A. In many towns, showgrounds or sports grounds have basic camping available, often at a reduced rate to match the lesser services compared to commercial caravan parks. Most have powered sites available. These show and sports grounds are set up with camping areas for their own events, and many choose to make use of the capital investment year round to provide additional funds to the voluntary community committee administering the showgrounds or sports grounds. This use between events is often referred to as casual camping and can be seen as a valuable source of fundraising by their management committees. You are supporting the wider community when you pay and stay. The number of sites may be a low as half a dozen, or as high as 100.
Are they always open? Camping will in most cases not be available during events held as the core business of these grounds. This may vary from once a year to many times during a year. Showgrounds can have conditions such as only being available as an alternative for those travelling with pets where there is no pet friendly caravan park in town, for extra large rigs which cannot fit into a standard caravan park site, or they may be used as an overflow park in peak season only when commercial caravan parks are full or near full.
Do you have to book? Most Showgrounds and Sports Grounds do not take bookings, but a few require bookings be made.
How much do they charge? Prices can vary from around $5 to $38 per night for two. Some may be free for 24 hours, and others may charge $5 or $10 for sites without any amenities or power (self contained). Often showgrounds and sports grounds do not charge extra for children but some do. Most permit pets with the usual conditions of cleanliness and pets to be kept on a leash.
Do they have power and amenities? Facilities can vary from powered sites, access to toilets and hot showers, with a few even having laundries, to grounds having their sites with no power, perhaps a just toilets, or no amenities at all. Water may not be available at sites, but most have a tap to access town water at minimum. In a number of places, the townís public dump point is situated in or near the showground.
How long can you stay? Some have short time limits, varying from 24 hours to several weeks. Some allow permanent and semi permanent campers to stay, such as those working in the area seasonally or long term.
Showgrounds and sports grounds may be quieter and away from main roads, and often roomier or only have a few campers at any time.
Larger showgrounds may have a caretaker on or near the grounds, whereas others may rely on campers paying at a specified business in the town or using an honesty box.
Showgrounds camping is coming under increasing pressure as some see it as unfair competition for commercial caravan parks, so you may find as we did on one occasion, that the showground you were planning to stay at has been closed to casual camping.
Where to find showground camping. With over 200 towns listed, mostly with powered and serviced sites, the most comprehensive directory of showgrounds and sports grounds with camping is on the Caravanners Forum. This list is growing and is subject to change, being reliant on contributions received from travellers to keep it updated.
July 2014 and updated November 2016
Closed to casual camping. Since commencing collecting names of showgrounds that allow casual camping to compile this list, a number of showgrounds have been closed to casual camping. While some have successfully reapplied and are back in business, some have remained closed. Those that I am aware of which remain closed are:
Alice Springs (Blatherskite Park), Northern Territory
Boorowa, New South Wales - currently closed for casual camping.
Dalby, Queensland - closed 2009
Dubbo, New South Wales
Gilgandra, New South Wales - closed 2015
Guyra, New South Wales
Mount Larcom, Queensland
Nyngan, New South Wales
Redcliffe, Queensland - now overflow only for big rigs
St Ives (Ku-ring-gai), New South Wales
Yeppoon, Queensland - temporary closure July 2016 became permanent April 2017
Updated April 2017
A. Itís a big country
Australia is the world's sixth largest country and although it is the smallest continent, it is the largest island. Australia is the only nation to govern an entire continent and its outlying islands. Australia is the largest country with no land borders with any other country. The coastline is around 35,876 kilometres
To travel a lap around mainland Australia following highways closest to the coast and including capital cities, the shortest route is 14,000 kilometres, as calculated from Google Maps, but this is excluding Tasmania and Far North Queensland. In practice when touring it will be easy to find yourself travelling double this distance. There is also lot to see between the coastal boundaries, and no tour of Australia would be complete without visiting Uluru and the Red Centre.
How does this translate to a plan to see Australia? Look at our advice on Trip Planning Time Frames
Note that recent changes to Google mapping have resulted in the route on the enlarged
map being changed. So far the thumbnail is showing the route as I planned.
Note that recent changes to Google mapping have resulted in the route on the enlarged map being changed. So far the thumbnail is showing the route as I planned.
Australiaís largest states
Western Australia covers approximately one third of the land mass and is bigger in size than Western Europe and four times the size of Texas USA. Due principally to the large amount of arid and semi arid land, Western Australia has only 11% of the total population of Australia.
There are only two sealed roads leaving Western Australia; the Eyre Highway in the south and the Victoria Highway approximately 1,700 kilometres to the north. To travel by sealed roads between these exit points is a minimum of 4,247 kilometres.
Australiaís second largest state is Queensland, which has approximately 20% of the nationís population. While there are six highway thoroughfares and a number of sealed roads between Queensland and New South Wales, the Barkly Highway is only sealed road into the Northern Territory.
The third largest state is the Northern Territory, with approximately 1% of the nationís population. There are only three sealed roads leaving; the Victoria Highway into Western Australia, the Stuart Highway into South Australia and the Barkly Highway into Queensland.