Camping on the South Coast NSW

The South Coast of New South Wales is one of my favourite places to hang out in my van. The stunning coastline varies from remote, rugged beaches to dense bushland and some pretty coastal towns. I’ve spent the last two autumn’s travelling up and down the South Coast in my Fiat Ducato campervan, so I’ve explored my fair share of camping spots. This post will take a look at my top 10 (paid) campgrounds on the South Coast.

From National Park campgrounds to local council run beachfront spots, this post will give you a good rundown on some of the most picturesque places to pull up for the night in your van or tent.

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1. Gillards Campground (Mimosa Rocks National Park)

  • Camping fees: $24.60 per night for two people (plus National Parks Pass)
  • Facilities: Picnic tables, barbecue facilities, carpark, non-flushing toilets
  • Need to bring: Drinking water, food and firewood
  • Good to know: Access to the campground is on a dirt road, but 2WD accessible year round. No phone reception inside the national park, so make your booking before arriving
  • Dogs: No
  • Bookings: NSW Parks Website

This is one of the prettiest national park campgrounds on the South Coast. Gillards Beach Campground is just north of Tathra, inside Mimosa Rocks National Park. With 40 camping sites suitable for all different setups from tents to caravans on lovely grassed area in front of the beach, there’s no better place to switch off your mobile and listen to the sounds of the waves crushing.

It’s a very popular spot for beach fishing, plus there’s also some walking tracks starting at the end of the campground if you want to explore further.

Some campsites look directly over the ocean and beach, so definitely take a look at the campground map on the Parks website before booking to select the best site available. The campsites are marked but can be a little confusing, so be prepared for people to be spread out across the grass a bit.

2. Mystery Bay Campground

  • Camping fees: $12 per person per night
  • Facilities: Cold showers, water taps and pit toilets
  • Need to bring: Firewood and food
  • Good to know: It is a huge area with no marked sites, so people squeeze in everywhere amongst the bushland, although some of the roads are a bit washed out and tight. Very little phone reception available up on the higher ground above the beach.
  • Dogs: Yes
  • Bookings: Website in high season or in person in low season

As one of the few budget beachfront campgrounds left on the South Coast NSW, Mystery Bay is a popular spot amongst locals and interstate travellers. Set amongst a huge bushland park on the edge of the beach, camping is all unpowered with plenty of room to find the perfect spot for your setup no matter the size.

Mystery Bay is located just off the A1 Princes Highway between Bermagui and Narooma. It’s a tiny settlement with not much going on, but the beach is beautiful and popular for fishing and snorkelling.

Read next: 20 Best Places to Visit on the South Coast

View of Dalmeny from Narooma
View of Dalmeny from Narooma

3. Dalmeny Campground

  • Camping fees: From $30 per night (depending on season)
  • Facilities: Powered and unpowered sites, laundry, toilets, showers, dump point, drinking water
  • Good to know: The campground is council owned but more of a caravan park and is situated on a slope overlooking the ocean, so there’s not a whole lot of flat ground (bring levelling chocks)
  • Dogs: Yes
  • Bookings: Website

With one of the best views of any of the campgrounds on the South Coast, Dalmeny is a great place to camp for the weekend on the beach. Located just north of Narooma and across from Dalmeny Beach, the council owned campground is perfectly located to explore the Narooma area with its stunningly clear water, surf spots and lazy seals.

If you get one of the north facing sites, you’ll have beach views from your bed stretching all the way to Potato Point in the distance. It has all the facilities that a caravan park would have, although it has a much more laidback vibe.

There’s a footpath going right past the campground which goes all the way to Narooma and perfect for a cycle or run.

4. Congo Campground

  • Camping fees: $24.60 per night for two people (plus National Parks Pass)
  • Facilities: Boat ramp, toilets, cold shower, washing sinks (non-drinking water), picnic tables
  • Need to bring: Drinking water and food
  • Good to know: About 15 minutes away from the nearest town, Congo Campground is a pretty quiet spot for much of the year, although it books out on summer weekends
  • Dogs: No
  • Bookings: NSW Parks website

Accessible south of Moruya in a little beachfront community, Congo Campground is a bit of a hidden gem. Often quiet during the week, this campground is inside Eurobodalla National Park. The camping spots are on grass along the river, with two beaches on either side of the headland within walking distance.

There’s plenty of space, with large sites allowing caravans and big rigs to fit as well as smaller vans and tents. The campground has good phone reception if you want to book a site after arriving, although it’s very popular on weekends amongst surfers.

Depot Beach
Depot Beach

5. Depot Beach Campground (Murramarang National Park)

  • Camping fees: $35 per night for unpowered or $44 per night for power (plus National Parks Pass)
  • Facilities: Picnic tables, barbecue facilities, carpark, public phone, showers, toilets, electric power
  • Need to bring: Drinking water and food
  • Good to know: There’s also Pebbly Beach and Pretty Beach Campgrounds not far up the coast in the same national park, if Depot Beach is fully booked.
  • Dogs: No
  • Bookings: NSW Parks website

Set in the beautiful Murramarang National Park amongst native spotted gums, Depot Beach is a popular national park campground on the South Coast. With great facilities, including hot showers, it’s the perfect balance between rustic bush camp and comfortable caravan park.

The beach is just a few minutes walk away, where you can walk, swim, fish or snorkel. There’s also some great walks to do, including the rainforest walk and rock platform walk. You’ll have to switch off and enjoy the sights and sounds of the bush, because there’s no phone reception in the campground.

Ulladulla Caravan Park
Ulladulla Holiday Haven

6. Holiday Haven Ulladulla

  • Camping fees: From $25 per night (depending on season)
  • Facilities: Powered and unpowered sites, laundry, toilets, showers, dump point, drinking water, swimming pool, and camp kitchen
  • Good to know: It has access to its own private cove with a beach down some stairs at the back of the park, plus there’s also a little walking track with a sunset viewpoint as well.
  • Dogs: Yes
  • Bookings: Website

My go-to place in Ulladulla (when I’m not free camping in Mollymook), this caravan park is an absolute treat. Perched on the headland in town, it’s within walking distance to the main street, beach and public swimming pool.

The staff are always super nice and they have a great unpowered camping area down the back, close to the walking trail and private beach. In low season, they usually drop the price to make it quite an affordable stay, especially with plenty of great things to do and see in the Ulladulla area.

Huskisson beach
Huskisson beach

7. Jervis Bay Holiday Park

  • Camping fees: From $30 per night (depending on season)
  • Facilities: Powered and unpowered sites, boat ramp, laundry, toilets, showers, dump point, drinking water, swimming pool, and camp kitchen
  • Good to know: It’s located outside of Huskisson town, but just a short walk or cycle on a paved footpath to reach the main street, making it a quieter and cheaper alternative to the caravan parks in town
  • Dogs: Yes
  • Bookings: Website

Located just a couple of kilometres outside Huskisson (or otherwise known as Husky), this friendly caravan park is in a quiet area. It’s super affordable compared to the larger parks in town, and it’s right on the river offering plenty of water-based activities. They hire out canoes, kayaks and SUP boards too.

There’s a great footpath that connects the park with town, which is perfect for those with a bicycle or looking for a walk. I’ve stayed here a couple of times now, and it’s always a relaxing place to kick back amongst the trees with always-clean amenities.

Don’t forget to go to Hyams Beach nearby for some of the whitest sand you’ll ever see!

Wilsons beach
Wilsons Beach near Currarong

8. Honeymoon Bay (Jervis Bay)

  • Camping fees: $15 per night for up to 2 people
  • Facilities: Unpowered bush campsites, toilets, and bins
  • Need to bring: Drinking water, toilet paper, cooking facilities and cash for payment
  • Good to know: Operated on the land of the Navy, the campground is only open on weekends (all year) and in school holidays (summer holidays operate on a ballot system)
  • Dogs: No
  • Bookings: Beecroft Weapons Range Facebook Page

A secluded bush camp on the Beecroft Peninsula, this beautiful spot is worth the hassle of waiting for the weekend. Located on the land of the Navy, it’s a little restrictive and only bookable in person and paid in cash. But, it’s a stunning spot with beautiful beaches nearby, and the incredible Gosangs Tunnel and other attractions near Currarong.

There’s just over 60 sites for all different camping setups, with basic toilets and access to a boat ramp nearby. There’s half decent phone reception, although it’s a pretty spot to disconnect and relax amidst nature.

Read next: How to Get to Gosangs Tunnel (Currarong)

Killalea Surfing Reserve
Killalea Surfing Reserve

9. Reflections Killalea Reserve 

  • Camping fees: From $34 per night per site
  • Facilities: Unpowered sites, laundry, toilets, showers, drinking water, barbecues and camp kitchen
  • Good to know: Gates shut to the park at sunset depending on time of year, so let them know if you’re arriving late
  • Dogs: No
  • Bookings: NSW Parks website

Located inside Killalea State Park between Shellharbour and Kiama, this campground operates more like a caravan park with a range of great facilities. Its highlight is being walking distance to both The Farm and Mystics Beach, two of the best surf spots on the South Coast.

There are plenty of sites of varying size and quality, although most are nice and grassy with flat ground for vans and caravans. They have some smaller sites for tents as well. It got busy on weekends when I was there in autumn, but almost empty during the week.

Read next: 18 Best Things to Do in Kiama

Coledale Camping
Coledale Camping

10. Coledale Camping Reserve

  • Camping fees: From $25 for unpowered and from $35 for power per night (more in high season)
  • Facilities: Powered and unpowered sites, laundry, toilets, showers, dump point, drinking water, and camp kitchen
  • Good to know: As it’s a surf life saving club as well, the place gets busy with local surfers almost every morning and throughout the day on weekends
  • Dogs: No
  • Bookings: Website

This is definitely an underrated gem on the South Coast. Just north of Wollongong and an hour south of Sydney, it’s a beautiful beachfront campsite to head to for a weekend away. Although small, it has several grassy sites with sea views, most unpowered but a few powered as well.

If travelling in summer or school holidays book well in advance, otherwise for the rest of the year you should be able to call ahead a day or so and get a site easily enough. With some great facilities considering the price, I found myself extending a few times to enjoy the beach and watch the local surfers.

Moon rise in Gerringong

Camping Essentials to Pack

  • Head torch: As soon as the sun sets, you’ll be needing a good quality head torch to help you find your way around the campground at night. This Black Diamond one is USB rechargeable too.
  • Camp chair: Kick back and relax at the end of the day with a comfortable chair. This Helinox camp chair is a lightweight option that packs away easily.
  • Gas cooker: Cooking up quality meals while camping makes the experience so much more enjoyable. I recommend a JetBoil stove which is super portable and boils water rapidly.
  • Portable solar panel: If you’re camping at an unpowered site, a small solar panel can come in handy when trying to charge your devices off the grid. This BioLite Panel is easily packable and powerful enough to charge phones and tablets.
  • Water filter: Many national park campgrounds only have rainwater which often requires filtration. I carry the Sawyer Squeeze Filter with me, as it’s easy to use and filters water instantly.
  • Sleeping bag: A good sleeping bag is essential to keep you warm, dry and comfortable while camping out. Sea to Summit make some incredible down options, with the Spark III a staple for many different adventures.
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