raoul and Remarkable Cave are also highlights of the area, as are the stunning coastal features in the Tasman Arch, the Blowhole and Devils Kitchen.

Cost: $13 per vehicle (up to 8 people) – NP Pass required
Location: Fortescue Road, Fortescue, Tas
GPS: 43 8’ 36” S 147 57’ 42” E
Toilets: Yes
Showers: Yes
Campfires: Yes
Time limit: Book ahead – ask for a flat van site if required
Road access: Dirt road
Amenities: Telstra coverage
Dog friendly: No
Suitable for big rigs: Limited

 

Cockle Creek & Boltons Green – SE Tas

The camps around Cockle Creek are national park administered, but just on the northern side of the local bridge there are a few free travellers’ camps.

Aside from sitting back and enjoying the peace, the walk to Fishers Point and the remnants of the old Whaling Station will give you an insight into the days of whaling; fishermen still work the beach and Fishers Point. Finding divers seeking out the elusive crayfish is not uncommon. Recreational fishing is possible from the beachside by the camp. The track to South Cape Bay is easily managed by families and will take you to some truly gorgeous coastal views only available to walkers.

You can discover the history of the French explorers and their friendly encounters with the local tribes and the amusing anecdotes of these early discoveries. It is all well worth the venture to the end of the southernmost road in Australia.

Cost: Free – NP Pass required if crossing the bridge
Location: Cockle Creek Rd, Rocherche
GPS: 43 34’ 55” S 146 53’ 26” E
Toilets: Limited
Showers: No
Campfires: Yes
Time limit: No
Road access: Dirt road (20km)
Amenities: Limited water – to be boiled
Dog friendly: Yes, in the free camp area
Suitable for big rigs: Limited

 

Arthur River – West Tas

Located on the remote west coast, this camp allows you to get up-close and personal with the Tasmanian devils, but all care should be taken. Also a celebrity feature is the wild population of quolls which have little road sense… so be aware of these night hunters.

There are three camp areas; however, Manuka (nearest the Ranger Station) is more suited to caravans and bigger rigs – some spaces are tight but the camp is comfortable. As you are located near the Arthur River village there is plenty of entertainment and a local cafe and general store. Attractions include beach driving or just visiting the coastal villages can offer great entertainments. Check in with the Ranger Station for some invaluable advice… all with a smile along with some great information and safety guides.

Cost: $13 per site
Location: 1413 Arthur River Road, Arthur River, Tas
GPS: 41 2’ 54” S 144 40’ 6” E
Toilets: Yes
Showers: Yes
Campfires: Yes
Time limit: 72hrs at Ranger Station. No limit at others
Road access: Good from the north
Amenities: Manuka CG has a camp kitchen
Dog friendly: No
Suitable for big rigs: Manuka

 

Russell Falls – Mount Field National Park

One of the great short walks in Tasmania, Russell Falls in Mount Field National Park is a popular holiday spot. The bushwalking though the temperate rainforest is second to none, offering magnificent views throughout the rainforest. For those wanting a greater challenge there are walks suited to all grades. Kids are catered for and there is an information centre at the entrance.

A real delight is the wildlife which freely visits the campsites. The information centre can provide you with some great advice on how to fill your days. Holiday activities for the kids to enjoy are organised during the school holiday periods. Some of the campsites are a neat fit, but the staff can direct you to the more-spacious sites if needed. Displaying your booking sheet on your pegged site is expected and there is a self-registration station at the entrance to the campgrounds.

Cost: $20 per night, plus National Parks Pass
Location: Lake Dobson Road, Mt Field, Tas
GPS: 42 41’ 3” S 146 42’ 54” E
Toilets: Yes
Showers: Yes
Campfires: Yes
Time limit: No
Road access: Good sealed road
Amenities: Powered sites
Dog friendly: No – National Park
Suitable for big rigs: Yes

 

Old Mac’s Farm-stay

One of the best travellers’ camps to be found anywhere, Old Mac’s Farm-stay, is as popular as it is entertaining. With easy access to Launceston this is a brilliant little spot; and in-season keep an eye out for the delicious local cherries on sale at the farm gates scattered along the Tamar River… not to mention the local strawberries available at the cafe.

For $10 a night you can pick a site anywhere around the small lakes. Ian, the farmer (and his wife) will be around during happy hour to sort you out – and he is a fountain of information.

This is a camp for the fully self-contained traveller but it offers a lovely spot, interesting fishing and a camp cafe on the hill along with the ready availability of fresh water to replenish your tanks. It is a great camp to base yourself to explore the Launceston area, and even west up into the dizzying heights of Ben Lomond Mountain.

Cost: $10 per night
Location: 53 Sandown Road, Norwood, Launceston
GPS: 41 26’ 52” S 147 10’ 46” E
Toilets: Limited – self-contained recommended
Showers: No
Campfires: Yes
Time limit: No. May close in low season
Road access: Sealed tar
Amenities: Water, car wash, disabled-friendly
Dog friendly: Yes
Suitable for big rigs: Yes

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