Camping At The Basin on Pittwater- Sydney’s Best Secret Camp Site

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Please welcome today’s guest poster, the lovely Robyn from MrsDPlus3. Robyn and her family have just celebrated three years of living here in Sydney. They have found lots of great spots to visit, and here is one of them:

Camping At The Basin up on Pittwater, a wonderful spot for family camping or just for a gorgeous day trip.

Take it away Robyn….

The only way I can describe The Basin is to call it the ‘Jewel of the Pittwater’, or Sydney’s best kept secret.  At only 38.8 km from the Sydney, it is one of the most idyllic and spectacularly beautiful escapes from city life.

It is picture perfect with crystal clear, turquoise water, white boats bobbing up and down and a secret lagoon perfect for swimming.

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Image source: Dept of Enviroment + Heritage

How to get there

There is no vehicle access to the Basin, which is very important to remember when packing for a camping trip, as you can only take with you what you can carry!!!

You can either park at North Head and take a short (2.8km) walk on a dirt track to the campsite, or you can catch a water taxi or ferry from Palm Beach Wharf.

The ferry departs on the hour every day between 9am and 5pm.  The walk into the basin has a very steep decent at the end making it not very easy to carry camping gear unless you are wearing a backpack.

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I personally think the ferry is the best option as it has such gorgeous views of the Pittwater and it’s really quite fun, so well worth it in my books.  It is also super easy to take all your camping gear on board (or just a picnic basket and your bathers if you’re a day tripper) and it only takes about 20 minutes to get there.  You could get a private water taxi but this is a much more expensive option.  You can find out more information about ferry times and prices here. 

There is limited wheelchair access and assistance if required, but is only available on the ferry.

Kids At The Basin

The Basin is perfectly safe for kids, although like anywhere with water, children must be supervised at all times.  The inland lagoon has lots of shade to relax under and the water is crystal clear.

Snorkelling is a must for kids, as there are hundreds of tiny little fish to see as well as several big starfish and some little (harmless) jellyfish.  The water is also quite shallow for some way out, so perfect for swimming and playing on inflatable toys.

You could even try your hand at stand up paddle boarding if you can manage to carry that over on the ferry with you.

The local wildlife is pretty impressive too with many cute wallabies hopping around minding their own business, as well as some very friendly kookaburras.

Watch out for the goanna’s though, as they are quite large and like to causally wander around in-between the tents in the campsite, giving many a camper (like me) a big fright!!

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Camping (Booking and Prices)

If you’re a day tripper do make sure that you check the times of the last ferry home to make sure you don’t miss it.  If you decide to camp then it is advisable to book in advance, as it can get busy, especially in the summer months.  However this is not a bad thing and it never feels over crowded and there is a great atmosphere amongst the campers.  You can book online here or you could just telephone 13000 72757 and book directly.

Camping costs are actually very reasonable at:

$28 per night for 2 adults

$14 per night per (additional) adult over 16

$7 per night per child (under 15)

Children under 5 are FREE

If you’re just popping in for a day visit there is a landing fee of $3 per adult and $2 per child.

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I thought the campsite on the whole was really well maintained and equipped and had almost everything you might need.  There is lots of green grass to pitch your tent with plenty of trees and shade around.  It can accommodate up to 400 people and there is even a friendly ranger who is there at night to keep an eye on everything too.  Unfortunately there is no hot water but that’s not really a problem in the hot summer months as most people only stay a night or two, or you could (like me) avoid that cold shower altogether!!

  • There is an amenities block with flushing toilets and showers (cold ones).  There is also a wheelchair accessible toilet.
  • Several gas/electric BBQ’s, with beautiful views out over the water.
  • A wood fire BBQ (which does need to be booked on the day) with firewood supplied.
  • Several picnic tables
  • Drinking water
  • A public phone
  • Ice is sold at certain times of the day
  • Beechwood Cottage is an historic property near the campsite, which can be pre-booked for functions.

If you haven’t already paid a visit to The Basin whist in Sydney I highly recommend you put it on your list of places to see.  You won’t be disappointed.

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Thanks so much Robyn, for sharing your family’s experiences.  Now, do pop over to visit Robyn on her blog MrsDPlus3.

Robyn’s going camping again over the Easter holidays so lets all wish her dry weather and sleep-filled nights.

I haven’t been to the Basin for years, my twins have never been. We need to get up there!

If you love camping, this is the post for you:

The Very Best Places To Go Camping In And Around Sydney

Best Sydney camping

Have you camped at The Basin?

What’s your family’s favourite camp site?


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  1. It’s a wonderful spot for a day trip or an over night. Loads of wild life and very friendly locals. I think they should put in some hot water though.
    I think as a mum, it is quite relaxing, as there are no cars to worry about.

    1. says: Seana Smith

      I guess it’s a bit hard to get hot water over there… I haven’t actually ever camped over there myself but am getting a bit a bit enthused about it… it’d be me and the kids though, my husband is NOT a camper.

  2. I agree hot water would have been nice, but it really wasn’t so bad for an over-nigher! Those pics are making me want to go again …… must plan it soon. Thanks for having me Seana xx

    1. says: Seana Smith

      Look forward to reading about your next camping adventures Robyn. Also must mention to readers that there are also some lovely photos on your own blog too.

  3. says: Adele

    Hi Seana, we just came back from our camping trip at the Basin. We were there for 2 nights. It was AMAZING! It’s just such a lovely place. The camp site was pretty full when we went being a long weekend, however it didn’t feel crowded and the camping crowds were mainly families with kids. There was a really nice relaxing vibe to the place and the staff on site made us feel very welcome.
    Great blog post about the Basin. I agree the ferry ride to the basin is the best option and the views are gorgeous. I would suggest arriving early to find parking though as it was a mission for us to find any and we ended up missing the ferry and waiting for the next one.
    The best part of the trip for me was the wildlife. We even saw a diamond Python curled up on a rock! I only got close enough for a quick photo then thought it best to back away.

    1. says: Seana Smith

      Great to hear! I do envy you that diamond python, they are beautiful creatures. Look forward to reading your post, will you write it up soon?

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