Now that summer is finally here in the southern hemisphere, it’s time to dust off the tent, shake out the camping mat and go explore life in the outdoors.
Here are five interesting southern hemisphere campsites to get you packing your kit.
1. Ayers Rock Campground, Northern Territory Australia
Whilst given the extreme summer heat it is best to camp here during the Australian winter, nothing makes you feel more like summer than the dry heat of the desert outback.
Nestled within Ayers Rock Resort and the small town of Yulara, the campground is approximately 20 km from Uluru and is located outside of the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. Ayers Rock Campground was established in 1983 upon the opening of the Yulara Resort and subsequent closure of the public campground that had been located beneath the Rock (the place where baby Azaria Chamberlain was found to be taken by a dingo).
Today, the Ayers Rock Campground has both powered and unpowered sites as well as small, air-conditioned cabins that can accommodate up to 6 people. With a swimming pool, volleyball court, several BBQ areas, large laundry rooms and a small kiosk, the campground makes for a comfortable and affordable stay close by to the Rock. Enjoy a camp cooked meal onsite, sneak a peek of the Rock during sunrise or sunset from one of the viewing platforms, or take the complimentary shuttle bus around to the cafes, restaurants and shops scattered around the rest of the Yulara Resort.
-Fly direct to Ayers Rock and catch the free shuttle bus to the resort
-Drive 4 1/2 hours from Alice Springs or 3 1/2 hours from Kings Canyon or
-Bus it on an organised coach tour.
Prices: Peak Season cabin $160, Powered Site- $42, N/P Site-$36
Highlight: close proximity to Uluru (Ayer’s Rock)
2. Curio Bay Holiday Park, The Caitlins, South Island, New Zealand
Privacy is not really an issue at this campsite, with sites crafted entirely out of a maze of flax. Situated high up on the headland overlooking Curio Bay, listen to the wind at night as it whistles through the clumps of flax and buffets around your parked car.
The Curio Bay Holiday Park is located within walking distance of a colony of Yellow Eyed Penguins, a native New Zealand Penguin, which, as the name suggests, has a striking ribbon of yellow around its yellow eyes. Watch the penguins waddle into shore of an early evening, or head out to the lookout over to the bay to go dolphin spotting.
There are toilets and showers scattered around the campground but these facilities are quirky and basic. There is also a very small kiosk and a picnic area and shelter where you can eat. With no obvious places to eat within the town of Curio Bay itself, it is advised that you come prepared with your own food and something on which to cook.
The Caitlins are located on the south east of New Zealand’s South Island. Curio Bay is accessible by car and is 2 1/2 hours from Dunedin and 1 1/4 hours from Invercargill
Prices: approximately $NZ15- 25
Highlight: the Yellow Eyed Penguins
3. Camping Mihinoa, Easter Island, Chile
Located on one of the most remote places on earth, Easter Island is over 3500 km west of Chile and has a population of just over 5000 people. Made famous by the large Moai that were carved out of rock and strategically placed in various locations around the island, Easter Island sits in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and there is no better way than to experience the power and beauty of the world’s largest ocean, than to pitch a tent just above it.
Camping Mihinoa is located just a short walk from the island’s only town, Hang Roa, and almost right underneath the island’s flight path. Whilst ordinarily this might not seem like much of a selling point, the Mataveri International Airport is no Heathrow in terms of flight frequency and there is also something fascinating about watching a large 737 as it first materialises as a dot in the sky ahead before quickly increasing in size and roaring right above you. You also have little excuse for missing your flight out of there.
The campground offers tent and mattress hire for those who decide to pitch a tent on a whim, as well as dorms, triples and double rooms. There is also a fully equipped kitchen onsite and an indoor eating area.
Flights into Easter Island can be made by Lan Airlines from either Santiago, Chile or Papeete, Tahiti. The campground offers a free shuttle to and from the airport.
Prices: approximately $6.500 pp (own tent); $6.500 to hire tent; $10.000-$35.000 for various rooms
Highlight: the views out to the Pacific Ocean and the close proximity to town.
4. Campings la Pista del Andino, Ushuaia Argentina
Known as Fin del Mundo, Ushuaia is the world’s southern most city and if you’re going to visit the end of the world, you might as well make sure you get a good view. Campings la Pista del Andino is perched 3km above the Ushuaia main town and looks out over the Beagle Channel, the gateway to the world’s southern most continent, Antarctica.
With a choice to camp in either the plains or the woods, this Ushuaia camp site has something for everyone. Complete with a homely restaurant and bar, a fully stocked kitchen area, unique kettle BBQ and extremely friendly staff, this campsite is a great place to make home for a couple of days or even a week. Explore the nearby Tierra del Fuego national park, stowaway on a boat to Antarctica or just sit back and enjoy the view.
Ushuaia can be reached by bus, boat or plane. The campsite is a good 3 km walk from the main town, up hill, so if you have a bit of luggage, it may be worthwhile taking a taxi from town when you first arrive.
Prices: approximately AR40pp
Highlight: with a choice of camping in the forest or the plains, the expansive view out to the Beagle Channel and the welcoming hosts, there are plenty of highlights at this campsite. It’s also worthwhile remembering that even if you arrive at 9.30pm during summer, you might still be able to pitch your tent in daylight.
5. Camping, Antarctica
Ok, so this might not be the most easily accessible, or affordable of campsites, but if you are going to save up for a trip to the icy continent, then why not consider pitching a tent there for a night as well?
Several tour companies offer the opportunity to sleep overnight under the Antarctic skies. Whilst the air may be chilly and the evening sky still dimly lit, the opportunity to sleep with the peace and quiet of 1000 penguins would make for a memorable summer camping trip.
This is one camping trip where you must go with an organised tour group. There are several tour companies that provide overnight camping trips in Antarctica, and they supply special super down sleeping bags , tents and porta loo facilities (absolutely nothing can be left behind). These tour companies take care of everything.
Prices: can vary from approximately $US5500 + depending on the cruise ship and the rest of the tour itinerary
Highlight: Camping in Antarctica – does it get any better?
What interesting campsites have you found in the Southern Hemisphere? Please share your experiences in the comments below.