UPDATED SEP 9, 2020
The hubbub of city life can overwhelm even the thickest of skins, and often that means getting out of town and way off the grid. So, get out and discover the best camping and glamping grounds to pitch your tent and let nature melt your stress away.
Surrounded by green forests and stunning beaches, you're obligated to have an adventure before you turn in at one of the many nearby campgrounds. Hike up to Sugarloaf Point Lighthouse. Explore the nearby Myall Lakes National Park. Or hit the surf. If you're not about sleeping bag life, book one of the beach tents, bungalows, or standard cabins from Seal Rocks Holiday Park; they come with fully equipped kitchens, beds, and ocean views.
Everyone loves this peaceful lagoon in Ku-ring-gai Chase NP. But there are some things you should know. First, you’ll likely be turned away if you don’t book ahead. And a ferry or water taxi from Palm Beach Wharf will help you avoid the 2.8km trek from West Head Road car park to the campsite, especially if you've got heavy equipment. Once you're settled in and the tent is up, light up the barbie and enjoy the views of Pittwater. Or take a stroll (or bike) through the national park — odds are you'll see wallabies, bush turkeys, kookaburras, and goannas.
Whether it’s deluxe waterfront glamping, a premium economy camping package, or bring-your-own-equipment type of an affair, Cockatoo Island caters to all. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is just 30 minutes away from Circular Quay and offers stunning views of the Sydney Harbour. Though close to home, you can make the most of your escape on this tiny island: share stories around a campfire, go kayaking, play vintage lawn games, take a haunted history tour, and sleep under the Sydney stars.
Take advantage of the 200-acre secluded riverfront campground at Glenworth Valley, and perhaps spruce up your trip with one of their glamping or cabin packages. The location, which is just an hour’s drive from the CBD, hosts horseback riding, quad biking, kayaking, and hiking and biking on the trails of Popran National Park. Along the way, make sure to walk up to the Emerald Pool for a view of crystal clear waters (or maybe a quick dip on a hot day).
Durras Lake North Holiday Park is a full weekend experience. The biggest draw: you’re guaranteed to spot a kangaroo (Durras North assures it). Plus, it's Durras Beach — the weather is perfect for kayaking on most days and the sunsets are beyond beautiful. Once you’re done with the day’s activities, catch a movie at the open-air cinema and a hot shower before calling it a night in your tent or campervan.
If the eight-kilometre Bouddi Coastal Walk is already on your bucket list, turn the hike into a full-on camping affair. Pitch a tent at Little Beach for a quiet retreat, where facilities at the six-site remote location are limited to picnic tables, BBQ pits, and toilets. Or you can rock up at the Putty Beach Campground and make yourself at home at one of the 20 sites — it’s just a stone’s throw away from sandy shores and rock pools.
At the mouth of the Hawkesbury River in Brisbane Water National Park lies the Patonga Camping Ground. And it makes for an excellent holiday, with a beach on one side and a creek on the other, plus hot showers, electric BBQ kits, tennis courts for hire, and a laundromat at the camping site. Also, if you get tired of eating hot dogs and s’mores, there’s a fish and chip shop nearby.
Glamp it up among the kangaroos, deer, and native birds at Sierra Escape, Mudgee’s award-winning, adults-only “luxury eco glamping experience”. It’s an incredible escape from city life, offering fully furnished bungalows with rolling hills as a backdrop, as well as adventures like wine tasting at the beautiful vineyards, morning horseback riding, and a walk to the lookout to watch the sunset. Prefer to be pampered? Treat yourself to an energy-healing massage before retreating to your crazy-soft bed.
Sydneysiders love camping at Booderee National Park because it feels like a Caribbean escape, especially when the sun is shining bright or setting low. If we had to pick one of the campsites here, we suggest setting up at Green Patch, which is 500m away from the beach. There, you will be greeted by turquoise blue waters and soft white sand to curl your toes in. Opportunities to swim, snorkel, bushwalk, boat, and cycling abound. And between the camp and the beach is a picnic area where kangaroos and birds are frequently sighted — so if you’re into wildlife, this is also the place.
Did we save the best for last? For the classic camper, the answer is yes. Euroka campground in the Blue Mountains hosts five different camping areas, each with ample access to wildlife and nearby recreation. You’re likely to see epic birdlife—like kookaburras, cockatoos, and parrots—and kangaroo sightings aren’t uncommon. For a morning walk, try the Nepean River walking track — it’s a 1.8km loop that begins at the Darug camping area and will take you through woodlands and rainforest to the calm, swimmable water.
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