McGaurans Beach; great free camping on grass

We love a good free camp, and whilst heading down the coastline in the bottom corner of Australia, we stumbled across a fantastic beach camping option called McGaurans Beach. This quietly surprised us, and we spent two nights just hanging around and enjoying the beach. It’s unique in a number of ways, and a truly great option.

Keen for more free camps in Victoria? We’ve got a few for you!

McGaurans Beach camping
McGuarans Beach is a popular option, and for good reason

Where is McGaurans Beach?

You’ll find this camp site South East of Lakes Entrance, along the coast amongst a massive number of places that you can pull in and stay. It’s roughly 35 minutes North West of Alberton, and fairly quick and easy to get to.

The actual camp site is tucked between the beach and farm land, making it a really good place to settle in.

Wilsons Prom views from Mt Oberon
It was the perfect place to pull into before heading to the stunning Wilsons Prom

What’s at McGaurans Beach?

When you arrive at Mc Gaurans Beach, you’ll see a couple of spots to camp on either side of the road at the first corner, a beach access path for vehicles, and then you follow the gravel/sandy track for probably 800 metres or so, until it comes to a big open area and the end of the camping ground.

The most common place to camp though, is on the grass on your left as you drive in, with a ridiculous number of spots to choose from. Most have limited privacy from others, and you can end up with quite a few neighbours, but its still a decent place to be.

We did manage to tuck ourselves into a bit of a hollow, where no one else would camp near us, but you need a smaller setup to get there.

Tucked into a hollow at McGaurans Beach
We tucked ourselves into a little hollow, which was magic

All of the camp sites are within 30 metres of the beach itself, and some have views over the water, which is pretty neat.

Beach camping with views
Some sites have beach views, but most struggle to see the water

Do you need a 4WD to get here?

No, and we saw a number of people in normal 2WD vehicles. It does limit where you can camp, with some sites requiring you to drive over mounds, but there’s plenty of places you can stay at here with a 2WD, and lots of people were doing it.

There is beach access if you have a 4WD though, so obviously that is out if you’re in a 2WD. It’s worth also mentioning that there was a soft section of sand over the main track as you get right to the end of the camp ground, and I have no doubt you’d easily get stuck here in a 2WD!

The road in is mainly bitumen, but does end in very good quality gravel. I’m sure this deteriorates from time to time, but when we came in the road condition was excellent, with you comfortably being able to sit at 80km/h with no issues.

Is it fire and dog friendly?

Yep, and lots of people had both. Of course, check the fire limitations and season before having one, and you’ll have to bring wood in, but it’s a great place to kick back around a fire.

McGaurans Beach Fishing

One of the primary reasons people camp at McGaurans Beach is due to the fishing opportunities. Apparently the weekend prior to us arriving there’d been some posts on social media with a number of good snapper being caught, and the weekend we stayed it was really full.

We did see a couple of decent pink snapper being caught off the beach, which is really rare in Western Australia. We didn’t have enough bait to fish for bigger tucker, but I’m sure getting a feed of snapper would give this place a big tick of approval from most people.

Fishing at McGaurans Beach
The fishing at McGaurans Beach was incredibly popular

Look after this place

Honestly, these sort of camping areas are not that common, and if they’re not well cared for, you can expect fees, restrictions and even closures. Our little kids love looking for cans and bottles, and we picked up a lot, mainly from people who’ve lobbed them into the dunes.

There’s a lot of paths through the dunes, and most disappointing is the toilet paper, and what goes with it in the sand dunes. You should avoid camping here if you don’t have a chemical toilet, and most certainly don’t leave toilet paper and human waste on the surface, where people can see it. Do better, people.

Leave no trace at McGaurans Beach
These places are gold; look after them

Is it worth a stay?

It’s rare that you can camp virtually on a beach, but on grassy sections. If you have good weather, this place is magic, and completely worth a stay. It costs you nothing, and there’s certainly worse options out there!

It's worth a stay at McGaurans Beach
This place is absolutely worth a stay

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