Like many avid campers, I know that the way to beat the heat when camping in summer is to go coastal. It’s great to catch that beautiful afternoon sea breeze in the tent while looking at the waves break on the shore. In a last-minute bid to feel that friday freedom, I jumped on Google Maps. I have been north of Sydney many times and have many wonderful memories of my trips there. But what lay south that I could get to within a few hours?
I ran my finger down the coast and stumbled across North Head Beach. A tiny cove just north of Batemans Bay, surrounded by Murramarang National Park. This place immediately ticked the boxes for a young adventurous family.
About three hours south of Sydney, this place is close to the small town of Durras and can be accessed by any 2 wheel drive car.
Camping at North Head Campground meant we were just 100m from the beach.
Camping at Murramarang National Park
North Head Beach is part of the Murramarang National Park and entry is free. We stayed at the North Head Beach campsite, which has allocated camping that varies in size. This means if you get there early enough, you can fit up to 3 families in one plot. Spaces are also capable of allowing camper trailers and small caravans (though going there mid-week will offer more choice). Toilets are also available at the site just a short walk away. But most importantly, access to the beach is less than 100m away.
I chose to leave a little earlier on Friday to beat the traffic and arrive at the campsite early afternoon. After a quick setup, the kids and I chose a bush access track direct from our camp to the beach.
Our camp all set up for our stay.
Wildlife in the area
I was pleased to see that the wildlife was abundant and seemed to be flourishing in the area. There were many different varieties of birds and insects for the kids to see. We also spotted several lace monitors in the distance, and schools of Australian salmon busting up on the ocean’s surface. The evenings at the campsite brought out other nocturnal critters as well, such as possums and tawny frogmouth owls.
Swimming at the beach
The beach itself was paradise, like something out of a David Attenborough film. The place was nearly deserted with only a couple on the far end of the beach. There was only a small swell, which was perfect for my two young children – all the swimming, body boarding and sand castles you could throw a stick at. After we watched the sun dip over the horizon, we headed back for dinner.
Because we are a modern family, I brought our battery powered outdoor theatre projector for some evening entertainment. The kids were treated to a campfire and a movie, which was the perfect end to our day at the beach.
There are so many things to do at the beach, making it perfect for a young family.
Walks and other activities
Phone service is available and after some more investigation from the comfort of my swag, I learned there was a beautiful walk from the top of the campsite, which took us to some northern cliff lines. After breakfast, we walked up and were treated to a sunrise I would never forget. I was lucky to capture all this beauty on my drone and now we have another little family video we can look back on.
More swimming and body boarding as the day wore on, and we all had a relaxing afternoon nap thanks to the cool coastal breeze in the area.
I discovered that there were some scenic walks to do in the area.
Heading to Batemans Bay for fishing
Now, you should know the actual area is a marine park and you would need to head north or south if you wanted to fish. But that is only ever a short drive away. So we headed into Batemans so my eldest son and I could wet a line. South coast NSW has always been able to boast great fishing. You might be able to catch everything from offshore marlin and tuna right through to massive flathead.
We nipped down to Batemans Bay a short distance away for some fishing.
Evenings at the campsite
As this place is a national park, people tend to be more respectful of each other, so the evenings that we spent in the area were very peaceful. The campsites were also quite well spaced, which allowed plenty of privacy for our family. The tracks in and out are well worn and the walking trails are maintained and in good condition. If you are just looking for a day pass for a shorter trip, there is also parking at the main beach access point.
Campfires and firewood
There is plenty of fallen timber available for firewood. Just remember to check for local fire bans. I always take a good quality bush saw for wood collection, as you are not permitted to use chainsaws or generators in national parks.
We set up a little outdoor cinema with a campfire at our campsite as a treat for the kids.
Packing for your trip & supplies in the area
To maximise your enjoyment I’d recommend packing light and simple. If you forget to bring something it’s only a short drive to South Durras or Batemans Bay to pick up supplies for the weekend. Personally, I pre-pack the car Thursday night soon after I finish work, so all I have to do is pick up the family and some goods for the fridge and we can hit the road.
For a weekend away, this place ticks all the boxes.
Why this spot should be on your list
Places like this are ideal as they are far enough away from Sydney’s hustle and bustle, but not too far that the children complain about “how long before we get there?”
Murramarang National Park is just a stone’s throw away from secluded spots like North Head Beach, making it perfect for a refreshing weekend getaway. There are tracks to explore, rocks to climb and the most beautiful waters in which to swim.
So, check the weather, pack your swimmers and I promise you’ll be congratulating yourself on visiting this little gem.
What’s your favourite secluded getaway? Let us know in the comments.
About the writer...
Having spent much of my childhood camping or travelling, I have been infused with a passion for the outdoors. I have been fortunate enough to travel to over 20 different countries including Nepal and South Africa. Australia is a wonderfully diverse country and my family travel as much as we can to soak it all up. I am based in Sydney and try to get away every fortnight or so. I also love video production and photography as side opportunities.