Whether it be in a swag, tent, caravan, cabin or luxury glamping, the Central Coast is an idyllic place to go camping.
More than half of the Central Coast is made up of natural areas, comprising 10 national parks and reserves, almost 50 beaches and a vast hinterland area, all dotted with lush rainforest, bushland, waterfalls, lakes and lagoons. What better way to elevate your nature-based escape and soak up this beautiful landscape than by sleeping under the stars? From bush campsites to family-friendly holiday parks to luxury glamping, there are many places to go camping on the Central Coast.
National parks and reserves
The Central Coast is home to several protected natural areas, where you’ll find a plethora of hiking and biking trails, Aboriginal sites and native wildlife. The below three have camping facilities.
Bouddi National Park
With the eight-kilometre Bouddi Coastal walk tracing its ancient headland, past sparkling ocean and to empty beaches, the expansive 1500-hectare Bouddi National Park is a top spot to camp. It has three campgrounds, all located a short stroll from picturesque beaches. The park also has more than 100 important Aboriginal sites (with cultural tours available) and is an excellent place for whale watching (May to July, September and October) and bird watching – you may spot the white-bellied sea eagle soaring overhead.
Features: Little Beach Campground (toilets, picnic tables, barbecues, unpowered, beach access), Putty Beach Campground (toilets, showers, picnic tables, barbecue, drinking water, unpowered, beach access), and Tallow Beach Campground (toilets, unpowered, beach access).
The expansive 1500-hectare Bouddi National Park is a top spot to camp.
Munmorah State Conservation Area
Pristine beaches meet the rainforest in the beautiful Munmorah State Conservation Area. Frazer Beach has sugar-white sand and is good for surfing; there’s also rockpools and a lagoon which the kids love. A little further down, clothing is optional at Birdie Beach (if that’s your thing you can find more of Australia’s top skinny dipping spots here). Inland there’s eucalypt woodland and rainforest, home to birds such as the fairy wren, native cabbage palms and grass trees. There are two campgrounds available, for both tents and caravans.
Features: Frazer Campground (tents only, picnic tables, barbecues, showers, toilets, unpowered, beach access) and Freemans Campground (tent, camper trailer, caravan, picnic tables, barbecues, drinking water, showers, toilets, unpowered, beach access).
Frazer Beach has sugar-white sand and is an excellent spot for a bit of surf.
Patonga Caravan and Camping Area
Patonga Caravan and Camping Area is in the small village of Patonga, near the southern section of Brisbane Water National Park, which has excellent bush walks, ancient Aboriginal rock art, wildflowers come spring, the cascading Somersby Falls, and native wildlife including platypus. Set on the tip of a small peninsula between Patonga Creek and Patonga Beach, it’s great for fishing, boating, kayaking, paddle boarding and swimming. There’s also a playground, and tennis court and The Boathouse Patonga is a 10-minute walk away.
Features: powered, unpowered, showers, toilets, barbecues, laundry, boat ramp, fires allowed between April and August only.
The small town of Patonga has excellent bush walks, ancient Aboriginal rock art, and native flora and fauna to fawn upon. (Image: David Ross)
If you enjoy camping but don’t want to rough it, a holiday park is the way to go – especially when travelling with kids.
Toowoon Bay Holiday Park
If a sun, sand and sea holiday is right up your alley, Toowoon Bay Holiday Park will deliver. Set right on the shores of Toowoon Bay, a calm beach with water in all shades of blue, you have the option of powered and ensuite sites here for camping and caravans. Or, if you would prefer a more permanent set-up, there are one- and two-bedroom cabins available. The park also has a pool, playgrounds and a jumping pillow.
Features: pet-friendly sites, beach access, powered, unpowered, toilets, showers, camp kitchen
Toowoon Bay is a calm beach with water in all shades of blue.
NRMA Ocean Beach Holiday Resort
The NRMA Ocean Beach Holiday Park is kid heaven (which equals parent heaven, right?). There is a heated pool, jumping pillow, water park, go-karts, games room, playground and tennis court in the park. Family-friendly Umina Beach is within arm’s reach and is perfect for learning to surf. Accommodation-wise, you can choose from powered and unpowered sites for caravans and camping, a huge range of villas and cabins that sleep up to eight plus glamping (see under ‘glamping’). There’s a café and kiosk on site, too.
Features: pet-friendly sites, access-friendly, beach access, toilets, showers, powered, unpowered, camp kitchen, barbecues, laundry
Family-friendly Umina Beach is within arm’s reach at NRMA Ocean Beach Holiday Park. (Image: Christopher Flaxman)
Canton Beach Holiday Park
For a change of scenery, the Canton Beach Holiday Park is set on Tuggerah Lake while still being within close proximity to the Coast’s famous beaches (Lakes Beach, Soldiers Beach and Norah Head). There are powered, unpowered and ensuite sites available as well as one- and two-bedroom cabins. Kids are entertained by the playgrounds and jumping pillow, and with the lake at your fingertips there’s also fishing, paddle-boarding, kayaking and boating. If you want to escape the park for a day, we’ve got your go-to list of kid-friendly things to do nearby.
Features: Pet-friendly sites, toilets, showers, lake access, powered, unpowered, camp kitchen, barbecues, boat ramp
One of the charming cabins at Canton Beach Holiday Park. (Image: Canton Beach Holiday Park)
Dharug National Park, to the west of the Central Coast Hinterland area, is the only option for free campsites on the Central Coast.
Dharug National Park
The national park borders both the Hawkesbury River and the Central Coast’s Mangrove Mountain area. It’s home to the World Heritage-listed Old Great North Road, which was built in the early 19th century by convicts and is now explorable by a heritage walk. The park is also thriving with birdlife such as the gang-gang cockatoo and satin bowerbird, as well as many possums and sugar gliders. The magical Hawkesbury River and its dramatic sandstone cliffs border the southern end of the park. Mill Creek Campground and Ten Mile Hollow Campground are both free campsites where sleeping under the stars is the only way to go.
Features: Mill Creek Campground (tents and camper trailers, barbecues, carpark, toilets, unpowered. Fires allowed) and Ten Mile Hollow (tent only, barbecues, toilets, unpowered fires allowed).
The Dharug National Park borders the Hawkesbury River—perfect for scenic views. (Image: Getty)
Get your wilderness fix with a side of champagne with these luxury camping experiences.
This sprawling property located in the Central Coast Hinterland is an adventure playground with activities such as horse riding, abseiling, quad biking and kayaking on the agenda. You can extend the adventure and immerse yourself in wilderness by staying overnight at Glenworth Valley. Creekside traditional campsites are available, but if crave creature comforts book one of the bell tents, equipped with luxury linen and soft beds, providing the best of both worlds. Eco cabins are also available.
Features: unpowered, bedding, café, toilets, showers, barbecue, fires allowed
Immerse yourself in wilderness when you camp (or glamp!) in Glenworth Valley.
NRMA Ocean Beach Holiday Resort
Just when you thought the NRMA Ocean Beach Holiday Resort had everything you need and more, they throw some glamping options on top. Choose between the raised safari tent, which sleeps up to four with a queen bed and a bunk bed, or an uber-modern ‘glamtainer’, which basically is a tiny home with a queen bed and double bed as well as a kitchenette and bathroom.
Features: beach access, powered, unpowered, toilets, showers, camp kitchen, barbecues, laundry
The uber-modern ‘glamtainer’ in NRMA Ocean Beach Holiday Resort is more glam than camp. (Image: Shan Rose Photography)