Free camping along Stuart Highway

Cadney Homestead

Cadney Homestead

We are planning a trip from Port Augusta to Darwin and I was wondering if you have any advice on free camping in this part of Australia. What are people like in these regions? Is it safe?

Rita's Reply


I am afraid, I can't give you much personal advice, as I prefer to camp with access to basic amenities, a toilet at least. I am just not keen to dig a hole in the morning :). Also, I haven't been north of Alice Springs at all.

There are few rest areas along the Stuart Highway, where you probably can camp for a night, although they are not reported as overnight areas on my map.

Cadney Park used to have a free camping spot outside their caravan park, next to the airstrip and the railway line. The good thing was that campers were allowed to use the facilities for free. As a thank you we had a nice meal in the pub. I am not sure if they provide this anymore.

What are people like in these regions? I would say not different than people anywhere else in the Australian Outback, friendly and helpful. However, "strange folks" can be everywhere.

When you camp between the few towns and roadhouses, there won't be people at all, apart from those passing by on the highway.

So I would say use common sense, find a spot where you can't be seen from the highway. If you don't feel comfortable at a spot, don't stay there.
Watch out for fellow campers and put up your tent in a respectful distance.

Have a good time.


Comments for Free camping along Stuart Highway

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Jun 27, 2018
Stocyard Camping site???
by: Roy and Leila.

We are looking for what we believe is a free camping area south of Mataranka Springs, we understand it's called the Stockyard, but we can't locate it. Any help would be appreciated.

May 25, 2011
Great advice
by: Rita

Thanks Denise and Clyde for your tips, much appreciated.


May 24, 2011
camping along the stuart highway
by: denise goldieAnonymous

You dont say what you are going to sleep in do you mean a van or swag. There are heaps of places to camp out along the way. I usually pull up and sleep when I have had enough of the road. Places north of alice include devils marbles and other road spots. There are lovely spots between Erldunda and Alice Springs. Just remember to take heaps of water etc.

Hope you enjoy it wont find many people out (what are the people like etc) so you will need to be independent and self sufficient.

You can camp out at bitter springs, twelve mile creek etc near mataranka or stay at the Mataranka hot springs there are lots of spots to campout enjoy

May 24, 2011
Free Camping North of Alice
by: Anonymous

I cycled the Stuart from Erldunda Roadhouse to Tennant Creek. Along the way it is possible to camp for free at several wayside stops.

Stuart Wells offers free camping with pay showers.
Most of the rest areas along the Stuart are good for camping and often sport several grey nomad vans. Finke River was a nice location,and north of Alice there are several others. Another place that you can camp for free is at the Devils Marbles which is a truely great place to camp.

Hope this helps.


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