Camping around Christmas Newcastle-Brisbane

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Camping around Christmas Newcastle-Brisbane

Postby CamperSwede » Thu May 27, 2010 4:42 am

Hi there (my first post)!
After having been out of the country for almost 20 years it is time to come back. Last time I was a teenager doing one year in high school and one semester at Uni (Newcastle) as an exchange student. I completely fell in love with your country and now it's time to show my family of five (wife, kids aged 5, 9 and 10) this remarkable country. Unfortunately I will only have three weeks in total. Couple of days in and around Newcastle and a special reef trip gives me two weeks to go from Sydney/Newcastle up to Brisbane (along the coast). The plan is to rent a "Britz Safari 5 Berth 4WD" including a tent and all the camping gear. I went on a few camping trips last time and appreciated both the national parks as well as the caravan parks. The 4WD I actually have a preliminary booking on, but I need to make up my mind in just a few days.

For the last couple of days I have been browsing the internet (many hours) for information and I believe this forum is the best source! I think I understand how most things work but would very much appreciate some clarification and maybe some pointers where to look if I am thinking in the wrong direction. My questions in italics.

Is it possible/advisable to just go without booking? We'll leave around 22 dec from Newcastle and should reach Brisbane around the 5th jan. Of course the ideal situation would be to just take one day at the time and stay extra days on the places you fancy. I do realize that might not be possible during this period. Or is it really that hard to find campsites with vacancies? As I mentioned in the beginning, I would like to try some NPs (show the family some wildlife and bush) as well as some CPs (preferably close to the beach, with showers and maybe a pool).

I have tried to check availability on quite a few CPs and actually many of them are already full, at least it looks like that on their booking sites. Anyway, an alternative plan could be to book a CP in the beginning of the trip and one in the end, those dates are fixed anyway. And then play be ear and do mostly NPs in the middle. Could this be a good idea, or is NPs also hard to get into this time of the year?

And, since the plane trip and the rent of the 4WD is extremely expensive I am already broke and it really doesn't matter if the campsite cost 5$ or 50$ a night.

Please advice!
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Re: Camping around Christmas Newcastle-Brisbane

Postby Pauly » Thu May 27, 2010 8:54 am

I really dont like your chances of booking accomadation at this time with short notice. There is no reason why you cant free camp the whole way. theres plenty of places the grey nomads (retiries) camp along the way, its just a matter of finding them. When looking dont forget to look at State Parks. State Parks are often nicer than National Parks.

This site has a good referance of campsites http://ozcamps.net/index.php?option=com ... &Itemid=29
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Re: Camping around Christmas Newcastle-Brisbane

Postby GypsyLady » Thu May 27, 2010 10:46 am

I agree that the possibility of obtaining CP sites at xmas time without a booking will be nigh on impossible....

...and WELCOME to the forum.

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Re: Camping around Christmas Newcastle-Brisbane

Postby xmasbaby67 » Thu May 27, 2010 11:55 am

Welcome to the forum :+

The chances of getting into a CP during Xmas/New Year is very unlikely and they usually only take week long bookings at that time of year (that's what we have found anyway).

I agree with Pauly about checking the ozcamps sites but anything remotely close to the beach that time of year is usually pretty full but you may be able to squeeze in somewhere.

That stretch of Aust coast is extremely popular at that time of year & I would book ahead rather than coming all that way and having nowhere to camp but the side of the road!! ::()

We usually camp from 26/12 to 7/1 and stay in CP's, somewhere different each year(near water, usually a river) and have found we have to book by March at the latest as they fill up pretty quickly and we also have found that a lot of people book from one year to the next, ie on check out they book again for the same time the following year. If you are wanting to stay coastal or near water you are going to find that your only option if not booking ahead will be free camps and National & State parks.
The camps 5 book is also a good reference guide to have with you on the road to see what is available at the next stop if you are not booking ahead.http://www.campsaustraliawide.com/information.php?product=CAW5SBB4
Hope this helps a little.
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Re: Camping around Christmas Newcastle-Brisbane

Postby CamperSwede » Thu May 27, 2010 2:03 pm

Thanks a lot for your replies. It's getting more and more clear to me that I should look really hard already now to secure some CPs. As I said in my first post I will probably try to secure at least one nice CPs one days driving north of Newcastle (Seal Rocks/Forster?) and one CP close to Brisbane (north or south of Byron B?).

It just gets very complicated to book when you have a plane, a vehicle hire and CPs to coordinate. Maybe that's why there is room for travel agents...

So now I just have to convince the wife that this is the best idea ever :)
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Re: Camping around Christmas Newcastle-Brisbane

Postby xmasbaby67 » Thu May 27, 2010 2:32 pm

There are a couple of nice CP's in and near Foster...we used to live there many years back and still have friends there that we visit.

Don't stay at the CP on the main beach as it will be ABSOLUTELY jam packed.

My top four picks would be:-

Happy Hallidays is a nice park just outside of Forster at Hallidays Point http://www.happyhallidays.com.au/

Wallamba River (friends from here run this park) http://www.aspenparks.com.au/holiday-destinations/new-south-wales/forster-tuncurry/wallamba-river-holiday-park/welcome.aspx is right on the river.

Smugglers Cove is in the town of Forster and near the Bowling club with stacks for the kids to do!!! http://www.smugglerscove.com.au/

Beachfront Holiday resort, this is a Big 4 and they are great kids parks and this one is right on the beach.http://beachfront-holiday-resort.nsw.big4.com.au/

They also have some great camping spots in the Booti Booti National Park but they are first come first served and will probably be full but this website may help a little.
http://www.greatlakes.org.au/pages/national-parks/

Hope this helps you out a little. If staying in or near Forster I would start looking for places now and map out where and when and book otherwise they may all be full that time of year. It was our busiest time of the year between Xmas and into the new year. ::()
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Re: Camping around Christmas Newcastle-Brisbane

Postby Lin » Fri May 28, 2010 3:08 pm

Sounds like an exciting trip!

I agree with the others that it is pretty full everywhere on the coast that time of year - and probably even more so up North than here in the South.

Free NP camps you usually can't book, but you'd have to get there early to get a nice spot.

My daughter went to Melaleuca Backpackers near Nelson Bay last summer with her dad and loved it. They have some sort of a wildlife rescue thing there and there was a tame joeys you could pat and owls and other birds sitting around. They don't allow large groups and it sounds like a nice environment. Someone else wrote a review about it somewhere on the forum too.

But it is true that lots of CPs won't allow 1 night reservations...

I can recommend the Boiling Billy book for NSW (http://shop.boilingbilly.com.au/store/v ... dProduct=1) but they don't seem to have a QLD one.
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Re: Camping around Christmas Newcastle-Brisbane

Postby CamperSwede » Sun May 30, 2010 3:12 am

Thanks again for all the tips.

I have actually secured every night now, one week around Elisabeth Beach just north of Newcastle, a couple of days at Hat Head, and one week at Ballina. I still hope to do some free camping in NPs or State Forests in between (or skip Hat Head). Might try to book something just to be on the safe side anyway.
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