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SSM Camping Guide

By October 2, 2016 No Comments

No doubt about it.  At least 1/2 of our days here in Sydney are lovely beachable or nearly beach days.  Rejoice, it’s time to get outside! What better way than to go camping.  Spring is my favorite time of year to have a camp out in Australia because you can go away for a weekend outside of school holidays and find solace in relatively uncrowded campgrounds and waves.  There are so many places to go camping near Sydney but here are a few of our favorites!

Our Favorite Campgrounds:

1. Treachery Camp –
Good old Treach is a great place for camping near Sydney for many reasons:
  • Proximity to Sydney: tt’s only a 3 hour drive north from Sydney.
  • FIRE!: it’s a private campground so you can light fires (unlike any other NSW National Parks campground).
  • Variety of surf spots and wind protection: it offers quite few nearby headlands with protection from the wind in any condition.  Not to mention the number of nearby surf spots! You can surf and drive on Lighthouse Beach in the morning, post up on Treachery or Yagon Beach in the arvo and event catch a wave on a longboard (or in big swell, a shortboard) at Seal Rocks.
2. Crescent Head Area (Point Plumer and Racecourse Campground) –
If we have a long weekend, we love heading to Crescent Head and camping on its back beaches.  Crescent Head is a super cute little town with a nice campground and a long, long right point as its focal points.  The town itself as a Bowling Club, a small grocery store and a really good organic café on its main street.  You can park up and surf and hang in the lot adjacent to the right point all day.  It’s got a really cool Van Life/hippy/longboard vibe and there’s always someone to share a laugh or a beer with.  The town is great, but we really like camping on the back beaches like Point Plumer, Racecourse Beach and Delicate Nobby Beach (don’t laugh)!  There are a number of campgrounds along this road and about 20-30 minutes out of Crescent Head.  Just as numerous are the beautiful, uncrowded waves out there.  And if you have 4-wheel drive, on your way home you can drive down the beach to Port Macquarie.
SLXLMGreen Island, South Coast NSW
3. Bendalong, South Coast NSW –
Unfortunately, we do not head South as much as we head North because we are always hoping to escape the cold.  That being said, we have done quite a few great trips to Bendalong Point Tourist Park with a big group! It’s a really nice campground with lots of space that is seldom crowded.  They’ve got cabins and a weird jumpy trampoline thing and sprinkler park for kids.  The surrounding area has several fun waves including Bendalong, Manyana and Green Island.  Green Island is a really cool spot with a little island at the end of a point off of which long, fun lefts peel.  All in all this is a great place to bring kids and go surfing.

Our Favorite Gear:

Australians have a great camping tradition and seem to thoroughly enjoy some form of the camp out regularly.  Maybe this is because they have absolutely revolutionised camping gear based on the experiences of those stuck out in the Outback for long periods of time.  I had never heard of a “Swag” or a refrigerator that plugs into your car until arriving in Australia.  Now I don’t know how I went camping without these lifesavers before.

1. The Malamoo 3 Second Tent –

Since Valle is out of her ports-cot now we can move back into our cozy little miracle tent! This thing is seriously awesome! So great for rolling into camp late on a Friday night, throwing it up, putting the swag in and going to sleep.  We tapped it to our board bag and took it to New Zealand too.
malamoo tents great for camping near sydneySMLXL

2. The “Swag” –
This is pure Australian genius! I’ve never seen one of these in the U.S. but I am in love with them here! In the late 1800’s farm workers looking for jobs roamed the Australian bush with swags on their backs and became known as Swagmen. Their swag was their home. It was a warm bed, a ground cover and a place to store spare clothes.  At night, the swagmen would unroll their swags and sleep warmly cocooned under the southern stars in the beautiful Australian outback. (via: http://www.swag.com.au/about-us/the-history-of-swags.html). Basically we have a foam double mattress (that we put our sheets, doona or comforter and pillows on like a regular bed) that is completely encapsulated in a waterproof cover.  The whole bed is rolled up, strapped down and thrown in the back of the truck.  For the eternal bachelor, some swags are basically mini-one man tents, you don’t need anything else. I love swags so much, I swear I am going to start a swag company in the U.S. if I ever move back!
3. Cast Iron Pan –
It took us a while to get one of these but the cast iron cook pan and camping stove are essential items for any camping kit.  We make everything from pizza to pancakes on it!
4. Super Luxe Item: Primus Fridge –
Camping in Australia is always accompanied by review and envy of other people’s camping set ups.  We discussed our Primus Fridge for a long, long time before purchasing one.  When we were fed up with leaky esky (coolers) , ruined food and everything smelling like garlic or onions, we bought a Primus Fridge.  The fridge connects to a special, dedicated battery in our truck and has two sections that can be adjusted to hold beers, food or even ice cream.  If you have the cash and are serious about your gourmet adventures, this purchase is one you won’t regret!
Primus Fridge doubles as a seat when camping near SydneySMLXL

5. Special Items with Bring for Baby Camping:

Thank god, as your child gets older you need less crap.  We used to bring a Phil n Teds Porta Cot, clamp-on high chair or Bumbo Seat or even our pram!  At 2, Valentina needs less stuff but more attention.  She happily slept in our swag while we slept unhappily next to her.

Our two year old essentials include:

  • iPad – Let’s not lie to ourselves here, car rides with toddlers are a special form of hell.  Plenty of Dora and Peppa was the only reason we could get to any campground, or the grocery store for that matter.
  • Toys – beach toys, balls, favourite animals, cups, etc.
  • Beach Umbrella
  • Back Bubble and/or  Life Vest
  • Sunsuit/Rash Guard
Now it’s time to get out there and enjoy all the camping that NSW has to offer.  With all these camping options just a few hours from Sydney, you’ve got to get your little ones outdoors.  Just writing this blog post makes me want to go on another weekend adventure! Leave any camping spots, gear or other recommendations you have in the comments! Much appreciated.


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