I'm not sure why its taken so long for me to write a post about Wikicamps, given how incredibly useful it is.
If you haven't heard of it before, today is your lucky day. Wikicamps is an app you can download on android, apple and windows smart phones. The app is used to find camping areas, points of interest, caravan parks and more. However, its the way in which it does this that is most useful.
What's so good about Wikicamps?
There are a myriad of books and websites out there that list places where you can camp, points of interest and caravan parks. The problem with them though, is the information takes time to find, and it doesn't change. Camp sites change all the time, and then a static page or book becomes redundant.
Wikicamps is updated by users, and has the ability to leave comments, add news sites, add photos and reply to others. If you want to find somewhere to camp, you can filter sites by various requirements (free, dog friendly, camper trailer friendly etc) and see them visually on a map, to work out how far away they are.
If you find something you like, you can click on it and see how much the camping is, read comments left by those who've been there before, and check out photos. The fact that is crowd sourced means information is more up to date, and you can often even get track conditions, how bad the toilets smell and what to look out for through the comments!
Everything is downloaded too, so you don't need an internet connection to find your next amazing camp site. With over 32,000 listings across Australia, you can be sure to find somewhere amazing to rest your head.
Read with a grain of salt
One of the problems with crowd sourced information is that you get varying opinions. For example, you'll often read comments on wikicamps saying that the road was in terrible condition, or that that there wasn't enough room to set a tent up. I usually take comments like that with a grain of salt and go in and find out for myself.
In most cases, things that are written negatively about a camp site turn out to be incorrect; its just how people see things differently. When we did the Gibb River road, the locals told us the track was in the best condition they'd seen in years, and yet we came across others telling us that its the worst road they'd ever done. It's all about perspective, so take the comments with a grain of salt.
Not all information is accurate
The other thing to bear in mind with the comments is they can actually be incorrect. Just because someone posts saying you can camp there doesn't guarantee you actually can. Obviously shire, council, National Park and general civil law comes way above the comments of those left on Wikicamps! If you think the camp site might be a bit sketchy in terms of being allowed to be there, do some further digging.
This is especially paramount for camp sites that are on private property; comments saying its free and the owners welcome visitors are often not correct, and there have been some bad run ins in the past.
What does it cost?
Wikicamps is a measly $7.95, and I believe they have a free trial too. I guarantee it will be the best 8 bucks you spend. You can run the app across multiple devices, as long as they are the same type - apple to apple, windows to windows etc. If you want to run it on an android and a windows device, you've got to purchase it twice. You can run the device on smart phones, tablets, laptops and PC's.
Bonus tip; download Fuel Map
A while after releasing Wikicamps, Fuel map was released too. This allows you to find cheap fuel while travelling around Australia. Again, the information provided is crowdsourced, but its usually pretty accurate. You can save a fortune with this app in fuel costs.
Do you use Wikicamps? What do you think of it?