When it comes to beach camping, we’re spoilt for choice in NSW. Our pick is Murramarang National Park near Batemans Bay. It’s a 4hr drive south of Sydney—far enough away to feel like a proper holiday, but close enough to avoid running out of snacks. Pick a spot and settle in, or go beach hopping up the coast—the choice is yours.
North Head Beach
You’ll find this hidden gem a short drive from Batemans Bay, nestled among the towering gum trees. Pitch your tent at North Head campground and take a short stroll to the beach, where you can go for a surf, take a dip in the crystal clear waters or just soak up the sunshine. It’s a remote campground, so you’ll need to bring a gas stove and water for cooking and drinking.
If you’re an early riser, follow the Honeysuckle Beach walking track for 300m along the well-formed track, until you reach North Head lookout. You’ll have an excellent view of sunrise over the coast—take your binoculars and see if you can spot passing dolphin pods, or peregrine falcons and sea eagles along the cliff.
Tip:If you’re around May to November watch out for the Whales during their annual migration. Keep track of whale sightings along the NSW coast using the Wild About Whales mobile app.
Ok, it’s not a beach. But you’ll forgive us for cheating when you see the vast expanse of flat, sparkling water that’s perfect for swimming, paddle boarding and fishing. If you don’t want to BYO, you can hire kayaks locally or take a tour on the lake. After lunch, take the 8km Lake walking track along the shore of Durras Lake (2-4hrs)
South of Durras Lake is the easy Wasp Head walk that will take you from the picnic area near the carpark, through casuarina forest to Wasp Head, with stunning views of Wasp Island in the distance. Prefer to cool off? Head from the picnic area towards Emily Miller Beach, a secluded spot that’s perfect for snorkelling, with crystal clear water surrounded by lush forest.
Ranger tip: Unspoiled beaches are often unpatrolled. Stay safe in and around the water by checking our water safety tips.
Next stop: Depot Beach. This is a popular spot during the warmer months, with camping 100m from the beach and cabins nearby if your mates want to treat themselves to the luxury of a proper kitchen and sunset drinks on the balcony. There are also shared picnic facilities, gas barbeques and two outdoor woodfired pizza ovens, so you can enjoy homemade pizza under the stars. Perfect.
After sleeping in the next day, grab your daypack and follow the coast along the 1km Rock Platform walk loop (30min-1.5hrs) to Depot Beach picnic area, where you can enjoy swimming, paddling and fishing (and leftover pizza). It’s also a great spot to discover marine life like sea urchins, crabs and tiny fish.
Ranger tip: The rock platform is only accessible at low tide, so check the tides, water levels and weather before you head out.
In the opposite direction is the Depot Beach Rainforest walk—a short loop through lush littoral rainforest that’s perfect for hot days. It ends up back at the beach, so you can take a dip to cool off.
Pro Tip: BYO firewood for the woodfire pizza ovens, otherwise firewood is available to purchase from the Depot Beach office.
At the end of a road surrounded by lush rainforest is a stunning bay with soft white sand and calm blue water. Pebbly Beach is a picturesque spot, home to the famous eastern grey kangaroos that love taking a dip in the ocean on warm days. You can stay at the campground in a secluded bush setting, or in one of the rustic Pebbly Beach shacks beside the beach.
While everyone else heads to the beach, turn inland and hike the Pebbly Beach to Durras Mountain walking track, which takes you up the coast towards Pretty Beach, through spotted gum forests with glimpses of the ocean. Pack a picnic lunch and enjoy it at the top of the mountain, where you’ll have stunning views looking across the Pacific Ocean.
Ranger tip: Check the marine park map for areas where you’re allowed to fish, and don’t forget you’ll need a recreational fishing licence.
On the other side of Durras Mountain is Pretty Beach, where you can pitch your tent at the campground near the beach or glamp out in a cabin. Spend the day swimming and snorkelling, work up a sweat with a hike up to Durras Mountain, or take the relatively easy 400m walk along the coastline to Snapper Point lookout. Then cook up a feast using the barbeque facilities at the campground (pro tip: nab a spot at the picnic area for the best sunset views).
The next morning, set out on the Murramarang Aboriginal Area walking track. It’s a 2.2km loop that takes you through one of the most important Aboriginal sites in NSW, including a midden that covers several hectares and contains millions of stone artefacts as well as mammal, fish and bird bones. Aboriginal people living in Murramarang had a sophisticated bone and fishing industry, and the walk gives you a sense of how the landscape must have looked thousands of years ago
Ranger tip: The hike to Pretty Beach isn’t signposted, so carry a topographic map and check in with NSW National Parks staff before you head off, as there’s no mobile reception in this area.
When the weather’s hot, there’s nothing quite like waking to the sounds of the ocean lapping against the shore, or birdlife calling from the towering gum trees. So dust off the camping gear, grab your snorkel set and start planning your holiday in Murramarang National Park.
Ranger tip: Spot some wildlife on your beach hopping trip? Keep animals wild by not feeding, touching or getting too close to them.