A little insight to where it all started, how we live on the road and our travel tips as we adventure around Australia in our Troopy!

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Our favourite 'dog friendly' camp spots

We’ve heard numerous times about how ‘difficult’ it will be to travel with a dog throughout Australia and that we would be extremely limited.  There is over 500 National Parks in Australia, so no wonder it makes you second guess if it’s too challenging to travel with your four legged friend or bring them along on your next camping trip.

The good news is, Australia is improving when it comes to introducing more ‘dog friendly’ areas around the country.  Not only are there incredible campgrounds that allow you to bring along the family pet but also dog friendly beaches, cafes, park’s and exercise areas for them to enjoy. 

For us, camping just isn’t the same if it’s not the three of us enjoying it all together.  So, if there’s one thing we get excited about whilst living on the road, it’s finding those amazing camp spots where Bowie is welcome AND it doesn’t feel like your missing out on anything!

As we’ve shared before, a lot of our time on the road is spent free camping, which allows us to have Bowie in more areas and without cost. However, that doesn’t mean we don’t love to enjoy some paid camping as well!

If you’re planning on traveling the country with your pooch or wanting to include them on your next camping adventure, then here is a list of some of our favourite free & paid camping spots that we have come across so far on our travels:

Mystery Bay, NSW

Only 12km south of Narooma, this little piece of paradise offers spacious and shady campsites on the northern end of the bay. With some of them having beautiful views from the cliffs to watch endless whales and dolphins swimming past the coastline throughout the day.  Not to mention a stunning stretch of beach with crystal clear water for you and your pooch to enjoy!

Camping fees - $12 per person/per night
Dogs allowed on leash in campsite
All vehicle access
Cold showers & drop toilets
Drinking water available

Beauchamp Falls, VIC

A little hidden gem in the hinterland that is just a 25 min drive inland from the Apollo Bay along the Great Ocean Road. You can sit around your own fire or take a short walk down to the waterfall for a refreshing swim.  Being a free campground it can fill up quick so it’s best to get in early and take a jacket, it’s sometimes cold, even during the summer nights.

Free camping area
All vehicle access
No showers
Drop toilets
Dogs allowed on leash
Take your own water

Cosy Corner (North or South), Bay of Fires TAS

If there was one place that completely blew us away in Tasmania it was the Bay of Fires.  The campsites are literally just across from the beach, some of them even offering stunning ocean views or shady little nooks under the trees.  The North and South sides offer plenty of white sandy beach and crystal clear turquoise water for swimming and diving. You can even score some waves if there’s swell!

Free camping area (max. stay is 4 weeks)
All vehicle access
No showers
Drop toilets
Dogs on leash in campsite
Take your own water

Boat Harbour Beach, TAS

Located in the North West coast of Tasmania, Boat Harbour Beach is just as incredible as the Bay of Fires. The campground itself is just to the left of the beach (not even a minute walk away).  Being a smaller size campground it can fill up rather fast so it’s good to get in early and secure your spot! We enjoyed plenty of snorkeling/diving and were lucky enough to even score some surf there at one point!

Free camping area
All vehicle access
Fresh water beach showers only
Flushing toilets
Dogs on leash in campsite
Check signs for times your dog is allowed on beach
Take your own water

Rapid Bay, Fleurieu Peninsula SA

Just an hour and a half south of Adelaide, Rapid Bay offers grassy campsites right next to it’s own private beach. It’s the perfect place to bring a SUP, Kayak or your boat and adventure your way around the cliffs to check out some of the hidden bays. Otherwise you can take a short walk to the main jetty and bag out on fresh squid! It can be an incredibly busy place over the weekends so it’s best to visit throughout the week whilst everyone’s busy at work!

Camping fees - $9 per person/per night
All vehicle access
No showers
Flushing toilets
Dogs on leash in campsite
Take your own water

Fishery Bay, Eyre Peninsula SA

This free campsite might seem bland or a little boring when you first arrive. It’s not until you walk over the dunes and onto the beach that you realize how awesome it is. A small little crystal clear bay with incredible snowy white sand and lucky for us, we had it all to ourselves at the time! It has all vehicle access to the campsite however if you have a 4WD you can drive on the beach and hang out for the day.  Go for a walk and explore some of the incredible rockpools around the area and indulge in some fishing! If you’re not scared of great whites, it offers some good surf too!

Free camping area
All vehicle access (4WD on beach only)
No showers
Drop toilets
Take your own water

Other option: Paid camping at Whalers Way (just south of Fishery Bay)
Check with Port Lincoln Info centre before you head there.

Corny Point, Yorke Peninsula SA

There’s plenty of camping options when it comes to Corny Point. Located on the southern west end of Yorke’s peninsula, there are 4 different dog friendly camping areas between Daly head and Gravel Bay campground.  With each of them offering different views of beautiful beaches and the wide, open ocean. Along the coast offers a range of surf and awesome fishing! Payment for your campsite must be paid either online or at Minlaton Info Centre before arrival as council rangers do patrol those areas.

Camping fees – $10 per night/per vehicle or $50 per week
No showers
Drop toilets
Dogs on leash in campsite
All vehicle access
Take your own water

Coronation Beach Campground, WA

If your exploring up towards the Coral Coast, be sure to check out this little campground just north of Geraldton.  With decent sized gravel sites and a short walk to the beach, it’s the perfect place to have a fish or launch your boat at the boat ramp. If you’ve got a 4WD you can adventure down the sandy track to find good waves and calm lagoons for diving. Don’t forget the fishing rods as there’s plenty to catch and is the perfect spot for incredible sunsets.

Camping fees - $8 per person/per night
No showers
Drop toilets
All vehicle access to campground (4WD tracks to surf spots)
Dogs on leash
Take your own water

Lucky Bay, Coral Coast WA

Now this isn’t the famous lucky bay campground down near Esperance (however that is an awesome place but unfortunately isn’t dog friendly).  This lucky bay campground is located just 40km south of Kalbarri. Definitely an advantage if you’ve got a 4WD for this one! You can drive along the beach and find a spot right in front of the huge lagoon where you can fish or even snorkel. With an incredible backdrop of big sand dunes, there’s plenty of space to secure the perfect spot overlooking the water.

Camping fees – $15 per vehicle/per night
No Showers
Drop toilets
Mostly 4WD access only (some parts you can access with 2WD)
Take your own water

Warroora Station, Coral Coast WA

With over 11 different campsites to choose from, Warroora Station (pronounced ‘Warra’) has so much to offer for all different campers. There is 2WD access to some of the campsites, however having a 4WD allows you to enjoy more options.  It offers everything from surfing, fishing or snorkeling and swimming in beautiful sanctuary zones.  With the Ningaloo Reef running parallel, there’s plenty to explore!

Camping fees - $10 per person/per night or $50 per person/per week
Bring your own chemical toilet or hire one from Homestead
Hot showers available at Homestead $2.50
All vehicle access (some parts 4WD only)
Take your own water

Eating on the road

Food is just one of the many expenses you get to enjoy when living on the road.  For us, everything comes out of our savings so eating cheap is essential to keep our travel costs down and allows us to spend money on other things or even continue living on the road for longer.

Meal ideas can be limited when you’re living out of a small space and even when you’re battling different weather conditions at times. This doesn't mean you have to live off 2 minute noodles/Mi goreng or baked beans every night. Although, they can be a good backup if you can’t be eff’d cooking in the rain or strong winds!
There are still ways to eat low cost meals that are healthy, nutritious and easy to make on the road. With a little bit of planning and by following a suitable food budget, you'll be able to save yourself some money. Here’s a little insight to how we eat on the road.

What we eat & keeping healthy

Jasper and I are the kind of people who seriously LOVE their food. We love teaming up in the kitchen or in our case, at the back of the troopy to cook up a tasty feed together. We like to eat a wide range of foods and our meals can vary from vegetarian & vegan recipes to also enjoying seafood and meats.

I know everyone’s opinions on ‘healthy foods’ can vary. There are so many different beliefs these days on what you should and shouldn’t eat. To us, eating healthy is about giving our bodies wholesome, nourished foods and making sure we’re getting enough nutrients like proteins, fats, carbs, vitamins and minerals.  We’re usually extremely active throughout the day so planning out balanced meals and eating good food is important for us.

That doesn’t mean that we don’t like to enjoy a little sweet treat or a cold beer/glass of wine every now and then. We believe it’s all about having a little bit of balance and just keeping yourself happy!

Food Budget

You don’t have to spend big to eat healthy on the road and sometimes it’s just about sacrificing those naughty treats for something more nourishing. The best way to keep your food costs down is by going off a manageable budget. We always aim to follow a weekly food budget of around $100 a week so that we don’t overspend or splurge out on unnecessary things.

I must admit, it can be a bit of a struggle when you’re strolling through the supermarkets and some of your favourite (and expensive) foods are literally staring at you and you have to force yourself to walk away. Sometimes it all comes down to having self control. By taking the time to plan out our daily meals for the week and write up a shopping list, it allows us to only purchase the products that we need and stops us from buying random items. 

Buying staple products

If there’s one thing that is going to help you maintain your food budget, it’s buying staple or basic products that allow you to create various, cheap and easy meals.  
Foods like: rice, quinoa, pasta, noodles, oats, bread or wraps, spices, sauces and eggs can easily be stored for longer periods of time.  Buying meat can be expensive so eggs are a great source of protein and will last around 3 weeks in the fridge.

We also like to make sure we have a range of tinned foods to add to meals or for when we’re traveling through more remote areas. They’re super cheap and stay preserved for even longer. We usually buy anything from lentils, chickpeas or bean mixes, coconut milk (for curries), tuna, tinned tomatoes or sometimes vegetables (incase we can’t access fresh ones).

When it comes to fruit and veggies, we try to keep them stored in our fridge for as long as possible. However, if you’re off the beaten track or away from fresh produce, foods like potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, garlic, avocados, apples, stone fruits & citrus fruits usually store well without refrigeration so you can still manage to add them to your diet.

Catching our own food

Fish and other seafood make up a huge part of our diet. The ocean always provides us with a lot of our food on the road, which makes eating even cheaper! Apart from surfing and getting sandy on the beach, a lot of our time is spent fishing, spearfishing and diving for fresh seafood together.  Most of our catches consist of a range of fish, crayfish (or rock lobster), abalone, squid and sometimes oysters as a treat.

Storing these types of foods can be difficult so we prefer to eat it while it’s fresh and only ever take what we need (or sometimes a little extra fish as Bowie loves it too!).  I know I have probably turned off a number of vegans right now and I apologise (especially my lovely vegan friends!). But for us, it’s a rewarding feeling when you’ve provided food on the table that you have successfully and sustainably caught yourself.

Cooking on the fire

Don’t get me wrong, we love cooking with our double burner stove and 2.5kg gas bottle but when it comes to cooking on the campfire it’s a whole other world of flavours! Not all campsites allow fires and sometimes through summer there are fire bans in place. So when and wherever we can, we usually like to get some flames going and sizzle up some dishes. 

It’s important to make sure you’re using the right equipment as not everything is suitable to cook in that extreme heat. The perfect pan is a cast iron skillet to cook up anything from meats to sauces and stirfrys.  If you’re like us and you love hearty stews or soups you’ll also want to carry a decent camp oven to use on those hot coals. You can even use it for baking! 

When it comes to burning up your hot coals for cooking, it helps to have decent timber that will burn well and radiate enough heat throughout the process.  Whether you're finding your own or buying it on the road, here is a little list of some of the best timber for the different states around Australia.

Western Australia - Jarrah & Wandoo wood
QLD & Northern Territory - Ironbark & Box wood
NSW, Victoria & South Australia - River red gum
Tasmania - Brown peppermint wood

Cooking on a campfire sometimes takes a bit of practice and even some patience at first, but once you get the hang of it your creativity is endless and it’s always good fun!

Where we buy our food

Finding the cheapest yet best quality food is the key. For most of our staple products and some fruit or veg, we usually shop at Coles (or if we can't excess one, we use woolworths and ALDI). A lot of their homebrand products are the cheapest you're going to find on the market and you can hardly taste the difference these days.  

Wherever we can, we love finding a good farmers market because nothing beats fresh produce straight off the farms! If you're like me and you tend to get a little excited at these sorts of markets, just remember to stick to your shopping list. Also a little tip: You can score some great bargains in the last hour of the stalls being open as most of the farmers need to sell their products that day! 

When you're driving on the road, be sure to lookout for fresh fruit & veg signs or fresh eggs as it's another way to purchase even cheaper, fresh produce. We prefer to purchase our eggs at these sorts of places rather than buying them at supermarkets. 

Some of our favourite meals

Our meals can vary each week as we tend to mix it up so we don't feel like we're eating the same thing.  Here's a couple of dishes that get us going throughout the day and night.

Whole Oats are a great option for breakfast in the morning. These little cereal grains will keep you going for hours! They are naturally gluten free and super easy to make. It may seem boring to eat these every day but the trick is changing up your toppings! We like to mix it up with different things like honey, dried fruits, fresh fruit, nuts & seeds, peanut butter, cinnamon or even cacao powder.  

All you need is:
Water or milk (we usually just use water)
Honey or brown sugar 
Your choice of toppings!

Noodle or Rice Bowls are a great idea for lunch or dinner. We enjoy eating these a few times throughout the week.  Once again it's as simple as changing up your proteins and veggies. Add a little bit of soy sauce (or your preferred sauce) or some mayonnaise. And voila! A tasty bowl of goodness!

All you need:
Tin of tuna or cooked chicken (or if your vegan, you can use seaweed strips)
Veggies & Salads
Noodles (we like soba noodles) or just plain rice
Soy sauce or other sauces
Mayo (optional)

Curries or Dahl are always easy to make and pack a whole lot of flavour. Whether you're vegan, vegetarian or meat eaters, you can always alter the recipe to suit your needs.  We usually like to use KEENS curry powder as the base for our curries. It's compact, super easy to store and lasts for ages! From there we like mixing it up with different veggies, legumes, coconut milk and tinned tomatoes. Most of our curries are vegetarian, however if we do decide to add meat in we'll usually have beef, chicken or fresh fish. When it comes to making dahl we are loving this sweet potato dahl (pictured). Using the same curry powder, turmeric and tinned lentils, I was able to improvise from my dear friends original and vegan recipe, which you can find at: www.lifeofgoodness.com.au

All you need for a decent curry:
KEENS curry powder
Veggies (potatoes, carrots, broccoli, zucchini etc.)
Legumes (lentils or beans)
Coconut milk
Salt & Pepper
Rice (we like to use Basmati as it cooks quicker on the stove)

Crayfish & Abalone pasta would have to be one of our all time favourite dishes we have had on the trip so far. The first time we made this was in Tasmania on a little fire beside a beautiful lake on the East Coast.  We were catching heaps of crayfish and abalone off the beaches during that time and there's something about seafood and pasta that just goes so well together!  If you're into catching your own seafood then this dish is incredibly easy to make and with only few ingredients you need to buy.

All you need is:
Fresh crayfish & abalone 
Bunch of fresh parsley (sometimes we used dried parsley if we can't access fresh)
Chilli flakes (or fresh chilli)
Brown onion
Olive oil
Lemon wedges

6 tips to help you free camp around Australia

Australia can be an expensive place when it comes to accommodation and camping. If you’re living on the road or doing a road trip, freedom camping is the best way to keep your travel costs down. To some, free camping may seem a little daunting or even stressful at first but like starting anything new, it always gets easier with time and routine.

There are so many different varieties of free camping options, from roadside stops and carparks to campsites managed by councils or private land owners.  The only challenging side is being limited to certain facilities like water taps, showers, laundromats and even toilets at times.  This just means that you may need to find these things elsewhere. It may seem difficult at times but it just becomes a part of the adventure.

Now I know some of you may already be pros at this but for those that are new to it, we wanted to share some of our tips that we feel are helpful when it comes to mastering the art of free camping. Also, we hope it will answer some of the questions we've been receiving lately on Instagram!

Finding free camp spots

The only helpful tool you really need to use for camping or traveling in Australia, is the Wikicamps App on your phone or tablet! It’s an easy to use map service that has everything from free campsites, paid campsites, caravan parks, toilet & shower facilities and even points of interest to check out. You can filter ‘free camps’ or 'dog friendly areas' to help you find campsites to suit your needs. You can also read previous comments and ratings at certain spots (like carparks etc.) to see if other travellers have stayed overnight without problems.  It’s only $7.99 and you can actually download the maps for offline use. This means you can even use it when you don’t have reception! 

It’s all about your setup

When it comes to free camping, you’re going to want to have a decent set up for it. The more self-sufficient you are, the easier it’s going to be.  The biggest asset to free camping is having solar power.  Access to your own power allows you to travel to pretty much anywhere and for an unlimited amount of time (as long as you’ve got some decent sunshine!).  We carry 200W panels on the roof, which are easy to pull down for when we need power whilst staying in the one spot for a longer period of time. This powers our 12V fridge and allows us to charge anything from our laptop to camera batteries etc. Otherwise, if we’re on the move we rely on our alternator to charge our dual batteries whilst driving between destinations.

Depending on where you’re adventuring, sometimes you can be hours away from civilization so making sure you’re prepared by carrying enough water, food and extra fuel is important.  Everyone has different ways of camping, whether it be with a caravan, swag/tent, rooftop tent or sleeping in the back of the car.  Depending on what you have, you’ll want to find camping areas to suit your preferred setup. We decided to go for something that allows us to sleep in the back of the troopy as it’s a lot more stealth in built up areas and doesn’t look as obvious to the public.  Also having dark tinted windows and curtains is the best way to hide the idea that you’re sleeping inside.

How to Camp in built up areas, towns & cities

When it comes to staying overnight in some of these more popular areas, avoid drawing attention to yourself. Be respectful to those around you (especially locals) and to the environment by cleaning up after yourself and taking your rubbish with you.

If you’re like us and prefer not to pay $20-$40 a night (or up to $200 per week) in a caravan park then the best options are sometimes carparks, parks, beaches and some residential areas. Try to avoid places that have ‘no camping’ signs as police and rangers usually patrol them regularly. If you do decide to run the risk, make sure to be up early and move on quickly to avoid getting fines or upsetting locals.

Toilets & showers

We are incredibly lucky to have good quality public facilities in Australia. So when it comes to showering and toilets you can usually find one close by on the Wikicamps App. If you’re traveling along the coast you can shower at most of the main beaches and if you’re in colder states, you can sometimes even find free hot showers!

When we’re traveling through towns or cities without public showers, we usually head to the closest Aquatic or sports centre. Most of them allow you to pay between $2-$4 for a hot shower.  If they don’t allow it, you can just pay to swim in the pool, which allows you to have a swim and a hot shower afterwards!

If you’re camping away from civilization and public facilities, bathing in the ocean, fresh waterfalls or swimming holes are a great alternative. Some campsites might not have those options nearby so it’s also handy to have a portable shower with you. We carry a 12V shower that plugs into the car so we can still get clean in remote places if we need to. Otherwise the good old shower bags that you leave in the sun for the day are always a cheap option and do the job!

Security & Safety

We have always felt safe whilst free camping and haven’t come across any bad experiences on our travels so far but it’s still important to keep your wits about you. Australia is a big country and sometimes you can be far away from help so it’s a good idea to do your research on certain towns or places that could be risky and try to avoid them.  When traveling to remote areas with no reception, it’s a good idea to let someone know where you’re going and when you might be returning.

If you’re feeling unsure about free camping at first, aim to stay closer to other travellers, well lit carparks or busier areas until you gain more confidence.  In new surroundings, everyone is bound to experience a few sleepless nights in the beginning, it takes some time to get used to it! If you're staying in built up areas, avoid leaving any valuable things outside the car and lock everything up.  We have a lot of gear on our roof which we make sure is strapped down tight and difficult to undo. We also have a large storage box, which we can padlock shut if we need to. It's a bonus if you're traveling with your dog as they'll always be protective and alarm you if something or someone is hanging around the car. 

It’s always a good idea to have a basic first aid kit in the car. Unfortunately accidents do happen and you never know when it might come in handy. We also have a small fire extinguisher in the troopy incase of any fire emergencies, whether it be car related or camp fire related.  Australia is known for it’s dangerous wildlife, especially poisonous snakes so make sure you’re watching your step around the campsite. If you’re like us and you are travelling with a dog, it’s important to keep a close eye on them and not to let them wander off into bushes and shrubs where they can be bitten.

Always clean up after yourself

Due to the lack of care and respect for the environment a lot of free campsites around Australia are being closed down. Unfortunately some spots are being flooded with rubbish, broken glass and piles of used toilet paper.
For those who don’t know, Toilet paper does not break down in dry environments or in sand so if you need to go in these areas make sure you’re either burning it or taking it with you.

So that we can all continue to enjoy free camping, please make sure you’re taking the time to clean up after yourself, bin all your rubbish or take it with you until you can dispose of it. If you can’t bin it and you’re unsure of where to store it, try strapping it to your roof or we like to use our wheel bag (on the back spare tyre) as rubbish storage until we can bin it properly.

If you do find yourself setting up in an area that has been left untidy or littered with rubbish, just do your part and try to clean it up as best you can. It can be frustrating at times but at least you've done your best to help the environment and hopefully it encourages the next camper to leave it rubbish free.