Whether you’re a mud-faced eco-warrior, a frustratingly skint student on the cusp of earning a salary, or maybe just an utterly useless driver who should never be allowed near an accelerator pedal, you’ll be relieved to hear that you don’t need a car to enjoy a wild weekend adventure in NSW, with these Sydney Camping Escapes that are accessible by public transport.
Cover photo by @wanderer_rachel
Did you know there’s an official five-pronged argument for Public Transport adventuring from Sydney? Here it is:
# 1 Sydney’s bus and rail network is fast and reliable.
# 2 Public transport is also a damn sight cheaper than travelling by car (petrol, tolls, insurance, rego, NRMA don’t even factor in)
# 3 Your adventure starts from the very moment your front foot steps beyond your front door
# 4 By travelling on public transport you don’t need to worry about your car getting broken into by the locals (by locals I mean a posse of joy-riding possums, or a sluggish wombat in search of comfy night’s kip on your drivers seat)
# 5 Let’s face it, aside from having a memorable weekend of vagabonding with your mates, you’ll actually be doing your bit to save this beautiful planet too – all the more reason to fall asleep in your tent with a great big smile on your face.
So why not take full advantage and hop aboard the adventure express with these six Sydney camping escapes you can get to via public transport?!
The following seven camping areas have been handpicked by the We Are Explorers team. Each choice was based on location being a suitably remote escape from the city as well as abounding in raw, unadulterated beauty…
Royal National Park
1 – 2 hrs South of Sydney
- Magnificent white-cliff coastlines to bushwalk in the North and rugged, gym-free beaches to surf in the South (Garie Beach and North/South Era)
- Sprawling rainforest to tear through on mountain or road bikes, with over 100km of walking trails to lose your marbles in
- Wattamolla is a stunning waterfall that comes with a free, stomach-turning cliff jump into a lagoon
- Hire a rowboat, canoe or Kayak from Audley Boat Shed and explore Kangaroo Creek and Hacking River
More info on the Royal National Park can be found here.
Blue Mountains National Park
1.5 – 2 hrs West of Sydney
- Canyoning one of the hundreds of explored (and potentially unexplored) canyons in the area. If you’ve never done it before, give BMAC a holler. They’ll ensure you have a wild (and 100% safe) trip
- Govetts Leap has been named Sydney’s Best Sunrise – what do you think?
- Pulpit Rock Lookout is also a stunner.
- Fireflies in the Blue Mountains? No, we’re not tricking.
- The Mount Solitary overnighter will kick your multiday hiking passion into action!
- Tarros Ladder to the Explorers Tree: 3-days, 55km, accessible via Katoomba station and then Narrow Neck Lookout.
- Walking the epic 3-day Six Foot Track from Katoomba to Jenolan Caves through pristine World-Heritage valleys.
- Malaita Wall is where you can flex your rock climbing muscles – but remember, this 5 pitch abseil is only for experienced climbers!!
- Here’s a list of all the circuit walks you can do from the park’s train stations
- More info on Blue Mountains National Park
Bouddi Bouddi National Park
2-3hrs North of Sydney
Best Campsites: Putty Beach and Little Beach
Getting there by public transport: By train to Woy Woy then bus to MacMaster’s Beach, by train to Gosford then bus to Kilcare Heights or by bus to Palm Beach then ferry to Ettalong (Wagstaffe Wharf) and then walk.
- Possibly the best beach camping in NSW, this is an incredible weekend escape from Sydney full of diversity and jaw-hurting views along the numerous coastal walking tracks
- Lots of opportunities to swim amongst the dolphins, spot a whale and even catch your own dinner (neither of the aforementioned creatures)
More info on the Bouddi Bouddi National Park can be found here.
Brisbane Waters National Park
2-3hrs North of Sydney
Best Campsite: Patonga
Getting there by public transport: By ferry from Palm Beach, or by train to Gosford then bus to Kariong or Umina Beach then walk
- At $40p/n for an unpowered site, this is a lot more expensive than others on this list, however its idyllic beauty and proximity to Sydney ensure it makes the We Are Explorers adventure camping cut.
- The water here is a stones throw away from your tent site, so make the most of this playground. You can hire a kayak or better still, bring your own little $20 pack-raft like we did here.
Get more info on Brisbane Waters National Park here.
Heathcote National Park
1.5hrs South of Sydney
- The campgrounds here are like Nordic Goddesses; rugged and incredibly beautiful. They’re also pretty remote given the distance from Sydney so have little in the form of facilities. Take more than enough water with you and don’t forget your map so you can navigate the multiple trails through the park.
- Treat yourself with a well deserved morning scrub in the tranquil waters Kingfisher Pool
Berowra National Park
2-3hrs North of Sydney
Best Campsite: Crossland’s Reserve
Getting there by public transport: By train to Hornsby, then a 10km (two hour) walk to the campground. Alternatively, hop on the bus at the station and get off at Black Ash Turnaround, bringing the walk down to half an hour.
- You can hike or bike deep into Berowra Creek from the campground, exploring this wonderful pocket of paradise that’s unbelievably close to the city.
- These campsites can get very popular so make sure you book ahead to avoid disappointment.
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