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The best camping near Sydney

You don't need to travel far for some seriously good under-the-stars camping action.

By Time Out editors |
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Colo River camping
Photograph: Supplied

When it comes to natural beauty, Sydney is a world leader. So, it makes sense you'd want to get out amongst it for a night or two. Camping around Sydney is not only possible, it's also an affordable option for an easy getaway. Here are some of our favourite campgrounds in New South Wales’ most breathtaking locations. Whether you're hoping to wake up next to the Harbour, to the sound of crashing waves, or deep within unspoilt national parkland, these picture-perfect camping spots have got you (quite literally) pegged.

Find more great nature across New South Wales with our guide to blowholes, snow and walks around Sydney.

Best camping spots near Sydney

1
The Basin, Ku-Ring-Gai National Park
Photograph: Andrew Gregory/Destination NSW
Things to do

The Basin, Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park

Sydney

Distance from Sydney: 40km north/1hr drive.
Price per night: $34.

Arrive in presidential style by seaplane (the 20-minute flight from Rose Bay is yours for around $360) or slum it on the public ferry from Palm Beach. Either way, the Basin campsite is a pleasingly democratic contrast to the resort-wear brigade who long ago colonised the area. During school holidays, this Pittwater paradise becomes the United Nations of the camping world, with bronzed Anglo grandmas, Indian kids and cricket-playing blokes happily jostling for space. The sites are unmarked and unpowered and it’s for tents only.

2
River and trees leading to the beach at Diamond Head Campground, Crowdy Bay National Park.
Travel, Short getaways

Diamond Head Campground, Crowdy Bay National Park

Distance from Sydney: 350km/4h 15m drive  
Price per night: $24 per adult, $6 per child plus $8 park entry fee per day

Can you imagine kangaroos hopping around at dusk, set against the backdrop of the ocean? At Diamond Head Campground, you’ll get to see this most days and sometimes these cuties even laze amongst the tents all day long. With 75 campsites to choose from, there are plenty of options for where to park your caravan or pitch your tent for the night. If you don’t mind a stroll, there’s a walk-in area (no cars allowed) with nine-secluded camp-sites, hidden amongst the bushes, with the beach just a few steps away. 

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3
Kayaking, Booderee National Park
Photograph: James Pipino/Destination NSW
Things to do

Booderee National Park, Jervis Bay

Distance from Sydney: 200km south/3hr drive.
Price per night: $13 in off-peak, $20 in the shoulder season and $25 in peak. 

Booderee is the Canberra of national parks: generously funded and bureaucratically staffed. There’s even a roundabout at the entrance. But when the sun shines on the beach at Green Patch campsite, it feels more like the Caribbean than our nation’s capital. Booderee, in Jervis Bay Territory, is one of only three mainland national parks run by the federal government (along with Kakadu and Uluru-Kata Tjuta). Campsites offer privacy amid scribbly gums and banksias, and great facilities are made for comfort.

4
Bouddi National Park, Central Coast
Photograph: The Legendary Pacific Coast/Destination NSW
Travel

Bouddi National Park, Killcare

Distance from Sydney: 95km northeast/1hr 45m drive.
Price per night: $24 at Tallow Beach campground and $34 at Putty Beach campground.

If this campsite were any closer to the beach, you’d be sleeping on a waterbed. Stake out a spot here and you can keep busy for a week: hike the 8km Bouddi coastal walk to MacMasters Beach (views! rainforest! whales!), walk to Killcare for brunch at the Fat Goose, lie on the beach and perve at the surf lifesavers. The northern bit of beach, closest to the campsite, is heaven on a stick if you prefer calm, clear water.

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5
Camping, Cockatoo Island
Photograph: Destination NSW
Things to do

Cockatoo Island

Sydney

Distance from Sydney: 30 minutes from Circular Quay.
Price per night: Ranges from $45-$360.

Did you know the largest island in Sydney’s harbour is also home to camping and glamping sites? Get over to Cockatoo Island and choose from three options: deluxe waterfront glamping (from $150 a night); a camping package (the premium economy version, from $89); or BYO everything (from $45). Each have killer views of the harbour, by the way.

6
SOCIAL MEDIA - 1:1 Summer in Sydney
Photograph: Filippo Rivetti/Destination NSW
Things to do

Uloola Falls Campground, Royal National Park

Royal National Park

Distance from Sydney: 50km south/40m drive.
Price per night: $12.

The rewards of hiking to this spot deep in the interior of Royal National Park (OK, 6km from Waterfall Station) include an intimate campsite by the creek and likely solitude. Round out the trip with a swim in Karloo Pool (another 2.3km), then finish up at Heathcote Station for a total hiking distance of just over 11km. Cycling option: bike along the fire trail from Waterfall Station, then return the same way (the last 200m are for walkers only).

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7
Camping, Mimosa Rocks National Park
Photograph: Tim Clark/Destination NSW
Travel

Gillards Campground, Mimosa Rocks National Park

Distance from Sydney: 413km south/6hr drive.
Price per night: $12 per adult, $6 per child.

The perfect campground for those headed south towards Eden, Gillards Campground sits pretty between the beach and the bush of Mimosa Rocks National Park. Sites are unpowered so, yes, it’s perfect for that digital detox you’ve been planning. Swap scrolling for strolling along the beach and lazing about on sandy shores. Bookings aren’t required here and you can pay on site when you arrive. Keep an eye out for potoroos who like to roam around after dark.

8
Camping, Hawkesbury River
Photograph: Jem Cresswell/Destination NSW
Things to do

Cattai campground, Cattai National Park

Western Sydney

Distance from Sydney: 70km northwest/1hr 15m drive.
Price per night: $24.

You’re not full bushing it at Cattai – there are hot showers and flushing toilets – but you’ll still be surrounded by gloriously vibrant greenery and the Hawkesbury River which means fishing, canoeing and kayaking are on the menu. Bring your bike for a ride around the park and your binoculars if you like spotting rare native birds.

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9
Dunns Swamp, Wollemi National Park
Photograph: Guy Williment/Destination NSW
Travel

Ganguddy-Dunns Swamp Campground, Wollemi National Park

Distance from Sydney: 260km northwest/4hrs drive.
Price per night: $6 per adult, $3.50 per child (bring cash!)

The little-known Wollemi National Park is full of dramatic landscapes: big leafy ferns, big deep valleys, historic ruins, rocky pagodas and even a glow worm tunnel in the neighbouring town of Newnes. The campground is perfectly placed to explore it all – there’s no marked spots so just find a quiet corner to plant your pegs and enjoy. Keep your eyes peeled for passing wallabies, purple swamp hens and, if you’re very lucky, long-necked turtles and platypus who might pop up along the dam.

10
Visitors overlook the Three Sisters from a lookout
Photograph: James Horan, Destination NSW
Hotels, Boutique hotels

Euroka Campground, Blue Mountains

Distance from Sydney: 66km west/1h 15m drive.
Price per night: $24.

Everyone knows a trip to the Blue Mountains promises seclusion and serenity among the gum trees, and with such a wealth of great accommodation options to try in the area, camping means you get up close and personal with it all. Euroka Campground can get pretty crowded during peak times, but it’s popular for a reason. The campground is surrounded by tall gums, big picnic benches and the pièce de résistance two (two!) wild swimming holes, Jellybean Pool and Blue Pool.

Fancy glamping instead?

Bedroom at Turon Gates
Photograph: Graham Munro
Travel, Short getaways

The best glamping sites in NSW

They combine the comforts of luxury of hotel rooms with the adventure of sleeping under the stars. We sent the Time Out team to review the best glamping sites in NSW – from beachside retreats to wine country getaways.

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