River, stream, or creek and dog-friendly camping near Seal Rocks

Explore the ocean or the backwaters of the Australian Great Lakes on the NSW north coast.

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River, stream, or creek and dog-friendly camping near Seal Rocks guide


You may not find seals basking on rocks at Seal Rocks anymore, but this tiny, headland-perched fishing village has a fabulously retro, lost-in-time vibe. With views at every turn and a famous surf, Seal Rocks is an island surrounded by lakes and national parks offering some of the best hiking, fishing, paddling, camping, and caravan parks on the New South Wales north coast, not to mention some of the state’s best swimming. The bonus? Even though it feels a world away, Seal Rocks is just a 3-hour drive north of Sydney and the perfect getaway for your next camping trip.

Where to go

Sugarloaf Point Lighthouse

Take a short walk (about 10 minutes long) from the centre of Seal Rocks up to Sugarloaf Point Lighthouse for sweeping coastline views of nothing but natural beauty in both directions—and maybe a few dingos. Sunset is a can’t-miss.

The Great Lakes

The vast expanse of shallow waterways that flank Seal Rocks is the largest coastal lake system in NSW. Most of it is protected by Myall Lakes National Park, which also features extensive sand dunes, stretches of rainforest, and the popular Yagon Campground. Just north of Seal Rocks, Smiths Lake and Wallis Lake are also worth exploring.


With a resident pod of some 300 bottlenose dolphins, Forster is one of the few places on the east coast of Australia where local cruise operators are licensed to host experiences swimming with wild dolphins. Camping and glamping opportunities abound—look out for popular amenities like campfire pits, wifi, camp kitchens with bbq grills, and beach access.

When to go

The NSW mid-north coast has camping-friendly weather almost year-round, with lots of sunny days and relatively mild winters despite the occasional summer storm. Seal Rocks is a popular spot, so book ahead in summer, during school holidays, and for Easter. From May through November, campers have a good chance at spotting whales from the headland at Sugarloaf Point Lighthouse. Waters are the warmest for swimming between December and April.

Know before you go

  • A small Seal Rocks general store sells basics like bread, milk, and meat pies, but you’ll need to stock up on most other items before you arrive, from either Raymond Terrace to the south or Forster in the north.
  • Want to catch your own dinner? You’ll need a recreational fishing license, available online or at most fishing bait-and-tackle shops.
  • With a permit purchased online or at a local visitor centre, you can drive your 4WD on Lighthouse and Boat beaches. Be careful of soft sand and tide times.
  • Seal Rocks has some of the best diving in New South Wales, as it’s one of few places where you can dive with grey nurse sharks. Find a dive operator to go with in Forster.

Nearby attractions

A remote stretch of golden sand with a unique surf break, Treachery Beach is a lesser-known locale with plenty of hidden surprises.

Top cities near Seal Rocks

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