Trip Planning Tips

Before you set out on your caravan and camping adventure, there are a few practical things you’ll need to think about. Here you’ll find some handy tips and essential info to ensure your next trip goes smoothly.

Children enjoying a day swimming in the Hawkesbury River by Leetsvale Caravan Park in Leets Vale, Hawkesbury Valley

Booking ahead

It's important to reserve your cabin or campsite well in advance for your next getaway, particularly if you’re travelling during NSW school holidays. Many campgrounds run by the National Parks and Wildlife Service can be booked online, even if there is no fee. Some only have a few spots, so you don’t want to be turned away.

Holiday parks are a popular choice for families as they often include amenities such as swimming pools and playgrounds for the kids. When booking a cabin or campsite, don't forget to specify whether you have any special requests such as an accessible cabin or powered campsite.

Family enjoying the morning sun and mist on the Hawkesbury River at Percy's Place Caravan Park in Pitt Town, Hawkesbury Valley

What to bring?

Committed nomads should also compile a checklist of camping gear: sleeping bags, pillows, airbeds, torches or lamps, cooking gear, and table and chairs are the basics. Make sure to check that your tent has all its poles and stakes before you leave home.

For more basic camps, you will need to bring in everything from water and food to firewood – and take your rubbish out with you. Don’t forget to pack chargers if you are taking electronic devices.

A campervan driving on the Sea Cliff Bridge, near Clifton

Caravan towing tips

If you’re towing a caravan, make sure you have everything in place to ensure a smooth journey. Flick through your car's owner's manual to check the towing capacity of your vehicle and study the NSW towing guide, too. If your car is not strong enough to tow the weight of a caravan or trailer, you can hire one for your holiday.

Read up on road safety and be mindful of your vehicle's extra length when overtaking and entering traffic. Always make sure you have plenty of room in front and behind to manoeuvre. The same applies for parking, as reversing can be especially tricky with a trailer attached to your vehicle.

You must also consider the swaying of your caravan or camper trailer when on the road. Your driving may be affected by crosswinds from larger vehicles or high-wind areas because of the vehicle's additional weight. Combat this by installing a weight distribution hitch to even out the load distribution.

Travelling with children

Parents with children in tow should ensure there is plenty to keep the little ones happy while on the road. Pack snacks and water, appropriate clothing, toiletries and medication you might need, and toys such as scooters to help tiny tots get from A to B. Allow for frequent stops, establish a daily routine and involve your kids in the itinerary.

Travelling with your pet

There are many pet-friendly holiday parks designed to accommodate the furriest member of your family. Before setting off, double check any restrictions with the holiday park you intend to visit. Visit the CCIA’s Take Your Pets page to make sure you have all information you need to know.

It is illegal in NSW to drive with your pet on your lap and they must be properly restrained while driving. Make sure they are registered and microchipped, and that their vaccinations are up to date. You can’t take any domestic animals (excluding assistance dogs) into national parks.

Quick tips

  • Before lighting a campfire at your campsites, check the local fire danger levels and if any fire bans are in place. You should also familiarise yourself with these campfire safety tips.
  • When disposing of waste from a caravan or RV, use only official dump point. Most caravan parks will have a dump points on site or you can check the local council’s website.
  • It is a good idea to travel with a basic first aid kit and a tool box for any repairs on the go.

Visit the Caravan and Camping Industry Association of NSW for more information.