3 of the Best Beaches to Camp in NSW

3 OF THE BEST BEACHES TO CAMP.POST
I’ve mentioned to Rich (often!) that when we finally settle, I’d like to live near the water.  Not some creek in the middle of woop-woop (been there, done that). I’d like gushing, flowing water.  You know, like a place near the beach.   That’s my dream.
So, until we find that ultimate spot, I will settle for the next best thing: Camping at the beach.
It’s no secret that I really like to go camping. Maybe it’s because I grew up in the country and as a result, I crave seeing the milky way at night.  I love the peaceful sounds of frogs croaking and the rustle of wind in the trees.  It makes me happy.  A happy camper, you might say.
Since we’ve moved back to Australia, we’ve found some real gems.
Gems we’d love to share with you.

DURRAS BEACH

Cake Batter

My sister introduced me to Durras Beach years ago.  South Durras is about 275km (3.5 hour drive) south of Sydney, or 15km north of Bateman’s Bay,  the biggest town nearby.
When we lived in the U.S. and visited Australia, we would go down to Durras occasionally. Now that we’re living here, it’s the ultimate destination for me.  It’s one of those rare places that you feel that you can disappear for a while, you can escape. Don’t we all need that occasionally?
Durras has great surfing and paddle boarding. You can kayak and fish.  You can throw a frisbee in peak times and still not hit anyone.  It’s very rarely busy.
My favourite thing to do is sit with a glass of wine and not do much at all.
Road to Reclusiveness
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No Dogs, but Wallabies allowed

WHERE TO STAY:

We love the Big 4 South Durras Holiday Park.  It has everything you need.  It’s opposite the beach and surrounded by the Murramarang National Park.  Durras Lake is within walking distance.
The holiday park provides spacious campsites, accomodating for tent camping and campervans.  There are powered grass and slab sites as well as unpowered sites.
Free gas barbecues are provided along with picnic tables throughout.  There is a well-equipped camp kitchen that includes fridge, cooking facilities, an espresso machine (!) and vending machines.
Gender specific bathrooms are available, providing free, hot showers and there’s even a family/special needs bathroom with bathtub. Guest laundry facilities are also available.
WiFi is also included so you’re well positioned to stay for awhile.

For more, check out our post on Durras:  South Durras.  Lazy Days at the Beach.

BOODEREE NATIONAL PARK

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After discovering Booderee through the Australian National Geographic, it’s another of our favourite places to camp in Australia. Booderee National Park, in Jervis Bay, is located about 3 hours south of Sydney (approx. 30km south of Nowra).
There are so many bush walks at Booderee you could spend a week and still not see it all. Surrounded by gum trees, mangroves, tea trees, and palms–it’s lush as well as peaceful. There are always people around, but it feels as if we have the place to ourselves.
I am water. Rich is bush. This is the perfect combination for us.
The water in Jervis Bay is relatively calm, warm and has a full array of fish in the clear blue water making it ideal for snorkelling.
Booderee has an abundance of land based wildlife as well.  Shy, sweet wallabies; sneaky possums that, if you’re not careful, will jump onto your picnic table while you eat dinner looking for their share; hungry kookaburras forrage for worms when they are not staring down your BBQ, waiting to steal a sausage; while the crimson rosellas will happily walk along the paths with you. While it’s cool to have wildlife around, it disturbed me how comfortable they were around humans.
Between the beach and the hiking, this is a fantastic spot. Now, if they only provided solid picnic tables and wood fires for every site, rather than forced sharing, it would be the ultimate camping spot.
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WHERE TO STAY:

 There are three campgrounds at Booderee National Park:  Cave Beach, Bristol Point and Green Patch.

Facilities:

@ Bristol Point.

  1. Large sites with some privacy.
  2. Each site has poled lines to hang towels and wet swimsuits.
  3. Shared picnic tables and wood BBQs are available (firewood is also provided in abundance).
  4. There are clean, lockable showers with (eventual) hot showers.  They have separate male/female shower blocks, so be sure to bring separate toiletries. Toilets are separate from the bathrooms, but in the same area. They are clean and well maintained.
  5. There is easy access to Green Patch for beach. It’s also elevated on a hill so you have more sunlight (good in cooler weather).
  6. A wooded area surrounds the camping ground.
  7. Camp sites are open and generally flat. Most sites are surrounded by the road.

@ Green Patch (my favourite)

  1. Same as Bristol Point regarding amenities.  There are two sections:  D and Y.  Section Y is closer to the beach and the sites are more compact.  Section D is well laid out with great division between the campsites.  Both powered and unpowered sites are available and are all flat sites.
  2. There are gender separated showers, offering motion-sensored hot showers as well as baby changing rooms and communal sinks.
  3. There are communal, covered gas BBQs throughout the area along with sheltered picnic tables.
  4. Easy access to beach and lagoon.
  5. There is a large covered picnic table area in the day visitor section if you want to spread out more.
  6. Better privacy between sites than Bristol point.

@ Cave Beach

  1. Walk in camping only, 300m from the parking lot.  The camp ground is downhill, which means hauling your stuff back out can be challenging, which is why the National Park recommend ‘lightweight camping’ only.
  2. Basic amenities, including cold-water showers only. .
  3. Easy access to the beach, great for surfing.
  4. Wood barbecues and a sheltered gas barbecue area.

Tips:

  • If at a campsite allowing fires, bring matches to light the fire. You can use leaves and kindling from the firewood pile, but it may be a good idea to bring a little newspaper as well.  Just be careful of embers.
  • Bring something to clean the grill plate before you use it. I used my own cast iron grill plate (that I would normally use on a gas burner) on top of the grill plate and it cooked my burgers beautifully. The wood fire heated the grill plates well – nice and hot.
  • Don’t feed the wildlife!  (They WILL try and take your food off the table, even if you’re sitting there.)
  • Get up and enjoy the morning for two reasons:  1) The small-tweety birds are most active and everywhere. 2) the sunrise off the water, rocks and surrounding hills is simply stunning. Bring your camera.
  • Go walking at night, especially if there is no moon. The stars are unbelievable.
  • If driving at dusk/night, be careful of the kangaroos and wallabies along the road.  There are plenty of them, they are hard to see, and they are unpredictable.
  • There is a small general store in the park, but for cheaper supplies, stop in Nowra. A bag of ice is $5, which isn’t bad for location convenience.
  • For the showers/bathrooms: There is a light you push when entering the block. You need to push it to get light in the room. This solution keeps the bugs at bay and saves on energy as well.

SEAL ROCKS

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I’d been reading about Seal Rocks for years now and how it was a great place to stop on a North Coast Roadtrip.
It’s actually worthy of more than a quick stay over.  It’s worth staying a while.
Seal Rocks is located off the Pacific Highway about 275km north of Sydney. It’s about a 3 hour drive.
The first time we camped at Seal Rocks we were on our Pacific Wanderings Roadtrip.  Upon arriving on a Sunday afternoon, we checked into a near empty campground (even during peak season), set up our tent and headed to the beach.  I knew I’d found close to nirvana right there and then.
We sat down on the sand, soft and white. It looked ready for sandcastles or as we were doing, simply for sitting to watch the waves flow in and out.  It was a very zen moment.
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WHERE TO STAY:

There are a number of options at Seal Rocks, but we are fans of the North Coast Holiday Park campground, which is situated right across from the beach.

Facilities:

  • As I was writing up my notes on the campground, I was sitting in the spacious, fully enclosed camp kitchen. Decked out with five picnic tables and a big screen TV, the camp kitchen offers everything you might possibly need. Better than what I have at home!  I kid you not.
  • The kitchen offers two gas grills, a gas top cooktop, a full size fridge to share amongst campers and a microwave. And yes, it even has the kitchen sink. Two of them actually! There are a number of power points (outlets) to charge devices which in the morning, is a popular activity.
  • The bathroom amenities offers both family bathrooms as well as individual mens and womens showers.  They are clean and updated.  The only trick is you have to hit the hot water timer before you start the shower. It’s a bit tricky as the timer button is outside the stall. Better to ask a friend to hit the button for you, rather than having to dash out naked to do it!  It’s a good thing Natalie and I decided to take our showers at the same time.
  • It’s camper friendly, no matter who you are.  There were roadtrippers like us, as well as families who were set up to stay the week (or two).  Kids found other kids to play football, while others rode their bikes within the safe boundaries of the campgrounds, both until well after dark.  Dads were doing the cooking and many even did the washing up while the Mums sat chatting amongst themselves, white wines in hand. (Always a great sight to see.)  Having been a few times now, it’s not just a family campground.  Rich and I have been where we shared with grey nomads or travellers, just like us.  One one trip, we even found a site well away from other campers which it was really quiet and rather private. It felt like we had the place to ourselves!
This is one of my favourite campsites in Australia.  Perfectly remote, with only the sounds of waves crashing on the beach to keep us company.

Are you ready to go beach camping in Australia now?

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