Best Free Camping Spots in NSW (2024)

New South Wales is full of wonderful activities, experiences and attractions for every type of traveller. But what you may not know is that there are also plenty of free camping spots in NSW. With many of these spots nestled within lush national parks and forests, staying here on a road trip promises to be relaxing as you immerse yourself in the nature of NSW.

Important things to know about free camping in NSW

With a little bit of planning and research, you can enjoy a fantastic camping experience in NSW without breaking the bank.

The weather in NSW

The weather in NSW is quite diverse, as the state experiences four seasons throughout the year. Depending on where you are in NSW, the weather can vary quite a bit. Sydney has sunny weather with mild winters, while other places such as the Blue Mountains can have snow. The state has a sub-tropical climate, which means that it can get quite hot and humid in the summer. It's always a good idea to check the forecast before you leave to ensure you pack the right gear. It’s also important to note that between October and March, some areas in NSW can experience flash flooding, so it's best to be aware of the conditions before you embark on any outdoor activities. Additionally, there is a chance of bushfires in summer months, so it's wise to check the Parks and Wildlife NSW website to ensure the areas you are travelling to on your road trip holiday are safe.

Best Free Camping Spots in NSW (1)Image: Destination NSW

Booking free camping spots

If you're planning a campervan trip in NSW and want to save some money, free camping in New South Wales might be the perfect option for you. However, it's essential to remember that even though free camping in Australia doesn't cost, you still need to book ahead most of the time. This is especially important during peak travel season, as spots can fill up quickly. Some campsites don’t allow you to book, so in this case you’ll want to turn up early to secure your campsite. For the sites you can book, this can usually be done online through the National Parks NSW website. This makes the booking process easy and convenient, and you can even choose your preferred spot in advance. Remember free camping spots may not have all the facilities that paid campsites offer so you may need to do a bit of extra preparation.

Where you can free camp

There are some great campgrounds in NSW to choose from that offer free camping, however, it's important to note that you can only camp in dedicated free camping spots such as national parks, state parks, and approved private campgrounds. Parking in non-approved areas could result in a fine, so it's essential to check the rules before setting up camp. Additionally, it's crucial to respect cultural or sacred Aboriginal areas and to follow any specific guidelines set by the local authorities. Check out the THL Roadtrip app, which provides information on camping areas, facilities, and permits.

What to pack when free camping

Enjoying a campervan holiday in NSW is an exciting time, and it's essential to pack wisely to ensure you have everything you need for a comfortable and safe trip. Some free camping areas only have basic facilities, so it's a great idea to check what is available before you leave. There are some essential items to pack for your trip to ensure you have all you need. By packing these essential items, you can ensure you have a comfortable and enjoyable free camping holiday in NSW.

  • Waste bags are a must-have item for free camping in NSW. You should take all your rubbish with you and dispose of it properly when you leave.
  • It's also important to pack a torch or two so you can see around the camp at night. It may not always be convenient to rely on your phone light when batteries run low.
  • Solar-powered items such as power banks and lights can also be handy, as there isn't always power on site.
  • It's always a good idea to pack plenty of drinking water in case there is no safe drinking water available at the campsite.

The best free camping spots in NSW

If a road trip through NSW on a budget has been on your mind for a while now, then read on to discover the best free camping spots in NSW to add to your road trip travel itinerary.

Best Free Camping Spots in NSW (2)Image: Destination NSW

Blue Waterholes Campground

The first free camping spot in NSW is the Blue Waterholes campground. Located in Kosciuszko National Park, this campground offers basic facilities such as pit toilets and fire pits, but it's the beautiful scenery that makes it truly special. Surrounded by the rugged mountains of Mount Kosciuszko NSW, Blue Waterholes campground is a great spot for bushwalking, birdwatching, and fishing. Be aware that this campsite can be closed over winter so it is best to check and book in advance.

Cathedral Reserve

Cathedral Reserve in Mt Wilson is definitely worth checking out for all those seeking a free camping spot in the Blue Mountains. This campground is set in a stunning location and offers basic facilities such as toilets and picnic tables. Located in the Blue Mountains, Cathedral Reserve is surrounded by towering trees, babbling brooks, and lush greenery, creating a peaceful and serene atmosphere. While visiting the area, be sure to explore the nearby walking trails and waterfalls, or simply relax and soak up the beauty of this tranquil spot. It’s also worth noting that pets are not allowed in the National Park.

Swans Crossing Campground

Next on our list of free camping spots in New South Wales is Swans Crossing Campground in Kerewong State Forest. This secluded campground offers basic facilities including toilets and fire pits, all surrounded by stunning forest. Nestled in the heart of the forest, Swans Crossing is surrounded by towering trees, crystal-clear streams, and an abundance of wildlife, creating a peaceful and serene atmosphere. The drive here is 4.5 hours from Sydney, and once here be sure to explore the nearby walking trails and swimming holes, or simply relax and enjoy the peaceful sounds of nature in the privacy of your Mighty Camper.

Budds Mare Campground

If you're searching for a free camping spot in NSW, check out Budds Mare Campground in Oxley Wild Rivers National Park. This rustic campground offers basic facilities such as pit toilets and picnic tables, which is perfect as your Mighty Camper has everything else you could need. Located in the heart of the national park, Budds Mare is surrounded by rugged cliffs, towering trees, and crystal-clear streams, creating a tranquil and serene atmosphere. There are walking trails and waterfalls within easy reach, as well as charming picnic spots to discover.

Dangars Gorge Campground

For a stunning free camping spot in NSW, Dangars Gorge Campground in Oxley Wild Rivers National Park is definitely worth a visit. With basic facilities including pit toilets and fire pits, as well as an incredibly beautiful and peaceful location, this is a truly special free camping spot to stay. Situated in the of the national park, Dangars Gorge is surrounded by soaring cliffs, fresh water streams, and dense natural bushland, creating a peaceful and idyllic atmosphere for your campervan trip. With an abundance of walking trails to discover, you’re sure to enjoy your time exploring.

Frying Pan Creek Camping Area

Last on our list of the best free camping spots in NSW is the Frying Pan Creek Camping Area in Chichester State Forest. Boasting beautiful natural surroundings and offering basic facilities to accompany your motorhome’s facilities, this is sure to be a wonderful budget-friendly stay. Nearby you’ll find freshwater creeks, lush nature and an abundance of wildlife, all of which add to the charm of the area and create a perfect opportunity for those who want to become immersed in the natural beauty of NSW.

Best Free Camping Spots in NSW (3)Image: Destination NSW

Need inspiration on things to do in New South Wales?

So now you’ve got a list of our top free camping spots in NSW for those travelling in a campervan or motorhome, you’re probably now beginning to think about all the best things to do in NSW on a budget. There are so many wonderful activities and experiences to choose from.

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Explore more of NSW with Mighty

New South Wales is packed full of wonderful budget-friendly things to do on a campervan road trip. If you’re ready to explore more of NSW, especially now you’ve seen how budget-friendly this state is, then be sure to book your Mighty Camper today. With your trusty camper, an exciting travel itinerary and a sense of adventure, your road trip through NSW promises to be one for the memory books.

Best Free Camping Spots in NSW (2024)


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