The Very Best Places To Go Camping In and Around Sydney

When I told a friend of mine that I was going to put an article about great places for families to camp in and around Sydney, she just laughed.

‘Camping,’ said she, ‘that’s just housework… but harder, isn’t it?’

No, no, no it isn’t, my friend!! Well, yes it is sometimes, but for loads of families, camping makes a great way to reconnect with nature and to get the kids off their electronic devices, as well as to have a relatively inexpensive holiday away from home.

Best Sydney camping

Here follows a list of great campsites both within Sydney and fairly close by.

How many of these places have you visited?

Best camping near Sydney1_5
Setting up our tent at Bonnie Vale in the Royal National Park
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All set up and ready for my twins

Camping Within Sydney

Lane Cove Holiday Park 6
Camping beside Lane Cove National Park.

Lane Cove Holiday Park Campsites

This is quite a luxurious tourist park in Lane Cove National Park, it even has a swimming pool. There are caravan spaces and cabins there too.

Read our article about Lane Cove Holiday Park here.

Lane Cove Holiday Park website.

Camping Narrabeen lakeside holiday park 12
The excellent water playground at Sydney Lakeside Park

NRMA Sydney Lakeside Park in Narrabeen

This extentive tourist park is at Narrabeen on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. It has camping spots, caravan spaces and cabins too.  It’s a walk away from beautiful North Narrabeen Rock Pool and the iconic surf beach.

Read our blog post about camping at Narrabeen here.

Check prices and availability NRMA Sydney Lakeside Park in Narrabeen here.

The Basin Map.jpg
The Bason makes a great camping spot

Camping at The Basin on Pittwater

This waterfront campside is the only place you can camp in Ku-ring-gai Chase national Park. You have to catch the ferry from Palm Beach to get there.

Read MrsDPlus3’s report on it on this blog here.

Website here

Cockatoo Island Family Day Trip 9
The tents can be provided for you on Cockatoo Island

Cockatoo Island, Sydney Harbour

Isn’t it great that you can camp in the middle of Sydney Harbour? You can take your tent, or just bring sleeping bags etc and use the tents set up there.

Read our guide to the kid-friendly things to do on Cockatoo Island.

Check out all the accommodation options on this historic island.

Check prices and availability at Cockatoo Island here.

Camping Near Sydney

Upper Colo River 9
Playing in the Colo River

Upper Colo Reserve, near Windsor

Right beside the Wollemi National Park, Upper Colo is very close to Sydney. It’s on the Colo river, is very inexpensive and you can light open fires.

Check out all you need to know about camping at the Colo Reserve here.

Del Rio
There’s a fab waterpark at Del Rio

Del Rio Riverside Resort, on the Hawkesbury

Just one and a half hours from central Sydney, this campsite has great amenities and riverside frontage, and comes highly recommended by watersports’ lovers.

Check availability and pricing at Del Rio Riverside Resort here.

Coolendel Campsite

Bush camping on the Shoalhaven River, near Nowra, about three hours south of Sydney. There are kid-friendly rapids on the river, they can whizz down in lilos and it’s safe for kids aged over five or so. It’s got open camping, meaning you pick your own site, and you can have open fires.

Website here

Glenworth Valley Camping

Again, this campsite at the popular horse riding and outdoor adventure centre has a creek nearby. It’s just an hour north of Sydney, you can have open fires and enjoy the 3000 acre wilderness property.

 Website here

Newnes Campground 3
Beautiful Newnes campground

Newnes Campground, Wolgan Valley Blue Mountains

This is a free camping site, meaning it costs nothing and you cannot book ahead. It’s run by the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

Read our post on Newnes Campground here.

Royal National Park Campsites

Just to the south of Sydney lies the huge Royal National Park. There are several campsites within the park. We stayed at Bonnie Vale, which is right on safe, calm water, great for the kids to play in. Gorgeous spot.

Bonnie Vale Website here

Royal National Park campsites website here

Patonga Camping Ground

Just a quick drive north from Sydney up on the Central Coast is this council-run website which a friend highly recommends.

Website here

White Sands Walk Jervis Bay 18
The beautiful clear waters of Jervis Bay

Green Patch at Jervis Bay Camping

Within Booderee National Park is this much-loved camping area, right by the beautiful clear waters of Jervis Bay. Very popular in school holidays.

Website here

Heaps of ideas for things to do at Jervis Bay with kids on this post.

Turon Gates Camping

In the beautiful Blue Mountains just a couple of hours from Sydney, this rural retreat has lots of camping space, and even some glamping available too.

Website here

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Look out for friendly fellow campers!

We’ll keep adding to this list of the best places to go camping in and around Sydney, so please do let us know of any favourite places we’ve missed.

Where’s your family’s favourite camping spot?

Go on, admit it, it’s the backyard!

No seriously, please let others know of places you love, and we’ll catch you there.

Happy camping, campers.

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Join the Conversation


  1. says: Seana Smith

    I’m telling you, Justin is the bloke to get the job done. There were quite a few people from Coleman looking after us, lugging watercraft around and giving advice on guy ropes. Ms 8 met lots of lovely little girls there and ran and ran and ran and played whilst I nattered to other people – fab.

  2. says: Lisa

    We love to camp at Cudgegong Waters Caravan Park on Windamere Dam. Take a boat and go fishing for yellow belly or be like us and take a sailing boat and enjoy lots of time on the water.

    1. says: Seana Smith

      Lovely Lisa, I will have a Google around and find it tomorrow and add a link. I have already thought of another place I went to years ago that I must add. Thanks for stopping by, love hearing from readers.

  3. says: Linda - Mums on the Go

    My husband is taking our 6 and 4 year old away camping this weekend with a bunch of mates … they are having a “Dad & kids” camping weekend. The three of them will sleep in the little Coleman 2 man tent my husband and I used before we had kids. I am totally jealous!

    1. says: Seana Smith

      Oh that does sound a good laugh. Where are they going to? Where did you used to go? I must find some old photos of my family in Scotland camping… in the rain.

          1. says: Linda - Mums on the Go

            2 year old being left at home with me BUT somehow that feels very liberating … to only have one child to care for – LOL. We have grand adventured planned!

          2. says: Seana Smith

            Yes, one child is a holiday… my husband and eldest are away this weekend and Ms8 is having a sleepover, I’ll only really be chasing around with Mr8, such a treat. Here’s to the weekends ahead.

    1. says: Seana Smith

      I was delighted to link to the great post you did for this blog on The Basin. Do let me know when you post other camping stuff and I can add it to this post. I’m sure it will be rejuventated and updated a lot… and I will use it myself to refer to! Stand by for a great camping giveaway coming up.

  4. I did months of camping across Eastern Africa and South Africa and as magical as it was, that trip pretty much ended camping for me. The daily pull-down and set-up and sleeping on a yoga mat was not the highlight of the trip! But oh how this post brings back the better memories of clean crisp air, toasty campfires and community spirit that only get when you’re camping under the stars. Great post as always. Jervis Bay is really calling me…. xo

    1. says: Seana Smith

      Yes, I’m remembering all the camping I did when little… a friend of mine used to make me laugh when she’d say: ‘I have done my bit for camping!’

  5. says: Megan Blandford

    Great post! We were seriously considering camping at Cockatoo Island recently, but ended up making it a day trip to Sydney instead. But it looked like a great option. And we love camping!

    1. says: Seana Smith

      Cockatoo Island looks fantastic. A day trip to Sydney!! Were you passing through when going somewhere else?? Mind you, I once did a ‘mystery flight’ day trip to Melbourne as a birthday present, found a great outdoor pool and did laps and relaxed… the days of very young hyper boys… it was well worth the long day for some lying down time.

  6. I love the house work comment from your friend. It may be, but I love the fact that the men do most of it. That looks fab and I will certainly be entering your giveaway, as i intend to do some more camping soon. Living so close to the Basin, we should do it more,as it really is a top spot.

    1. says: Seana Smith

      It really is, and yes my experience of camping is that dads do loads of ‘housework’ as it were, well spotted… shhhhh… say no more.

  7. LOVE camping & will be checking in next week for the tent giveaway ’cause I’m actually borrowing a tent this weekend (ours is on its last legs) to go camping for 4 days – just me & my 2 kids (10 & 8) on a tropical island. Right now I’m ‘Working’ out our water requirements cause there’s no water over there & the boat is dropping us off & leaving us until the pick up date. Wish me luck 😉

    BUT yes I do have a few favourite spots along the Tropical North Queensland’s coast & wrote about it in this blogpost:

    Would love to come down to your neck of the woods & try out some of your favourite spots 🙂

    1. says: Seana Smith

      You really are an AdventureMumma!! Great that you linked up your beach post. I was looking at your Instagram feed and loving the photos and ideas. Go the destination bloggy mamas.

  8. I agree, Colo River & Basin are just beautiful. Both very different, but we liked them. And for people based in Western Sydney, Kangaroo Valley is close and very nice too. Thank You Seana, love your blog btw (found it 3.5 yrs ago when my daughter was born, although so far I somehow existed just on your FB page. Only just now reading back all the other interesting articles. Take care and what a sacrifice! FIFO must be hard. SBS air documentary on it, I’ve seen few episodes, but they were all within AU. Overseas sucks, too far. You’re doing very well, by the look at your smile :-))

  9. says: Talia

    Wow, beautiful photos. Looks like a great camping spot! We love camping at Elanda Point up here in Queensland. It’s a really nice spot!

    Thanks for linking up with the Wanderlust linkup! Our next one is the 3rd December, so mark it in your calendar!

  10. We recently went camping at Bents Basin – it is about an hour from our house and 30 mins from Casula. It was our first camping experience and it was awesome. The basin is a great place to swim and the camp grounds were well set up! We loved it!

  11. says: Shelley@moneymummy

    I am a recent camping convert! We did our first camping trip ever last year with my mothers group to Bents Basin about an hour from Sydney. We had a ball – so much fun my daughter cried the whole way home as she did not want to leave!!!! We are doing it all again in April with my mothers group at the Royal National Park. 12 adults, 11 kids and a stack of fun!

  12. Seana, my fondest memories are the whole family heading up to Patonga during extended breaks, its a great spot.

    This post was great, i think i’ll have to add the Upper Colo River to the list for one of our next trips away. We actually spent a week down at Green patch in early march, was amazing, the whitest sand you will ever see.

    But you have to head to Newnes Campground, the best free camp spot just outside of Sydney. Thats our secret spot.

    Thanks again!

  13. Such a great comprehensive list here Seana! Very helpful. I love that you and your daughter do these things together 🙂 I had a good laugh at your friend’s description of camping! haha! i tend to be the same (think it’s more hard work) but one camping experience I really loved was at Walkabout Wildlife Park in Calga, NSW – although Zombie argues with me that that was not a “real” camping experience because the tents have already been set up! (but its not glamping either!) I loved the wildlife there for sure! 🙂

  14. says: Jane

    Great list, we shall definitely be referring to it next time we are up your way! Shall also make sure to have more time than we usually have in Sydney and surrounding areas too. I’ve pinned the article! Thanks for all the info.

  15. says: Michelle Elliott

    Excited to see the book of camping activities that you sent in your email today! Looking out for the giveaway post, but regardless, it’s going to be on the Christmas present list this year. We love camping with our 3 year old daughter, and although we’re never at a loss of things to do, it’s great to get some new fun ideas!

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