22 August 2019
NSW has some amazing coastal and bush camping spots that have—so far—remained under the radar. Explore them before the rest of the world does.
This spectacular, secluded bay at Currarong makes for a close-to-perfect bush camping experience. At the northern end of Jervis Bay on the NSW South Coast, about three hours’ drive south of Sydney, the campsite is moments away from the bay and close to some of the region’s most beautiful beaches. It’s open most weekends and during school holidays: sites are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis outside of the summer school holidays.
Need to know: BYO drinking water and gas cooking equipment; no fires, no pets; portable toilets. The site is used by the Australian Defence Force for exercises, so check with the Shoalhaven Visitor Centre to make sure it’s open: (02) 4421 0778.
Situated between Yamba and Coffs Harbour on the State’s North Coast, Yuraygir National Park offers secluded beachside campsites along its 65km of coastline. It’s hard to go past the Pebbly Beach campground, located in a remote bay near Station Creek Beach. However, you will need a high-clearance 4WD to get there—access is via a beach drive and estuary crossing. Once you’ve settled in, explore the she oak-lined beach, try your hand at fishing and, from May to October, enjoy a little whale-spotting from the nearby headlands.
Need to know: only accessible at low tide by a high-clearance 4WD vehicle; no bookings.
Camp among the banksia trees surrounded by untouched wilderness at the Picnic Point campground in Mimosa Rocks National Park. The park is close to Bega on the Sapphire Coast in the State’s far south, and is dotted with lagoons, pockets of rainforest and rocks with castle-shaped features. At the campsite, you have the choice of two beaches, plenty of coastal walks to explore and some great spots to—you guessed it—picnic.
Need to know: there is a small dirt road to navigate to get to the site, but it’s suitable for all vehicles; BYO water; the surf here can be dangerous—so take extra care in the water and supervise children at all times.
Near Walcha in the State’s Northern Tablelands, Oxley Wild Rivers National Park is known for its cascading waterfalls, striking gorges and ancient Gondwana rainforest. Take advantage of everything the park has to offer at one of nine campgrounds within its borders. Halls Peak is a remote (accessed by a dirt track) riverside site perfect for canoeing, fishing and bird-watching. Or head to Wollomombi for dramatic views of nearby Wollomombi Falls and scenic bushwalking trails.
Need to know: you need a NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service day-use vehicle permit for the park (apply here); BYO everything—this is remote camping at its most remote.
This caravan park is near Batemans Bay on the State’s south coast, and is ideal for the novice camper as it’s kitted out with a camp kitchen with free gas BBQs, a fridge and oven. It’s close to Durras Beach and Lake Durras—where you can enjoy surfing, kayaking, fishing—and there’s excellent bushwalking in nearby Murramarang National Park.
Need to know: the park has two amenities blocks, three fully equipped laundries and a separate parents and babies’ bathroom; also suitable for people with disabilities.
Glenworth Valley, just over an hour’s drive north of Sydney, is best known as a haven for horse riders, but it’s also home to some excellent bush camping. Glenworth Valley Outdoor Adventures operates a series of campsites on 80 hectares along Popran Creek, featuring wood-fired BBQs, hot showers and plenty of peace and quiet. You can also ‘glamp’ here, or hire a tent or teepee, and go horse riding, quad-biking, abseiling and kayaking.
Need to know: all sites are unpowered; there’s a 10pm noise curfew.
Beachcomber, a holiday park at the delightfully named Potato Point in the Eurobodalla region on the South Coast, offers solar-powered cabins with ocean views and unpowered sites for tents and caravans, on the beachfront or among the trees. The site backs onto the Eurobodalla National Park, so red-neck wallabies, kangaroos and emus might visit while you’re using the pizza oven or relaxing around the communal camp fires.
Need to know: the park has excellent eco credentials, including solar power.
This World Heritage-listed national park, located close to the wine and food mecca of Mudgee in country NSW, is home to the not-terribly-romantic-sounding Dunns Swamp—actually a campground set on the banks of the Cudgegong River and surrounded by sandstone ‘pagoda’ rock formations. Great for a family getaway, with walking tracks, swimming spots and kayak hire from Spring to Autumn. It’s renowned for its biodiversity: more than 100 bird species have been found here.
Need to know: BYO water, or treat/boil any water collected from the creeks.
Two reasons to love this campground, near Tilba on the NSW South Coast: first, it’s pet-friendly; and second, it’s just moments from the lovely beaches and headlands of this tiny coastal hamlet. The town has plenty on offer—snorkelling, a good surf break at 1080 beach, beautiful views of Montague Island—as does nearby Tilba.
Need to know: unpowered sites; dogs must be kept on-leash but can run free in designated areas on the beach.
There are six cabins and 64 shady powered and unpowered campsites to choose from at this holiday park on the NSW North Coast, set beside a stretch of pandanus-lined beach. While away the days fishing, snorkelling, surfing, swimming or kayaking around nearby beaches, lakes and rivers. Or just relax while the kids frolic in the state-of-the-art playground and large playing area.
Need to know: dog friendly.
There’s so much to explore in the Tapin Tops National Park on the NSW North Coast—subtropical rainforest, old-growth eucalypt trees, waterfalls and swimming holes. Dingo Tops campground is the perfect base to do all that, and the remote site is frequented by plenty of the local wildlife, including parma wallabies, red-legged pademelons, greater gliders (at night) and koalas.
Need to know: BYO water; unpowered sites; no pets, no smoking, no collecting firewood.