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Unique camping experiences around Sydney

Shannon Barker

Camping is one of the great Australian pastimes. Most of us have childhood memories of caravan parks, bushy campgrounds and long lazy days. Nothing compares to immersing yourself in the great outdoors. If you’re ready to step it up a notch try one of these unique camping experiences near Sydney.

Kangaroo Valley Safaris - Kangaroo Valley

What could be more unique than arriving at your campground by kayak? Float down the Kangaroo River to one of many remote campgrounds within the Morton National Park. The experience is self guided and you’ll need to take everything you need with you on the kayaks.

After choosing a campground along the river, you can pitch your tent in this idyllic setting. Feel the stress of the working week begin to melt away to the sound of birds and the rustling of wind through the eucalypts. Campfires are generally allowed during the cooler months, but you will need to check the most up to date details with the RFS.

After waking and emerging from your tent to the stillness and serenity of the Kangaroo River, you can continue your journey down river to Talloway Dam where you will be picked up and taken back into town.

Find out more about this amazing experience.

Cockatoo island - Sydney

A UNESCO world heritage site and former colonial penal settlement, Cockatoo Island in Sydney Harbour has a long and important history that spans back to the founding of Sydney and beyond. Now it's the home to cultural events, art galleries, music and comedy festivals, and – you guessed it – camping!

What could be better than sleeping under the stars in the heart of the stunning Sydney Harbour? Cockatoo Island campground offers a range of packages for campers ranging from budget BYO tents, to the deluxe package that includes a pre-furnished tent right on the waterfront. The campsites include access to BBQs and picturesque picnic spots, or if you feel like having someone cook for you, take a stroll up to one of the two cafes located on the island.  

The easiest way to get to Cockatoo Island is by a ferry from Circular Quay which also makes for a great start to your camping experience. For more information and for booking details, visit Cockatoo Island’s website.

Bubble tents - Capertee

It doesn’t get more original or fun than the Capertee Bubble Tents. A photographer's dream, the clear roofed tents allow you to fall asleep beneath the stars and wake up to sweeping views across the second biggest canyon in the world. With three fully furnished, luxury bubble tents to choose from, each offering unique camping experiences, you can enjoy relaxing in an outdoor woodfired bath, star gazing through a telescope or simply sitting by the campfire.

Capertree is located between Lithgow and Mudgee, so there are plenty of opportunities to explore the surrounding region. Enjoy a glass of wine from one of Mudgee's famous cellar doors, or set out on foot and explore some of the great walking tracks in the area. Remember to book in early as tents sell out quickly - truly this is an experience not to be missed!

Taronga Zoo - Via Destination NSW

Roar and Snore - Sydney

Wild animals, night safaris and falling asleep to the sound of roaring lions: no, we are not talking about the Serengeti in Africa, but right here in Sydney. Taronga Zoo’s Roar and Snore experience is like no other, and allows you to camp metres away from the zoo's wild inhabitants.  Learn interesting and unique facts from expert animal handlers, before meeting some of the animals yourself! You will then set off on a guided night safari where you can experience the animals in an intimate setting not experienced by regular zoo goers.

Enjoy dinner and a glass of champagne before heading to your safari style tent with its second-to-none harbour views. In the morning you can participate in animal feeding, and as the Roar and Snore experience includes a complimentary entry pass to the zoo, you can stay as long as you like before heading home with some great new memories.

Coxs River - Megalong Valley

This charming campground along the Coxs River is bush camping at its best. Set up your camp on the tranquil river’s grassy banks and you’ll see why this hidden treasure is one of the best camping experiences near Sydney. Accessible by car or by foot from Megalong Valley, the campground is also along the Six Foot Track, so you may catch some hikers pitching up a tent alongside you.

The Coxs River is seeped in local history. It was used by local indigenous communities for thousands of years as a way of crossing the Blue Mountains, and was also an important natural resource to the first colonial settlers in the region. Nowadays you can explore the riverbanks and the native wildlife, or take a swim and relax in its cool currents. While you’re here, why not check out the suspension bridge that crosses the Coxs River? The bridge will give you a great birds eye view of the river and the surrounding bush land, though might prove a little scary for those who are not good with heights!

Paperbark Camp - Via Destination NSW

Paperbark Camp - Jervis Bay

Glamping in Jervis Bay - need we say more? This unparalleled glamping experience is on another level, with fully furnished deluxe tents lovingly nestled in beautiful Jervis Bay. The site of many weddings, anniversaries and proposals, this place is a romantic dream amongst the paperbark trees, and should be at the top of everyone's list. If you need more convincing, Paperbark Camp also includes a restaurant, spa and mountain bike hire.

If you’re looking to explore on your own, why not try one of the coastal walks nearby? There are also whale watching tours, scuba diving courses and kayaking options available to really make the most out of this incredible location.

The Basin - Ku Ring Gai National Park

A well loved campground in Kuringai National Park, The Basin is touted as one of the best places to camp in Sydney. And with stunning water views, grassy fields and multiple bush tracks, it’s easy to see why. Accessible only by ferry, boat or by a 2.8km hike in, you’ll feel you have left the city far behind you as you enter this oasis by the sea.

The Ku Ring Gai National Park has many great walking tracks, including the beautiful and secluded Resolute Beach, where you can explore the stunning surrounding nature and wildlife. Embrace the tranquil surroundings with a swim before heading to your tent to cook up a feast with your friends and family.

Stockton Sand Dunes - Via Destination NSW

Worimi Campground - Stockton

Ever wanted to experience camping in the desert? The Aborigional owned Worimi Conservation Lands campgrounds are located within the famous Stockton sand dunes, the largest coastal sand dunes in the Southern Hemisphere, and are examples of sustainable camping at its best. You will need to purchase a permit to enter the area and to camp here, but it is well worth the effort to immerse yourself in this unique and powerful landscape.

There are many things to see and do, from walking along the coastline and exploring amongst the sand dunes, to taking cultural or adventure tours with Sand Dune Adventures - owned and operated by the Worimi Local Aborigional Land Council. There is so much to see, do and learn, so get booking!

Euroka Campground - Glenbrook

Euroka campground offers the opportunity to get up close and personal with the native Australian bushland. Located near Glenbrook, Euroka offers everything you need, including BBQs, picnic tables and toilets. A great camp spot to go with the kids, it is not uncommon to share the area with a family of kangaroos.  

The campground is close to the local favourite Jellybean Pool, a stunning natural swimming hole where you can relax in the warmer weather or picnic in the winter. Camping at Euroka is also a great opportunity to learn more about local indigenous history with walks out to Red Hand Cave, one of the best examples of Aborigional rock art in the area.

If you feel like eating out, nearby Glenbrook has many quaint cafes to sit and relax with the family, or simply replenish your supplies before heading back out to enjoy this stunning campground.

Header image: Bubble Tents Capertee - Via Destination NSW