With landscapes that range from beachside glamour to outback desert, New South Wales, Australia, is the perfect place to get outdoors and pitch a tent. Here is a guide to some of the best places to do just that – from Mungo National Park to Depot Beach.
The magnificent lunar-like landscape of the Willandra Lakes Region in Mungo National Park is an ideal place to set up camp and explore the NSW Outback, as Lake Mungo is rich in Aboriginal and archaeological significance. Self-drive the Mungo Track or take a tour with an indigenous guide to the Walls of China, to learn about the 40,000-plus years of Aboriginal cultural history. There is also the accessible Grasslands Nature Trail, and no visit to Lake Mungo is complete without seeing the sun set from Mungo Lookout. There are two camping sites in the park; the large, well-equipped Main Campground has facilities for caravans, trailers and tents. For a more secluded and basic Outback experience, the Beulah Campground is a great option for tent campers.
Cockatoo Island gives you the opportunity to try a more luxury level of camping in the middle of Sydney Harbour. Campers are provided with a pre-erected tent and sleeping gear (the level of luxury depends on which package you choose). Cockatoo Island was originally inhabited by the indigenous people of the Eora Nation and has since been a penal colony, a reform school for girls and a shipyard. This colourful history has given the island a reputation for being haunted, and if you’re here on a Saturday night, you can take a tour of its landmarks and learn about its history and rumoured paranormal activity. Awaken to front-row views of Sydney Harbour and enjoy coffee and breakfast at Marina Cafe and Bar in the former shipyard.
Patonga Beach is the perfect weekend getaway in which to be surrounded by the beauty of nature. Patonga Beach is a delightful seaside village on the NSW Central Coast, just north of Sydney. The Patonga Beach camping and caravanning area is idyllically located between Patonga Beach and Patonga Creek, where you can enjoy swimming, paddle boarding or kayaking on calm waters. The nearby Brisbane Water National Park offers a range of bushwalking and hiking experiences, and the famous Boathouse Hotel is a great place to chill out over a long lunch or dinner and a couple of cocktails. The ferry to Palm Beach is a short walk from the camping area if you are keen to explore even further afield. This is one of the best camping spots near Sydney.
Kosciuszko National Park in the NSW Snowy Mountains is associated with skiing and snowboarding during the ski season; however, the park is an ideal year-round camping destination. During the non-winter months, you can hike the alpine trails, see spectacular wildflowers, fish and ride mountain bikes or horses. There are many campgrounds in the park, all run by National Parks and Wildlife Service NSW, and where you choose to camp depends on what you want from your stay. Pinch River Campground near Jindabyne offers fishing, swimming, walking and horse riding; and Three Mile Dam Campground, on the edge of Mount Kosciuszko’s high country, is great for hiking and sightseeing. At Yarrangobilly River Campground you can take a guided tour of the Yarrangobilly Caves, where you can swim in spring-fed thermal pools. If you feel like a challenge, there are three different routes you can take to reach the top of Australia’s tallest peak – Mount Kosciuszko.
Crowdy Bay National Park is a pristine coastal area near Port Macquarie and Taree on the NSW North Coast. The sweeping ocean and majestic mountain views from the park are simply jaw-dropping, and there are plenty of opportunities to whale watch from lookouts and spot local wildlife. At Diamond Head Campground, you can enjoy beachside camping with good facilities and access nearby to surfing, swimming spots and hiking trails. The Diamond Head Loop Walk, which starts at the campground, takes you through paperbark forest and along rugged coastal trails that offer a great overview of the park. Take the shorter Forest Walking Track to explore the lush rainforest, where you can listen out for the call of the catbird and search the forest floor for lyrebirds.
To discover more stunning camping spots in Australia, check out our guide to the best camping spots in Jervis Bay, bookable on Culture Trip.
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