11 of the Best Dog-Friendly Campsites in NSW

One of the best ways to holiday with your dog is to go away camping with them. You can enjoy relaxing and being close to nature, whether you choose to camp in a tent, campervan or off-grid caravan with your dog. After all, most dogs aren’t that fussy, as long as they’re having fun outdoors with you!

While there’s lots of caravan parks you can stay at, NSW is also home to plenty of dog-friendly campgrounds and country stays that offer a more unique experience. To inspire you, here’s my pick of the best dog-friendly campsites in NSW, from the beach to the bush.

Dog-Friendly Campsites NSW

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#1 Delicate Campground, Crescent Head

There’s not many dog-friendly camping grounds along the NSW coastline (most are in national parks that are off limits to dogs), but one of the only and a frequently recommended option is Delicate Campground, north of Port Macquarie and about a 5 hour drive north of Sydney.

The campground is located in the Goolwah Regional Park, where leashed dogs are permitted. Dogs are also allowed on the adjacent beach. Note that the regional park is next to the Goolwah National Park where dogs are not permitted, so be aware of the boundary lines and follow the signs.

At Delicate Campground, there’s 40 unpowered campsites. Facilities include a mix of flushing and drop toilets, cold beach showers and unpotable bore water. There’s also a campground manager onsite, who you can rent you a brazier.

While bookings were not previously possible, these days bookings are required, with the campground quickly booked out for peak periods. The current rate is $24 per night for up to two adults, with no extra charge for camping with dogs.

The best access to the campground is via Crescent Head. Up until recently there were some short unsealed sections on the road, but it has now been fully sealed. Note that the apparent “direct” route from Port Macquarie involves a ferry and 4WD-only track, so it’s better to spend an hour looping around via South Kempsey and Crescent Head. 

#2 Mystery Bay Campground, near Narooma

Another beautiful dog-friendly beachfront camping spot in NSW is Mystery Bay, just south of Narooma on the South Coast, about a 5 hour drive south of Sydney or 3 hours from Canberra.

The Mystery Bay Campground is run by the Euobodalla Council and is located right next to Mystery Bay Beach, a timeshare beach. Dogs are allowed on the beach before 9am or after 5pm from November to April, plus all day long during the cooler months from May to October.

Just make sure you don’t walk with your dog past the end of Mystery Bay Road, where the Eurobodalla National Park starts (and is clearly signposted). And keep your dog on a leash elsewhere.

Dog on Mystery Bay Beach
Sunrise at the dog-friendly Mystery Bay Beach

The facilities at Mystery Bay are basic. There are only pit toilets and cold showers, plus no powered sites. Up until recently bookings were not available, but now it’s possible to book online in advance, although sites are unallocated. During peak periods the campground will be closed once it’s at capacity. 

During peak periods (Christmas holidays, Easter long weekend and October long weekend) it costs $18 per adult per night, while it is $12 per adult the rest of the year. This is still far lower than other parks along this popular stretch of coastline. Plus there are discounted rates for weekly stays and pensioners during off-peak periods. 

Campervan at Mystery Bay
Camping for the night at Mystery Bay with glimpses of the water

#3 Berry Showground, Berry

While not exactly on the coast, the country town of Berry in the Shoalhaven region of NSW is just a short drive from the coast, including the great off-leash dog beaches at Gerringong and Shoalhaven Heads. It’s also just a charming spot with plenty of dog-friendly things to do.

The town is home to a great showground, the Berry Showground, which is an affordable spot to camp when the annual show and other festivals are not being held, and is naturally pet-friendly.

Unpowered sites are currently $21 per night, while powered sites are $26 per night, with bookings possible online. Stays in a caravan, campervan or a tent are possible, with a maximum stay period of 14 days.

Onsite facilities include a basic camp kitchen, toilets and showers, a laundry and a dump point. It’s just a short walk to the main street of Berry, where there’s multiple dog-friendly cafes and plenty of boutiques to browse.

Find out more about visiting Berry with a dog

Berry Main Street
Camp within walking distance of the main street of Berry

#4 Riverwood Downs, near Barrington Tops

A popular place to camp in country NSW with your dog is Riverwood Downs. Located in the Barrington Tops region, 2 1/2 hours drive north of Sydney, while pets are not allowed in the nearby national park, they are warmly welcome at this resort.

Riverwood Downs offers a range of cabins and rooms to stay in with your pet, but there is also of course the option to camp. Pets are welcome on the Riverside and Parkland camp sites. These large unpowered sites are close to the river and camp fires are permitted, subject to bushfire warning levels.

There’s 750 acres for you to explore at wit your pup, from manicured lawns to walking trails and a mountain river, great for paddling. In selected areas, dogs are allowed off-leash, as long as they’re kept under your control.

It’s not exactly roughing it, with the option to dine in the dog-friendly section of the onsite restaurant. Just be warned that the final stretch of road to the resort is a gravel road, plus it is also a popular venue for larger gatherings.

#5 Turon Gates, Capertee

Another popular destination for dog-friendly camping in NSW is Turon Gates Mountain Getaway. This huge country property is located near Capertee, midway between the Blue Mountains and Mudgee. It’s the perfect spot for an authentic bush getaway with your pet, a little over 3 hours out of Sydney.

There’s plenty of spots to camp along a 1km stretch of the Turon River on the property – pick your own site. All campsites are unpowered, although there are amenities onsite, including hot water showers, toilets and sinks with hot water. You can purchase firewood on site to enjoy a campfire under the stars, except during fire bans.

If camping in your own tent is too much, there are also pet-friendly cottages and cabins on site, although pets are not allowed in the majority of the glamping tents, only one.

Turon Gates Cabin
A cabin with a view at Turon Gates © GM Photographics

Dogs are not required to be on leash, but keep them under control and it’s best to leash them if there’s wildlife around – kangaroos are regular visitors. Note that the final access road is a dirt country road. However, it is generally suitable for two-wheel drive vehicles, with four-wheel drive only essential for campervans or if pulling a caravan. Also be warned it can get busy on weekends.

Turon Gates Sign
Wildlife abounds at Turon Gates © GM Photographics

#6 Wollondilly River Station, Wombeyan Caves

For a dog-friendly camp ground that’s closer to Sydney but truly out in the bush, check out Wollondilly River Station. This farm is located down Wombeyan Caves Road, 50km west of Berrima on the Southern Highlands.

Allow about 2 1/2 hours for the drive from the centre of Sydney. Note that the final 45 minutes of the drive is along a windy and bumpy dirt road – consider whether your vehicle is suitable.

In return for braving the drive, you’ll be rewarded with beautiful spread-out dog-friendly campsites, along both sides of the Wollondilly River. Previous guests have loved that dogs are allowed off-leash. The nightly rate for adults is $20, while pets stay for free.

#7 Billy Grace Reserve, Wee Jasper

I spent multiple weekends camping at Wee Jasper as a child, and this remote camping reserve is still a popular destination, including with dog owners thanks to being a dog-friendly campsite.

Previously operated by the Jasper Jasper Reserves Trust, during 2023 it was taken over by Reflections Holiday Parks and is now known as Reflections Holiday Parks Wee Jasper – hopefully not too much changes!

There are four separate “primitive” camping reserves at Wee Jasper, with the Billy Grace Reserve the main site, including the location of the office and a kiosk – handy when the closest town is a long drive away!

There are no powered sites, only unpowered sites. There’s also hot showers, flushing toilets, potable water, BBQs and even a playground at Billy Grace Reserve. The campsite is also next to a wonderful river, great for swimming, kayaking and fishing.

I’m pretty sure that fees have increased substantially since I was a child, with the nightly rate per adult now $18, plus an additional $5 for each child over five.

Dogs are welcome all year round, with up to two permitted per site. There’s no fee for dogs, but they need to be registered as part of the booking. Dogs should stay on a leash and off neighbouring properties, where baiting may be in use.

#8 Towong Reserve, Bringenbrong

After an afternoon spent driving through the spectacular scenery of the Snowy Mountains (unfortunately without the option of stopping along much of the route due to national park), we drove through the small town of Khancoban and after 20 minutes drive pulled up for the night at the Towong Reserve, a free camping site.

Murray River Reserve
Riverside camping at the Murray River Reserve

This reserve is located right on the NSW edge of the Murray River, in the rural locale of Bringenbong. It’s next to Towong Road and just across the bridge from the small hamlet of Towong in Victoria. (Don’t mistake it with the reserve next to the Bringenbrong Bridge further upstream.)

Murray River Reserve
Checking out the Murray River from the adjacent bridge

The lush and shady reserve had plenty of room to pull up for the night, with the only facility a single dilapidated toilet. Make sure you don’t camp too close to the river – the level can rise when water is let out of the dam upstream.

#9 Lake Lyell Recreation Park, near Lithgow

A popular dog-friendly campground just west of the Blue Mountains is Lake Lyell Recreation Park on the outskirts of Lithgow. I haven’t yet camped here, but I’ve heard plenty of recommendations thanks to its affordable prices.

The majority of sites are unpowered ($30 per night for up to five people), along with a handful of powered sites ($35 per night, note there are no water hook-ups). Advance bookings are essential for peak periods.There’s also a separate unreserved area – although during busy periods it’s best to call up and ask about availability before making the drive.

On site facilities include toilets, hot showers (for an extra fee), a covered BBQ area, boat ramp and swimming area. The large man-made lake is a popular spot for fishing (including for trout), boating and swimming during the summer months.

Dogs are welcome on all sites, except for “barkers” and need to be kept leashed. There’s plenty of spots where dogs can enjoy a paddle in the lake.

#10 Bingara Gwydir River Common Camp, Bingara

The small town of Bingara is located in the New England region of northern NSW, in between Tamworth and Moree. The main attraction of the town is the Gwydir River that passes through it, and there are number of free and donation campsites along the riverbanks.

One of the best camping spots is the Bingara Gwydir River Common Camp, which is located on the northern edge of town. Access from the north is from White Street, while the south entry is on Gwydir Terrace.

The campsite is great for a relaxing stay by the river, with fishing, camping and kayaking popular. Technically, the campsite is free, but donations are welcome.

With no toilet facilities onsite, the campsite is restricted to vehicles that are self-contained, plus take all your rubbish with you. There is a maximum stay period of 7 nights.

#11 Sandy Point Reserve, Hay

Another great free camping spot in NSW can be found in the Riverina region in Hay – Sandy Point Reserve. It’s a great spot to spend a night or two to break up the long drive across the Hay Plain, especially if you’re continuing on to Mildura and South Australia.

The campground is on the southern side of town, with access from Bunker Street (near the skate park) and the western end of Water Street. The primitive campsite is on the banks of the Murrumbidgee River, with the reserve also a popular swimming spot during the day.

Campers are allowed to stay for up to 72 hours (three nights). There’s plenty of level spots to camp with toilets and BBQs onsite, and the option of a $2 shower at the visitor centre on Moppett Street. And of course dogs are allowed to stay with you!

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About the Author

Photo of Shandos & Schnitzel

Shandos Cleaver is the founder of Travelnuity: Dog-Friendly Travel. She has travelled extensively with her Miniature Dachshund, Schnitzel, including to 33 countries across Europe, every state and territory of Australia except Tasmania, and 10 of the United States. She’s passionate about providing inspiration and information to others wanting to travel with their dogs, whether close to home or internationally.

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