Low cost camping on the NSW South Coast
Low cost camping is a great way to unplug from the chaos of everyday life and explore everything that the vast wilderness has to offer — especially when you’re on a budget. Here, we take a look at five of the best "free" campsites on the beautiful NSW south coast, and the tools available to help you find them.
When you free camp in Australia, you’re staying overnight (or longer) at a designated camping spot free of charge (ex any National Park charges). It allows you to enjoy some off-grid time in a way that won’t eat up your savings, and with thousands of low cost camps all around Australia, this country is a budget camper’s paradise.
In saying that, low cost campsites can be a mixed bag, so arm yourself with the tools needed to find the good ones. A good place to start is Hema’s Where to Camp Guide, which includes over a thousand free and budget campsites, catalogued by region. Each of the sites listed has detailed information and facilities ‘field checked’ by Hema, so you won’t get any unpleasant surprises. The guide also includes Hema’s industry-leading maps so you can easily plan your journey.
Need a more comprehensive map for your trip to the NSW South Coast? Hema’s South East New South Wales Map ranges from Wollongong down to the Victorian border, and includes the regions of Jervis Bay and Shoalhaven, Batemans Bay, and Merimbula and Sapphire Coast.
Now, check out our roundup of five of the best low cost campsites in the region, and get ready to hit the road!
Cave Beach, Booderee National Park, Jervis Bay
A picturesque camping spot within walking distance to two beaches — Cave Beach and Bherwerre Beach. Great for swimmers, surfers and anyone who loves being surrounded by water, bush and wildlife. There is access to water, barbecues, and showers (cold only).
Note: Cave Beach re-opens for bookings from mid September 2022.
Bendethera Valley Campground, Deua National Park
Located in a quiet bushland area, this is a relaxing and secluded spot to stay with plenty of adventure on offer for those who want it. It’s a great base for exploring the Bendethera Cave and is near the Deua River which is perfect for swimming. Amenities include barbecues, picnic tables and toilets.
Red Gum Campground, Clyde River National Park, Batemans Bay
An intimate lakeside camping area (there are just four spots here) located in remote bush near Batemans Bay. There are plenty of trails for bushwalking and bike riding, and the beautiful Clyde River for fishing, swimming and kayaking. Toilets and barbecues are available.
Bodalla Forest Rest Area, Bodalla
This beautiful bush campground is located just off the Princes Highway, in the Bodalla State Forest near Narooma. The site is surrounded by spotted gums and has plenty of scenic walking trails. A small, simple campground that provides drinking water, toilets, picnic tables and barbecues. You’re even allowed to bring your dog — perfect.
North Head Campground, Murramarang National Park
A short drive from Batemans Bay, North Head Campground is a remote bush camp spot within walking distance to Honeysuckle Beach, known for its crystal-clear water and pretty fishing spots. The campground is secluded, so make sure you bring everything you need, including water. Public toilets are available.