FREE Camping in Tasmania – Ultimate #VanLife Guide [2022]

Ever wondered if you can do van life without paying for accommodation and caravan parks in Tassie? Well, you’re in luck, because we spill all the top spots and secrets in our brand new guide on free camping in Tasmania!

We just got back from spending 3 months travelling around Tasmania in our Sprinter campervan, Marlee. And all we can say is, “Wow…what a beautiful place”.

For anyone looking to travel around Australia while living in a van, Tasmania is arguably the best place to do it.

Not only is it full of incredible adventures, stunning landscapes, delicious food and tasty wine – but also it’s home to some of the best free campsites in the country.

In fact, in our three months there we did so much free camping in Tasmania that we only ended up paying for about 12 nights accommodation total, and that was by choice, not a necessity.

Five of these nights were in a National Park and the other 7 nights were at local RSL clubs or showgrounds where they had showers and toilets to use for a small fee.

Other than that all of the other nights out of the 3 months were free.

Best of all these free camps are often in gorgeous locations, and not out in the middle of nowhere or in busy truck stops like you often get on the mainland. Some of the free campsites were literally right on Tasmania’s best beaches.

Our Expert Guide to Free Camping in Tasmania

We did so much freedom camping here in Tassie that we decided to put together this comprehensive blog post with everything you’d ever need to know, including some of our personal favourite spots, so you can do van life here on the cheap.

If you’re going elsewhere in the country, then you really need to check out our ultimate guide to free camping in Australia. But for now, let’s stick to Tassie.

Let’s get into it.


Stay Limit

Water

Toilet

Shower

Dump Station

Electricity

Pets Allowed

Location

Scottsdale Northeast Park, Scottsdale

14 Days

YES

YES

YES

YES

NO

YES

Branxholm Centenary Park, Branxholm

14 Days

YES

YES

YES

YES

NO

NO

Derby Park, Derby

7 Days

YES

YES

YES

NO

NO

YES

Swimcart Beach, Bay of Fires

28 Days

NO

YES

NO

NO

NO

YES

White Sands Estate & Iron House Brewery, Four Mile Creek

2 Days

NO

NO

NO

NO

NO

NO

Friendly Beaches Campground, Freycinet National Park

14 Days

NO

YES

NO

NO

NO

NO

Hall Point Sulphur Creek, Sulphur Creek

2 Days

NO

NO

NO

NO

NO

NO

Tall Timbers RV Stop, Smithton

3 Days

NO

NO

NO

NO

NO

YES

Marrawah Green Point Campground, Marrawah

7 Days

YES

YES

NO

NO

NO

YES

Teds Beach Lake Pedder, Southwest National Park, Strathgordon

N/A

YES

YES

NO

NO

NO

NO

Boltons Green Campsite, Southwest National Park, Cockle Bay

28 Days

NO

YES

NO

NO

NO

NO

Liffey Conservation Area Campground, Liffey

N/A

NO

YES

NO

NO

NO

NO

Forth Valley Recreation Ground, Forth

2 Days

YES

YES

NO

NO

NO

YES

How to Find Free Camps in Tasmania

Finding free camps in Tasmania is pretty easy. We used the paid ‘WikiCamps Australia‘ app to find the free campsites and read other campers’ reviews to see if the camp was suited for us. This is by far the best resource you can have finding spots to park up.

Another option is to ask in Facebook groups. Some of the popular ones are “Van Life Australia” and “Caravan and Camping Tasmania.” But almost all the sites recommended on there you can find on WikiCamps.

What are the Laws – Can You Camp for Free Anywhere in Tasmania?

While Tassie has a huge selection of free camps for you to choose from, there are some laws you need to keep in mind before you just park up anywhere.

First of all, yes, it is perfectly legal to sleep in your car in Tasmania, as long as you are not in a ‘no parking’ zone.

That ‘no parking’ zone is where you can get stung. A lot of places like national parks, popular beaches and busy towns will have bylaws and signs saying no camping or overnight parking.

Rangers do patrol these areas, so unless you want to risk getting a fine, it’s best to just do the right thing and stay at an official campground in popular spots.

Some of the free camps in Tasmania are in the National Parks so you will have to purchase a National Park Pass to enter. It’s very affordable though, and worth it to be able to stay in such beautiful places.

If you need to do any stealth camping in your van, we recommend finding a quiet industrial area to park up in towns, or in a public pull-over area that’s safely and legally off the road and without any signs saying you can’t stay there overnight.

Free Camping in Tasmania Swimcart Beach
This was at Swimcart Beach where we stay for a week.

What About Camping in Tents/Swags?

Camping in a motorhome, campervan or caravan in Tasmania is fairly easy to do. And if you’re staying at a place that is designated as a free camp, you won’t find many issues about this.

Sleeping in a tent or swag however is a different story, and you may find that a lot of the free camps prohibit people from staying if they’re not in a vehicle.

You’ll find signs saying if you can’t sleep in a tent or swag.

What is Self-Contained Only?

You’ll find some campgrounds saying that only ‘self-contained’ vehicles are allowed to stay. This means your campervan or caravan must have a toilet on board, as well as a way to hold your greywater.

Sometimes it means you also have to have a shower on board, which is a bit of a strange rule really.

If you aren’t self-contained, do not stay at these places that ask that you must be, even if there is a toilet block close by.

Even though you’re not the type of person to dump your grey water on the ground or go to the bathroom outside, some people sadly do.

This can have negative impacts on the beautiful environment in Tasmania and ruin future free camping spots.

Because of this many campgrounds have made a blanket ‘self-contained only’ rule. And rangers do check this. Yes, it sucks if you don’t have a self-contained motorhome, but there are plenty of other free places that welcome all types of campers.

Pub-Stays in Tasmania

One of the great options you’ll find around the state are pubs, clubs and even wineries that allow people to stay on their property for (almost) free!

A lot of the pubs have seen the value in letting campers stay there, as they will often come in and buy a meal or some drinks, or charge a small fee in order to use the facilities if you don’t want to eat or drink here.

If you can, we highly recommend checking out some of these places. By spending your money there you help keep these regional businesses up and running, have a very affordable place to stay and get the chance to meet some fascinating locals.

You can find most of these pubs on WikiCamps.

Campsite Derby
We camped right by the river in Derby. It was a great spot.

Leave no Trace

Before I list the best free camps in Tasmania that we stayed at, I want to make a few points.

Tasmania is pretty well known now for having the best free camps in Australia. That means they are now very busy, especially in peak season.

With the popularity comes more foot traffic, and sadly more rubbish by people who don’t clean up after themselves or won’t follow simple rules or show basic courtesy.

The majority of the free campsites have signs on the way in with rules about staying there. Please read and abide by them (mostly around the length of time you can stay, self-contained only or not, and whether tents or pets are allowed). Otherwise, there’s a risk that local councils will close them down.

The obvious one that everyone needs to follow though is to leave no trace. Please leave the campsite as you found it, or cleaner.

Take your rubbish with you if there are no waste facilities (and don’t add to it if they are overflowing), don’t dump your grey water on the ground, and definitely don’t go to the bathroom out in nature.

We, unfortunately, saw a lot of this and it makes other campers and the locals angry. We are lucky to have these free campsites available to us and the locals are rightly proud of their area.

Toilet paper waste was one of the main issues that have led to these self-contained only laws. The councils are kind enough to allow to have these sites so please be courteous and respectful. We do not want these free campsites to shut down.

Ok, now on the best free campsites in Tasmania!

The Best Free Camps in Tasmania’s East Coast

These were our favourite places on the east coast of Tassie.

Scottsdale Northeast Park, Scottsdale

Stay Limit14 NightsDump StationYES
WaterYESElectricity*NO
ToiletYESPets AllowedYES
ShowerYESLocationGoogle Maps
*No generators allowed

One hour from Launceston you’ll find the Scottsdale Northeast Park with campsites available for campervans, caravans and tents.

There’s a big toilet block with coin-operated showers. Showers are $3 for great pressure hot water. It’s free if you’re happy with cold water.

Sites are flat, there are lots of water taps around and sullage for greywater. There is a donation box that is located at the toilet blocks, with all money going to help maintain the park.

The campground is a short walk to town, and it’s adjacent to a lovely park that has some sheltered areas and barbecues, as well as the Northeast Rail Trail cycling track.

If you get up early enough and stay very quiet, you may even find the elusive platypus that lives in the man-made lake here

In the town of Scottsdale, you can find supermarkets, bakeries, fuel stations, banks, and more. It is a reasonable size town, and home to the last big supermarket (Woolworths) before you head into the northeast.

Derby Park, Derby

Stay Limit7 NightsDump StationNO
WaterYESElectricityNO
ToiletYESPets AllowedYES
ShowerYESLocationGoogle Maps

Derby is the best place in Tasmania for mountain biking (and home to the famous Floating Sauna). The local council has very kindly provided a number of free camps right downtown so riders can hang out for a few days.

Derby Park is located on the west side of Derby on the Ringarooma River. It is within walking distance from cafes, pubs, bike hire shops and the small general store. Our advice is to stock up on food before you arrive as there is not much available here.

There is a toilet block with flushing toilets and coin-operated showers. It is $4 for 4 minutes. You’ll also find taps to fill up with water.

The campground offers a children’s playground, picnic tables and BBQs. All campers are allowed here, including tents.

There is plenty of space but it does fill up quickly so get there early. Weekends are really busy as locals come from all of Tasmania to go mountain biking if the weather is right.

Phone reception for Telstra and Optus were both great.

Swimcart Beach, Bay of Fires

Stay Limit28 NightsDump StationNO
WaterNOElectricityNO
ToiletYESPets AllowedYES
ShowerNOLocationGoogle Maps

If you’re asking yourself, “What is the best free camp in Tasmania?”, then look no further – the answer is Swimcart Beach!

Located in the stunning Bay of Fires, this campground by far was our favourite. This free camp is located right on Swimcart Beach. If you are lucky to snag a spot in one of the front bays you will be able to open your campervan door right to the beach.

There are also plenty of campsites back from the beachfront in the bush area. They are located down near the 2 drop toilets. You’ll find picnic areas and a shelter located in front of the toilets area along the beach.

This area is great for fishing, surfing (if the waves are big enough) and swimming. Keep in mind the beach is not patrolled, so swim at your own risk.  If you are a mountain biker, there is a bike trail that ends here also.

The Bay of Fires descent is a 44km trail starting in Poimena on the Blue Tier and ending at Swimcart beach. There are more trails in the nearest town of St Helens.

This is a great spot to base yourself to explore the Bay of Fires. You can leave your caravan and explore the north area and head to The Gardens.

There is no running water at this camping area. You will need to bring all your own water and hold your greywater. Additionally, there is no black water waste dumping area.

The nearest one is in at St Helens on the corner of Tully Street and Young Street. The nearest shops, supermarkets and fuel station is all in St Helens also.

Phone reception can be hit and miss. We were lucky and had a great reception with Optus. But Telstra was dropping in and out. We work online and were able to do this and upload photos to the internet fine. There are some areas that have weaker to no reception.

This campsite can get busy so get there early in the morning. It is a first-in, best-dressed concept for the campsites. But if you miss out on this campsite there are a few more right near here that are on the beach also.

Make sure you check out:

  • Sloop Reef, Bay of Fires Conservation Reserve
  • Seatons Cove, Bay of Fires Conservation Reserve
  • Cosy Corner North, Bay of Fires Conservation Reserve
  • Cosy Corner South, Bay of Fires Conservation Reserve
  • Jeanneret Beach Campground, Bay of Fires

Friendly Beaches Campground, Freycinet National Park

Stay Limit14 NightsDump StationNO
WaterNOElectricityNO
ToiletYESPets AllowedNO
ShowerNOLocationGoogle Maps

Friendly Beaches campsite is located on the edge of Freycinet National Park. A valid Tasmania National Park pass is required for this campground.

The campsites are tucked between the coastal scrubs with a number of areas to park your caravan, campervan or pitch your tent. This place was so quiet and peaceful.

Make sure you bring everything you need. There is no water here, no electricity and no food shops nearby.

There are also no campfires here so bring your fuel stove cooker for cooking your meals. You’ll find 2 drop toilets down the far end of the entrance area (Isaacs Point). It can be a walk if you are down the other end, so having a toilet on board is a lifesaver.

Please leave no trace at your camp when leave (including toilet paper). There is a caretaker that lives on the premises that monitor the nightly stays.

There is no dump point at this camping area. The nearest public dump point is in Bicheno or Swansea. So make sure your black water waste tank is empty before arriving.

This great free campsite is the best one to explore Freycinet National Park. There are other camps that are downtown and closer to all the major hikes in the Freycinet National Park but they cost money and book up many months in advance.

There is also another camp called River and Rocks Campground but we found this was very busy and a lot of partiers.

Friendly Beaches is a 30-minute drive from the national park entrance where the walks start. But if you don’t mind then we would say stay here over the River and Rocks Campground. It is much nicer and is monitored.

But if you are keen for getting up early for a sunrise hike, use River and Rocks Campground as it is much closer.

There is no phone reception at Friendly Beaches Campground. The phone reception is hit and miss throughout the Freycinet National Park.

Friendly Beaches Campground is a first-in, best-dressed basis. It does get busy so our advice would be to get there early in the morning.

West Coast – Free Camping Tasmania

These were our favourite places on the east coast of Tasmania. There are many free campsites in Tasmania spots that we missed as there are so many but these below, we highly recommend.

Hall Point Sulphur Creek, Sulphur Creek

Stay Limit48 HoursDump StationNO
WaterNOElectricityNO
ToiletNOPets AllowedNO
ShowerNOLocationGoogle Maps

This campground was our second favourite. Halls Point Sulphur Creek is located just outside of the town of Penguin. And guess what? There are penguins there!

The camping area is located overlooking the beach and is a brilliant spot for penguin watching at night. Make sure you have a red light so you do not blind the penguins. The council has set up penguin boxes for breeding and shelter for the little ones.

You can enjoy a walk along the beach during the day or kick back and read a book. It is very peaceful and quiet.

There are no facilities here so you have to be fully self-contained. Please hold your greywater and do not go to the toilet outside. This will disturb the penguins as a huge colony lives here and locals do not appreciate it.

The locals will also leave you a note or ask you to move on if you are not self-contained. Their area is beautiful and they are trying to protect it.

Unfortunately, some campers do not respect the council rules and have left their toilet paper everywhere. Locals have had enough and speak up now. The locals we met were super lovely and stopped for a chat when walking past.

The phone reception for Optus and Telstra works great. We had no issues.

The nearest town is Penguin where they have a furl station, general store and cafes. The next biggest town is Ulverstone or Burnie where you can get anything you want from these towns.

The nearest dumping point is in Penguins on Johnsons Beach Road.

Tall Timbers RV Stop, Smithton

Stay Limit72 hours*Dump StationNO
WaterNOElectricityNO
ToiletNOPets AllowedYES
ShowerNOLocationGoogle Maps
*in a 14-day consecutive period

This free campsite is located in Smithton at the Tall Timbers Hotel. It is a beautiful grassy area where you can park up your caravan or campervan for the night.

It is right near a running stream where you can watch the ducks bathe. They are pretty friendly and will come and visit you if your door is open.

This camp is a pet-friendly camp but please keep your pets on a lead with all the other wild animals around. There are no facilities here. And the hotel will not let you stay if you are not self-contained or if you are in a tent.

There are also laundry facilities at the hotel you can use. There is no water or no electricity here so make sure are filled up and charged. Having solar panels will help.

There is no dump point on site. The nearest one is in Smithton on West Esplanade Road.

Smithton has everything you need – from supermarkets, bakeries, cafes, fuel stations and a large car wash down the road.

We kept coming back here as we were exploring the southwest side of Tasmania. This is a great pet-friendly camp to base yourself on for the Tarkine Drive Loop as it starts and ends here.

But note that the campground closes from June to September each year.

Marrawah Green Point Campground, Marrawah

Stay Limit7 NightsDump StationNO
WaterYESElectricityNO
ToiletYESPets AllowedYES
ShowerNOLocationGoogle Maps

Marrawah Green Point Campground is located just outside of the town Marrawah. This beach is known as a surf beach.

This pet-friendly free camp is a popular one, especially on weekends, so get there early. You are just up the hill from the beach in a parking grass area. There are only a few flat spots and can get tight.

There is a toilet block down by the beach. There is a tap for water if you need it as well.

Teds Beach Lake Pedder, Southwest National Park, Strathgordon

Stay LimitN/ADump StationNO
WaterYESElectricityNO
ToiletYESPets AllowedNO
ShowerNOLocationGoogle Maps

This free campsite is located on the way to Strathgordon in the Southwest area of Tasmania. It is in the Southwest National Park on the Lake Pedder shores. A Tasmania National Parks pass is required to stay here.

You can park on the side near the boat ramp or up behind the toilets. If you are a kayaker, this spot is great to stay for a while and get some paddling done on the water.

You can park your campervan or caravan on the semi-flat parking areas and head down to end the stillness of the water in the evening or early in the morning. If you are tenting it, it is fine just finding soft flat ground is the most challenging part.

There is a boat ramp, toilets, non-treated drinking water, picnic facilities, free electric barbecues and shelter. But there are no campfires permitted. Stick strictly to fuel stoves only.

Being in the National Park, this camp is not a pet-friendly camp. And mobile service was hit and miss with both Telstra and Optus, so don’t count on it.

This area is great to base yourself on for visiting the Strathgordon Dam and the Strathgordon area.

Boltons Green Campsite, Southwest National Park, Cockle Bay

Stay Limit28 NightsDump StationNO
WaterUntreatedElectricityNO
ToiletYESPets AllowedNO
ShowerNOLocationGoogle Maps

This campsite is in the Southwest National Park in Cockle Bay. Back off the road, you can walk to the beach and to all the walking trails in the area.

Dogs, fires, chainsaws and generators are not permitted over the bridge at Cockle Creek in the Southwest National Park.

Centre – Free Camping Tasmania

These were our favourite free campsites in the centre of Tasmania. We did spend a lot of time on the east and west coast of Tasmania so only stayed in a few free camping Tasmania spots in the centre.

There are many free campsites in Tasmania spots that we missed as there are so many. But these below, we highly recommend.

Liffey Conservation Area Campground, Liffey

Stay LimitN/ADump StationNO
WaterNOElectricityNO
ToiletYESPets AllowedNO
ShowerNOLocationGoogle Maps

This was our fourth favourite free camping spot in Tasmania. It was so green and peaceful. There is so much space for multiple campers.

There are 2 rivers that fork off and go either side of the camp. If you are game, you can refreshen yourself up in the cold water. There is also a drop toilet in the middle of the camp.

If you are driving a large vehicle the camping area is best accessed via the town of Liffey. It is very windy from the upper Liffey Falls car park and does take a while to get to the lower carpark area.

This area is not in a national park but is in the Tasmania Wilderness World Heritage Area and this is why no pets are allowed.

This is a great base for the Liffey Falls Walking trail which will take you 2 -3 hours to return from the camping area.

Forth Valley Recreation Ground, Forth

Stay Limit48 HoursDump StationNO
WaterYESElectricityNO
ToiletYESPets AllowedYES
ShowerNOLocationGoogle Maps

Forth Valley Recreation Ground was another camp we kept coming back to. It was central, convenient and not too far from Devonport where the ferry comes in and out from.

It is at the sports oval and you can park in the elected area around the edge of the grounds. The campground has a nice grass area with plenty of space for campervans and caravans. But no tents are allowed.

There is a general store on the main road with a liquor store and a fuel station. And there is a pub across the river that has great meals too.

This camp was a base for getting supplies in Devonport. We stayed here when we arrived as this is the nearest free camping area to the Spirit of Tasmania ferry dock. We stayed here the night before we left also.

There is great phone receptions for Optus and Telstra.

There is a toilet block and a tap to fill up water. Unfortunately, the BBQs have been disconnected as people were not respecting the area. Please respect the areas and clean up after yourself.

If you have a 4×4

If you have a 4WD so many more options open up for you for free camping in Tasmania. You are able to get to a place that some campervans and caravans struggle to get to or maybe just can’t get to.

Here are some camps that we have heard from other campers to check out.

  • Ben Lomond Campground, Ben Lomond National Park
  • Trail Harbour Campground, Trail Harbour

Conclusion to our Free Camping Tasmania

Camping in Tasmania really surprised us. We never thought there would be so many free campsites scattered over the state.

Our top 5 selection that we stayed at would be

  • Swimcart Beach, Bay of Fires
  • Hall Point Sulphur Creek, Sulphur Creek
  • Friendly Beaches Campground, Freycinet National Park
  • Liffey Conservation Area Campground, Liffey
  • Boltons Green Campsite, Southwest National Park, Cockle Bay

We definitely highly recommend Tasmania for its great free campsites. It was nice having amazing campsites right on the beach to right in the forest. It was beautiful.

We would recommend getting a National Park Pass if you are into hiking. There are so many great camps in the national parks. If you have a pet maybe the national park would not be one for your to purchase as pets are not allowed in these areas.

There are so many great free campsites in Tasmania and it is amazing they are available to us.

Happy travels and happy camping

Swimcart Camp Tasmania
This was the camp at Swimcart Beach. It was amazing.
About the Author - Alesha and Jarryd - Van Life Theory

Hi! We're Alesha and Jarryd, the founders of Van Life Theory! We're currently travelling around Australia in our 2008 Mercedes Sprinter campervan and sharing our best experiences, stories, reviews and adventures as we go along. Make sure you follow along on our Instagram and YouTube!

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