Escape the hustle and bustle of busy beaches and crowded campsites with these top secret coastal hideaways. Hurry, they won't stay secret for long!
1. BEN BOYD NATIONAL PARK, NSW
Tucked away in New South Wales’ south-eastern corner, Ben Boyd NP is a coastal destination full of surprises. Stunning scenery, intriguing history and good camping facilities combine to make this national park a popular weekend getaway.
From the whale sighting tower built by 19th century entrepreneur Ben Boyd – after whom the park is named – to the impressive Green Cape Lighthouse, the park has a number of attractions for people of all ages. History comes to life at the site of the Davidson Whaling Station, while the famous Light-to-Light walking track rewards with spectacular ocean views.
- Location: 18km south of Eden, NSW
- Camping: Booking essential $23/couple/night, $6/children 5-15, under five free; one-off $8/vehicle fee
- Facilities: Toilets, tables, barbecues
2. CAPE LE GRAND NATIONAL PARK, WA
A spectacular park along WA’s southern coastline, Cape Le Grand features white, sandy beaches along secluded bays where you can spend hours enjoying the tranquil surrounds. The beach at Lucky Bay in Cape Le Grand NP has been rated Australia’s whitest, where the kangaroos also appreciate the sun and sand.
A hike up Frenchman’s Peak is mandatory as it rewards with panoramic views of this stunning park – on a clear day you can see as far as Esperance. The 15km Le Grand Coastal Trail links Cape Le Grand Beach with Rossiter Bay and can be broken up in four shorter sections.
- Location: 631km south-east of Perth and 56km east of Esperance
- Camping: $10/person/night ($6.60 concession)
- Facilities: Solar-heated showers, fresh water, camp kitchen
3. ARTHUR PIEMAN CONSERVATION AREA, TAS
Tasmania’s rugged west coast provides the adventurous traveller with a four-wheel drive experience that is both challenging and memorable.
The Arthur Pieman Conservation Area is a wilderness area of more than 100,000ha bounded by the Arthur River in the north and the Pieman River in the south. This dramatic stretch of coastline makes for an epic journey for any off-road enthusiast, but it needs to be treated with respect as it is claimed that each year at least one car is swallowed up by the ocean!
Highlights include the journey along the Western Explorer Road to Corinna and a trip across the Pieman River on the Fatman barge.
- Location: 441km north-west of Hobart.
- Camping: $6 to $13/couple/night, school children free
- Facilities: Taps and toilets
4. SHIPWRECK COAST, VIC
The famous limestone stacks known as the Twelve Apostles form part of the Shipwreck Coast – a spectacular but rugged stretch of coastline in south-west Victoria. Yet, despite the region’s gruelling maritime history, these fascinating rock formations have an unparalleled appeal.
There’s plenty to see and do in this awe-inspiring region, only a three-hour drive from the Melbourne CBD. The 86 Gibson Steps give access to the ocean beach below, while the nearby rock stacks, known as Gog and Magog, are a breathtaking sight.
The Shipwreck Coast takes in about 130km of spectacular coastline between Cape Otway and Warrnambool along the Great Ocean Road.
- Location: Cape Otway – Warnambool, south-west Victoria, about 240km south-west of Melbourne
- Camping: Princetown Reserve: $20/couple/night unpowered, $25 powered
- Facilities: Hot showers, toilets, coin-operated laundry
5.TASMAN NATIONAL PARK, TAS
The Tasman Peninsula offers a perfect mix of intriguing Tassie history, set alongside dramatic coastal scenery, including the highest vertical cliffs in Australia.
There is a beautiful campground right on the beach at Fortescue Bay, with a fantastic swimming beach and a boat ramp, where you could easily spend the entire weekend – but you wouldn’t want to miss out on everything else there is to see.
Tasman’s Arch, Devil’s Kitchen, the Blowhole and the Tessellated Pavement are awe-inspiring sites of natural grandeur.
- Location: 80km south-east of Hobart
- Camping: Fortescue Bay: $13/couple/night, booking is advisable (03 6250 2433). NP entry fee applies
- Facilities: Bush camping, drop toilets, coin-operated hot showers