Beach and dog-friendly camping near Port Macquarie

Beach camping, forest camping, and glamping are all within easy reach from this vibrant coastal city.

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Beach and dog-friendly camping near Port Macquarie guide


The gateway to Australia’s subtropical north, Port Macquarie enjoys an idyllic location on the mid-north coast of New South Wales. The city’s Koala and Wildlife Park draws visitors from around the globe, while beaches and coastal rainforests fan out from the city and nearby national parks, nature reserves, and national forests offer some of the most picturesque camping experiences in the country. Whether you’re looking for a secluded hideaway, dramatic coastline views, bushwalking, or flora and fauna spotting, you’ll find it all around Port Macquarie.

Where to go

South Along the Coast

About 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 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, while Crowdy Gap Campground is a short walk from the beach and Kylie’s Beach Campground is set behind sand dunes.

North Along the Coast

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 and fishing to birdwatching. Accommodation options include Racecourse Campground in the national park, which offers showers and toilets, or the basic but pet-friendly Delicate Campground, in the regional park. Another 40 minutes north takes you to Hat Head National Park, known for landmarks like 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 barbecues.


About 45 minutes southwest of Port Macquarie, Kerewong State Forest offers lush surroundings, walking trails through native forest, and cool creeks ideal for swimming. In 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 about 90 minutes northwest of Port Macquarie by road. Area campgrounds offer peace and quiet as well as waterholes ideal for cooling off.

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 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 NSW 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 area campgrounds, such as Crowdy Gap, require advance bookings.

Nearby attractions

  • Well worth the visit for those camping near the Peel Valley, Chaffey Dam is an engineering marvel surrounded by pristine parkland.
  • An exciting adventure for anyone camping near Port Macquarie, Caves Beach is home to much more than just stunning ocean views.
  • Clean sands and rolling green hills are dotted with remnants of the once bustling coal mining operation at Catherine Hill Bay.

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