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15 of the Best Free Camping Spots Less than 3 Hours From Sydney


Ready to explore New South Wales by campervan? Whether you are planning a coastal escape, an outback adventure, or anything in between, New South Wales is full of stunning campsites to park your campervan for the night. Best of all, NSW is brimming with free camping and low-cost camping options. Freedom camping sites are the perfect addition to any campervan adventure to help keep to a budget and to experience the stunning natural landscapes this region has to offer.

Looking for some camping spots for your upcoming campervan trip through Sydney? Here are 15 of the best low-cost and free camping spots in New South Wales - all within less than three hours of Sydney! Let’s dive in.

What you need to know about free camping in NSW 

After picking up your campervan from the Mighty Sydney branch, the open road awaits, and you can choose your own adventure. While many prefer to book into paid campsites, some also enjoy a mix of free and paid camping sites.

Do I need to plan ahead for free camping? 

In short - yes! It’s important to do your research and look for signage to find legal camping spots. Check local websites, visit nearby shops and ask the locals etc. There are lots of beautiful quiet spots that have incredible views and great attractions nearby, but it can take a little planning. These are the top things to consider when free camping:

  • Book ahead at national parks. National parks in NSW aren’t free to stay at, but they are very affordable depending on where you stay. Make a booking online to secure your spot.
  • Check your tanks. Before going off-grid, be sure your campervan has a full charge, full tanks and enough room to take away all waste with you.
  • Book in advance. While many free camps are on a first-come, first-served basis, some do require booking ahead of time. It's important to check and book ahead where required, especially during peak periods.
  • Always check the weather before you travel. Australia has a diverse landscape and climate, and flooding and wildfires will close campsites from time to time. So it’s worthwhile to check the weather ahead of time.

Is free camping legal in NSW?

Wild camping - that is, showing up and parking anywhere - is prohibited in most of Australia. However, there are plenty of stunning and convenient designated free camping sites to choose from!

What guidelines do I need to follow when free camping in NSW?

When free camping in New South Wales, there are a few things to consider:

  • Parking in the wrong place can result in fines, so opt for designated campsites and free camping areas.
  • Use the thl Roadtrip App to help you navigate your way to free camps and even save them to your itinerary for convenience
  • You need to follow free camping rules and ensure you have a plan for disposing of your waste, leaving no trace and respecting the environment and other campers.
  • Check out our full guide to free camping in Australia for everything you need to know.

1. Cathedral Ferns Reserve, Mount Wilson 

Travel time: 2hrs

Distance: 126km

Located a mere two-hour drive from Sydney Central, Cathedral Ferns Reserve is a picturesque spot perfect for free camping. Right on the outskirts of Mt Wilson Village, find this pretty council-run campsite and call it home for the weekend. Nearby attractions in Mount Wilson include waterfalls, rivers, and other outdoor recreation opportunities such as camping, fishing, and boating. Whether you are looking for an adventure outdoors or simply want to enjoy some peace and quiet among nature's beauty, Cathedral Ferns Reserve is the spot.

Campsite facilities: Public toilets and barbecue facilities

Cost: Free

2. Colo Meroo Campground, Wollemi National Park 

Travel time: 1.5hrs

Distance: 98km

Does chilling near water sound like your idea of a retreat? Colo Meroo Campground is not to be missed. There are also a number of budget-friendly attractions near the Colo Meroo Campground in Wollemi National Park, including hiking trails, waterfalls, and scenic lookouts to check out.

Campsite facilities: Barbecue facilities and toilets

Cost: Free (but with a $6 booking fee to reserve a spot)

3. Boyd River Campground, Kanangra-Boyd National Park

Travel time: 2 hours, 59 mins

Distance: 214 km

Looking for a peaceful setting in an open forest, sleeping beneath towering gum trees? Boyd River Campground is a great spot for those looking to kick back, as well as those looking for an adventure. This spot boasts a number of stunning hiking and biking trails that wind through the surrounding forests and canyons, offering spectacular views of the landscape. There are also opportunities for fishing, swimming, and camping in this beautiful park.

Campsite facilities: Picnic tables, barbecue facilities, toilets

Cost: Free (but with a $6 booking fee to reserve a spot)

Kanangra-Boyd National Park, Kanangra - Destination NSW Content Library.jpegImage Source: Destination NSW Image Gallery

4. Cattai Campground, Cattai National Park 

Travel time: 1hr

Distance: 58.4km

Cattai Campground is located within Cattai National Park, a beautiful natural area just north of Sydney, Australia. The park is home to many amazing local attractions, including stunning forests, rolling hills, and the picturesque Hawkesbury River. In addition to hiking and nature watching, visitors can enjoy swimming, fishing, boating, and bike riding in the park's beautiful natural environment.

Campsite facilities: Amenities block, barbecue facilities, showers and toilets

Cost: $8 Park entry fee, $25 per night

5. Freemans Campground, Munmorah State Conservation Area 

Travel time: 1hr 30mins

Distance: 126km

Freemans Campground is a beautiful campground located in the Munmorah State Conservation Area. This is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. Home to a range of local attractions, including scenic hiking trails, secluded beaches, and stunning natural landscapes. This is a perfect destination for swimming, fishing, boating, and wildlife watching.

Campsite facilities: Picnic tables, drinking water, showers, toilets

Cost: $8 Park entry fee, approx $35 per night

6. Wheeny Creek campground, Wollemi National Park 

Travel time: 1hr 23mins

Distance: 87.2km

Wheeny Creek Campground is located in Wollemi National Park, a sprawling wilderness area known for its rugged mountain landscapes and diverse wildlife.

One of the most popular attractions in the park is Wheeny Gap Falls; a gorgeous waterfall that tumbles over limestone cliffs into a series of clear pools. Other popular activities in the park include bird watching and nature photography.

Campsite facilities: Barbecue facilities and toilets

Cost: Free (but with a $6 booking fee to reserve a spot)

7. Murphys Glen campground, Glenbrook area in Blue Mountains National Park 

Travel time: 2hrs

Distance: 106 km

Murphys Glen campground is located in the stunning Glenbrook area of Blue Mountains National Park. This scenic area is known for its hiking trails, waterfalls and wildlife viewing opportunities. Some of the most popular things to do in the area include hiking the scenic Waterfall Loop Track or the challenging Forest Way Summit track and swimming at Nepean River Lookout Pool.

Campsite facilities: Barbecue facilities and toilets

Cost: Free (but with a $6 booking fee to reserve a spot)

Mount Wilson and Mount Irvine, Blue Mountains - Destination NSW Content Library.jpegImage Source: Destination NSW Image Gallery

8. Mungo Brush campground, Myall Lakes National Park 

Travel time: 2hrs 52 mins

Distance: 248 km

Mungo Bush Campground is located in Myall Lakes National Park, a beautiful wilderness area known for its pristine natural landscapes and rich biodiversity.

The park offers numerous opportunities for outdoor recreation, including hiking, canoeing, fishing and wildlife viewing. From the campground, you can also access the Mungo Rainforest walk or go canoeing along the Myall River.

Campsite facilities: Boat ramp, toilets, picnic tables and barbecue facilities

Cost: $8 Park entry fee, approx $35 per night, approx $25 per night

9. Budgewoi holiday park, Budgewoi 

Travel time: 1hr 26mins

Distance: 123 km

Budgewoi holiday park is the perfect place for travellers looking for a relaxing getaway by the ocean with easy access to all of the local attractions. While here, be sure to check out the stunning coastal walks, great restaurants and cafes, and take advantage of the endless opportunities for outdoor recreation such as swimming, surfing, and fishing.

Campsite facilities: Swimming pool, camp kitchen, amenities, boat ramp, dump station, sheltered barbecues and more.

Cost: $41 per night

10. Coledale Beach Camping, Coledale 

Travel time: 1hr, 46mins

Distance: 67km

Coledale Beach Camping is a popular campsite located along the beautiful coastline just south of Sydney, Australia. The campground offers easy access to a variety of local attractions, including stunning beaches, scenic hiking trails, and vibrant seaside towns.

Campsite facilities: Powered camping sites

Cost: Approx $25 per night during off-peak season

Budgewoi Lake, Toukley - Destination NSW Content Library.pngImage Source: Destination NSW Image Gallery

11. Old Fort Reserve, Blue Mountains 

Travel time: 1 hr 37 min

Distance: 121 km

If you are searching for some epic free camping opportunities in the Blue Mountains area, be sure to check out Old Fort Reserve. Located in the Megalong Valley, this is just a short 30-minute drive from Katoomba. This picturesque campsite is a perfect spot to base yourself to explore the popular Blue Mountains attractions like the Three Sisters and Katoomba Falls.

Campsite facilities: Toilets

Cost: Approx $36-54 depending on season / powered or unpowered sites

12. Wollondilly River Station, Bowral 

Travel time: 2 hr 25 min

Distance: 163 km

Located near the scenic Wollondilly River, Wollondilly River Station’s spacious campsite offers the opportunity to truly unplug in nature. When you're not relaxing at your riverside campsite, there are plenty of opportunities for hiking, fishing, and other outdoor activities at the station.

Campsite facilities: Pet friendly, riverside camping and campfires allowed (within restrictions)

Cost: Approx $20 per adult per night

13. Wombeyan Caves campground, Wombeyan Karst Conservation Reserve 

Travel time: 3hrs

Distance: 176km

Wombeyan Caves Campground is located within the Wombeyan Karst Conservation Reserve, just a short drive from Sydney. The campground is surrounded by stunning sandstone cliffs and lush vegetation and offers plenty of opportunities for hiking, picnicking and wildlife watching. There are also a number of local attractions nearby, including the world-famous limestone Wombeyan Caves.

Campsite facilities: Kiosk, drinking water, showers, toilets and electric power

Cost: $8 Park entry fee, approx $25 per night

14. Banksia Green campground, Myall Lakes National Park

Travel time: 2 hr 49 min

Distance: 247 km

Banksia Green campground offers the perfect base for exploring Myall Lakes National Park. Nestled behind the dunes, this campground has a range of camping spots to suit everyone from lone campers to large groups. Local attractions include the stunning Myall Lakes, which are perfect for swimming, fishing and boating.

Campsite facilities: Barbecues and toilets

Cost: Free (but with a $6 booking fee to reserve a spot) $8 park entry fee

15. Ganguddy-Dunns Swamp campground, Wollemi National Park

Travel time: 2hrs

Distance: 124 km

Ganguddy-Dunns Swamp Campground is located amongst picturesque woodlands and offers a variety of camping spots for campervans and tents alike. Located nearby the Pagoda Lookout walking track and with guided kayak tours of Ganguddy-Dunns Swamp nearby - there is plenty to do!

Campsite facilities: Picnic tables, barbecue facilities and toilets

Cost: Approx $20 per night

Wollemi National Park - Destination NSW Content Library.jpegImage Source: Destination NSW Image Gallery

Ready to book your Sydney camping adventure? 

Freedom camping is a great addition to any campervan trip and the perfect way to immerse yourself in nature, all while helping to extend your travel budget.

Want more inspiration for other upcoming trips to explore Australia in a campervan? Check out the Mighty blog.

Ready to book your Sydney camping adventure? Book your campervan today. Then all that's left to do is pick up your campervan from the Mighty Sydney branch and explore these stunning low-cost camping vistas!

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