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17 Free Camps You Need To Know About In North Coast (NSW)

by Meri Gasem

The North Coast throws a new viewpoint on New South Wales. This can be the most relaxing part of your Big Lap as there are beaches wherever you turn! From pristine seasides to adrenaline-bursting tracks, there’s little this coast can’t provide. Spreading out from Newcastle to Byron Bay, the North Coast is the ultimate summer vacation destination.

The most popular spots on the coast attract a flock of tourists all year round. Let me show you the best hide-out spots for ultimate relaxation for free!

Samurai Beach Camping

Camp on the pristine Samurai Beach and wake up with the sound of the waves hitting the shore. The beach is located in the Tomaree National Park and offers free camping in the northern end. It’s suitable for self-sufficient campers and nudist enthusiasts. Amazing sunsets and good surfing conditions are just a part of the things you can find on-site!

Showers/Toilets: None.
Access: 4WD; Off-Road Caravans.
Phone Service: Yes.
Booking Required: Yes, book online or on 1300 072 757. A $6 booking fee applies.
Other Amenities: Non-drinking Water; Swimming; Fishing; Nudist Site; 4WD Tracks.
Time Limit: 7 Days.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Tʀᴀᴠᴇʟ Bʟᴏɢ 🇫🇮 (@lifewithoutseasons)

Little Mountain Campground

Little Mountain is a secluded campground on the river, accessible only by high clearance vehicles. When a fire ban is not in place you can enjoy cozy nights by the fireplace. If you’re looking to escape the crowds but still have reliable reception to work and chill, this can be your spot.

Showers/Toilets: None.
Access: 4WD; Off-Road Caravans.
Phone Service: Telstra.
Booking Required: No.
Other Amenities: Open Fire Pits; Picnic Tables.
Time Limit: None.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Sandra (@sandraaelisaa)

Tattersalls Campground Kizaraptor

Lovely camp with plenty of space, you can choose a riverside or bush spot. It’s perfect for those wanting to fish or relax by the river. There’s plenty of firewood at the end of the camp to cook your catch or warm-up. It’s a popular spot on the weekends – it’s a rarity to find a good site!

Showers/Toilets: Toilets.
Access: 4WD; Off-Road Caravans.
Phone Service: Telstra.
Booking Required: Yes, book online or on 1300 072 757. A $6 booking fee applies.
Other Amenities: Open Fire Pits; BBQs; Walking Tracks; Fishing; Swimming; Boat Ramp Nearby.
Time Limit: 7 Days.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Strike A Light

This campground is located in the Myall River State Forest and is one of the few dog-friendly free camps in the area. There’s plenty of room and a clean running river a few metres away, but no amenities, so make sure you’re self-sufficient. There’s a lot to be explored in the area, and it’s never crowded.

Showers/Toilets: None.
Access: 2WD; RVs; Caravans.
Phone Service: None.
Booking Required: No.
Other Amenities: Dog-friendly; Open Fire Pits; 4WD Tracks.
Time Limit: None.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Coopernook Forest HQ

Coopernook Forest is a beautiful camp amidst the eucalyptus forest, ideal for families. It provides a large grassy area, suitable for tents. There are also plenty of flat, shaded spots, private or exposed, depending on your liking. The camp is conveniently located between Taree and Kew.

Showers/Toilets: Toilets.
Access: 2WD; Caravans; Big Rigs.
Phone Service: Yes.
Booking Required: No.
Other Amenities: Dog-friendly; Non-drinking Water; Generators Allowed; Open Fire Pits; BBQs; Picnic Tables; TV Reception; Walking and 4WD Tracks.
Time Limit: 4 weeks per year.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Coopernook Hotel

Coopernook Hotel is a real gem in the area, providing a flat campground behind the pub for more than 25 vehicles. Camping is free, but you need to support the pub by purchasing dinner and drinks. There are toilets on-site that stay open 24/7. It’s a good mix between remote and social, with a nice river nearby and a good walking area.

Showers/Toilets: Toilets.
Access: 2WD; RVs; Caravans; Big Rigs.
Phone Service: Yes.
Booking Required: No.
Other Amenities: Drinking Water; Dog-friendly; BBQs; Picnic Tables; Fishing; Boat Ramp Nearby; TV Reception; Pub; On-site Accommodation.
Time Limit: None.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Swans Crossing

The Swans Crossing was a family farm until 1964, when it became a state forest and later a popular picnic area. It’s located between Taree and Kempsey, just a 20-minute drive from Kew. Due to logging operations, the site is open on weekends only, from 5 PM on Friday until 7 PM on Sunday. It’s spacious, perfect for kids, and very quiet.

Showers/Toilets: Toilets.
Access: 2WD; Caravans; Big Rigs.
Phone Service: None.
Booking Required: No.
Other Amenities: Dog-friendly; Non-drinking Water; Open Fire Pits; Picnic Tables; Walking and 4WD Tracks; Swimming.
Time Limit: Weekends Only.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Rose (@rosesnapz)

Johns River Tavern

Johns River Tavern offers a free campground and excellent takeaway coffee, liquor, and deserts. It’s situated downtown in Johns River, close to Crowdy Bay National Park. There’s plenty of spots, shaded and sunny, but no amenities. It serves as an exceptional free stopover for a few days while traveling the area.

Showers/Toilets: None.
Access: 2WD; Caravans; Big Rigs.
Phone Service: Yes.
Booking Required: No.
Other Amenities: Dog-friendly; Walking Tracks; TV Reception.
Time Limit: 24 Hours.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Macleay River Hotel

Macleay River Hotel offers an overnight campground with level grassy sites and friendly staff. It’s a popular spot, so it might be hard to score a place on weekends. There are public toilets in the park adjacent to the pub. Camping is free but try to support the pub with a drink or a meal.

Showers/Toilets: None.
Access: 2WD; Caravans.
Phone Service: None.
Booking Required: No, but ask inside the pub before you set up.
Other Amenities: Picnic Tables; TV Reception; Pub; On-site Accomodation.
Time Limit: 24 Hours.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Ferry Street Overnight Camp

The Ferry Street camp is an overnight parking area for campervans only. There are marked parking spots, and vehicles longer than 6.6 metres are not allowed. It’s suitable for a quick rest before continuing your drive. You need to keep the noise to a minimum and don’t leave a trace behind.

Showers/Toilets: Toilets.
Access: 2WD; RVs.
Phone Service: Telstra.
Booking Required: No.
Other Amenities: Dogs Allowed On A Leash; Generators Allowed 7 AM to 7 PM; Picnic Tables; Playground; Swimming; Fishing; Boat Ramp Nearby.
Time Limit: 24 Hours.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Dawkins Park

Dawkins Park camp is an overnight parking area in Macksville, available for self-contained vehicles only. Local shops, service stations, and landmarks can be reached within walking distance. The camp is managed by the Nambucca Shire Council and is located opposite the council’s building.

Showers/Toilets: None.
Access: 2WD; RVs.
Phone Service: Yes.
Booking Required: No.
Other Amenities: Dog-friendly; Wildlife.
Time Limit: 24 Hours.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Lower Bucca State Forest

A small bush camp located in the Lower Bucca State Forest, away from the noise, peaceful. The road is rather challenging, but it’s worth it to escape the crowds. There are no amenities, just pure nature.

Showers/Toilets: None.
Access: 4WD; Off-Road Caravans; Motorbikes.
Phone Service: Yes.
Booking Required: No.
Other Amenities: Dog-friendly; Open Fire Pits; 4WD Tracks; Cycling Tracks; Wildlife.
Time Limit: None.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Clouds Creek Camp Site

The Clouds Creek camp is located right on the road but surprisingly quiet. It features a large grassy area and a crystal clear flowing creek. It’s a large clearing in the forest, so no amenities on-site, just an abundance of birdlife.

Showers/Toilets: None.
Access: 2WD; Caravans; Motorbikes.
Phone Service: None.
Booking Required: No.
Other Amenities: Dog-friendly.
Time Limit: None.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Copmanhurst Boat Ramp

Copmanhurst camp is located on the Clarence River, where you can enjoy swimming, fishing, or kayaking. A perfect spot for a short stay on the riverside with friendly cows frequently visiting the campers. There are convenience stores just 5 minutes away. Make sure not to leave a trace behind.

Showers/Toilets: Toilets.
Access: 4WD.
Phone Service: Telstra.
Booking Required: No.
Other Amenities: Dog-friendly; Open Fire Pits; Swimming; Fishing; Boat Ramp Nearby; Wildlife.
Time Limit: None.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Whiporie General Store

Whiporie General Store provides free camping on a small fenced-off paddock behind the store. The store is right off the highway, so a bit of noise is to be expected. It’s a one-stop-shop in a great community, so make sure to support them if you decide to stay here.

Showers/Toilets: Toilets.
Access: 2WD; Caravans.
Phone Service: Telstra.
Booking Required: No.
Other Amenities: Dog-friendly; Drinking Water; Picnic Tables; TV Reception; Fuel and Gas Available.
Time Limit: 24 Hours, but flexible.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Wedding Bell Creek Road

A genuinely private camp located in the state forest near Wedding Bell Creek. It’s very secluded, so it’s easy to miss; it’s just a tiny turn uphill off Wedding Bell Creek Road. But once you find it, you’ll probably be the only one there. It’s best for high clearance vehicles and stargazing from roof tents.

Showers/Toilets: None.
Access: 2WD; Motorbikes; Caravans.
Phone Service: Yes.
Booking Required: None.
Other Amenities: Cycling and Walking Tracks; Wildlife.
Time Limit: None.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Braemar Forest Park

Braemar Park is a roadside rest area on the Summerland Way in Ellangowan State Forest. Only one hour away from Byron Bay and suitable for tents too. There are basic facilities on-site and a decent amount of parking spaces. Close to the road, easy to access but quiet.

Showers/Toilets: Toilets.
Access: 2WD; Motorbikes; Big Rigs.
Phone Service: Yes.
Booking Required: No.
Other Amenities: Dog-friendly; Non-drinking Water; Open Fire Pits; Picnic Tables; TV Reception; Pull-Through Bays;
Time Limit: None.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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