The Grampians National Park

AUSTRALIAN WILDERNESS CAMPING IDEAS WITH AN EXPEDITION TO TRY

I am not someone who heads outdoors every second weekend but I do like to get away on public holidays and take a few extra days off. I am the kind of person that really likes to get away from it all for 4 days or more. That’s because I find that it takes me a good 2 days to really wind down and then I can start taking my time to do what I want. I know when I have had a proper wilderness escape because I absolutely dread the thought of dealing with so many people and concrete again. That normally takes a full week. Without that much time available, I prefer to wait until I can arrange something with a partner and friends on a proper holiday.

Further to that, some people like camping for the sake of it. I am someone who needs a mission or a reason to be there. Whether that is a fishing expedition, cycling or simply trekking, I like to have a plan. That’s another way I get that feeling of accomplishment and good use of my time. I guess I can consider this a tip to those who are thinking about going camping, especially if you have kids. Ask yourself what are you going to do with those long days?

Here are a couple of my previous adventures to give you an idea of what I have done with family and friends and the kind of places available.  You can get an idea of where to go through OnDECK Places and find hundreds of camping sites all across the OnDECK Discover Australia Map, each with a detailed description of what is available.

THE GRAMPIANS NATIONAL PARK FOR A HIKING EXPEDITION AND SPECTACULAR VIEWS

Where: The Grampians are located about 260km northwest of Melbourne. You can get there by public transport but you will need a ride from Halls Gap.

When to go: I suggest going any time from October through to April while trying to avoid the hottest times of the year. That being said, the weather is much cooler than you would expect for that time of year. It’s more like spring than summer.

If you want to take a hike overland without going so far away that you get scared, the Grampians are an excellent choice. The Grampians are an adventure lover’s paradise. There is a huge network of walking and hiking tracks you can follow inside this national park. They range from easy to difficult so you can choose the path you want to take depending on the challenge you are up for.

What I really like about the Grampians is that there are established routes with plenty of hidden camping spots along the way. This means you don’t have to be a fully experienced camper to get that feeling of being away from it all while you do. It’s a great place to get away from it all and have those who are not so experienced with you without them getting nervous about being so alone (yes, that happens to some people).

What is there to do and what is my goal at the Grampians? Soak in those spectacular views. If you are willing to put in the effort, you will enjoy some spectacular views at Briggs Bluff, Tilwinda Falls and Reed Lookout. A strenuous walk/hike and spectacular views make for some pretty amazing sleeping.

The main place to camp is at Halls Gap but that is where everyone else is too. You can find out more from the Brambuk National Park and Cultural Centre.

HINCHINBROOK ISLAND NATIONAL PARK FOR A FISHING EXPEDITION

Where: Hinchinbrook Island is around 200km south of Cairns and a little less distance north of Townsville. It’s easy to get across the water to the island because there are plenty of water taxis and private vessels to get you on the island. Ferries run daily from May through to October and 3 times a week the last time I checked. You can find out more from the Cardwell Rainforest and Reef Visitor Information Centre.

When to go: It’s really hot up this far north in Queensland and so the best time to go is the during the cooler months of the year. It can still get as hot as 30C and plummet to 9C at night. Make sure you book ahead because they do have number restrictions on the number of people that are allowed on the tracks at any given time. That doesn’t mean you have to hike this one, there are plenty of choices.

Hinchinbrook Island is actually Australia’s largest island national park. That makes it pretty spectacular for walking and hiking but what I really recommend is the fishing. Sure you can fish from the island but I highly recommend considering a fishing charter so you have the island as the backdrop to your fishing experience.

Camping permits are required on Hinchinbrook Island but they cost less than $5 per night. They have a tag system where you must display tags at your camping site. There are plenty of places to camp before and after an amazing fishing charter. You can stay in and on numerous bays around the island, which makes for some spectacular camping. You’ll need to take everything you want with you on this one including a portable cooking stove because fires are not allowed on the island.

To me, Hinchinbrook Island is the perfect place to combine getting away from it all, camping with a remote feel, fishing on the island and a fishing charter (yes, you can find hundreds of fishing charters on the OnDECK Discover Australia Map too, just zoom in on the region).

The lack of fishing pressure makes for some amazing fishing and the region is known for having some very healthy Barramundi, Mangrove Jacks, Trevally, Queenfish, Salmon, Grunter and many more.

SNOWY RIVER NATIONAL PARK FOR A KAYAKING EXPEDITION

Now, this is one way to really get away from it all. There is nothing quite like an easy going kayaking or canoeing trip. This region has a kayaking expedition that is already laid out for you.

Where: Snowy River National Park is about 400km northeast of Melbourne and about 300km south of Canberra. McKillops Bridge is probably the easiest place in the park that offers an easy way to get to the river by vehicle. The bridge the best place to put your kayak or canoe in the water and make your way down the river and explore the gorges. It’s generally considered a 4-day trip.

When to go: The best time to go is in spring.

While there are a number of camping sites throughout the national park if you are still in your vehicle but those on kayaks and canoes are allowed to camp anywhere along the river as long as you set up your campsite more than 20m from the water and 1km away from the existing designated camping sites.

As for the challenge, well it is challenging enough for most of us to do 4 days on a kayak and camp at the same time. Nevertheless, the route ranges from sedate to exciting and possible for even beginners as long as you have someone experienced with you. The short 4-day kayaking or canoeing expedition will take you through Little River Gorge and Tulloch Ard Gorge. The rapids rate class II-III with some parts rating class IV, meaning that you will have some fun along the way while having plenty of river to take your time.

If you were to think about fishing (kayak fishing is getting huge in Australia), it is important you know what and where you can fish. A number of species are protected.

There you have it. I consider these adventure full week adventures to really get involved. They will take you far enough away to get that feeling of getting away without getting out of your depth. They are certainly worth a try.

 


Do you have any adventures and locations for those adventures you would like to add to this article? We’ll include your information and give you full credits. Let us know through the comments section below.

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Jake Taylor
jake.taylor@dinga.com.au

Jake is a global traveller who has recently called Australia his home again. If he's not travelling, he is writing about it and his experience.