CAMPING THE NSW COASTLINE - Favourite Spots

Posted by Elise Cook on

We’ve been on the road for a month and a half now, constantly moving but with a constant sense of home. My man and our van. Our cosy little space has become our sanctuary. We can’t always find the perfect campsite with a glorious view to wake up to, but when we can’t, we pull up, pull our curtains shut, turn on the fairy lights, cook our meal, and snuggle into bed in our very humble abode, and I’m… happy. Really, truly, fully happy.
I feel so detached from the big house sitting back in South Australia, and all the ‘things’ inside it. When all you’ve got is one pot, one pan, and a spatula... you make it work, and it works well. There’s not much we can’t whip together. Except a roast, I do miss roasts.
I've touched on this before, but the biggest change has been the amount of time we've gained in our days. We seem to be able to fit so much more into a day. Time is life. The more time you spend doing things that fill you with joy, the more fulfilling your life will be. 
Travelling down the NSW coastline exceeded all expectations. What a beautiful country we live in! We moved from North to South and with every new spot we were left in awe of the landscape, lush greenery meeting endless white sand beaches and turquoise water with a backdrop of mountain peaks. In each town we visited we met people who were happy and proud of their home, and we don’t blame them.
We spent half our time camping by quiet beaches, and the other half staying in a chain of caravan parks down the coastline (laundries, decent showers and camp kitchens are necessary every now and then and very much appreciated). North Coast Holiday Parks have done an incredible job picking some of the most beautiful spots down the coast to place their parks. All the parks are quiet, lush, friendly, clean, very affordable, and in prime positions. You’ll find they are very different to your Big 4 parks - North Coast Parks have just provided great facilities in natural settings, that leave you feeling like you’re in your own secluded campsite.
Our favourite spots:

Red Rock

Red Rock was a quiet caravan park, idyllically positioned by the mouth of the Corindi River. The staff here were welcoming and inviting, and they really loved this little tucked away part of the world. Travellers who had planned to stop for a day and still hadn't left nearly a year later. 
There are two coastal board walk tracks, one that continues for around 10km along the very scenic Corindi Rivermouth , and another that takes you from the main beach up to the top of the Red Rock headland. On the other side of this is Little Beach, an unexpected lagoon oasis with tropical palms leading down to the sand. 
In the morning we kayaked the glassy, turquoise rivermouth (the park has kayaks you can use), and although it was raining, it was warm and still and incredibly peaceful. We also had loads of stingrays gliding underneath us, which made for a pretty special start to the day. 
We could have easily spent a few weeks chilling out here. 

Urunga

Sunrise and sunset down by the boardwalk.
The boardwalk at Urunga was pretty as a picture and the nearby beaches were fantastic (especially Hungry Heads for surf). Again we stayed at a North Coast Park. This park wasn't quite as leafy as the others, but you couldn't find a better position in Urunga. The facilities were very new and clean. 

Nambucca Heads

Wow. We pulled into this town and drove straight to this lookout and... wowee! What a breathtaking coastline. 
We were immediately greeted by four grey nomads who had just met each other, were very excited to meet us, and had all owned Kombis at various times in their lives. We never shy away from a chat and stood in the sunshine for over an hour discussing all things Kombis, travelling and caravan parks. They were fellow North Parks fans, particularly because of their dog-friendly parks complete with dog wash bags for after time on the beach (this may be of interest to you if you travel with your dog - Grandma I'm looking at you!). 
We loved the park at Nambucca Heads. It was set high on a cliff overlooking the ocean and had a very lush, tropical vibe going on. The facilities were a little older than the other parks, and the kitchen was outdoors and basic - but this suited us and we loved it. 

Scotts Head

This park didn't offer camp views, but we were positioned right behind the densely green sand dunes, with short sandy trail right onto the most stunning bay. Perfect for some prime sunset wines.
Great facilities - all brand new, and a cute little cafe / surf store (Showroom Surf & Espresso) opposite dishing up some seriously good coffee. 

Booti Booti National Park

Does it get any better?
Waking up here was magic. This whole stretch, the lakes, miles of white sand, green mountains, turquoise water, and what seemed like never ending rainbows - is all just too beautiful for me to put into words, so do yourself a favour and make sure you get there someday.  
We camped (where we probably shouldn't have) in a secluded carpark by the water, and we loved it. But if you're not willing to risk it for the biscuit, or you need a bathroom that isn't made of stems and leaves (otherwise known as a bush), The Ruins Campground is just around the corner, in a pretty good position (ideal for surfers) and will only set you back $16.50 per adult per night. 

Seal Rocks

And it just keeps getting better. We were warned on our way down that this might happen. We didn't think it was possible. We're now believers. 
The water at Seal Rocks is clear as a swimming pool and the backdrop is out of this world. 
We pulled up next to a tinny called "Pensioners Rest" and thought that'd be a good spot for the night. 
We woke to sunshine steaming through the cracks in the curtains, pulled them apart and had one of those "where are we?!" moments when you forget where you are and then realise you're in heaven. Pensioners heaven.
Let's retire here one day ok?

Bonny Hills

Ok, so I think this was our favourite caravan park of the whole trip. It was really little, really friendly, and in a really, really nice spot. Views galore! The camp kitchen alone made it worthwhile. A great spot for Dom to sit and get a heap of work done.
The facilities were new and clean, and always had a nice chilled out playlist going - we enjoyed :)

Jimmy’s Beach

This caravan park was much bigger than any of the others, but in a bush setting, with a big fire pit for everyone to sit around at night. Set in this amazing spot, with water and stunning beaches on either side. The highlight was our big morning run up the Yacaba Headland (view from the top pictured above is looking back at where the park is situated), followed by a skinny dip in the sea (there was no one for miles and it was sublime). 
We ended our NSW coastal journey with a night camping in Newcastle, where you'll now find our wines at The Edwards bar and Prince of Whales bottle shop. 
Before we left we thought eight weeks seemed like a lot of time, but with each spot we stopped we thought, we could stay here for weeks! We've got our vanlife rhythm and organisation system down, we're finding it easy and more liberating than constricting, and it feels more like home than our house does. Pulling into new places, with new views, starts to feel normal, which is really nice. But at the same time, with each new place of rest, and all the experiences each day brings, we feel more and more grateful for this life and this country we live in.  
We've run out of time getting to all the spots we had planned to visit in NSW.
You could easily give yourself six months to a year on the East Coast and still keep discovering places... the adventures are endless. 

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