Waterfall and dog-friendly camping near Boat Harbour

Beaches, bushlands, and ocean views surround this port town.

97% (74 reviews)
97% (74 reviews)

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Waterfall and dog-friendly camping near Boat Harbour guide


Rocky headlands and sandy shores hem in the tiny port of Boat Harbour on the south coast of the Port Stephens peninsula. Hike along the seashore to spot humpback whales along the rocks, head down to the beach to swim and sunbathe, or enjoy fishing, kayaking, or stand-up paddleboarding. Two national parks lie on either side of the village—zip along the beaches of Worimi Regional Park in a 4WD or discover the bushwalking trails and surf beaches of Tomaree National Park. Camp at One Mile Beach just north of Boat Harbour, or choose from holiday parks around the peninsula. 

Where to go

Great Lakes 

North of Boat Harbour, the Myall, Smiths, and Wallis Lakes make up the Great Lakes region, surrounded by golden beaches and lush rainforest. Camp at coastal towns such as Forster, Bulahdelah, and Pacific Palms; cruise around the Myall Lakes National Park in a houseboat or kayak; or hike through the rainforest in the Booti Booti National Park.

Central Coast

To the south, the Central Coast of NSW runs from Newcastle all the way to Sydney. Wildlife watching opportunities abound—spot migrating whales from Shelly Beach or pelicans around the lakes and lagoons of The Entrance. On route to Sydney, the beaches and waterways of the Brisbane Water National Park and Bouddi National Park are ideal for camping, cruising, and bird-watching.

Greater Blue Mountains

Inland from Boat Harbour, the Yengo and Wollemi National Parks are part of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage area. Hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding are popular ways to explore, or you can venture off-road in a 4WD. Camping here is all about getting back to nature, with backcountry campsites reachable only on foot or by 4WD. 

When to go

NSW’s balmy summers (December through February) are the most popular time for swimming and water sports along the coast of Boat Harbour. Temperatures are mild year-round and rarely drop below 10°C, even on winter evenings, so it’s possible to camp at any time. Visit between May and August to spot humpback whales on their annual migration. 

Know before you go

  • Buses run to Boat Harbour from Newcastle, but to explore the coast and national parks, you’ll need your own vehicle.
  • There are no shops in Boat Harbour—the closest supermarket is in Salamander Bay, a 10-minute drive away. 
  • Fire bans are common in New South Wales during summer and dry periods, so check local recommendations before lighting your campfire.
  • A permit is required to camp within NSW’s national parks, and campsites must be booked in advance.

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