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Barbour Park Rest Area

Home > Canberra > Escape the City | Free | Fun Things To Do | Travel | Weekend Escapes
by Heidi Cee (subscribe)
I'm a Canberran who loves cheese, wine, chocolate and adventures. Visit my blog at https://thehappyminimum.wordpress.com/
Published June 15th 2019
Take an overnight microadventure to Gunning - for free
Can life, camping, micro adventure, Canberra, free camp, gunning, weekend away, camping
Living the #vanlife on a Canberra micro adventure


Sometimes the pace of city life gets to be too much - the relentless grind of the nine to five, the same habits, the same stress. If you want to get away from it all without the hassle and expense of a big trip, why not consider taking a micro adventure? The idea of micro adventures was stumbled upon by British adventurer Alastair Humphreys and the key to a good micro adventure is that it's affordable, achievable, outdoors and (hopefully) mixes up your regular routine enough to put a smile on your dial.

Canberra's nickname 'the bush capital' gives a mighty big hint that there are plenty of micro adventures to be found within close range of the city and amazingly, loads of them are completely free, including the Gunning free camp at Barbour Park rest area.

Free camp, van life, camping, Canberra, free camp, gunning, microadventure, weekend away, country escape
Watching the sun rise at Gunning free camp near Canberra


The Barbour Park rest area allows you to spend two nights in the great outdoors without paying a penny. The rest area is on the banks of Meadow Creek and has a serene feel with some unexpected bonuses: toilets and hot showers, a kids playground, barbecues and even a swimming pool (open seasonally). And did I mention this is all free?

A micro adventure is a brilliant way to get out and explore the beautiful towns and villages around Canberra and it can feel like you're a million miles away as you watch the sun blaze out a brilliant sunset then see the stars creep out to stud the sky minus the light pollution of the city.

Its a short walk into Gunning township from Barbour Park. Gunning is home to cafes, a garage which doubles as a convenience store, a pub and an antique shop. There's also a van selling fresh fruit and veggies most weekends. For the history buffs, you can take a self-guided tour of the town or stop off at the Pye Cottage Museum.

Free camps can be busy and a great opportunity to mingle with grey nomads, backpackers and everyone in between. There are also occasions where you get the entire place to yourself - it can be hit and miss but weather, local events and holiday periods will affect availability. With no booking system, its first in best dressed so keep that in mind when planning your trip.

Importantly, micro adventures are for everyone - singles, couples, families, friends - anyone can have a little weekend away. Gunning has the added bonus of being under an hour from Canberra making an overnighter here perfectly easy to achieve. Just roll out your swag, pitch a tent or park your van, turn off the phone and spend a weekend chilling and exploring our beautiful country.

Free camp, camping, gunning, Canberra, van life, micro adventure, weekend away, free
Sunrise over the river at Gunning free camp near Canberra


Free camp, Canberra, Gunning, vanlife, free, weekend away, outdoors
Gunning free camp near Canberra
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Why? Take an overnight micro adventure for free!
When: Year round
Phone: 0248321988
Where: Barbour Park Rest Area, Yass Street,Gunning, NSW 2581
Cost: Free
Your Comment
A micro adventure sounds good at my age Heidi, apart from the tent bit. Neil.
by Neil Follett (score: 2|189) 36 days ago
It's a lovely sunrise photo!
by Amanda I (score: 2|819) 27 days ago
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