There is nothing quite like camping with your horses to develop a deep relationship and sense of trust. But it can be a lot of work. From finding a suitable and safe trail, to packing everything you need for both yourself and your steed. But sometimes, the biggest headache of all can be finding a decent horse campsite that can cater to everyone’s needs. Luckily, there a few gems around the country where horse camping is welcome, encouraged, and won’t break the bank. Following are 16 great horse campsites around the country.
Horse Campsites in New South Wales
Legends like Paterson’s Man From Snowy River and Flash Jack from Gundagai were born here in Australia’s first state, and it was here that our first horsemen and pack-saddlers cut their teeth. Therefore, it is hardly surprising that New South Wales offers some of the most diverse, stunning and historic horse campsites in the country.
Youdales Hut, NSW
Youdales Hut gives a glimpse into early settler life in the World-Heritage listed Kunderang Wilderness. Although there is no paddock or functional yards on site, you wont have the worry of nearby roads or traffic to deal with down here in this remote gorge. Deep in the Oxley Wild Rivers National Park, the site offers a maze of steep and rugged country and horse campsites for the intrepid equine traveler, as well as the nearby crystal clear waters of the pristine Kunderang Brook.
Tom Groggin Horse Camp, NSW
On the banks of the Murray and in the southern precincts of the Kosciusko National Park, Tom Groggin camp features two horse paddocks and plenty of nearby green pick. The river is a welcome relief on a hot afternoon for horse and human alike, and the newly developed Boardman’s run bridle trail is well worth exploring.
Geehi Horse camp NSW
Located on the large shady river flats on the Swampy Plains River, the Old Geehi Hut was once the domain of mountain folk and fishermen. While horse riders are forbidden to camp in the immediate area, NPWS has gone above and beyond in their efforts to provide an alternative horse campsite.
As you make your past the hut, grumbling all the while at the way horses are increasingly being shoved back into the scrub, you’ll soon come across a veritable feast for the eyes. Beautifully fenced paddocks, water tank, shelter, and grass. At the new camp, there are firepits and picnic tables from which to enjoy the panorama of the Main Range teetering above you, making you wonder what was so good about the original Geehi horse campsite anyway.
For those traveling by float, The Geehi Horse Camp is about 50 mins south of Khancoban on the Alpine Way. From Jindabyne, travel west along Kosciuszko Road for 3km then turn left on to Alpine Way. Continue for 78km, cross the bridge at Swampy Plains River, and look for the Geehi Horse Camp signs.
Currango Homestead, NSW
A favourite trail-riding getaway for Canberran equestrians, Currango’s buildings include the oldest surviving continuously-occupied homestead in the Kosciusko National Park.
Nestled among the snowgums, Currango Homestead offers heritage eco-accommodation for both horse and human in the Australian Alps. According to the NPWS website, Currango is registered on the National Estate and ideal for large groups and families who want to experience the spectacular High Plains in true pioneer style.
The homestead is an excellent horse campsite and base to explore the beautiful northern Kosciusko National Park, much of which is closed off to vehicles. Oldfield Hut, Circuits Hit and plenty of other historical sites abound, as do the numerous herds of brumbies oft sighted in the area. Luckily, Currango’s well—fenced paddocks should deter the neighboring brumbies and ensure that your own mount is still there in the morning!
Horse Campsites in Western Australia
Disappointingly, Western Australia offers relatively little in the way of established horse campsites. I happen to know of a West Australian woman who embarked on a horse packing holiday over east. Sure enough, she came home a raving mad horse-packing enthusiast, determined to recreate her experiences over east. After a few disappointing attempts and underwhelming, under watered campsites, she declared she was up and moving to Victoria so she could ‘do more trail riding and camping’. And she did. I may well follow one day…
But for now, there is at least one beauty in Australia’s golden state.
Home Valley Station, WA
Set at the foot of the majestic Cockburn Range, Home Valley Station is a great base for riders to travel the famed Gibb River Road and the stunning Kimberley region of Australia’s north west. Although not a free camp, Home Valley offers over three million acres to explore, as well as other mod-cons such as powered sites, playgrounds, and swimming pool. Be sure to visit during the winter months when the weather is a little more horse-friendly.
Horse Campsites in South Australia
South Australia is home to the Kidman Trail- a 269 kilometer long horse-friendly trail featuring several fantastic horse campsites.
Jack’s Paddock, SA
Opposite Kuitpo Hall, Jack’s paddock is an exclusive use areas for horse riders on the Kidman Trail. The site has includes horse yards, a shelter, pit toilet, fire place, and rainwater tank.
Starkeys Horse Camp SA
Starkey’s Horse Campsite is located in the Mount Crawford Forest and on the doorstep of the famed Eden and Barossa Valley. It is set between native and plantation pine forest and offers the usual yards, toilet, shelter, water and picnic tables.
Horse Campsites in the Australian Capital Territory
There is much more to Canberra than white collar workers, Parliament House and politicians. A photographer recently described Canberra as ‘basically just one big national park’, and indeed the ACT is full of trails and potential horse campsites.
Mount Clear, ACT
Mount Clear’s horse paddocks, shelter, fire pits and water tank are a welcome sight after a long day’s ride in the nearby Naas Valley. However, large numbers of kangaroos and wallabies inhabit the park, so the grass in the paddocks may be a little thin on the ground.
Horse Campsites in Queensland
Despite frequent water problems and availability of green pick at certain times of the year, one thing you can be sure of in Queensland is space. And hospitality. It’s probably the only state where I have camped more often on private property than at public sites. There always seems to be someone generous enough to offer a corner of the back paddock as soon as they spy a saddlebag, but if you want to go prepared, check out the following horse campsites.
Kroombit Tourist Park, QLD
A favorite pit stop for trekkers on the Bicentennial National Trail and a great base camp from which to explore the e sandstone escarpments, gorges, creeks and waterfalls of the Kroombit Tops.
There is more than enough space to set up somewhere with your horses in the Kalpowar forest, and numerous grassy sites, creek frontage and clearings abound.
Horse Campsites in Victoria
Ahh, Victoria the Great- a horse trekkers’ land of milk and honey. Below are just a few of the tasty pickings from Victoria’s vast array of horsey over-nighters.
Jackass Fern Gully
What a name! Along with horse campsites, its one of the things Victoria seems to do best. Chinaman’s Knob. Ozenkadnook. Tittybong. Poowong. But enough name dropping for now. Jackass Ferm Gully is about as close to Melbourne as you can get without encroaching on suburbia with your saddlebags. Located in Cobboboonee (ha! another one) National Park, horse riders can explore the surrounding 60 kilometers of trails that make up the great Cobbobonee Horse Trail.
Redbox Camp, VIC
Redbox is by no means the cream of the crop when it comes to the litany of campgrounds strewn along Victoria’s Wellington River. Being rather dusty and with little green pick, it is perhaps more suited to horse travelers with support vehicles (read- HAY). Nonetheless, the sturdy and well-maintained yards will ensure a good night’s rest for all.
Kelly’s Lane, VIC
Kelly’s Lane Camp is situated off Tamboritha R about 8 kilometers south of Arbuckle Junction. The substantial, well-fenced horse paddock and shady clearing under the peppermints certainly made us want to stay longer than planned. You may need to draw water from nearby Shaw’s Creek, as the bore in the paddock seems to be defunct. Nearby, you’ll find Bennison Lookout, the Tamboritha Saddle, and glorious Alpine hills galore rolling into the distance.
Scout Loop Track Horse Yards, VIC
Another site just a stone’s throw from the state capital, Scout Loop Track camp is located in a bush setting within the Kurth Kiln Regional Park. There are great horse yards on site as well as a maze of trails to explore.
Howitt Hut, VIC
Howitt hut is a cattleman’s hut built in the early 20th century and now inhabits the Alpine National Park. Although the hut is pretty dilapidated, the nearby horse paddocks and grassy areas make for an awesome horse camp.
For adventurous and experienced horse trekkers, the Howitt Hut camp also offers access to rugged trails such as Butcher Country track, Caledonia River and the Wonnangatta Valley. At around 1400m in altitude, the Howitt High Plains are not the place to hang out in bad weather- consider taking a few extra layers and a perhaps a rug or three for the equines.
Ghost Gully, VIC
Surrounded by black sallee eucalytps, Ghost Gully campground is a small campground with basic necessities, horse facilities and easy access to the northern section of Kosciuszko National Park.There is no vehicle access in winter (June to October long weekends) and at other times due to snowfall. The campsite provides access to Moquito Creek trail, which reaches north to Hainsworth and Old Currango huts. The site is tucked away off Long Plain Road, just over 50km from Adainaby via Snowy Mountains Highway.
Does anyone know horse camping spots in Tasmania or the Northern Territory? Leave a comment below!