Contrary to many beliefs, you don’t need a month or 6 weeks to explore some of the incredible destinations Australia has to offer. We’ve picked out some destinations only a few hours out of each capital city, perfect to spend a week exploring. Whether you’ve got a tent, camper trailer or caravan, these destinations don’t require a full off grid setup that will keep you going for months in the desert, but are perfect for escaping the hustle and bustle of the city for a quick getaway.
Adelaide to the Flinders Ranges
Starting from Adelaide, you don’t have to travel too far before you hit red dirt and the open road. To escape the city, travel five hours north and you’ll arrive at the Flinders Ranges. Stretching for over 430km from Port Pirie to Lake Callabonna, there’s plenty to explore. While you may not be able to do everything in a week, it’s ample time to get stuck into some bush walking, 4WDing, scenic flights, mountain biking, and exploring the culturally significant landmarks.
For camping, there are plenty of campgrounds to choose from and most accommodate both tents and camper trailers or caravans. Some popular options are the Wilpena Pound Resort, Melrose Caravan Park, and the Rawnsley Park Station, all of which have powered and unpowered site options. If you’re looking to get off road and off grid, there are also a number of free campsites in the Flinders Ranges, with both the Hookina Ruins campground and Horrocks Pass Bush Camp accessible to both caravans and 2WDs.
For more information on the Flinders Ranges and places to stay, check out the South Australia website.
Melbourne to Lorne
If you’re following the Great Ocean Road, eventually you’ll arrive at Lorne. Just over two hours from Melbourne, it’s the quintessential seaside town. Where the bush meets the ocean, Lorne has not only beautiful natural scenery to explore but a vibrant arts community. You can stick to the coast and explore the beaches, with plenty of spots to cool off and swim, explore the rock pools or do a spot of fishing. Or head further inland and check out the bush, filled with massive ferns, ancient forests, and more waterfalls than you can visit in just one day.
Nestled in the heart of Lorne, the Lorne Foreshore Caravan Park has plenty of both powered and unpowered sites to cater for caravans, camper trailers, and tents alike. Alternatively, there are plenty of free campsites in the area though it does pay to do a bit more research and preparation as almost of them are unpowered and have no access to water. Several will also require a 4WD to access or are tent only. If you’re looking to tow your caravan across some rugged terrain, you’ll need an electric brake controller that can go the distance to keep both you and your caravan safe.
To learn more about Lorne, its camping facilities, and things to do in the area check out the I Am Lorne website.
Sydney to the Blue Mountains
A UNESCO World Heritage-listed site, the Blue Mountains are worth a visit for anyone looking to get out of the city and into some stunning scenery. Only about an hour out of Sydney, it’s the perfect destination to explore in a week as you waste almost no time getting there. If you’re looking for an active holiday, the Blue Mountains have no shortage of walking tracks, mountain biking, natural swimming spots, and adventure sports to get stuck into. If you just want to relax though, don’t write the Blue Mountains off too quickly with trains, cable cars, and heaps of Aboriginal cultural locations to see and learn about.
Camping spots are everywhere in the Blue Mountains region, with something for every type of camper. There is free camping, and both powered and unpowered caravan parks available. If you’re planning to camp in the Blue Mountains, we’d suggest doing a bit of research before you set off as there are several campgrounds that require you to either hike in or have a 4WD capable vehicle. If you want to get your 4WD off grid ready, check out our off grid power kits which have all the gear you need in a single kit.
To find a campsite or learn more about things to do in the Blue Mountains check out the Visit NSW website.
Brisbane to Brunswick Heads
Though technically Brunswick Heads is in NSW, it’s only an hour and a half south of Brisbane and is another relaxing seaside escape. Described perfectly by their town motto, ‘simple pleasures’, it’s a town that has kept its quaint seaside village atmosphere despite being surrounding by a developing coastal region. With warm weather almost all year round, it’s the perfect place to escape from the city. Though it’s a small town, there’s plenty to do year-round with a full calendar of festivals and events, fishing, boating, kayaking, whale watching, and swimming. As a fairly flat town, almost everything is within easy walking or cycling distance.
For camping, there are three holiday parks in and around Brunswick Heads. The Terrace Reserve Holiday Park, Massy Greene Holiday Park, and Ferry Reserve Holiday Park are all waterfront located and have the option of both powered and unpowered sites. This makes them the perfect spot to stay without needing to be off-grid ready.
For more information on things to do in and around the Brunswick Heads area check out the Brunswick Heads website.
Darwin to Dundee Beach
If getting out into the middle of nowhere, a spot of fishing, and relaxing in the sun is your ideal week away look no further than Dundee Beach. Only an hour and a half out of Darwin, you’ll waste almost no time in getting there. Once you’re there, there are plenty of places to drop a line or crab pot in both the ocean and the Finniss River. Though keep an eye out as, being the NT, crocodiles are everywhere. If you head out to Dundee Beach at the right time of year, between July and November, you might even be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of some of the baby turtles who hatch and make their way from the sand to the ocean. If fishing isn’t for you there’s plenty of swimming, 4WDing, and relaxing to be had too.
For accommodation, the Dundee Beach Holiday Park has both powered or unpowered sites for tents, camper trailers, and caravans but if you’re looking to get a little more remote check out Boss Creek. While you’ll have to leave the caravan at the home, be off-grid ready, and do a bit of 4WDing to get there, it’s worth a look. If you’re wanting to spend a bit more time off grid without sacrificing the luxuries of your caravan, a Pure Sine Wave Inverter will allow you to get out and explore while still powering your household accessories.
Check out the Dundee Beach Holiday Park for more information on camping and things to do around the area.
Perth to Margaret River
Three hours south of Perth, Margaret River is a food and wine lover’s ideal destination. With white sand beaches and vineyards as far as the eye can see, it’s definitely worth spending a week here. If you’re visiting the Margaret River region in the summer months, there are plenty of pristine beaches to cool off in. In the winter, while it might be too cold to swim, there’s plenty of whale watching to be done. With more than 120 wineries, a good handful of breweries and many restaurants in the region, there’s no shortage of delicious wine, beer, and food to enjoy if the beach isn’t your speed. Or you can get away from it all and explore some of the many forests and bush land in the area.
As the Margaret River region is made up of several towns, there is no shortage of campsites and caravan parks to stay at. Powered or unpowered site, shorefront or more inland there’s something for everyone. Unfortunately, in the Shire of Augusta Margaret River, free camping is not permitted so you will have to do your research and camp within a registered caravan park or camping ground.
For more information on where to stay and all the things to do in the Margaret River region, check out the Your Margaret River Region website.
Canberra to Huskisson
If you travel two and a half hours east of Canberra, you’ll eventually come to the seaside town of Huskisson. Located in Jervis Bay, NSW, it’s the perfect spot to escape the city. With long stretches of beach, it’s a great spot for swimming, snorkelling, diving, surfing, kayaking, or stand up paddle boarding. If you want to get out a bit further on the water, there are plenty of opportunities to go on a whale or dolphin watching cruise depending on what time of the year you’re visiting. If you can pull yourself away from the beach, there are plenty of bushwalks around the Huskisson and wider Shoalhaven area.
There are two main caravan parks in Huskisson, Holiday Haven and White Sands. Both have powered and unpowered sites which can accommodate tents, caravans, and camper trailers, depending on your setup. While there are a few free campsites in the area, they can be harder to find so it pays to do a little research before setting off. If you’re looking to go off grid and keep your batteries topped up while you’re parked, adding a solar panel to your setup could be the way to go.
To learn more about Huskisson and the Shoalhaven area check out the Visit Huskisson website.
Hobart to Strahan
Though it’s one of the longer drives on this list, travelling the four and a half hours from Hobart to Strahan is definitely worth it. Located on the west coast of Tasmania, Strahan is rich with not only beautiful harbourside scenery but also stories of Tasmania’s convict past. If history is what you’re into, a visit to Sarah Island, a former convict prison, should be on the cards. Alternatively, there are long stretches of unruly ocean beaches, huge sand dunes, and kilometres of forest to explore. There’s also plenty of town to check out and just relax in.
The Strahan Beach Tourist Park is made up of both powered and unpowered sites perfect for any type of camper or camping setup. Located on the beach and just a kilometre out of town it’s a great spot to set up a home base for your trip to Strahan. There are a few free campsites around the Strahan area, though you should do a bit of research as they are often a bit further out of town.
For more information on Strahan, camping, and things to do in the area check out the Discover Tasmania website.
There you have it, a few of our favourite destinations to explore on your next week off. To check out some other destinations we love see our guide to travelling local series or find out how some of our ambassadors go off grid with our NO LIMITS series. Whether you're travelling alone or with the family, in a caravan, camper trailer or out the back of your 4WD, there's so much wonder and beauty to explore and REDARC can get you there.