My Favourite Campsites in NSW

2020 - 2021

A few people have asked for camping recommendations so I’m blogging a little closer to home this time and sharing some of my favourite camping spots in New South Wales. Whilst I’m desperate to get overseas and explore somewhere new, these amazing little spots in NSW are pretty incredible in their own right and are much (!!) more affordable than traveling internationally.

Bellingen (Gumbaynggirr Country)

My number one spot in NSW is Bellingen. I love it so much that it’s probably one of my favourite spots in the entire world; I’m pretty set on one day doing some locum work up here! Bellingen is 515km North of Sydney and the drive is around five and a half hours.

My friend Gaia and I visited in January 2021 and camped at the free campground in Thora: Roses Park Rest Area. It doesn’t require bookings, so is great for a last minute trip. Set amongst the mountains and pine trees, it’s only a minute walk down to the river - perfect since the campground is very basic and doesn't have showers (its only amenities are drop toilets). The service station next door doubles as a general store and serves delicious toasties (vegan options and all) and also sells alcohol and basic supplies.

The Bellingen & Dorrigo area feels magical; waterfalls around every turn with so many swimming spots. The highlight for me was ‘The Promised Lands’ (also known as Never Never Creek).

I’m heading back there after Christmas and will do a dedicated post on Bellingen sharing my favourite cafes, shops and spots in the new year.

Diamond Head (Biripi Country)

Diamond Head, 350km North of Sydney, is probably the best campground I've ever camped at. The photos do all of the talking; this spot is insanely pretty.

The campsite is $12 per person per night, and I'd recommend booking the area marked "walk-in camp area" because it has a much more secluded feel to it.

Pebbly Beach (Yuin Country)

Some of my best memories are at Pebbly Beach. I used to go on holiday with my grandparents every year to Sussex Inlet, and my parents and I would spend a day down at Pebbly Beach each time.

The beach is lovely for swimming and the campground is often visited by families of kangaroos.

We actually tried to stay here again last month, but the campground is unfortunately closed for renovations at the moment. We stayed at Pretty Beach instead, which is also in the Murramarang National Park, and it was nice, but not quite the same as Pebbly. These photos are from Pretty Beach.

Both campgrounds cost $12 per person per night and are ~270km South of Sydney.

PS - obsessed with eating noodles when camping! Cheesy potatoes cooked in the campfire are also another favourite.

Tallow Beach (Darkinjung Country)

Tallow Beach, in the Bouddi National Park, is a cracker campsite, with views of the beach from the campsite and a feeling of total isolation. Some of the best stargazing I've ever done is here. 100km North of Sydney, it's easy to pop up here for a quick trip.

The campsite is a 20 minute steep downhill walk from the carpark, so definitely one to pack light for!

If you have extra time, the Bouddi Coastal walk (16km return) is beautiful.

Barrington Tops

Barrington Tops is a beautiful national park to camp in. We stayed just outside it at the Riverwood Downs campsite with a big bunch of friends in January 2021. 240km North of Sydney, it’s situated right on the Karuah River.

If you visit, try and head as far up the river as you can to find a nice secluded spot to swim in. We took lilos and floated our way down the river rapids.

Riverwood Downs has great amenities: there are hot showers, powered sites and a store to buy ice-cream from. It has a restaurant too, as well as a bunch of cabins that you can stay in if you want something more luxe. Having said that, it’s pretty busy and the campsite gets packed so it doesn’t have that same feel of being out in nature as some of the other campsites have. This campsite costs $16 per person per night and tends to book up pretty fast.

Euroka (Dharug Country)

I wanted to stay at Euroka Campground because of its proximity to Jelly Bean Pools. It’s just outside a little town called Glenbrook which is full of cute little cafes and boutiques. Euroka is actually part of Greater Sydney and is only 65km West of the Sydney CBD. We spent the weekend there once the 5km lockdown limit was lifted in Sydney.

The campsite is basic; no showers and a drop toilet only, but it does have fire pits. It costs $12 per person per night to stay there. Just note that there are gates to access the campsite that close every night. We nearly got locked out, so it’s worth checking what time they’ll close depending on the season!

The Basin (Gadigal Country)

Finally, if you’re really pressed on time, a night away at The Basin does the trick and will have you feeling as if you’ve escaped the city. The Basin is a quick 20-minute ferry ride from Palm Beach Jetty and has all of the makings of a good campsite. On your way home, I'd recommend a stop at the Boat House for a feed.

Sarah in a train in Sri Lanka

by Sarah Jackson

© Sarah Jackson, 2018-2024