The best camping near South West Rocks, New South Wales.
Wake up to water views from your campsite in this seaside holiday town on the NSW north coast.
Strung out along the shores of Horseshoe Bay at the mouth of the Macleay River, a camping holiday in South West Rocks is all about spending long lazy days in the sun, splashing about in the water, surfing, fishing, or hiking one of the clifftop walking trails. A perennial favourite with families, it’s very much a get back to nature and make your own fun type of place, withRead more...
Strung out along the shores of Horseshoe Bay at the mouth of the Macleay River, a camping holiday in South West Rocks is all about spending long lazy days in the sun, splashing about in the water, surfing, fishing, or hiking one of the clifftop walking trails. A perennial favourite with families, it’s very much a get back to nature and make your own fun type of place, with several holiday parks offering great camping and glamping experiences, including a beachfront caravan park in the middle of town. The campsites at nearby Arakoon National Park, which also has powered sites, showers, and a fabulous licensed kiosk serving fresh seafood, also overlook the sea. Explore the sandstone ruins of Trial Bay Gaol, watch the sunrise from Smoky Cape Lighthouse, or dive with rare grey nurse sharks at Fish Rock Cave, one of the longest ocean cave dives in Australia. If you tire of the sun, sand and surf, there’s plenty of rainforest nearby to explore as well.
South Along the Coast
The village of Hat Head, half an hour’s drive south of South West Rocks, is an even sleepier version of South West Rocks, with beaches just as nice and a beachside caravan park. The three-kilometre walking trail around the hat-shaped headland in the national park is one of the best clifftop walks in the region. The next town south of Hat Head, Crescent Head, is home to one of Australia’s most famous right-hand surfing breaks and is a favourite with long board riders.
Drive Through the Rainforest
Explore the lush rainforest and wetlands north of South West Rocks in Yarriabini National Park and Yarrahapinni Wetlands on the 17km Way Way Creek Road scenic loop drive. The view from Yarriabini Lookout is a knockout.
Follow the Macleay River south-west to Kempsey, with its heritage houses, Wigay Aboriginal Cultural Park bushtucker farm and riverside holiday parks. Kempsey is the birthplace of the iconic Aussie hat, the Akubra, and you can visit the factory showroom to buy a famous rabbit fur felt hat.
When to Go
The weather is good for camping all year on the NSW north coast, with lots of sunny days. The water is warmest for swimming between December and April. It’s a popular holiday spot so book ahead in summer and Easter holidays, but outside of school holidays if you go mid-week you’ll have the place practically to yourself. From May through to November you’ve got a good chance at spotting whales from the headlands.
Know Before You Go
- Stock up on seasonal fresh fruit, vegetables and home-made produce from the many farm-gate stalls that line the South West Rocks Road that links the township to the Pacific Highway.
- Planning on catching your dinner? You’ll need a recreational fishing license, available online at https://www.service.nsw.gov.au/transaction/apply-recreational-fishing-licence or most fishing bait and tackle shops.
- Beachside Markets are held in the reserve opposite Horseshoe Bay in the middle of South West Rocks on the second Saturday of each month.
- Want to dive Fish Rock? There are two dive shops in town where you can join a tour or hire gear.