Barenjoey Lighthouse
By Kokoda Gear

Barrenjoey Lighthouse Walk

Barrenjoey Lighthouse, constructed in 1881 from locally quarried sandstone, stands 113m above sea level at Barrenjoey Head, Sydney’s most northern point at the tip of the Palm Beach Peninsula which is part of the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. Overseas visitors may recognize the lighthouse from the outdoor shooting locations of the hit TV series “Home and Away”.

Starting at the western (Pittwater) side of the Barrenjoey Head peninsula, rather than the Palm Beach side, at the far northern end of the Governor Phillip car park (past the Boathouse Palm Beach) a signed walking track to Barrenjoey Headland is well marked. Walking north for some 200 metres along the narrow stretch of beach then turning right at the next sign for 100 metres will lead to a sign that indicates a choice of two tracks leading up the hill to Barrenjoey Lighthouse.

smugglers track

There are two routes to the top, the more sedate Access Trail or the shorter, but steeper, Smugglers Track. The latter has the best views with a particularly good photo spot about half way up overlooking Palm Beach. Ascending by way of the Access Trail then returning via the Smugglers Track will turn the walk into a loop and makes for an easier ascent.   

The Access Trail (Grade 2) at 800 metres is twice as long as the Smugglers Track but is much easier although the road is narrow and some sections are quite steep.  The Smugglers Track, so named by customs officers who built the track to monitor smugglers bringing contraband into Broken Bay around 1850, is a shorter but steeper (400 metres, Grade 3) route to the lighthouse.

barrenjoey lighthouse smugglers track stairs

The Smugglers Track crosses bush land and includes many steps, some of which may be worn and hazardous. Sturdy walking shoes or hiking boots are recommended for this short, but steep, climb, and it is a good idea to carry a supply of drinking water, especially on hot days. There are no toilets or drinking water at Barrenjoey Lighthouse. The nearest available public toilets are at Governor Phillip Park. NSW National Parks advise visitors to avoid visiting the lighthouse when weather conditions forecast strong winds, heavy rain or extreme heat.

There is no wheelchair access to Barrenjoey Lighthouse. Although it is fairly accessible and a pleasant stroll for the reasonably fit, do make sure to carry comfortable clothes, take a jacket, lenses, sunscreen, water and carry suitable clothes in colder weather because the breeze from the ocean in colder temperatures may not be so pleasant. On particularly hot days a bit of shade might help you avoid sunstroke also – make sure you’re getting plenty of fluids and reapplying sunscreen when you rest.

You can enjoy a Barrenjoey Lighthouse tour any Sunday between 11 am and 3 pm except Christmas Eve, New Years Eve and during extreme weather conditions. Meet at the top, at the Keepers Cottage. The tour takes 30 minutes and costs $5 per adult, $2 per child. The views of Broken Bay, Ku-ring-gay Chase National Park and the mighty Pacific are unforgettable.

Highlights of the Barrenjoey Lighthouse Walk

One of the most breathtaking views in Sydney may be experienced from Barranjoey Lighthouse at the northern end of Palm Beach, well worth the walk up Barrenjoey Head to get there. Built in 1881 from sandstone on the site and beautifully restored, it now welcomes visitors from around the world every Sunday. Hear about its history, climb the winding stairs and imagine yourself as the 19th-century lighthouse keeper there. Sturdy shoes or hiking boots are recommended, and to bring weather protection and drinking water with you. Bring your camera too – you will want to revisit these beautiful views again and again.

Palm Beach car park to Barrenjoey Lighthouse Walk Distance

The car park is on Beach Road, Palm Beach but the closest location for Google Maps purposes is “The Boat House, Palm Beach”. The car park s just past this point. Distance to Barrenjoey Lighthouse 3km return or 1.4 miles. Time – about 30 minutes up to the lighthouse. Allow the same time for return.

How Hard is the Barrenjoey Lighthouse Walk?

Barrenjoey Lighthouse Walk Difficulty and Track Conditions

The Access Trail up to Barrenjoey Lighthouse follows a narrow road to the top of the hill and is a considered a Grade 2 track and is suitable for pretty much all ages and fitness levels. It is an urban walk and the walkway is paved but has some steep sections. Once at the top there is plenty of space to walk around and enjoy the views.

The Smugglers Track, although shorter, is more challenging than the Access Trail, so you may consider using to descend on the return trip. It is a fairly steep Grade 3 track 400 metres straight up to the top of the hill. The track crosses bush land and has many steps including some uneven standstone ones. Carrying drinking water is recommended, especially on a hot day, and suitable footwear (sturdy walking shoes or hiking boots) for this short but steep climb.

Disability Access

Please keep in mind that there are no disabled walking tracks on this route. Barrenjoey Lighthouse is not wheelchair accessible.

How to Get to Barrenjoey Lighthouse?

Palm Beach is Sydney’s northernmost beach town. The main parking area at Governor Phillip Park is located off Beach Road and can get very busy at weekends.Driving in from the south, turn into Barrenjoey Road from Pittwater Road and continue along into Beach Road past the Palm Beach Golf Club.  The cost  of parking is $12 per vehicle per day.

Public transportation to Palm Beach – The L90 bus from the bus interchange at Wynyard Station in the centre of the city is a long trip, up to 2 hours at busy periods, and more than 50 stops even on this “limited stops” service. Or take the B1 bus, also from Wynyard, to Mona Vale. Change buses at the Mona Vale terminus for the 199 bus to Palm Beach. Both the L90 and 199 buses now continue on past Palm Beach’s ferry wharf and stop directly outside Governor Phillip Park car park, near the start point of the Barrenjoey Lighthouse Walk

Swimming breaks

The Palm Beach peninsula is one of the most famous beach suburbs in New South Wales, located 41 km north of Sydney. Its somewhat remote location and golden sands make it a favoured celebrity holiday spot, but although it is a reasonably quiet beach suburb compared to Bondi Beach or Manly Beach, the area becomes quite busy on warm sunny days, especially at weekends.

Check out more guides to excellent Australian walks.

Seasons in Australia
By Kokoda Gear

Enjoying the Seasons in Australia: What to Expect

Australia is one of the world’s top holiday destinations for 2019 so it makes sense that, this year alone, the country is expecting a total of 10 million tourists. But did you know the seasons in Australia can vary a bit more than you’d expect?

If you’ve already booked your trip to Australia, then you’ve made a great choice. The country offers stunning coastlines, breathtaking nature and a rich history all ready and waiting for you to explore!

But don’t let your trip be ruined by the weather. Most people associate Australia with brilliant sunshine and scorching heat, but this isn’t always the case. Like every other country, Australia has seasons that bring different weather with them.

So make sure you’re prepared by learning all about the seasons in Australia, what to expect and when. To help you out, we’ve put together this handy guide on Australian weather by month.

From spring through to winter, read on to find out everything you need to know!

The Basics of Seasons in Australia

As with most countries, there are four seasons in Australia: spring, summer, autumn and winter.

These each last for about three months. And, as with most countries, as you reach the end of one season, you’ll notice a gradual shift into the next. You don’t just wake up to bright sunshine one day after a wet and windy spring!

Technically, each season starts on the first day of a given month. So when you’re planning your trip, you should consider your exact travel dates. For example, you might have very different weather on 2nd September than on 28th September.

You should also take into account whereabouts you’re travelling. The southeast and west coast of Australia tend to remain fairly mild in their weather variations. In contrast, the north of the country can be more extreme and is fairly tropical at certain times of the year.

These northern areas see two more distinct seasons, which are characterized by the climate they bring. The wet season lasts from November through to April. And the dry season stretches the other half of the year, from April through to November.

These seasons can bring extreme climates with them. So if you’re visiting northern Australia, take this into account when planning your trip.

Autumn in Australia

Sydney autumn

For the northern hemisphere, the months to March, April and May mark springtime. But this period signals the autumn season in Australia.

As you might expect, during the autumn months, the country is transformed into a reddish-gold paradise. Even for seasoned walkers in Australia, this creates an entirely new landscape to explore.

In particular, the city of Orange in New South Wales and the Yarra Valley are great places to visit in Australia’s autumn. Yarra Valley is one of Australia’s most popular wine regions and it doesn’t stop producing come autumn. So you can take a load off and sample some delicious wine after a long day’s walking.

As you move through Australia’s autumn, you will notice, however, that temperatures start to drop off. At the beginning of the season in March, you can enjoy temperatures between 24°C and 11°C (or 75°F and 52°F.)

But come May, these temperatures will drop down to between 16°C and 4°C (or 61°F and 39°F). The days will also start to get shorter, and you’ll notice an increase in rainfall.

If you’re looking for a dry, sunny day walking, then we’d recommend getting out in March. But if you don’t mind the rain, and provided you have the right hiking boots with you, you’ll be able to keep exploring throughout the autumn season.

Australia’s Winter

Sydney Winter

As you would rightly expect, winter follows on from autumn and spans from the beginning of July through to the end of August.

This is the time of year to put away your suncream and get out your rain jacket. However, visitors from the northern hemisphere might be surprised by how mild an Australia winter can be.

Temperatures will rarely reach over 20°C (or 68°F) and usually sit around 11°C (51°F). Nevertheless, they can drop down to freezing temperatures at night and in the evenings.

But this doesn’t mean you have to sit indoors reading your book. A lot of Australians consider winter the best time of year for outdoor activities because they can do them without overheating! It might be cooler, but generally, Australia doesn’t experience as much rain as some other countries do during winter.

It’s considered one of the best time of years for swimming in the ocean. Or—if you really want to cool off—why not hit Victoria state and go skiing or snowboarding?

This is also a great time of year to check out the country’s wildlife. Australia’s kangaroos, pelicans and koalas don’t seem bothered by the drop in temperature. So you can still find them relaxing in their natural habitats and in national parks.

But if you want to go exploring in winter, you might have to plan ahead a bit more. You only get around six or seven hours of sunlight each day. To get a proper adventure in, you need to be ready to go once the sun is up!

Next up Is… Springtime

Sydney spring

Australia’s autumn and spring share a lot of similar characteristics. Neither season is unbearably hot or bitterly cold. And like autumn and winter, spring spans across three months – September, October, and November.

As you progress through the season, you’ll notice a shift in temperature. In September, you can expect temperatures between 16 and 4°C (or 61 and 39°F). But towards the end of November, this will climb to highs of 23°C (73°F) and lows of 10°C (50°F).

The number of daylight hours will also start to get longer and the amount of rain will ease up. This is a great time of year to watch as spring takes over the country.

Plants will start to bloom and animals come out of winter hibernation. You’ll also notice a gradual change as the country regains its vibrant, green landscape.

But if you’re visiting the northern regions of Australia, you should proceed with caution in springtime. This is the time of year that cyclones or tropical storms will hit these areas of the country.

These huge storms can reach speeds of up to 295km/h. Getting caught in one could be extremely dangerous. So if you’re going walking in this area in the spring, always check the forecast before you go out.

Last But Not Least: An Australian Summer

sydney summer

Summer is the most iconic of Australia seasons. It gives the country its reputation of flip-flops, sun-soaked surfers and chilled beers on the beach. And what’s not to like about that?

This is the perfect time of year to find a great spot for camping, pitch up and enjoy everything the country has to offer you. But like every season, knowing what to expect is extremely important for keeping you safe and comfortable while on the road.

From December through to February, the temperature can reach over 28°C (or 82°F). Even on a cooler day, it’ll rarely drop below 13°C (55°F). The sea temperature will also rise, and the rain will hold off, so it’s a great time of year for a splash in the ocean.

But any explorers should make preparations for this heat. Make sure you invest in a fantastic tent with proper ventilation so you don’t overheat. Always carry water with you when out hiking and try to keep out of the direct sun for long periods of time.

And don’t think that this sunshine will put a stop to Christmas celebrations. Australians might not go in for a full roast dinner in thirty-degree heat, but they’ll be sure to celebrate properly. You might even see the odd Christmas jumper down on the beach!

Stay cool along the coast the Eyre Peninsula or in Coffin Bay where you can sample some of the freshest oysters Australia has to offer. Or you can escape the crowds and head on up to Wilsons Promontory. This area offers amazing hiking trails for all abilities.

The Bottom Line

Whichever season you visit Australia in, you’re sure to have the best time, and each season has something different to offer. Just make sure that you plan ahead when organizing your trip. Working with the seasons in Australia is the best way to ensure you make the most of wherever you end up!

If you’re going hiking, don’t forget to pack your poles. And check out our handy guides on how to save on packing space using your hiking backpack!

Mt Kosciuszko
By Kokoda Gear

A Complete Guide to Walking Mt Kosciuszko

Are you planning a trip to Australia? If your answer is yes, you already know there are so many sites to see and things to do. The great Australian Outback, the Sydney Opera House, and the exotic wildlife all make it to every traveller’s list. But a must-see for every adventurous traveller is Mt Kosciuszko.

Hikers, climbers, skiers, and anyone with an adventurous spirit must check out Mt Kosciuszko. Just southwest of Sydney, Mt Kosciuszko is Australia’s highest mountain at 2,228 meters above sea level. It may not be as high as Mt Kilimanjaro or Mt Everest, it does boast a wide variety of actives for visitors of all abilities.

During the winter months, Mt Kosciuszko is Australia’s go-to ski destination. During the summer, you’ll find it teeming with hikers, mountain cyclists, climbers, and more! This mountain is a do-it-all destination.

So, if you’re an outdoor enthusiast looking for a fun new adventure or a memorable hike, here’s everything you need to know about hiking Mt Kosciuszko.

Picking the Best Mt Kosciuszko Trail

When the weather is warm, Mt Kosciuszko is full of beautiful trails. Deciding which trail to walk can be a process.

Fortunately, there are trails for people of all abilities. That being said, there are a few things to keep in mind when deciding on the right trail.

Do you want to summit Mt Kosciusko? Are you looking for a rigorous hike? Or are you looking for a relaxing walk along a gorgeous mountain?

The following trails offer trails ranging from rigorous walks to the summit or easy walks up Mt Kosciuszko.

Charlotte Pass

Summit Trail From Charlotte Pass

The Summit Trail takes you right to the top of Mt Kosciuszko. It offers great views and fairly easy walking.

The Summit Trail is wide and used to be a road many years ago. Today it’s a spacious walking trail with a mild incline. This trail is 18km long, so you must be prepared for the distance.

This 18km long trail will take around 4 to 5 hours to walk. Proper clothing, footwear, and the ability to walk that far are necessary for a safe walk.

Main Range From Charlotte Pass

A challenging walk to the summit of Mt Kosciuszko is the Main Range track. This is a trail for the serious hiker.

Quieter than the Summit Trail, the Main Range offers a real mountaineering experience. Cross rivers, march through the snowdrifts and walk in the clouds as you wander this trail during the summer.

While this walk is more rigorous, it is well worth the challenge. It’s a 22km walk with a grade 4 rating, meaning it’s fairly steep. It takes about 7 to 9 hours to complete the roundtrip.

From Thredbo

Thredbo offers a relaxing walk for those who aren’t looking for a long rigorous walk. You can ride the chairlift up to the summit where you can take your time to appreciate the views Mt Kosciuszko has to offer.

Enjoy an easy 13km walk down the mountain on a metal boardwalk. This trail is perfect for anyone looking for a relaxing and easy-going walk.

Rawson Pass

Rawson Pass is the final leg to the summit. All three trails intersect and finish here. An interesting fact about Rawson Pass is it’s the home of Australia’s highest toilet for public use.

Hannel’s Spur Track

The steepest and most challenging is a hike for only the most experienced hikers. Hannel’s Spur is Australia’s longest vertical trail up Mt Kosciuszko.

In 1840, it was the original route Polish explorer Sir Paul Edmund Strzelecki took when hiking to the summit.

Sites to See on Mt Kosciuszko

Along your walk up Mt Kosciuszko, there are many sites and vistas to stop, take a break, and admire.

Blue Lake

Hiking the Main Range Trail offers gorgeous views of Australia’s Blue Lake. It’s one of four mountain lakes but only one of two that has not dried up due to a lowering water table.

During the summer months, you’ll find this lake to be a brilliant cobalt blue.

Blue Lake

Lake Cootapatamba

Not far from the summit is Lake Cootapatama. This post-glacial lake is the highest altitude lake in Australia.

Lake Cootapatamba

Mt Kosciuszko Summit

The final unique feature you’ll experience on your hike is the summit. Breathtaking vistas and views of neighbouring mountain ranges will welcome you as you finish your climb.

The summit is a perfect place for photos, a picnic, or well-deserved rest after a hard day’s climb.

Mt Kosciuszko

Wear the Right Gear

No matter the type of walk, you need the right gear. Wearing the wrong gear leads to blisters, temperature discomfort, and possible injury.

The climate in the mountains is unpredictable. One minute it’s sunny and warm, the next it’s down pouring and freezing! Always come prepared with the proper clothes, shoes, and jackets when walking any mountain.

Mt Kosciuszko is usually a safe mountain to walk and doesn’t always require serious hiking gear. Here’s the gear you should always have ready for hiking and walking in the mountains.

The Right Shoes

Keep your feet, legs, and back happy on your walk with a pair of quality hiking shoes. Wear a pair of comfortable well-fitting shoes when hiking any of the MT Kosciuszko trails.

Waterproof hiking shoes or boots with a non-slip grip are a great option as parts of the trail are known to get muddy and slippery. These are great for the easier trails and necessary for the Main Range Trail.

If you’re sticking to the Summit Trail or the chairlift, you can get away with a quality pair of running or walking shoes. However, a hiking shoe will give you more comfort and support on longer walks.

The Right Socks

Socks play an important role in keeping your feet warm, dry, and blister-free.

Merino wool is common in high-quality hiking socks because it’s soft, breathable, and warm. Pack a pair of merino wool to keep your feet feeling fresh on long walks up Mt Kosciuszko.

Then there’s sock style. When walking in low profile hiking or walking shoes, ankle socks should work just fine. If you’re hiking the rugged trail up Mt Kosciuszko, then tall (just below the knee) thermal socks will feel great.

The Right Clothes

Due to Mountain climates being unpredictable, it’s smart to have warm comfortable clothing. Always dress in layers. You can take layers off if you get too warm but can’t put layers on if you didn’t bring any.

During the warmer months, start with a short-sleeve shirt as your base. Layer a long sleeve over that and if it’s chilly that day, another long sleeve or sweater on top.

As for pants, look for lightweight, fast-drying, and comfortable material. Convertible pants are great if you like having the option of shorts. Your pants should be loose-fitting to allow you a wide range of moving when walking and hiking.

Jackets & Hiking Bags

When hiking and walking Mt Kosciuszko, it never hurts to bring a jacket along. As you climb the mountain, the weather can change, temperatures may drop, and it can be windy. Look for a water and windproof jacket that is breathable and comfortable.

Make carrying extra clothing, emergency gear easy with a light hiking backpack. Hiking bags come in a variety of sizes and can be sized to fit you. If you’re not planning on a long backpacking trip, a light comfortable backpack will work just fine.

You can also pack your water, emergency supplies, snacks, hiking sticks, and more in your hiking bag.

Mt Kosciuszko Safety Tips

Before you walk Mt Kosciuszko you should follow a few safety tips. Be prepared for any issues, large or small, you may face on your walk.

  1. Always bring a full water bottle or bladder on your hike
  2. Bring food such as trail mix, fruit, granola, or other snack foods
  3. Regularly re-apply sunscreen throughout your hike
  4. Pack an emergency blanket in case of an unplanned event
  5. Stick to the trail, wandering off puts you at risk for getting lost or injured
  6. Pack an emergency medical bag in case of injury, headache, or dizziness
  7. Bring a map of the trails you’re taking and how to identify Mt Kosciuszko
  8. Avoid petting or feeding wildlife
  9. Bring extra clothing in case of an emergency or a change in weather

By following these simple safety tips, your walk up Mt Kosciuszko will be fun and safe.

Be Kind to Your Trail

Trails along Mt Kosciuszko are enjoyed by other hikers and wildlife. You must do your part conserving the trail and environment.

Always pick up your trash and other trash you see along the trail. Prevent erosion and damage to plants by walking on designated trails.

Along the trails, you’ll find several facilities. Use them when you can as human waste can contaminate the water and mountain environments. If there’s an emergency, digging a hole far from rivers and lakes is acceptable.

Remember to leave your trail better than when you found it.

Let’s Hike!

Finding the right trail and being properly prepared will make your walk up Mt Kosciuszko an amazing adventure you’ll remember for years to come. The right shoes and clothes will ensure you can explore more of Australia comfortably after your hike.

Want to learn more about hiking and camping in Australia? Check out our latest camping blogs and gear reviews to find the best gear and camping tips.

Byron Bay Camping
By Kokoda Gear

A Backpacker’s Guide to Byron Bay Camping

For those travelling Australia, backpacking in Byron Bay is a rite-of-passage. Famous for its laid-back beach vibe and its culture clash atmosphere, in Byron Bay you’ll find surfers, backpackers, families, retirees, and business people all rubbing shoulders and enjoying the Byron Bay way of life together.

However, while the town oozes a relaxed hippie vibe, unfortunately, the prices don’t reflect this. Visiting Byron Bay is expensive!

To save money on your trip and to experience the town true Aussie-style, we recommend camping instead of splashing the cash on expensive accommodation.

We’re here to help. Here’s our guide to Byron Bay camping so you can enjoy your trip to the fullest.

About Byron Bay

Found on Australia’s popular East Coast, Byron Bay is a small coastal town loved by visitors and locals alike. On a typical itinerary of the East Coast, Byron Bay is one of the top spots that travellers visit, and there’s a good reason why.

There’s a lot packed into the small town, so there’s plenty to keep anyone occupied, no matter what their interests are. There’s vibrant nightlife, cosy restaurants and cafes, a diversity of alternative therapies, fantastic shopping, and of course, stunning beaches. There’s also plenty of adventure activities to do too, but we’ll get to that later.

A magical vibe surrounds Byron Bay, which is why both overseas tourists and Aussies return to visit again and again.

How Much Does Backpacking Byron Bay Cost?

As Byron Bay is so popular, unfortunately, that means prices are high – it’s not cheap!

However, Byron Bay is still a hub for nomads and travellers living out of a van, a car, or a tent. So, if you’re happy to embrace the back-to-basics hippie lifestyle, then you won’t need to spend too much money to experience the Byron Bay way of life.

If you’re a traveller who’s content with camping with the bare necessities, then you’ll love spending your time in Byron soaking up the sunshine on one of the many sublime beaches, plucking your guitar, and people-watching in the town.

Want to save money? You’ll need to reduce your visits to hipster-style cafes and will need to opt for a communal campsite instead of a fancy air BNB stay. When it comes to food, stick to supermarkets like Woolworths and Coles and try to do as much cooking at the campsite. Not only is it cheaper, but something is liberating about cooking dinner at a campsite, surrounded by like-minded people.

Some might opt for campsite accommodation and (mainly) cooking food from the supermarket, if you do you’ll be able to cover your daily food and accommodation for around $50 AUD. The fun extras on top, such as booze and the various activities around Byron Bay can push your budget up to around $80-$100 AUD.

Luckily, you’re not short of accommodation options when it comes to campsites and caravan parks. And while these camping spots may be more expensive than you’re used to paying, remember – you’re paying a premium for the location.

Holiday Parks in Byron Bay

As mentioned, if you’re looking for cheap accommodation Byron Bay, then camping is your answer! Plus, who needs a fancy five-star resort when you can watch millions of stars from your tent?

Camping in Australia is a must-do, and somewhere as beautiful and exciting as Byron Bay is the best place to do it. Just make sure you invest in a quality tent and camping gear such including a decent stove, so you can embrace the camping experience. Plus, you never know when it might rain – and you certainly don’t want a leaky tent!

There are plenty of campsites in Byron Bay with most of them costing around AUD 20 a night. While they aren’t the cheapest campsite fees, you’re still saving a ton of money than if you were staying in a hotel or even a hostel.

And remember, Byron camping can get very busy especially during Christmas and the school holidays, so always try to plan, especially if you’re thinking of travelling to Byron Bay during these peak periods. Nobody wants to be stuck without a spot for the night!

Here are some of our favourites holiday parks in and around Byron Bay.

The Arts Factory

While The Arts Factory isn’t the cleanest or most modern of campsites, that’s all part of the charm. The Arts Factory has been around for years and years and can be found nestled among the subtropical rain forest.

The Arts Factory isn’t just a campsite and offers heaps of other accommodation options such as van parking and staying in the hostel. The atmosphere of the place is what makes it so special – you’ll be surrounded by like-minded travellers staying on the outskirts of Byron rather than living in a campsite without much character.

Many of the other holiday parks are more geared towards the typical tourist rather than the backpacker, so at The Arts Factory, you’re bound to meet more of your kind.

byron bay arts factory

Suffolk Beachfront Holiday Park

If you’d rather camp by the beach (we certainly don’t blame you) then the Suffolk Beachfront Holiday Park is a great shout.

Pitch a tent or stay in a camper-van or caravan to set up camp right next to one of Byron Bay’s dreamy beaches. Suffolk Beachfront Holiday Park offers regular specials for powered sites especially, so be sure to check the website or make a query over the phone when booking. You never know, you may grab yourself a bargain!

Suffolk Beachfront Holiday Park

Free Camping in Byron Bay

Experienced camper? you may be used to camping in free spots. So, spending around AUD 20 on a campsite may seem a bit dear!

Unfortunately, due to the popularity of the town, Byron Bay is particularly difficult to find free spots to camp in.

Even if you just find a random spot to pitch in or sleep in your car on a side road, you’ll likely face a fine for illegal camping by a ranger. As you can imagine, these can be quite hefty, so it simply isn’t worth the risk.

If you’re willing to drive slightly outside the town, then there are some nice rest areas you can set up camp in. However, you should always research the rest area beforehand to make sure you aren’t breaking any rules otherwise again you may risk receiving a fine.

The rest areas around Byron Bay also only offer basic facilities, so don’t expect much more than a toilet! Many of the nearby beaches offer showers, so you may be able to have a rinse there.

Remember to avoid driving in the dark to your campsite, so you can avoid hitting any of the adorable native animals that are attracted to the bright lights of your vehicle during the night.

Here is what we can recommend.

Yelgun Rest Area

The Yelgun Rest Area is a free camping spot located about 25km North of Byron Bay, around a 25-minute drive from the town. You won’t need to worry about any fines, plus, its conveniently located next to the stunning South Golden Beach.

As its one of the only free campsites surrounding Byron Bay, it gets very busy so make sure to arrive early.

What to Do in Byron Bay

Now here’s the fun part – planning what you’ll do in Byron Bay! To make the most of your time in Byron Bay, you’ll want to enjoy the beautiful natural scenery and soak up the hippie vibes of the area.

For beach lovers, there are many gorgeous beaches to chill out on, catch a few rays, work on your tan, and swim from.

There are also plenty of water sports activities to dip your toes in, such as scuba diving, surfing, and hang gliding to name a few.

Julian Rocks off the coast of Byron is a famous snorkelling spot in Australia. Expect to spot sea turtles, fish, rays, and even sharks! Don’t worry – they aren’t a species that will try to gobble you up.

The bay is also an excellent spot to watch whales on their northern and southern migrations, and dolphins can be spotted all year round.

And did you know that Cape Byron is the most easterly point of Australia? And that the sun rises in the East?

That makes a sunrise visit to the famous Cape Byron Lighthouse top of the list for any traveller. Prepare to take plenty of snaps!

Need a break from the ocean? Alternatively, the surrounding lush rain forest makes for a great spot to hike and explore.

For the party animals out there, Byron Bay’s nightlife is kicking, and you can head out every night of the week at one of the many pubs, bars, or nightclubs. The town is also host to a variety of fun festivals that are internationally known, such as Bluesfest, Splendour in the Grass, and the Byron Bay International Film Festival.

Ready for Byron Bay Camping?

If you’re in the process of planning your Byron Bay camping trip, you may need some advice, especially if you’re new to camping outdoors. After all, it can all be a bit overwhelming and you don’t want to forget anything important before a big camping trip!

We’re here to help. Here are the top ten camping tents and supplies you need for your next camping trip. Happy travels and enjoy Byron Bay!

By Kokoda Gear

The Best Sydney Parks to Visit with Your Family

This year, the number of people visiting Australia from abroad is set to be a record-breaking 10 million! But did you know that even more people make domestic trips to the Sydney each year? Whether for one of the many Sydney parks, events, or tourist destinations on offer.

11.4 million domestic visitors made an overnight trip to Sydney between March 2018 and March 2019. And a whopping 23.4 million visited the city for a day trip.

Sydney has loads to offer. You could visit the iconic opera house, wander along Bondi beach or muse your way around the Museum of Contemporary Art. But what if you just need to give the kids a run around for the day?

In that case, you should visit one of the many Sydney parks. Scattered around the city, these vast green spaces offer the perfect place to play in the sun and relax in the shade.

Struggling to pick the best one? Well, look no further! Read on to find out about the best parks in Sydney, Australia!

The Royal Botanical Gardens

Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney Park

If you’re looking for somewhere to relax and learn about the country’s nature then this is the place for you.

The Royal Botanic Garden sits on the edge of Sydney’s famous harbour and boasts views of both the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. It’s a great spot to get a photo with these iconic landmarks. But you might be so busy exploring the garden you might not even notice them!

This Sydney park devotes itself to Australia’s flora and fauna so it’s great for explorers of all ages. It’s also home to a variety of wildlife, from vibrant tropical birds to shrill fruit bats and even water dragons.

If all of this isn’t enough, you can also check out the Calyx horticultural area. This is home to imaginative exhibitions on all aspects of Australia’s wildlife.

You can also dive straight into Australia’s Aboriginal past on a heritage tour of the area. This explains the significance of plants to the Aboriginal culture. It even gives you the opportunity to taste some traditional food from the bush.

Hyde Park

hyde park sydney

One of the best parks in Sydney, Hyde park has a rich and interesting history.

You might not think it to look around the park but it was once the most important place in the city. It used to be swampland. This provided food and water to the Gadigal people who lived in the area for over 60,000 years.

In 1810, it was transformed into the first public park in Sydney and was named after London’s famous Hyde Park. It housed a racecourse, a cricket pitch and army barracks. It also became a place where local children came to play.

When the underground in Sydney was first installed in 1855, the park was nearly destroyed entirely. But the city restored the park in 1927 and it has remained the same ever since.

Nowadays, you’ll find it to be a vast green space in the centre of the city. It is also home to the Archibald fountain and the Anzac War Memorial.

The Centennial Parklands

The Centennial Parklands

Centennial Park is the perfect place to visit if you want to keep your kids active while on holiday. It is a sporting hub in the city.

The Centennial Park alone covers a massive 467 acres worth of land. The Grand Drive around the park is 3.6 kilometres long and the perfect place for a bike ride.

Inside this drive, the park features a breathtaking Victorian landscape design. This includes ponds, tree-lined avenues and formal gardens.

Along with these ornate features, it is also home to some of the best playgrounds in the entire city. These are perfect for all ages and are a great place to blow off some steam.

And just in case you were worried that there might not be enough room for fun and games, the Moore Sports Park spans a further 284 acres. This space houses several stadiums along with sports pitches and courts.

You can go there to play golf, tennis or netball, or simply to run some track. You might even be able to join in with some of the local community sporting events that take place there.

The Barangaroo Reserve

The Barangaroo Reserve

This park might be newer than a lot of the other spaces in Sydney but it’s a great space to spend a day with your family. It’s the perfect place to come and get a change of scene if you’re camping outside the city.

Set on the waterfront, it is surrounded almost entirely by the bay and offers stunning views across it. The sites itself used to be the site of a vacant wharf, which makes sense given the location. But you wouldn’t think it by the look of the space!

It opened in 2015 and offers an entertaining park space over multiple levels. From the highest level, you can enjoy panoramic views over the harbour. Or on a rainy day, you can enjoy exhibitions or events held in the Cutaway.

And you won’t have to leave this park for supplies either. There are usually a plethora of local food vans selling hot and cold refreshments just outside the Cutaway.

Ashfield Park

Ashfield Park sydney

If you have young kids then this is the perfect park in Sydney to come on a hot summer’s day. This broad green park is covered in stunning, leafy palms to create shade for the perfect picnic.

It’s hardly surprising, then, that it was the favourite park of P L Travers – the author of Mary Poppins. In fact, this is where she wrote large sections of this famous story. There is even an iron statue of this iconic literary figure in the park itself.

While at the park, you can enjoy shady walks and visit the Commonwealth Pavilion and War Memorial. Or if your little ones have energy to use up, let them run around the on the park’s very own soccer field.

Blue Mountains National Park

Blue Mountains National Park

If you’re looking for a park in Sydney that takes you away from the city then you can’t do better than the Blue Mountains National Park. If you thought that Centennial Park was big then this will blow your mind!

Located to the west side of Sydney, this park spans 156,000 acres of land and is a registered heritage site. It was founded in 1959 as a way of preserving breathtaking scenery near the city and now provides an amazing escape to both tourists and residents.

The mountains offer a huge range of trails and paths to explore and once you’re inside you’ll forget you’re anywhere near a city. For those who like a challenge, the highest peak is 1,215 metres above sea level. But there are park trails for people of all ages and abilities.

If you don’t feel like walking then simply ride over the treetops. The Scenic World’s Skyway and Cableway provide breathtaking views for half the effort!

As you walk through the park, you’ll witness some of Australia’s amazing natural phenomenon. You’ll find everything from swamps, to grasslands and stunning rock formations. A lot of the trees that make up this stunning landscape are extremely rare, numbering only 100 in the entire world.

It’s also home to a third of Australia’s bird population along with a plethora of frogs, reptiles and mammals. If you’re really lucky, you might even spot one of the world’s endangered species, such as the Regent Honeyeater bird or a Broad-headed snake.

To make the most of everything that this park has to offer, you might want to make a weekend trip out of it. Day trips are also fine, just make sure you get there early to squeeze everything in.

And always check the weather forecast before you go. Nothing will ruin your day like a thunderstorm. Some areas of the park will be closed after excessive rainfall.

Sydney Park

Sydney Park

Last but by no means least, we have Sydney Park! After all, you couldn’t have a list of parks in Sydney without this one, could you? This 40-hectare site offers a great day out for the whole family.

Originally the site of an old brickworks, you can still visit the old brick kilns and chimneys. But if this history won’t keep the kids entertained, never fear!

It is home to one of the city’s largest children’s playgrounds. You can also burn through their energy on the park’s special miniature cycle network.

If you don’t have your bikes with you then the Sydney Park Cycling Centre will provide everything you need. And it’ll teach your kids all about road safety when cycling.

At lunchtime, check out one of the park’s cafes or head on down to the barbecue stations and fire up them up! You can donate any leftover burger buns to the ducks down at the park’s ponds and learn all about the wetland’s wildlife while you’re there.

Get Out and Visit These Sydney Parks Today!

If you’re looking looking for Sydney parks, it won’t take you long to find one! They’re the perfect place to relax and play with your family while on holiday. Or simply use them to get that all-important fresh air!

And if you’re about to hit the road with your family, make sure you have all these essential camping supplies with you.

free camping NSW
By Kokoda Gear

Free Camping NSW: 5 Terrific Camping Sites to Visit

Did you know that Australia’s tourism industry is booming? It’s expected for the country to welcome about 10 million overseas visitors this year. But no fear, there is plenty of free camping NSW wide.

If you’re visiting Australia anytime soon, camping is a great way to spend your holidays. It’s even more fulfilling if you’re doing it with your family and loved ones. With that, you’ll need to know about your free camping NSW options.

With the right destination and reliable camping supplies, you can plan an entire camping trip that can last months or even years! In this guide, you’ll learn some of the best camping sites NSW has to offer.

1. Wingham Foreshore Recreation Reserve

Wingham Foreshore Recreation Reserve free camping nswLocated 95 kilometres south of Port Macquarie, Wingham Recreation Reserve is accessible with the use of two-wheel drive cars. Once you get to the town of Wingham, you only need to find the bitumen road and follow it. It’s a great camping site if you have tents, caravans, and camper trailers.

If you have big rigs, it’s not as ideal, but you can get cheap camping at the Wingham showgrounds. Take note, while the recreation reserve is free, it’s only available for 24-hour camping trips. If you plan to get a spot, you need to go there as early as possible since it only has 20 campsites.

As for its facilities, it has a jetty and a boat ramp. It’s perfect if you want to swim and fish in Manning River. That allows you and your loved ones to have a more natural experience, away from most amenities without inconvenience.

2. Gentleman’s Halt, Marramarra National Park

Gentlemans Halt Marramarra National Park free camping nsw
Marramarra National Park, Gentlemans Halt Campground

Are you trying to find a more remote campsite? If so, nothing can beat Gentleman’s Halt since you need to hike first before you reach it. It’s a secluded gem that you’ll encounter along Canoelands Ridge Track, as long as you’re willing to trek around 10 kilometres of the trail.

If you want something more challenging, you can also reach it by using a kayak, canoe, or a small boat. It’s a riverside campsite where you can relax and enjoy the waters. If you’re into animal watching, you can go to the surrounding scrub and see the lyrebirds and bandicoots.

The best part is that the campground has great amenities, such as toilets, barbecue facilities, and picnic tables. But if you need more, you’re welcome to bring your own.

3. Turon Crossing Reserve, Bridle Track

Turon Crossing Reserve Bridle Track free camping nswIf you want a campsite during the dry months, try the Turon Crossing Reserve. It’s a camping site broke into two sites, accessible with the use of a 2WD vehicle. You have the choice to make camp on either shaded or sunny spots.

You have suitable area to prepare a camper trailer. But take note, it’s only possible if the weather conditions will allow you to haul it down the track. Regardless, it’s a great place for fishing, swimming, and relaxation.

But this camp has a unique feature—it’s a well-known fact that the area can give up some gold. If you’re an eager fossicker, you can try your luck and use metal detectors or gold pans to look for this precious metal.

The camp still requires you to carry your supplies. With 20 million tonnes of waste filling Australia’s landfills each year, the camp encourages you to do your part in maintaining its cleanliness. That means you need to dispose your trash on your own since the camp won’t accommodate it. It’s good practice anyway when you’re experiencing all the free camping NSW has to offer.

4. Sculpture in the Scrub, Timallallie National Park

Sculpture in the Scrub Timallallie National ParkA good camp for people with artistic inclinations is the Sculptures in the Scrub. Nestled within the Pilliga Forest, this campsite is a great place for caravans, campers, and tents. It’s the perfect starting point if you want to start exploring the area.

It has a walking track with the same name—a 2-kilometre loop that showcases artworks made by a collaboration of young people and local Aboriginal elders. Each piece represents a different story depicting the region’s culture and history.

If you want to see some unique wildlife, this campsite has some of the country’s elusive fauna. As for facilities, you can expect sheltered picnic tables as well as barbecue areas, toilets, and rainwater access. It’s recommended that you boil or treat the water to ensure it’s safe to drink.

An important thing to remember is that the campground will get lots of sunlight. Make sure to stay hydrated and don’t stay under the sun for too long. You can also read this guide if you’re interested in maintaining your cleanliness on outdoor trips.

5. The Barracks, Coolah Tops Park

The Barracks Coolah Tops ParkIt’s a charming campsite situated in a private area. It only has a few sites that dot the small eucalyptus trees. The Barracks has fantastic greeneries, with a stand of grass trees aged several hundred years old.

This campsite also has a creek that you can swim in, as long as you keep safety in mind. Regardless, you need to pack a pair of walking boots and a mountain bike. That is if you plan to see the picturesque views along the Warrumbungle Range from Pinnacle Road’s end.

Like the abovementioned Sculpture in the Scrub, The Barracks has some unique fauna. For example, you might encounter a red-necked wallaby or a wombat near your tent. The wildlife is friendly, so there’s no cause for you to feel unease.

Its amenities include wood barbecues, toilets, and picnic tables. But if you’re camping here, make sure to bring a gas stove along as well. Good thing you have the option of towing a caravan into the camp’s grounds or pitch a tent and call it a day.

Why Use Free Campsites?

If you’re touring New South Wales for a while, you can extend your vacation time by using free camping. This saves you a small fortune, enabling you to save more on activities and other attractions.

But that can’t be the only reason, right? Fortunately, saving cash isn’t the only benefit to trying out free camping sites. Here are some other benefits of using free camping:

1. Improve Social Skills

People who stay at free campsites know that these places draw in a lot of friendly campers. Often, you’ll find more social chats at free camps than paid caravan parks. After you finish setting up, you can always share drinks with fellow campers and have chats about your adventures.

Engaging in conversation allows you to become more comfortable with speaking to other people. Also, you can learn some tips on what to do within the campgrounds. Some of the more seasoned campers will also share their wisdom on their experiences with the free camps they visited across the country.

2. It’s Pet-Friendly

If you’re camping in sites within national parks, it’s likely to have strict rules about your pets. But lots of free camps around NSW that could cater to your fur babies. If you plan to make a trip with your dog, make sure to do your homework and find camps that welcome them.

3. No Need to Book Ahead

When you tour around the country, you won’t know the number of kilometres you’ll cover every day. That’s what makes booking in at a caravan park the night before a risky move. After all, the distance you’ll cover depends on the weather and road conditions, as well as the places where you decide to make a stop.

If you’re making the trip during the peak period, make sure to do some research beforehand. Always have a second option to put your mind at ease. That way, you can still travel to the next campsite if the current one is full or unsuitable for your needs.

Always remember that you should reach your camp of choice before nightfall. It’s an important goal to ensure your safety. That’s why it’s always better to keep tabs on all of the camps within a certain proximity radius.

Regardless, the convenience of not having to book ahead make free camps more desirable. But you should keep in mind that camps accept on a first-come-first-served basis.

Enjoy These Free Camping NSW Choices Today!

If you’re looking for the best free camping NSW options, this list is great for beginners. Each camp has its unique features, making them worth visiting more than once. Don’t hesitate and start planning to visit them whenever you have some time for a vacation.

But to make the most out of your trip, you need to get the best camping equipment around. A good piece of equipment you should get is a hiking pole. If you’re interested in learning how hiking poles benefit your camping experience, read our guide here.

By Kokoda Gear

Glow Worm Tunnel Walking Track

One of the most unique walking tracks in Australia is in the Wollemi National Park. Located just outside of Sydney, New South Wales near Lithgow. It is a mere 400 metres in length however the walk will take 1-2km. This is due to getting in and back from the designated parking some distance away. But don’t worry it is totally worth the trip.

glow worm tunnel

Glow Worm Tunnel walking track is lit by thousands of glow worms all through the tunnel. This is what gives it its magical and ethereal feel. The tunnel was originally constructed as part of a railway line for the Newnes oil shale works. It fell into disuse and has since been abandoned.

It is located just over 30 kilometres from Lithgow or Clarence through Newnes Plateau. A lot of people combine the visit with one of the many lovely bush walks through the Wollemi National Park.

It is dark in the tunnel, so bring a torch and sturdy shoes!

The History of Glow Worm Tunnel

glow worm tunnel

Built in the early 1900s, the Newnes oil-shale manufacturing growth was a large-scale undertaking for a moment. The idea was to contstruct a standard gauge railway into the Wolgan Valley. This was to link the Newnes oil works with the closest primary railway to Sydney. It was essential for the success of shale production and transport. The resulting railway linked at Newnes Junction, about 50 km north of Newnes, with the Western Main Line.

The railway had to be constructed with low grades and strong bends to get from the Newnes Plateau, past the sandstone hills and right into the Wolgan Valley, and fit through the tight gorge of what is now known as the Tunnel Creek.

The railway launched at the end of 1906, while in the 1930s the last periodic train operated. After the move of the Newnes unit to Glen Davis, south of Newnes, the railway was demolished in 1940.

Glow Worm Tunnel in Wollemi National Park

The Glow Worm Tunnel is actually one of two tunnels that now lie abandoned, which were part of the railway. The reason it is so dark and why we recommend a torch is that it bends at 180 degrees, hence no light traverses directly through it. There’s also a stream that passes through this tunnel, a small one, so bring sturdy shoes just in case. It’s these aspects of darkness, cool and a small stream that provide optimal conditions for the glow worms to flourish in this tunnel. The glow worms are all over the blue mountains but this is easily the best place to see them, and in such a magnificent setting.

glow worm tunnel

How to get to Glow Worm Tunnel

The best way to reach Glow Worm Tunnel is to head to Lithgow first. Once you get there you should follow Inch Street and turn left onto Atkinson Street which will allow you to continue to Newnes Plateau. As you go along you’ll see some interesting rock formations but it’s important to stay on the gravel road and go past what was the afforestation camp previously.

The road here can be rough so we recommend you take it slow, there’s also an abundance of wild life, so take care not to hit a wombat or kangaroo. Absolutely avoid this place at night, as majestic as it is – it’s out in the wilderness and the odds of injuring yourself or especially wildlife is increased when it is dark – plus the tunnel is dark anyway so you may as well see it at day time when there are fewer challenges and obstacles to the visit.

Historical Significant of Wollemi National Park

For at least 12,000 years, the region that is now Wollemi National Park has been of importance to Aboriginal people. There is evidence of this association throughout the park, including ceremonial grounds, stone arrangements, grinding holes, scarred trees, and rock gravings. About 120 recognized Aboriginal locations are to be found in the park and likely many more. The individuals of Wiradjuri, Dharug, Wanaruah and Darkinjung have a powerful and continuous cultural connection to their traditional territories and seas.

Unique Geology of Wollemi National Park

Over the millennia, the landscape of Wollemi was carved into a beautiful network of towering sandstone escarpments, deep gorges and canyons, sweeping bends of the river, and stunning geology such as pagoda rock structures, basalt-capped hills and diatrems. The most comprehensive sandstone canyon scheme in eastern Australia is the dramatic Colo gorge and its tributaries. Take your camera and explore the amazing views and natural wonders that render it a treasure of the World Heritage.

Planning to camp out too? Don’t forget to pack the camping essentials.

camping in australia
By Kokoda Gear

The 10 Best Camping Spots near Sydney

Although this is probably not the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of it, but one of Sydney’s biggest selling points is the natural beauty that surrounds it and the the amazing camping spots near Sydney. Once you leave the clean, ordered streets of New South Wale’s capital, you are only minutes away from some of Australia’s most diverse and magical flora and fauna.

Pristine beaches, breathtaking mountain ranges, and endless prairies are just some of the landscapes you will encounter, and the best part is that accommodation is highly affordable. Tired of walking through the same city streets every day? If so, you should check out these 10 exciting camping locations and sleep under the clear country sky! Don’t forget to bring the right camping equipment.

1) Cockatoo Island

cockatoo island

Located just a ferry ride from Circular Quay, Cockatoo Island is a quaint location with a great view of Sydney’s harbor making one of the very popular tourist camping spots. It’s particularly popular during the fireworks in the new year’s eve celebrations! Once settled, you can tour the island’s well-preserved historical heritage, it’s a quick trip, but the added benefit is that you’ll be right in the harbor so you can catch regular ferries and sight-see around Circular Quay when you’re done.

If you want to camp out overnight on the island, there are hot showers, flush toilets, and communal fridges to be found in the island’s campsite. However, if you are looking to spend a romantic evening outdoors and experience the sights and sounds with your significant other, you can go big and try glamping.

Forget about sleeping in the hard soil when glamping, choosing the glamping pack will give you access to a spacious Safari Bow tent with a mattress, crisp linen bedding, cushions, a fridge, microwave, toiletries, and a lantern. Basically, everything you could wish to find in an outdoor hotel room!

2) Royal National Park

royal national park

A short 40-minute drive south of Sydney is all you need to reach the exuberant Royal National Park. Here visitors will find camping spots are available surrounding beautiful scenery and provides plenty of opportunities for sightseeing, swimming, fishing, bush-walking, barbecues, and picnics.

If you hate crowds and touristy areas, you will be happy to hear that the park’s two intimate campgrounds allow you to enjoy the sounds of nature without being disturbed. The campsites’ facilities are rustic (only non-flush toilets are available) yet well-suited for backpack camping.

Wood-fire is prohibited though, so if you are going to spend the night you need to bring a fuel stove. If you are looking for a truly unique experience, the North Era campground is located close to the beach and has some of the best vantage points to spot whales during their annual migration.

3) Lane Cove National Park

Lane Cove National Park camping spots

This award-winning park is a great spot for campers looking to experience the outdoors without sacrificing the comfort they are used to having at home. Some of the amenities you will find in the campsites include a pool, wireless internet, hot showers, TV sets, flush toilets, and free gas barbecues.

Lodging options for camping spots include pitching your own tent, renting a ready to use tent set up for you in advance, or sleeping inside your own car or caravan. Despite its popularity, Lane Cove still maintains a peaceful atmosphere that promotes relaxation.

Once you step away from the camp and into the wilderness, the sheer amount and diversity of wildlife available (including species like possums, owls, kookaburras, and water dragons) is enough to keep you entertained until your next meal is ready.

4) Olney State Forest

Olney State Forest

Olney’s luscious pine forest is a must-visit for anybody near Sydney. The park’s rules are pretty flexible when it comes to visitors, so you will have no problem bringing your whole family and even your dog with you, as long as you keep him under control.

There are several campsites nearby (Casuarina, Turpentine, and The Basin) which offer both privacy and well-kept bathrooms. Olney is crossed by several trails which allow visitors to explore every corner of the forest.

Although most people prefer to hike or cycle, others use dirt bikes for added excitement. Despite being far from the sea, Olney’s huge expanse and picturesque mountain sights (which are ideal for picnics) are well worth visiting.

5) Euroka Campground

Euroka CampgroundEuroka is the place to camp if you are hiking through the wild Blue Mountains. Nestled in a small valley not too far from the town of Glenbrook, Euroka’s idyllic location has camping spots that are a welcome change from the fast-paced city life.

Fire pits, picnic table, and wood for barbecues are all available on the campgrounds, although the absence of a grocery store means you will have to bring your food with you. Facilities are Spartan, so campgrounds have no running water, no electricity, and only pit toilets.

However, these conditions only give campers an extra reason to explore the beautiful surrounding. Several trails traverse Euroka, many of which are suitable for small children, and are actively visited by kangaroos and other local fauna.

6) Lake Macquarie

Lake MacquarieIf bird-watching and hiking aren’t stimulating enough for you, then you will probably find that the energizing atmosphere and endless activities available in Lake Macquarie are just what you need.

Famous for being the largest salt lake in the southern hemisphere, Lake Macquarie is a popular getaway destination where Sydney locals go to swim, fish, sail, climb rocks, ride horses, and basically do anything but getting bored.

The popularity of the lake, variety of activities, and quality of the amenities available in the park are perfect for millennial and city-dwellers who might feel out of place in more intimate campgrounds. But don’t be fooled by the animated environment, though, because there are still plenty of secluded places where you can appreciate the beautiful scenery far from the noisy crowds.

7) Coledale Beach

Coledale BeachAn hour of driving is all you will need to step out of the busy city and enjoy a relaxing weekend at the beach. Sandwiched between the sea and the rocky outcrops that protect visitors from the worst of the weather, Coledale is the perfect place to let your inner beach bum roam free.

The beach itself is a great location to surf, dive, fish, swim, or just sit back and enjoy the view with a cold drink on each hand. However, tourists aren’t the only visitors on the beach because dolphins and whales can also be spotted year-round.

Back in the Coledale Beach Camping Reserve, visitors can enjoy several amenities such as kitchens with power points, flush toilets, and plenty of room where kids and adults alike can play and relax.

8) Glenworth Valley

Glenworth ValleyFamous for being a haven for horse riders, Glenworth Valley is a simple campsite where peace and quiet are the order of the day. Campsites are spread around some 80 hectares along Popran Creek and include wood-fired barbecues, hot showers, and a variety of activities that go from horse riding to quad-biking and kayaking.

Camping options include pitching your own tent, ready set up tents for rent, or straight out glamping in one of the campsites’ fully equipped cabins. Despite having comfortable cabins, all sites lack electricity and there is a 10 pm noise curfew that visitors must respect.

9) The Basin

The BasinIf you are looking for a remote, exciting location for your next family trip, The Basin might just be the answer to your prayers. Located in the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, The Basin is the only campground in the park and an ideal location for backpack camping.

Despite not being reachable by car, The Basin offers all the amenities you need to regain your strength back after a hard day of hiking. Picnic tables, barbecue, public phones, hot showers, toilets, and drinking water are just some of the amenities you will find in the campground’s amenities block.

Near the camp, you will find an inland lagoon and a sheltered beach where you can take a dip to cool off, swim, or kayak. A well-kept system of trails connects the campground to the rest of the park, so you can easily explore the site’s natural wonders on foot or bike. Local attractions include bird-watching, sightseeing, and visit the Basin aboriginal art site.

10) NRMA Sydney Lakeside Holiday Park

NRMA Sydney Lakeside Holiday Park

Located in Narrabeen Beach, the National Roads and Motorists’ Association Sydney Lakeside Holiday Park is the place where the natural beauty of Sydney’s northern beaches and glamping meet.

One of the few caravan camping locations with a beachfront, the Sydney Lakeside Holiday Park is packed with fun activities —- such as kayaking, sailing, and hiking — that the whole family can enjoy. Children’s entertainment opportunities include the water park, pedal go-karts, various playgrounds, a recreation room, as well as school holiday activities.

Campsite amenities are excellent and include camp kitchen, barbecue areas, family bathroom, free WiFi, a dump point, refuse stations, and laundries — to name a few. Although NRMA members can get discounts to many of these benefits, the park also offers special discounts and packages for families, so make sure to visit their website before you hit the road.

Summing Up

While Australia’s large landmass create endless opportunities for camping spots, Sydney is a living proof that you don’t need to go far from the city to have a unique outdoor experience. The city’s location between the Blue Mountains and the ocean means that you are never more than an hour away from taking a swim, sailing, hunting, or bush walking through the beautiful scenery.

So, what are you waiting for? Pack your bags, call your friends and family members, and pick your destination for your next weekend getaway today!

By Kokoda Gear

Hiking Do’s and Don’ts for Walking in Australia

Australia, the land down under has some straight forward hiking Do’s and Don’ts. A mystical, magical place that is filled with rugged terrain and is as beautiful as it is…dangerous. Yeah, this place could potentially kill you if you’re careless.

Each year thousands and thousands of people trek Australia’s outback, this amazing land and do so safely and without any incident. But every year, there are plenty of stories of tourists and even locals who get hurt. A few are even killed as they tackle this intense terrain, usually due to exposure. The difference between staying safe and succumbing to the dangers of the wild Australian outback lie in hiking do’s and don’ts. If you plan on hiking in Australia’s vast outback, then pay attention to this list and you can emerge unscathed with some amazing stories to tell!

Hiking Do’s

DO bring lots of water

Bring LOTS of water. It is recommended when hiking in Australia that you should bring a minimum of 3 liters of water per day. If you plan on staying out overnight, you will want to double that amount. One of the main reasons people succumb to hot climates is lack of water. When in doubt, bring a little more. This is probably the most important one of the hiking do’s and don’ts.

hiking do's and don'ts - Uluru at Sunset

DO bring a satellite phone

If you are hiking in Australia, keep your iPhone at home…it won’t work once you’ve left the big cities. Cell phones are so named as they utilize waves beamed from cell towers, mobile phones are not as mobile as the name might imply. You won’t find such towers where you are going. Instead, you will want to have a satellite phone or SAT phone which can utilise signals as beamed from other phones or directly from orbiting satellites. If you get lost or get injured, a sat phone may be your only lifeline for safety. This can be very crucial as you go further out especially if you need to signal for help in an emergency, or if you come across similarly stranded people in need of assistance.

Satellite Phone

DO plan out your path

Sure, wandering around and discovering while hiking can be fun, but in Australia, it can be incredibly easy to lose your bearings and get lost before you know it. So if you’re going trekking or just walking in Australia, make sure to take some time before you leave to plan a solid hiking map and follow it closely. Know where you started, plot out some landmarks, and don’t stray from the route. Temperatures can be harsh, the animals unforgiving, and your water supply can dwindle quickly if you are wandering around aimlessly.

Australian route planning

DO bring a first aid kit with you

Snake bites, spider bites, insect stings, cuts and abrasions…those are just of few of the reasons why you DO need to bring a first aid kit with you when hiking in Australia. I’m not talking about a small box of band-aids and some Neosporin, but a serious first-aid kit that can be used to treat serious injury. If something does happen in the Outback to you or a friend you are with, the person injured may not be able to be moved and help could be HOURS away. Making sure to bring the necessary tools for survival can sometimes make the difference between life or death.

Outback first aid kit

DO tell other people exactly where you are going to be and when you should be back

If you are planning a hike in Australia, don’t keep it a secret. On the contrary, tell several people where you are going, where your car will be parked, and when you should be back, even listing your intended route can be essential in returning you safe and sound to civilisation should alarm be raised and the authorities have to come and rescue you. If you don’t check in with those you tell, they can establish a search party quickly. If someone is hurt or becomes lost while hiking in the Australian Outback, every minute can count.

Now that we have gone over a few of the things you should do, let’s now visit the thinks you should NOT do as we continue our list of hiking do’s and don’ts in Australia.

Hiking Don’ts

DON’T pick up or try to touch anything that moves

While you may truly be a lover of nature and all things creepy-crawly, it is NOT recommended to try to pick up or touch pretty much any creatures you come across while hiking in Australia. There are nearly 50 types of poisonous spiders in Australia that can cause sickness or even death if one is bitten. There are almost 100 venomous snakes here as well. Add to this list scorpions, ants, hornets…well, you get the idea. There are a LOT of things that can bite, sting, and otherwise harm you. Even if you think something is non-lethal, it is better to be safe than sorry. Leave the creatures be and go on about your hike. If you’re in Queensland or Darwin, watch out for crocodiles too! Seriously the creeks and the logs within them, can be cause for serious surprise.

DON’T try to take selfies with a ROO

Kangaroos, or roos as Aussies call them, can be encountered when hiking in Australia and if they are, it is advised to keep your distance. Unlike the cute cartoon kangaroos featured in books and cartoons such as Winnie the Pooh, kangaroos can often have a temper. And that temper comes with an incredible ability to do some serious damage if a person gets to close. They have claws that can disembowel a human and their powerful kicks can be lethal. In most cases, a roo will keep their distance but if you get too close, and they feel threatened, then you may be in some serious trouble. Back away slowly and head in the other direction. Yes, they are cute, and yes, they can be deadly. If you’d like a selfie with a kangaroo – there are an abundance of zoos and parks in major cities (or even golf courses near sundown) where kangaroos are used to humans and will be far more pleasant and familiar with selfies and getting close. You can even feed them in certain zoos with recommended and provided pellets.

hiking in Australia kangaroo selfie

DON’T try to tread lightly

Some hikers feel the need to try to be quiet when in the wild so as not to disturb the wildlife. This, however, can be a lethal mistake. You see, most animals and creatures want to avoid us as much as we want to avoid them and if they hear you or sense your presence, they will take off to a safer location. So, if you are making enough noise while hiking, you are actually safer. BUT, if you are too quiet and end up sneaking up on a creature that didn’t hear you coming, they may fear for their safety and strike, or bite, or sting, or kick, or…well, you get it.

DON’T continue hiking after dark

Just as being quiet while hiking in Australia is a big no-no, so is hiking after dark. If you DO become disoriented or lose track of time and night falls, you are often better off simply trying to find a safe spot in the open to stay put for the night. If you are hiking in the dark, you won’t be able to see if you are coming up on an animal or creature that could cause you harm, not to mention simply tripping and falling over a stick, rock, or uneven path that is hidden by the shadows. Use your sat phone to call for help and stay put.

DON’T wear low-cut tennis shoes

Sure, tennis or other low-cut shoes can be comfy, but you are in the OUTBACK. Your best bet is NOT to wear that type of footwear, but instead, wear some serious hiking boots that can withstand the terrain and protect your feet and ankles from sticks and potential snakebites. In addition, hiking boots with high ankle protection can help you avoid twisting your ankle while hiking through uneven terrain. You won’t get very far with the wrong footwear, so remember this as another one of the fundamental hiking do’s and don’ts.

EVEN THOUGH hiking in Australia presents some dangers, the fact is that even with all the scary creepy-crawlies this Southern Land holds, deaths in the Outback are actually quite rare. Armed with this list of hiking do’s and don’ts, your chances of returning from your journey unscathed can be even higher. Use common sense and the tips above as your guide and enjoy yourself on your hike down under!

By Kokoda Gear

Bondi to Coogee Walk

A cliff top coastal stroll and arguably the most famous walk in Sydney or perhaps New South Wales, the path from Bondi to Coogee stretches in the southern parts of Sydney for 6 km. The trek has amazing views, beaches, parks, cliffs, bays and pools of rock. In one of the cafes, hotels, shops or takeaways, the beaches and parks provide a fantastic route to relax, walk or eat.

Most of the beaches have free electric barbecues offering picnic facilities, play places, kiosks, bathrooms and changing rooms, Tamarama, Bronte, Coogee and Maroubra. The coastal trek from Bondi to Coogee is an urban path and considered of medium difficulty, it would otherwise be easy except that along the path there are some steep gradient routes and several steps. There are relaxing stops along the shoreline with excellent opinions and seating. Completing the Bondi to Coogee Beach segment of the trek requires about two hours and another hour and a half if you decide to travel to Maroubra.

Although accessible and a pleasant stroll the Bondi to Coogee coastal walk, do make sure you carry comfortable clothes, take a jacket, lenses, sunscreen, water and carry suitable clothes in colder weather because the breeze from the ocean in colder temperatures may not be so pleasant. On particularly hot days a bit of shade might help you avoid sunstroke also – make sure you’re getting plenty of fluids and reapplying sunscreen when you rest.

How far is Bondi to Bronte walk? The Bondi to Bronte walk is 2.5 km, or 1.5 miles. How long is the Bondi to Bronte walk? It’ll take about 1 hour to 1.5 hours for a comfortable walk. If you’re not tired from your walk when you get to Bronte, most people move on to Clovelly and even then on to Coogee. The Bondi to Coogee walk distance is 6km, or 3.5 miles. But plenty still prefer to complete the Bondi to Bronte walk only.

Bondi to Coogee Walk Map

Highlights of the Bondi Coogee Walk

Featuring fantastic ocean views, sandstone cliffs and the crashing waves across the entire panorama, Bondi Beach to Coogee offers a stunning view of Australian coastline and beach culture. Be sure to keep an eye out for the surfers, kite sailors and boats across the horizon! There’s also Wedding Cake Island which is about 1 km east of Coogie, worth a look for on a clear day.

Bondi to Coogee Walk Distance

The route from Coogie to Bondi is 6km long or 3.5 miles.

Bondi to Coogee Walk Time

It’ll take you approximately 2.5 hours to 3 hours to comfortably walk the Bondi to Coogee route.

Bondi to Bronte Walk Distance

If you’d prefer to stop after Bondi to Bronte then note the distance is only 2.5km one way or 1.5 miles. That’s a 5km round trip or just over 3.1 miles.

Bondi to Bronte Walk Time

The walk time for the shorter Bondi to Bronte route is 1 hour or 1.5 hours to complete it comfortably.

Bondi to Bronte Coastal Walk

How Hard is the Walk from Bondi to Coogee?

Difficulty and Track Conditions

Bondi to Coogee is a considered a Grade 2 track and is suitable for pretty much all ages and fitness levels. It is an urban walk and the walkway is paved with some sections of stairs. Do note however that despite it being a paved and boardwalk route the stairs which can be steep may disqualify anyone with a pram who is not prepared to pick that pram up and traverse the steps that are peppered around the route.

Disability Access

Much like the advice with prams, please keep in mind that there are no disabled walking tracks on this route. However Bronte and Bondi are booth wheelchair accessible. The walk between them for the disabled is not recommended, with similar issues regarding prams due to stairs.

How to Get to Bondi Beach?

It can be hard to access parking at Bondi Beach, plus beginning at Bondi and ending at Coogee can trigger issues. Not to mention the cost of parking in Bondi is quite unpleasant.

You are better off taking public transportation to Bondi as the bus connectivity is excellent. Then you can walk to Coogee and take the public transport back (unless you really fancy a long walk back to Bondi again).

The simplest route to get to Bondi Beach from the city is to take the train to Bondi junction (from Central, Town Hall, Martin Place) and then find the buses to Bondi Junction. These are the 380, 381, 382 or 333 buses and take 15 minutes to the beach.

Is it better to go from Bondi to Coogee or from Coogee to Bondi?

Even though the Bondi to Coogee route is the standard and more famous route to take, we would actually recommend going in the other direction, from Coogee to Bondi. Seeing Bondi Beach appear on the horizon at the end of your walk is a far more spectacular view with the rocks and natural landscape and then the happening around it.

Aside from that there are way more places to eat at the end of your walk, so you’ll have lots of choice to replenish post walk which a lot of people don’t really consider.

However if you’re actually planning to do the Great Coastal Walk where you go from Palm Beach to Coogee, then you’ll obviously have started at Palm Beach, gone to Manly, then Manly to Bondi and then finally Bondi to Coogee. But that’s a long day!

Coogee Beach

Parking at Bondi Beach and Coogee

We really don’t recommend parking at Bondi, you really would be better taking a bus. At Bondi it’ll cost you $8 per hour if you do, that is if you can even find a space, especially in Summer. There’s also a private parking facility operated by Wilson Parking on Campbell Parade with an entry via Curlewis Street.

However for that you’re talking about a $58 fee for the day. There is an Early Bird Parking price which only costs $9 if you arrive between 6:00am – 9:30am and leave between 4:00pm – 7:00pm.

There’s also a Wilson Parking but it is a bit further back in Hall Street (entry via O’Brien St) which will cost you $36 for a full day. There are also free parking spots if you can ever find them around Bondi’s streets but they are marked for 1-2 hours and the parking inspectors are deadly accurate and on time.

If you’re parking at Coogee instead there’s a car park in front of Coogee Pavilion at the northern end of Coogee Beach which is free. There is a paid parking stations at the Crown Plaza Hotel but it’s $25 for a full day so you’re better off trying for a free space a few minutes from Coogee and you can walk there in about 10-15 minutes from the free parking if it’s not too busy and there are spaces.

Bondi beach at sunrise

Swimming breaks in and around the Bondi to Coogee Walk

The trek includes five swimming pools: Coogee Beach (there is also a women’s sea pool), Clovelly Beach, Bronte Beach (there is also a rock pond), Tamarama Beach and Bondi Beach. Swimming and snorkeling can also be done at Gordons Bay.

With the exception of Gordons Bay, there is a lifeguard service for all islands along the Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk. In fact, they even created the Bondi lifesavers a reality television series: Bondi Rescue. The purple lifesavers are paid experts, while the more commonly used red and yellow lifesavers are volunteers.

Great Places to Eat along the Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk

Coogee has a lot of shops, especially along Coogee Bay Road, which runs parallel to the beach. Check out the Coogee Pavilion for cool vibes with nice opinions over the beach’s southern part.

Clovelly Beach has a kiosk that you can get takeaway food from or eat in for sit-down snacks. Which isn’t nearly as full of options as the other places but it’s better than nothing in a pinch anyway. Besides there are some nice spots to sit if you bring a picnic along.

Bronte has a food strip up the back of the grassed region, and Tamarama Beach also has a kiosk. Which is one of the reasons why we recommend doing the route backwards because Bondi has better selection.

There are also many shops and restaurants in Bondi Beach. As a generalisation, Campbell Parade and restaurants opposite Bondi Pavilion are catering for tourists so can be a bit pricey. So drive up Hall Street, which operates parallel to Campbell Parade for better meals that are a bit more cheap and cheerful. Le Paris Go Cafe, Bills Cafe, Gelato Messina, with its world-renowned ricotta hotcakes – plenty of nice options

Another local Bondi Beach hangout is up the beach’s southern edge. Try take away from Speedos Cafe or give Sean’s a go for something with a fancier feel to it.

Bondi Beach’s best views don’t have to be costly: Bondi RSL on the north end and Bondi Icebergs on the south end offer bistro restaurants and fairly priced beverages (fairly priced for Bondi that is). Just note that the very swanky Icebergs Dining Room and Bar is upstairs at Icebergs, and downstairs the much cheaper bistro. Though if we’re honest as unusual and fun as the Icebergs are, it’s always overcrowded and there’s a cost to get into the grounds anyway. At least the view of the rocks crashing against it is great – though you may go to the pool and look out at the beach and question why it is you’re paying to be in a pool when you have all that ocean to swim in.

Bondi icebergs

Check out some of our other Australian Walking Routes and other guides for walks around Australia.