Free Camping NSW – A Guide to NSW’s Best Free Campgrounds

main

From the Blue Mountains to the edge of the deep blue ocean, if you’re looking for free camping in NSW there are plenty of attractive options! Whether you’re on a tight budget or you just enjoy finding far-flung locations, some of these camp sites should be just what you are after.

 

Why Use Free Campsites?

If you are travelling around the state for a while, you can extend your touring days by mixing free camping and caravan parks and save a small fortune. Every bit you save counts and can allow you to spend more on attractions and activities. Apart from the obvious savings, free camping has a few other benefits:

Social Campers

If you have stayed at a few free sites, you will have no doubt noticed they attract friendly campers. There is often more social chat at a free camp than a caravan park. After setup is finished late afternoon, campers will often share a drink together and chat about where they stayed last night. There are tips shared on things to do in the area and the best free camps they have visited around the country.

Pet-Friendly

Sites located in national parks might be a bit strict about your fur baby, but there are plenty of free camps around the state that are pet-friendly. If you are travelling with your dog, do your research and find sites that welcome your pet.    

No Need to Book Ahead

When you are touring around, you don’t always know how many kilometres you will do each day so booking in at a caravan park even the night before can be risky. The distance you travel will depend on the weather, road conditions and places you decide to stop. Do your research and have a second option in mind if it’s peak time. If the camp isn’t suitable or full, you can still travel to the next site before nightfall.  

 

The Best Free NSW Campgrounds

Check out some of these fantastic free camping sites around NSW:

Wingham Foreshore Recreation Reserve

Location: 95 km south of Port Macquarie

Access: Bitumen road in the town of Wingham, suitable for two-wheel drive cars   

Suitable for: Tents, caravans and camper trailers. Not ideal for big rigs, cheap camping available at the Wingham showgrounds.

Facilities: Jetty, boat ramp for swimming and fishing in Manning River

Cost: Free, only available for 24-hour camping

Tips:  The 20 campsites fill fast during warm months

wingham

What to Do/See: Wingham Attractions include Museum & Historical Society, Apex lookout, Tapin Tops National Park, Wingham Brush Boardwalk and Trail, Potaroo Falls & picnic area, Rowleys Peak lookout.

 

Blowering Reservoir Northern Kosciuszko National Park

Location: 13 km south of Tumut, 410 km southwest of Sydney

Access: Sealed roads, Snowy Mountains Highway is along the eastern shore of lowering Reservoir

Suitable for: Tents, caravans and camper trailers. Big rigs best to use The Pines campground.

Facilities: Toilets, boat ramp, barbeques, picnic tables

Cost: Free to camp for an unrestricted time, the Tumut area of Kosciusko National Park has no park entry fees either

Tips: Remote location so BYO everything. Boil water for 5-10 minutes before drinking. A recreational fishing licence is required.

blowering

What to Do/See: Ideal location for all water sports so bring all your toys for paddling, sailing, water skiing and boating. Fish for Murray cod, perch and trout. Plenty of birdlife to check out including cockatoos and rosellas. Take a drive to visit the Jersey and Jillabenan caves. Take a cliff walk or discover the waterfalls at the foothills of the Snowy Mountains.  

 

Wooldridge Recreation & Fossicking Reserve

Location: 6 km from Uralla, 25 km from Armidale

Access: From Kingstown Road turn right into Devoncourt Road and follow until the end where a cattle grid marks the reserve entrance.

Suitable for: Tents, caravans and camper trailers

Facilities: Toilets, drinking water, wood-fired barbeques, picnic tables, rubbish bins

Cost: Free

Tips: It can be hard to find a flat piece of ground so be prepared to camp on an angle or wind up the jockey wheel. Hire gold panning equipment at Uralla Visitor Centre and see if you get lucky!  

wooldridge

What to Do/See: Fossick for precious stones, gems and gold. Take a swim in the creek. Fish for cod in deep pools using local witchetty grubs and visit the nearby national parks. Walk the trails to check out the granite boulder formations. Go to Uralla to learn the history of the area, visit the museums and mill, galleries, brewery and speciality shops.

 

Carcoar Dam

Location: Two-minute drive from Carcoar town, signed from Mid West Highway, 52 km from Bathurst

Access: 2.3km Carcoar Dam sealed road suitable for two-wheel drive cars and caravans.

Suitable for: Tents, caravans and camper trailers

Facilities: Toilets, cold showers, drinking water, shady trees

Cost: Free with over 100 sites available

Tips: The wind turbines on the hill give you a hint that this site can be quite windy at times and there is not a lot of flat ground.

carcoar

What to Do/See: Plenty of birdlife call the dam home and cattle in adjoining farms, walking tracks with one that goes to the dam wall. Take a 5-minute drive into the historic town of Carcoar or a 15-minute drive to Blayney for groceries, laundromat etc.

 

Roses Park, Thora

Location: Waterfall Way, Thora, 14 km west of Bellingen, 520 km north of Sydney

Access: Sealed roads

Suitable for: Tents, caravans and camper trailers

Facilities: Toilets, picnic tables, BBQ, rubbish bins, shady trees

Cost: Free, donation appreciated for local volunteers to maintain, maximum stay 48 hours

Tips: Take a swim in the clear Bellinger River nearby, general store with petrol station next door to the campsite. Be prepared for an early start to the day with the resident rooster, and being close to the main road there may be traffic noise.  

bellingen

What to Do/See: Dangar Falls, Dorrigo Rainforest Centre        

 

Ellenborough Reserve

Location: Main Street, Ellenborough

Access: Sealed roads

Suitable for: Tents, caravans, camper trailers, big rigs

Facilities: Toilets, picnic tables, bins, fire pits, shade

Cost: Free, 14-day limit

Tips: Treat water before drinking

ellenborough

What to Do/See: Swim or fish in the river, walking tracks, check out the stunning Ellenborough Falls, Rawson Falls and Biriwal Bulga National Park, take the kids to Bago Maze & Vineyards and Timbertown Wauchope.     

 

Newnes Campground, Wollemi National Park

Location:  Castlereagh Highway until turnoff at Lidsdale then travel 35 km to the campground

Access: Unsealed roads suitable for 2WD vehicles or 4WD in wet weather

Suitable for: Tents, camper trailers

Facilities: Toilets, picnic tables, wood barbecues, campfire pits

Cost: Free

Tips: BYO water, arrive early during school holidays as it’s a popular site. Sites also available across available on the other side of Wolgan River by crossing near Newnes Hotel.   

newnes

What to Do/See: Check out the hiking and walking tracks in Wollemi National Park, historical shale oil mining ruins and Glow Worm tunnel, canoeing, climbing. Visit nearby Ganguddy (Dunns Swamp) to visit rock formations.  

 

Paddys River Campground

Location: 18 km south of Tumbarumba, 470 km south of Sydney

Access: 2WD vehicles

Suitable for: Tents, caravans, camper trailers, big rigs (good weather)

Facilities: Toilets, picnic tables

Cost: Free

Tips: BYO firewood, boil water before drinking    

paddys

What to Do/See:  Swimming and fishing in the river near the camp, visit Paddys River Falls, Bago State Forest, check out horsemanship skills as Boggy Creek Shows and Pioneer Women’s Hut Museum nearby.

 

Free Camping NSW Maps & Guides  

Investing in a book that lists free campsites can save you a small fortune. You only need to camp for free for one or two nights, and you will have your investment returned.

If you want to investigate more campgrounds all over Australia, the latest edition of Guide to Free Campsites has just been released for 2018/19. The large magazine lists over 1,500 free or low cost sites plus information about camping with kids and pets and the latest in camping gear and accessories.  

Some more resources to help with planning and travelling around the great state.

Camping Guide to NSW

Hema New South Wales State

4WD Touring South East New South Wales and East Gippsland

 

If you are after a particular book, map or a recommendation, don’t hesitate to ask the expert staff at The Chart & Map Shop by calling (08) 9335 8665 or contact us online.