The best camping near Port Macquarie, New South Wales.
Beach camping, forest camping, and glamping are all within easy reach from this vibrant coastal city.
Along the Coast: South
Around a 40-minute drive south of Port Macquarie, Crowdy Bay National Park is a coastal getaway famed for its rugged cliffs, white-sand beaches, and wildlife-filled forests. It’s also the perfect vantage point from where to watch migrating whales in the winter. Diamond Head, in the park’s northern section, is one of the biggest and most popular camping areas with plenty of space and facilities; Crowdy Gap campground is a short walk from the beach, and Kylie’s Beach campground is positioned behind sand dunes.
For a camping experience with more conveniences and less effort, Bonny Hills, just 20 minutes south of the city, offers glamping in bell tents overlooking Rainbow Beach.
Along the Coast: North
Just under an hour north of the city, Goolawah National Park and Goolawah Regional Park offer camping in peaceful surroundings just a short stroll from the beach. Opportunities for outdoor adventures abound, from surfing to fishing and birdwatching. Accommodation options include the Racecourse campground, in the national park, which offers shower and toilet facilities, or the more basic but pet-friendly Delicate, in the regional park.
Another 40 minutes north takes you to Hat Head National Park, another of the region’s much-loved camping spots. The area is known for the historical landmarks Smoky Cape Lighthouse and the Trial Bay Gaol, as well as plentiful canoeing and kayaking opportunities. Hungry Gate and Smoky Cape campgrounds both have toilets and picnic and barbecue facilities.
Around 45 minutes southwest of Port Macquarie, Kerewong State Forest offers lush surroundings, walking trails through native forest, and cool creeks ideal for swimming. Within the forest, Swans Crossing is a popular camping area with toilet facilities and picnic tables on former farmland.
Mount Boss State Forest is a secluded getaway around an hour and a half northwest of Port Macquarie. Wild Bull Camping Area offers peace and quiet as well as a picnic and barbecue area and a deep water hole ideal for cooling off in.
When to Go
Port Macquarie’s warm subtropical climate is one of Australia’s most comfortable and makes camping and enjoying the area a pleasure all year-round. Campsites are typically less crowded during the winter months (June through August), which is also the time for whale-watching. Spring (September through November), on the other hand, is a draw for birdwatchers and promises coastal heathlands blooming with brightly colored wildflowers. Temperatures and rainfall are highest in summer (December through February).
Know Before You Go
- Port Macquarie has several camping gear stores where you can gather supplies before heading out. Top picks include Anaconda and BCF (Boating Camping Fishing).
- Smoking is prohibited in all New South Wales national parks.
- Pets are not permitted in New South Wales national parks or reserves but they are allowed in some regional parks and all state forests.
- Some campgrounds, such as Crowdy Gap, require advance bookings.
- National parks typically have coin-operated machines where you buy your admission ticket. Be sure to bring change.