Myall Lakes National Park is one of NSW’s most underrated gems.
Located about 110km north of Newcastle, it’s also an easy drive from Sydney, and it has everything you could possibly want from a summer adventure (including plenty of availability in early January). There are loads of bushwalks and plenty of opportunities for swimming, kayaking, fishing, and testing out all the inflatable pool toys your kids picked up at Christmas for hours of family fun.
There are lots of different campsites to choose from, depending on who you’re going with. Families with young kids will love Neranie Campground and Picnic Area, because the calm water of Myall Lake is perfect for new swimmers. Just a bit further down the road, Yagon Campground is only a short walk from the beach, with opportunities to surf a reliable break near Seal Rocks.
OR for the adventurers among us, Stewarts and Lloyds Campground is an idyllic spot that has the added bonus of mountain biking. You can also check out the Stockton Sand Dunes along the way and maybe even see some whales.
The truth is there are incredible spots all the way along the NSW coast poised in readiness for summer. The best way to see what’s available near you is to use the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service’s camping and accommodation search tool. All you have to do is plug in your dates and the number of people you’re taking with you and it will show you all the available campgrounds that suit your needs. It’s cool because you can either search a specific area or view the whole state to find an adventure.
For example, if your family loves south coast camping, Hobart Beach Campground, in Bournda National Park, is a great option. Just down the road from the Bega, and only 15 minutes from Tathra, just cruise down the Princes Highway from Sydney. It’s remote enough that a lack of phone services means you can take a break from your devices, but close enough to amenities that you can nip into town for a coffee.
Or if you prefer to head far north, Lake Arragan and Red Cliff Campgrounds, near Yamba, offer great opportunities to knock a few years’ worths of dust off your kayak and float away your stresses.
There are lots of incredible mountain and bush escapes still up for grabs as well. Gambells Rest Campground, near Bundanoon in the Southern Highlands, is just two hours from the city with great walking and cycling trails. The best thing about staying at Carrington Falls Campground, just a little bit further east, is that you can wake up to the sound of a waterfall and enjoy the local swimming holes.
And let’s not forget the Snowy Mountains, which are about to enter full spring bloom thanks to a bumper snow season. Thredbo Diggings Campground offers quiet campsites with unmatched access to adventure, whether your crew enjoys walking, mountain biking, fishing, or testing your bravery with a dip into the frigid alpine waterways (just be sure to do it safely and always keep an eye on your littlies).
Finally, I should add that all of these are ripe and available for booking right now.
For the purposes of research, I popped in a week from Tuesday, January 4 until Tuesday, January 11 with two adults and two kids, all camping in tents. It’s important to note that it’s now mandatory to book your campsites online before you travel (NSW no longer operates a “first come, first serve” system) and you’ll need to pay for them online. The good news is there are still 230 options available during this period, which means if you get in now, you can take your pick of NSW’s finest summer real estate.
What are you waiting for?
This article originally appeared on Escape