Let’s start the list close to town…
Bundeena – A pretty coastal gem
A little over an hour south of Sydney will get you to the Royal National Park and Bonnie Vale Campground in Bundeena. Located on the riverfront with a lovely sandy beach Bonnie Vale campground has 74 unpowered sites in a beautiful bushland setting. There are also hot showers and flush toilets so you won’t have to rough it too much. It’s a hidden gem that is family friendly and feels 100 miles away from city life. Civilisation, in the form of cafes for an excellent hot breakfast, is only a 15-minute walk away.
There is plenty to do nearby:
- Explore the Aboriginal engravings at Jibbon Beach
- Take a discovery tour with the National Park rangers (in peak seasons)
- Walk a section or the entire 26km Coast Track
- Rent a Kayak from the centre just outside the campground
- Throw in a rod and catch some fresh fish for dinner
You can reach Bonnie Vale by public transport – take the train to Cronulla and the Bundeena ferry. From the wharf, it’s about a 15-minute walk.
In the summer months, the campground is popular, particularly in school holidays, so bookings are recommended.
Sites cost $14 per adult and $7 per child per night
See the Royal National Park website for more details.
The Basin – water and wildlife
Located in Kuring-gai Chase National Park approx 30km from the CBD, the Basin is the perfect spot for you if you want to get away from it all. The site is only accessible via private boat, Palm Beach ferry, or on foot from West Head. The difficulty in getting there doesn’t stop keen campers, though; all 400 sites fill up in summer, not that you would notice as there always still seems plenty of space. There are no shops on site, but a boat stops by most mornings selling ice, coffee and other goodies. It’s not unusual to spot wallabies, kookaburras and plenty of other local wildlife. The lagoon is great for swimming – calm and clean and safe for kids.
Things to do nearby
- Swimming in the clear waters of Pittwater
- Hire snorkel gear, kayaks or stand up paddle boards from EcoTreasures
- Try your luck fishing
- Bushwalking – The Basin track has some excellent Aboriginal engravings
As I said, there is no car access, so you have the option of parking your car at West Head and walking in – about 3km or taking the ferry from Palm Beach. Parking at Palm Beach can be expensive so why not try going car free – the L90 bus from the city will get you to the ferry wharf.
All sites – $28 for up to 2 adults – extra adults at $14
You must prepay via the website here
A little over 50km from Sydney in Glenbrook at the foot of the Blue Mountains Euroka is a great place to spend a night in the wild. There are 40 campsites with basic facilities, pit toilets and BBQs. You need to bring your own firewood and water.
Things to do nearby
- Kangaroos at dawn and dusk
- Mountain bike rides
- Aboriginal hand stencils at Red Rock Cave
Getting there – best by car but you can take the train to Glenbrook station which is 2.5km away.
You can book here
And just a little further away…
Upper Colo River – if you really want to get away from it all.
Located on the edge of the Wollemi National Park this campground offers 150 sites in pristine bushland. With a crystal clear river and no mobile reception at all, it’s a perfect getaway. There is a ranger who lives on site and keeps the place clean, and the noise down, after 11 pm. Due to the remoteness of the area, you must have a vehicle to camp here so that you can evacuate yourself in the case of an emergency. The facilities are basic; cold showers, flush toilets and BBQs. There are rainwater tanks, but they suggest you bring your own water in with you. The campground is dog-friendly and great for families. If you are fortunate, you might spot an elusive platypus in the Colo river.
Things to do:
- Canoeing & Kayaking – BYO
Sites can be booked for just $7 per person.
You can make bookings here.
Do you have a favourite camping spot in Sydney? I would love to hear about it.
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