Australia’s weather is pleasant and suitable for outdoor family activities during most of the year. When it comes to budget-friendly weekend getaways or holidays with kids, camping is a great option even for those with babies and toddlers.
There are hundreds of campsites across Australia, from free (or near-free) beach campsites and national parks (see: NSW, QLD, VIC) to family-friendly holiday and caravan parks. These sites have facilities ranging from fully-equipped with hot showers and kids play area, to the most basic and unplugged back-to-nature sites.
Campsites and holiday parks usually have a few different powered and unpowered site options when you make a booking. These lots can be booked specifically for either a tent, campervan (motorhome), or caravan*.
*It’s important to note the difference between a campervan and caravan. Campervans are also called motorhomes because they are all-in-one vehicles – you drive, eat, sleep and live in a single van. On the other hand, caravans are a separate living space on wheels, attached to your regular car or van with a tow bar.
What you need to know about camping
With the popularity of camping as a family-friendly holiday rising, you may be tempted to dip your toe into this experience. An easy way to get started if you’re not a regular camper is to hire a campervan and book a holiday park that is well equipped for accommodating children.
Hiring a campervan is a cheaper form of accommodation than booking a cabin, however, if you feel that it’s lacking a bit of the “camping feel”, consider buying a pop-up camping tent.
Note that there is a difference between “pop-up” and “instant” tents. Pop-up tents offer a hands-off setup – they unfold and erect by themselves – you just need to give them a good shake. Instant tents, however, have pre-assembled poles that you need to either slot or click into place at the joints, so they are more hands-on and require a few minutes to set up.
Advantages of a pop-up tent:
- Highly affordable – A good quality 4-person tents start from less than $90 with free delivery
- Quick and easy – As the name suggests, it unfolds and pops up by itself within seconds
- Lightweight – Extremely easy to pack and take along, pop up tents are also great for beach days or picnic outings
Disadvantages of a pop-up tent:
- Not 100% weatherproof – Although many are designed to bear light winds and rain, pop-up tents may not hold up well in wild camping and harsh weather conditions
- Folding it down – Packing it away might require a bit of YouTube searching and practice to get it right, but most of them fold in a similar way, so if you master one you master them all
The different types of tents:
For camping – These tents have zippers around all doors and windows for weatherproofing, and they also generally have mesh pockets inside to store small belongings. Camping tents also tend to come with ropes and pegs to further secure them in windy or rainy conditions.
For beach – These ones usually only have three sides with one open side. They also have mesh openings for ventilation, but may only be on one side, or none at all. Beach tents also usually have attached pouches on the external rim to fill with sand to keep them weighted.
Best Pop Up Family Tents For Camping
*Bestseller* Zomake 4-Person Tent
Unlike most pop up tents, which only have one or two openings, the Zomake tent comes with two mesh windows, two mesh doors, and a large mesh opening at the top for a sky roof, perfect for an under-the-stars experience.
The Zenph instant tent unfolds and pops up within three seconds, and to keep it grounded in windy conditions it comes with ropes and pegs too. It is designed to be waterproof, especially on the bottom, so in terms of outdoor nature camping it is probably more suitable than the Zomake.
Of course, the cheapest option on the list has to be from Kmart. The Anko Pop Up Tent is highly affordable at just $49, but with only two reviews, it’s hard to determine its quality. Nevertheless, if you’re only looking for a one-off product or something to take to the beach, this is a good choice.
Best Pop Up Beach Tents
*Bestseller* Glymnis Beach Pop Up Tent
Rated #1 in the category of pop-up tents on Amazon AU, it is one of the easiest tents to fold down, testified by its many five-stars reviews. It has an easy-to-follow demonstration video to show how to open and pack down. It comes complete with pegs, sandbags, and carry bag. Unfolded size is 200cm L x 165cm W x 130cm H*.
(*Note that actual shaded area might be smaller because half of the flooring extends outside of the tent.)
With a back mesh window that can be zipped up, the Mountview Tent is a neat little design with no bits and pieces sticking out. It doesn’t come with sandbags, but you can easily weigh it down with your belongings instead. It may look small, but it comes with a height of 120cm, a width of 220cm, and a depth of 100cm, which makes the shaded area as big (if not bigger than) the internal area of the bestselling Glymnis above.