We live in a beautiful part of the world, and there’s no better way to enjoy the great outdoors than packing a few essentials and getting out there. From shady outback creeks to sunny beaches and dense forests with hidden waterfalls, our wonderful state has it all.
Whether you want to escape from the modern world to go swimming and play cards on a remote beach, or glamp in luxury with air-conditioning and wifi, our guide to the best SA camping has you covered.
The beautiful turquoise waters of Rapid Bay have seduced many day-trippers, but with a campsite right by the beach, why would you ever leave? The new jetty is perfect for fishing or to just watch the sunset, and if you bring a snorkel you might discover some amazing marine life, Rapid Bay is the leafy sea dragon capital of the world.
There are a bunch of campsites in Deep Creek Conservation Park, but you won’t find one with better views than Tapanappa. Whether you’re driving in or hiking a section of the Heysen trail, dramatic clifftop vistas await at this campsite, which has trails to discover unspoilt beaches, dramatic waterfalls and plentiful wildlife.
Innes National Park
At the bottom tip of Yorke Peninsula, the beaches of Innes are definitely no longer a secret, but there are still some gems to be found. Rugged limestone cliffs separate bays with shimmering blue waters and there are great surf spots in the area. Pondalowie is the biggest campground with over 50 sites scattered through the scrub near a beautiful beach. Or if you don’t feel like pitching a tent, you can always book accommodation in one of the historic lodges in the National Park.
You don’t have to leave paved roads to get to the heart of the bush at Mambray Creek. With over 50 sites among the beautiful river red gums and full facilities (including hot showers), it’s the perfect getaway if you don’t want to rough it too much. Kangaroos and emus wander through the site regularly, and if you’re feeling energetic there’s a network of walking trails heading out, including the spectacular Alligator Gorge.
There are plenty of shady spots on either bank of the Chapman River as it empties into the ocean. The tidal river is home to plentiful fish and waterbirds, but it’s also great for kids to swim in. If you can bring a kayak along, why not dip the paddle in and head all the way down to Antechamber Bay, where you can pull up on the long sweep of pristine beach. And did we mention that Chapman River Wines has their cellar door just around the corner?
If you’re after a river experience that doesn’t involve blaring stereos and revving motors at daybreak, then look no further. Just 35 km from Renmark, majestic river red gums line the river and goannas dart about the floodplain at Chowilla Game Reserve. There are no facilities, but because the river is quite shallow here there are no big boats or water skiers. That means you’ll probably have the whole place to yourself as you unwind and say “how’s the serenity!”
Lincoln National Park
50km past Port Lincoln sits Memory Cove, and if you’ve ever been there you’ll know it’s worth the drive. The water looks like it’s been treated with an Instagram filter and sea lions and dolphins frolic in the stunningly beautiful bay. You need to book in advance and bring a 4WD for that campsite, but there are plenty of other spots throughout the park that are easier to access. The whole area is a haven for native wildlife and seabirds and if you need a night of comfort, you can even stay in the preserved former lighthouse keeper’s quarters at Donnington Cottage
If you want to really treat yourself, try one of the 15 luxury safari tents at Wilpena Pound Resort. A deluxe king-size bed is just the start at SA’s premier glamping destination as each tent has its own private deck, ensuite and they even have air-conditioning to keep you cool. Co-Managed by the Adnyamathanha traditional owners, the Wilpena Pound Resort also offers a range of incredible activities and if you’d prefer something a little more rustic, there are also regular campsites available.
A literal desert oasis, this wetland on the Oodnadatta track even has date palms to complete the look. It’s definitely off the beaten track, so it’s only for the most dedicated camping enthusiasts. But, with camel safaris, unique mound springs and even an outdoor spa fed by the bores, this romantic setting is the perfect place to live out an Arabian Nights fantasy.