Free Camping NSW – 20 Best Free & Low Cost Campsites

There are some great options for free camping in NSW. These free camping and low cost sites take you from the outback to the coast. They are a great way to explore the state, avoid crowds and make your travel budget go further.

The list includes not only sites where you can go free camping and low cost camping in NSW, but any fees, local attractions and the facilities available. The locations listed are a mix of great spots to relax, the perfect base to explore a region or an ideal rest spot if you need to break up a long road trip.

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Free Camping in NSW

If you want to go free camping in NSW there are some great options. From the alpine peaks in the Snowy Mountains, the lakes and forests on the central coast and the beaches and national parks in southern NSW, there are a range of beautiful free camping locations. We haven’t mentioned them all here, but all campgrounds in NSW State forests are free too.

National Park entry fees and booking fees might apply in some instances, however for the free camping sites listed below there is no nightly charge.

Island Bend Campground Kosciuzko National Park © Destination NSW

Island Bend – Kosciuszko National Park

This free camping site is 2 hours 40 minutes from Canberra, and 25 minutes from Jindabyne.

If you are looking for a NSW free camping location with a difference head to the high country! Island Bend is in Kosciuszko National Park, follow the signs from Kosciuszko Road then onto Guthega Road. Obviously, conditions can be very cold and snowy from June to October and 2WDs will need chains if you want to go snow camping.

Best suited to tents and camper trailers, Island Bend is on the Snowy River and the perfect spot for canoeing, bushwalks, fishing and mountain bike riding. There are picnic tables, wood BBQs (BYO wood) and drop toilets. In summer gas BBQs are recommended. There is plenty of wildlife in the park, kangaroos are frequent visitors to the area and in spring hitting the waking trails is a great way to see wildflowers.

There are around 70 sites at Island Bend Campground. The camping here is free, but you need to book and there is a fee for entering the national park but it’s worth it to experience some Snowy Mountain magic.

Read More: Mount Kosciuszko Walk with Kids

Lake Mulwala,
Lake Mulwala, Mulwala © Alesha Jewel Bradford

Kyffins Reserve, Lake Mulwala

Kyffins Reserve free camping site is 30 minutes from Cobram, 15 minutes from Yarrawonga and 25 minutes from Corowa.

Just on the New South Wales side of the Victoria/New South Wales border, this lakeside free camp in NSW is a nice spot if you want somewhere to take in water views and relax. You will need to be completely self-contained to stay here, and the sites can be a bit dusty, but for your trouble you get water views, great fishing and plenty of birdlife. Maximum stay is 14 days.

There is a walking trail that goes around the lake back to the Mulwala township or if you need more supplies or want to eat out Yarrawonga is a short drive across the border. If you want to get onto the water, there is a small boat ramp and there is easy access for kayaks. If you have a fishing kayak, this is a great spot to explore, there is plenty to catch including Murray cod and golden perch.

Lake Oberon
Lake Oberon © Destination NSW

Reef Reserve Lake Oberon

Reef Reserve free camp is only a few minutes from Oberon. Oberon is 90 minutes from Katoomba and 40 minutes from Bathurst.

Lake Oberon in New South Wales is lovely spot just west of the Blue Mountains. Even though there is a 72 hour camping limit here, that is enough time to go fishing, get onto the lake, explore the nearby Jenolan Caves and pretty Mayfield Gardens. There are drop toilets, big sites suitable for vans, picnic tables, gas BBQs and fire pits. You can bring your dog here too. If it has been wet, the area can get a bit muddy.

Lake Oberon has become a well-known fishing spot, its waters are regularly stocked with rainbow trout, brown trout and perch. You can get out onto the lake in a canoe or electric powered boat, there’s a boat ramp near the campground. You can spot a lot of wildlife out of the water too. There is plenty of native vegetation around the lake, which is home to kangaroos, echidnas and wombats.

Pines Campground in Olney State Forest © Destination NSW

Olney State Forest

Olney State Forest is 75 minutes southwest of Newcastle and 1 hour 50 minutes from Sydney.

This place on the central coast has a magic feel about it. The tall forests, creeks and rock pools in the Watagan Mountains are the perfect get away and there are several free campsites in the Olney State Forest to enjoy – all quite close to each other. The Casuarina Camping Area, Olney Forest HQ, and Pines Campground all have toilets and wood BBQs and are suitable for tents and small vans. The Turpentine Campground has smaller sites, better for tents, and you need to use the toilets at the Pines or Casuarina Campgrounds.

Access to the forest is on a dirt road, it’s fine for 2WD when dry or just had a little rain, but you will need to take care if it has been very wet. There are several walking trails around the cluster of free campsites including the Pines Walking Track (1.7km circuit) and the tougher 7.3 km Abbotts Falls Circuit, they both start at the Pines Campground. You’ll need to take all your supplies and be prepared for little or no phone signal, but if you just want to sit around a fire and relax in the forest this is a great spot.

If you find yourself near Lake Macquarie, the forest and walks also make a lovely day trip and picnic spot.

Gwydir Riverside Camping,
Gwydir Riverside Free Camp © MYRIG Adventures

Gwydir Riverside Camping, Bingara

Contributed by Emma from MYRIG Adventures

Bingara free camp is 70 minutes from Moree and 80 minutes Narrabri.

One of our absolute favourite free camps in NSW is nestled in the little country town of Bingara.  You’ll find Bingara in the New England region of New South Wales, being west of Coffs Harbour and situated in the Great Dividing Range.

The nearby Copeton Dam feeds into the Gwydir River, which flows through Bingara.  Along this river is where you’ll find not one, but at least seven picturesque Free Camps!  Copeton Dam is one of the largest inland dams across the state, with a capacity nearly three times that of Sydney Harbour.

We spent a fantastic week at the Faithful Riverside Camp along the Gwydir River.  You’ll easily be able to see where all the camps are located by looking it up on your WikiCamps App. Common features of the Gwydir Riverside Camps: Free for 7 days, pets allowed, campfires permitted, Telstra phone reception, no toilets, showers or water on site, must be self-contained with own toilet and shower facilities.

Something truly unique about camping along the Gwydir River is waking up to the sounds of horses splashing across the river or seeing them graze on grass right outside your camp. The wildlife is in absolute abundance! It’s the perfect country camp for kicking back around the campfire and relaxing with a hot cuppa.

Kevin Walsh Oval
Kevin Walsh Oval Free Camp © Our Wayfaring Life

Kevin Walsh Oval Free Camp, Jamberoo

Contributed by Emma from Our Wayfaring Life

Jamberoo is 10 minutes west of Kiama.

Kevin Walsh Oval in Jamberoo NSW is a 48 hour free camp for 4 fully self-contained vehicles with a shower and toilet on board plus both a grey and black water tanks. For anyone looking for a free or low-cost camping option this is, other than two rest areas on the Princes Highway, the only option in the area.

Free camping at Kevin Walsh Oval is along a quiet roadway and creek. There are public toilets, free showers (cold), drinking water and a dump point. Spots fill up quickly so best to arrive before 3pm. A ranger patrols the area around 7am each morning.

Jamberoo is lovely. It is dairy farm country with gorgeous green rolling hills on the doorstep to the beautiful seaside town of Kiama. Jamberoo village is small and friendly with an IGA supermarket, café and pub as well as a free public pool, basketball court, playground, skate park, sports fields and golf course all in close walking distance from the campground.

Terramungamine Campsite
Terramungamine Reserve Free Camping © Coasting Australia

Terramungamine Reserve Free Camping

Contributed by Bryony from Coasting Australia

Terramungamine Reserve is 10 minutes north of Dubbo.

This is a 24 hour free camp at Terramungamine Reserve near Dubbo NSW. We stayed here a few times as we explored the area as there is so much to see and do in Dubbo with kids.

The campground is just off the highway so very easy to find, but it feels very secluded – a short dirt road leads you into a lovely spot surrounded by nature and wildlife. There are lots of level sites to set up, as well as shady areas and ones with fire pits.

The campground sits on the Macquarie River with beautiful views, and an abundance of birdlife. A short bush walk takes you to some incredible indigenous rock grooves created by the Tubbagah people, which have been there for thousands of years.

The camp is suitable for all kinds of vehicles, and tent camping too – and is accessible for big rigs. It is also dog-friendly and our pup loved the a dip in the river. There are also toilets here but no showers – we used the free (cold!) showers at the nearby Sandy Beach Park rest area.

Company Dam Free Camp

Company Dam Free Camp, Grenfell

Company Dam is 5 minutes north of Grenfell and 40min west of Cowra.

If you are travelling between Adelaide and Sydney this free camp just outside of Grenfell is perfect. Company Dam is on Newton Street, just minutes from Grenfell. As far as facilities go, there is only a toilet block.

The nice thing about this spot is that you can pull up close to the water and the area is surrounded by bushland. You can encounter all sorts of wildlife on a nature walk through the area. Company Dam is best known as a bird spotting location so have your binoculars ready.

You should spend some time exploring Grenfell. The town is full of beautiful historic buildings, a legacy of the gold rush era. Grenfell is also the birthplace of writer and poet Henry Lawson. If you are in Grenfell around June, you can take part in one of the many activities on during the Henry Lawson Festival of Art.

You could easily spend a day looking through the town’s galleries, enjoying the country pubs and soaking up some of Grenfell’s rich history.

Brou Lake Campground
Brou Lake Campground

Brou Lake Campground, Eurobodalla National Park

Brou Lake is about 4 hours from Sydney between Narooma and Tuross Head.

Brou Lake is in Eurobodalla National Park on the New South Wales south coast. This is one of those campsites that you won’t believe is free. It is a beautiful spot. Sites are unpowered and only suitable for tent camping. There are picnic tables and toilets, but you will need to bring your own cooking and drinking water.

The campground is set in a forest of tall spotted gums and grass trees. It is a beautiful, peaceful setting. There is plenty of wildlife and birdlife returning to the area as it recovers from fire. It is what else you have around you that makes this place so special. You are only a short walk from Brou Lake and Jamieson Beach so there is plenty of scope for fishing, kayaking, getting around on your stand up paddle board or going for a swim.

If it is not water sport weather, the nearby towns of Narooma, Tuross Heads, and Bodalla all have plenty to keep you busy. There is also plenty of other water in the area whether you want to explore Coila Lake near Tuross Head or Bingie Beach and Potato Point.

Ladies Well Allyn River - Chichester State Forest
Ladies Well Allyn River – Chichester State Forest

Allyn River – Chichester State Forest

Chichester State Forest is 90 north of Newcastle and 2 hours from Forster on the NSW central coast.

If you want to go free camping in NSW, make sure you check out the campgrounds in New South Wales’ state forests. Chichester Forest near Barrington Tops National Park is one of these and has several campgrounds for tent campers to choose from. In the western part of the  park there are five campgrounds. Three of them – the Pademelon Camping Area, Dobbie Rim Camping Area and Old Camp Camping Area – have bigger sites suitable for vans. The Allyn River and White Rock Camping areas are better if you have a tent.

They all have wood BBQs and drop toilets but you will need to take in your own water and all other supplies. You can bring along your dog. The Chichester Forrest has some lovely swimming spots, 4WD and mountain bike tracks, you can paddle your kayak or canoe and there is a lovely short rainforest walk that starts at the nearby Peach Tree Picnic spot.

Low Cost Camping in NSW

‘Low cost’ camping will mean different things to different people. There is no doubt that site fees have risen sharply in recent years but there are still some spots where the views and make the fee worth paying. We have tried to cap our low cost locations at $25 per night per couple. For NSW National Parks you’ll pay $12-24 a night with third and fourth people at half price.

Dunns Swamp Wollemi National Park
Dunns Swamp Wollemi National Park © Destination NSW

Ganguddy – Dunns Swamp Campground in Wollomi National Park

This low cost camp site is 1 hour 43 minutes north of Bathurst and 70 minutes from Mudgee.

This beautiful low cost camping site in NSW’s Wollomi National Park is one for nature lovers. The waterways and forests and fresh air make this a wonderful place to disconnect from the business of life and just relax. Dunns Swamp Campground is on the western side of the park, go through Rylstone via Narango and Mount Coricudgy Roads which are generally suitable for 2WDs. It will costs $12-17 a night depending on whether you are in a tent or camper, up to 6 people.

Suitable for tents, camper trailers and small vans, the campground has drop toilets, wood BBQs and picnic tables. You will need to bring in your own water for cooking and drinking and wood for the BBQs. This is a low key spot where you can fish, walk and kayak on the Cudgegong River. Kayak hire and tours run during the school holidays periods. During school holidays it can get busy here so booking a site is recommended through the National Parks NSW website.

Bendeela Recreation Area
Bendeela Recreation Area

Bendeela Recreation Area, Kangaroo Valley

Kangaroo Valley is 40 minutes from Nowra, 80 minutes from Goulburn and 2 hours from Sydney.

This low cost campsite is located just minutes from the pretty southern highlands town of Kangaroo Valley. The campground is on the banks of the Kangaroo River which makes it an ideal place to launch a kayak and explore nearby Morton National Park. The campground is managed by WaterNSW, and you need to book your site through their website.

All sites here are unpowered. There are toilets, drinking water and a dump point but no showers and no campfires. The spacious, open reserve attracts all sorts of wildlife, so you’ll likely have kangaroos and wombats sharing your sight at some stage during your stay.

Bendeela is a great base for exploring Kangaroo Valley’s attractions including Cambewarra and Manning Lookouts, Fitzroy Falls and the foodie town of Berry. There are some limits as to how many sites you can book and how long you can stay so check those out when you book online. A $6 per site booking fee applies. If you don’t get to camp here, Bendeela is still available for day use for picnics, walks and kayaking.

Read More:  Kangaroo Valley Camping Guide

Mystery Bay

Mystery Bay, South of Narooma

Mystery Bay is 15 minutes from Narooma and 4.5 hours south of Sydney.

Mystery Bay is a low cost beach campsite on the south coast of New South Wales. If you like to camp near a beach, you will love this spot. The campsites are nestled between the tall trees that back onto the beach and from any of the sites it is only a short walk down to the water.

All sites are unpowered. There are pit toilets and cold showers. If you need supplies, Narooma is the nearest major town although you can also pick up a few things nearby Central Tilba. We loved it here. Mystery Bay, like so many beaches in this area, has lovely white sand and when the sun shines the water is turquoise blue. It is a great spot for fishing, boogie boarding or just going for a cooling dip.

This is a great base for exploring the area. Narooma is one of our favourite NSW south coast towns. The Mill Bay Boardwalk, a cruise to Montague Island or meeting the local seals and stingrays are all a fun nearby activity. Strolling along the main street of historic Greater Tilba is a great fun too. And don’t forget a trip to the Bodalla Dairy, their cheese and ice cream is yum!

Peak season rates apply in January, over the October long weekend and Easter but that leaves plenty of time for some beautiful and great value beach-side camping.

Read More:  Explore Narooma while staying at Mystery Bay

Honeymoon Bay Camping
Honeymoon Bay

Honeymoon Bay, Beecroft Peninsula

Honeymoon Bay is 40 minutes from Nowra and 45 minutes from Huskisson in Jervis Bay.

This low cost campsite is on the Beecroft Peninsula on the north side of Jervis Bay. The Beecroft Peninsula is part of the Beecroft Weapons Range operated by the Australian Navy so there are times when the campground is not accessible due to live firing exercises. Don’t let the thought of a naval bombardment put you off, this spot is every bit as beautiful as the its name suggests.

Honeymoon Bay is a gorgeous spot surrounded by a rocky headland and forest. Bindijine Beach a couple of hundred metres away is also stunning. There are beautiful beaches, walks and lighthouses to explore in Jervis bay. We recommend the Jervis Bay sea Kayak tour as a great way to see some of the area’s marine life.

The campground is open on weekends, public holidays and during school holidays. Outside of the January holidays, it works on a first come, first serve basis. There is a ballot system in January. Facilities are basic. There are toilets and picnic areas, but you will need to bring everything from water to toilet paper. Fees are approx. $15 per night for two adults and $5 a night for extra people. Better still, children under 16 are free!

Read More:  Discover all the best things to do in Jervis Bay

Dry Tank Campground
Dry Tank Campground © Andrew Mather

Dry Tank Campground, Gundabooka National Park

Contributed by Andrew from our Facebook Group Experience Australia

Gundabooka National Park is 50km south of Burke.

Gundabooka National Park is centred around the striking Mt Gunderbooka, which rises 500m above the surrounding plains.  It has three low cost campgrounds and 2 sites where accommodation is available in former station buildings. Due to limited accommodation, seasonal closures, and limited water supply ensure you check availability before heading out.

Attractions in the park include walks which explore indigenous sites and remnants from the days when the park was a sheep station.  These range from short walks around the camping areas and an indigenous rock-art site, to a strenuous hike to the summit of Mt Gunderabooka, known as the Valley of Eagles walk.

Dry Tank Campground is a 20km drive into the park along a well-made dirt road that is passable in a 2WD unless there has been recent rain.  There are long-drop toilets with non-potable handwashing sinks. Camping is available for caravans, camper trailers and tents, fire-pits are present at some sites.  Firewood gathering is not permitted, so BYO firewood.

Rates are $12.30 per site. An interesting short (5km return) walk is available to a lookout, which provides a panoramic view towards the mountain and excellent sunset viewing. Remember your torch to get back to camp!  This campground makes an excellent base to explore the indigenous art site at Mulgowan (Yappa).

See Andrew’s guest post on Gundabooka National Park 

Delicate Campground, Crescent Head – Goolawah Regional Park

Delicate Campground is 30 minutes from Kempsey and 60 minutes from Port Macquarie.

If you are looking for a cheap beach holiday, try Delicate Campground in Goolawah Regional Park on the NSW north coast. This low cost camping spot is has two toilet blocks – one flushing, one drop – there are picnic tables but no BBQs and there are cold showers. You will also need to BYO drinking water. The beach is just a short walk from the campground that has around 40 unmarked sites which are suitable for everything from tents to small vans. You can even bring your dog here so it is no wonder this can be a busy spot, especially in summer.

Anything you want from a beach holiday you can do here. Swimming, snorkelling, beachcombing and surfing are all great summer activities. In winter, this section of coast is a great whale watching area, the East Australian Current comes close to shore bring a lot of marine life near the beach. The campgrounds are grassy, have plenty of shade and get some protection from the coastal wind by the dunes. There are cafes nearby including the Jumping Jac Café right across the road.

Penrose Park
Penrose Park

Penrose Park, Silverton

Silverton is 30 minutes northwest of Broken Hill.

Penrose Park isn’t a free camp, but it is dirt cheap, and we had a ball staying here. In fact, we would have paid multiples of the $20 a night family rate for our unpowered site and still felt it was good value.

There are amenities blocks, wood and gas BBQs, picnic areas and plenty of shade. There is also a tennis court and a bush golf course. Besides the native wildlife, Penrose Park is also a sanctuary for a range of farm animals that now call the park home.

The highlight of the park for us was the open fire – a half 44 gallon drum – that kept us warm of an evening.

Penrose Park is the perfect base for exploring the historic town of Silverton. Once a mining town, Silverton is now perhaps better known for its association with the Mad Max movies. Whether your interests lie with the films or the towns colonial history there is plenty to see.

There are several heritage and nature trails to explore and the view from Mundi Mundi lookout is spectacular. It won’t matter what you’re like with a camera, there are stunning shots wherever you look around this outback town.

Read More: Find more Caravan & Camping at Broken Hill

Carrington Falls Campground
Carrington Falls Campground

Carrington Falls, Budderoo National Park

Budderoo National Park 2 hours south of Sydney and 60 minutes east from Kangaroo Valley and Kiama.

Budderoo National Park is home to the spectacular Carrington Falls. If you can’t get enough of the falls and stunning canyon views, for a small fee, you can camp here. The sites are small and only suitable for tents. And you don’t need to worry about crowds, there are only 6 sites available. So even if it is full, there still won’t be many people around you!

There are picnic tables and toilets at the campground, but you will need to bring in your cooking and drinking water and all supplies, there isn’t a corner deli just down the road. Also be aware that for better or worse, you might not get a phone signal here.

Carrington Falls is a popular place with day-trippers but at dawn and dusk you will likely have the place to pretty much to yourself. It will just be you, the sound of the falls and the abundant wildlife – pretty nice! There are short walks around the falls and some longer walks nearby to lookouts and swimming holes. It is also close to other attractions including Minnamurra Rainforest Centre and Barren Grounds Nature reserve. Sites must be booked, and you do that through the NSW National Parks website.

Read More :  More Camping Options near Kangaroo Valley

Menindee Lakes Campsite

Menindee Lakes Camping

Menindee Lakes are 60 minutes southeast of Broken Hill.

Menindee Lakes is a spectacular low cost camping location in outback NSW. Choose from either Emu, Cawndilla or Darling River Campground campgrounds in Kinchega National Park. You can get there on the Menindee Road from Broken Hill or Pooncarie Road from the south. Check the conditions before you head in. We stayed at Menindee Lakes on our way from Broken Hill to Mildura with a stop to explore Mungo National Park.

Facilities here include picnic and BBQ areas and toilets. You can have a fire but need to bring in your own wood. When we stayed here one winter, we pretty much had the place to ourselves. The bird life was great, and the sunsets were amazing. The lakes are a great place to relax with a fishing road or a book but to explore the area further, check out the walks around the Kinchega Homestead Billabong and the Kinchega Woolshed.

Read More :  See Mungo National Park at Sunset

Gillards Campground

Gillards Campground – Mimosa Rocks National Park

Contributed by Rachel from Coffee Wise

Gillards Campground is 30 minutes from Bega and 40 minutes from Merimbula.

On the far south coast of New South Wales tucked away in Mimosa Rocks National Park is one of the State’s best low-cost campgrounds.

Sites at Gillards Campground are tucked away amongst the trees in small sections, all just steps from the beach. Some sites are suitable for caravans and camper trailers, with other sections reserved just for tents. It is a peaceful campground surrounded by nature, right on the beach.

The park is great for those who want to grab a book, make a cup of coffee and relax by the beach. But it is also perfect for adventurers too. Visit pretty Moon Bay or take your kayaks for a paddle on Nelson Lagoon. For the active holiday lovers there are several great headland walks in the park.

The beach is stunning and perfect for a walk and a surf, but it can be a little wild at times. If you have young children, the local beach just 10 minutes away at Tathra is a good swimming option.

All sites are unpowered and wood fires are permitted. Facilities are basic, with no water available and non-flush toilets onsite.  There are some picnic tables available. The small community of Tathra is close by to top up necessities.

If you are in the area, Mimosa Rocks National Park is a must-see destination. You will not be disappointed with a trip to this gorgeous part of the world.

Read More :  Explore the best National Parks in New South Wales

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3 thoughts on “Free Camping NSW – 20 Best Free & Low Cost Campsites”

    • Hi Tim – we are heading to Northern NSW later this year, so hopefully will have more to add then. 🙂


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