Just a few kilometres out of Berri in the Riverland area of South Australia, is a spacious free camp near the Murray River where you can set up for a few days and explore the region. The camp ground is maintained by the council and for $5 per night you have access to a patch of ground (pull up anywhere you like), a toilet block, bins and a dump point. There is an honour box near a caretaker’s house where you fill in your details, number of nights staying (up to 21 maximum), put the money in an envelope and into the secure box which is collected by council staff daily.
The campground is at the end of a no through road so there’s no traffic noise apart from people using the recreation park during the day mostly. The river and public park area with shelters, barbecues and bench tables is on the left side of the road and camping is only allowed on the right side of the road so you won’t be parked on the river, but it’s close enough to walk to from the campground.
From the campground you can also take a walk through an adjacent park called the Lion Allan Thurmer Recreational Trail, which you can follow all the way into the town, or you can take a loop around the wetland which takes around an hour and a half. It’s a very easy, wide walking trail to follow, well signposted and has a few interpretive signs that explain the animals and plant life that can be found.
With the wetland there are plenty of birds and animals about too, including Whistling Kites, Pelicans and cheeky Pied Butcherbirds looking for any handouts. In the scrub area you can sometimes see Western Grey Kangaroos but I only managed to see a rabbit darting through. There are interesting trees too with massive River Red Gums and eucalypts with stunning zig zag wavy bark.
The campground is big enough that you could camp here as a group and generators can be used, keeping others in mind of course. There are some shaded areas under trees if wanted or you can be out in the open, which is always good for keeping the solar panels charged. If you’re lucky while you are there you may just get a clear and starry night, free of light pollution, which is always good for brushing up on your astrophotography skills. As for most areas in this region, the Murray River is always a good photographic subject, whether at sunrise, sunset or whenever interesting river traffic is passing.
This is a very comfortable free camp and small self-contained campfires are ok too.