NSW has some amazing secluded camping grounds that have – so far – remained under the radar. Camp in World Heritage rainforests and by pristine beaches. Or uncover ancient Indigenous stories in Outback NSW. An unforgettable adventure beckons at these secret NSW campsites.
In the small village of Patonga and bordering Brisbane Water National Park, Patonga Camping Area is set on a small peninsula between Patonga Creek and Patonga Beach, which makes it a perfect spot for swimming, fishing, boating, kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding.
Wake up to the roar of the ocean at Blue Lagoon Beach Resort, a family holiday park that has powered sites for caravans and tents. The resort, in a quiet, private location in Bateau Bay, opens onto sheltered beaches and offers stunning views. Budgewoi Holiday Park is another lovely spot to bunk down for the night. Located on the banks of tranquil Lake Munmorah near Norah Head, the holiday park features self-contained cabins in leafy surrounds and is only a short drive from Norah Head Lighthouse, a popular vantage point for whale-watching.
Glenworth Valley near Gosford is best known as a haven for horse riders, but it’s also home to some excellent bush camping. Glenworth Valley Oudoor Adventures operates multiple campsites on 80 hectares along Popran Creek, featuring wood-fired barbecues, 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.
In the picturesque high country near Armidale, Oxley Wild Rivers National Park is famous for its cascading waterfalls, striking gorges and ancient Gondwana rainforest. Sleep at Dangars Gorge campground and visit the nearby scenic waterfall lookout, where after heavy rain, you can watch water cascading over a 120-metre drop, shrouding everything in mist and creating beautiful rainbows.
Don’t let the name put you off – Dunns Swamp near Mudgee is actually one of the best river camping sites in NSW. Boasting outstanding plant and animal biodiversity, it’s home to over 100 native bird species and the perfect spot for canoeing, kayaking and swimming.
Dunns Swamp, Wollemi National Park - Credit: Dunns Swamp
In the Orange area, Junction Reefs Reserve Campground is a secluded camping spot that combines serene riverside scenery with curious history. Explore a heritage-listed former mining dam and walks along the Belubula River, where you can find a hidden waterfall.
Hillside Farmstay near Tamworth offers camping spots throughout the year, where you can take in views of beautiful green paddocks with grazing mares and foals. This secret camping site is also dog-friendly and features plenty of horse riding and walking trails, and even a dog run.
Junction Reefs Reserve Campground, Burnt Yards - Credit: Melise Davis
Jervis Bay is one of the South Coast's most popular beach destination, thanks to its bright white sands, incredible wildlife encounters and beautiful national park. You can get away from the crowds – while still enjoying the area's natural beauty – at Honeymoon Bay., a sheltered cove perfect for snorkelling and swimming. This one is for the more experienced campers, and you will need to bring your own drinking water and gas cooking equipment (as fires are banned in this region).
You’ll love Mystery Bay campground near Tilba for two reasons. 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, and beautiful views of Montague Island – as does nearby Tilba.
There’s so much to explore in Tapin Tops National Park near Taree – subtropical rainforest, old-growth eucalypt trees, waterfalls and swimming holes. Dingo Tops campground is the perfect base to do all that, and this remote site is frequented by plenty of local wildlife, including wallabies, red-legged pademelons, greater gliders (at night) and koalas.
Situated between Yamba and Coffs Harbour, Yuraygir National Park offers secluded beachside campsites along its 65 kilometres of coastline. If you’re looking for 4WD beach camping in NSW, it’s hard to go past Pebbly Beach campground. You’ll need a high-clearance 4WD to get there, and once settled in, you can explore the oak-lined beach, try your hand at fishing and, from May to October, enjoy a little whale-spotting.
Acacia Flat campground is truly one of the best, most secluded campgrounds in NSW, located deep in the Blue Gum Forest of the Blue Mountains. As such, you’ll need to take on a three-hour, often steep trek to get there, but on the way, you’ll take in the stunning views and fresh air of Grose Valley. Or get back to nature at Newnes campground, which is surrounded by sandstone cliffs and eucalypt trees, on a pretty flat alongside the Wolgan River.
A 4WD is required to get to Murphys Glen campground, where you can pitch a tent among the towering blue gums and turpentines. Another of NSW’s popular 4WD camping sites is The Diggings campground. Nestled on the banks of the Turon River, it’s perfect for trout fishing, canoeing and spotting native wildlife.
Or if you’re yearning for a more luxurious experience, glamp at nearby Bubbletent Australia where you can stay in a clear inflatable dome overlooking Capertee Valley, which comes with a telescope to gaze up at the stars.
Please note: bookings are now required for all campgrounds and camping sites in NSW national parks, including those without camping fees. All free campgrounds now have a non-refundable $6 booking fee. Make an online booking for more information.
Destination NSW acknowledges and respects Aboriginal people as the state’s first people and nations and recognises Aboriginal people as the Traditional Owners and occupants of New South Wales land and water.