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Top 8 Free Camping Spots in Central Coast

Central Coast is a region in New South Wales that lies on the Tasman Sea coast. Located south of Newcastle and just 77km north of Sydney, Central Coast is the ideal getaway location for thousands of holidaymakers due to its close proximity to Sydney and its exquisite beaches. 

Central Coast is known for its pristine coastal beaches, national parks, extensive lakes and waterways, mountain forests, rich cultural heritage, and lush hinterland. Central Coast offers plenty of fun activities for families and outdoors enthusiasts.

In Central Coast, there is always something on your to-do list. Whether it is enjoying relaxing beach walks, water-skiing, sailing, canoeing, fishing, rowing, experiencing the aboriginal culture, or exploring the lush hinterland wilderness, you are never out of options in one of Australia’s most popular coastal tourist destinations.

Is There Any Free Camping Around Central Coast?

Yes, there are loads of free camping sites around Central Coast. Depending on how far out you are willing to go, you can enjoy some breathtaking sceneries free of charge. Some of the free camping grounds are walk-in sites that only allow tents or hikers. Still, many campgrounds allow RVs, motorhomes, caravans, and camper trailers. We have compiled a list of the best free camping spots around Central Coast.

Free Camping in Central Coast

Watagan HQ Camping Area

Free Camping Central Coast

Watagan HQ Camping Area is a free campground located along Watagan Forest road in the Heaton State Forest. The site is accessible by motorbikes, RVs, caravans, and camper trailers. Watagan HQ is a dog-friendly camping area. The facilities include lots of shades, picnic tables, garbage bins, walking trails, mobile reception, and fireplaces. Tent camping is allowed at the Watagan HQ Camping Area.

Cost: Free
Directions: Find on map

Casuarina Camping Area

Casuarina Camping Area

Casuarina Camping Area is a flat and open camping area set among lomandras, eucalyptus, bottlebrush, and forest oaks trees near Blackfellow Creek. It is located in the Glen Rock State Forest on the southern end of East Haldon Road. The trees provide shade and a bit of privacy in the flat grassy area where the camping area is set.

The site is accessible to any vehicle, including campervans, camper trailers, or caravans. Casuarina Camping Area consists of unmarked and unpowered camping sites. It is not a pooch-friendly site, and no domestic animals are allowed except horses. There is a hose yard located on the eastern end of the site. Collecting wood from the park or the use of generators is prohibited. Instead, you can bring your own untreated firewood, fuel stoves, or milled timber off-cuts.

Facilities include cold showers, fireplaces, toilets, non-drinking water, barbecues, walking trails, picnic tables, and tree shade. The Casuarina Camping Area is a wheelchair-friendly site.

Cost: Free
Directions: Find on map

Olney HQ Campground

Olney HQ Campground

The Olney HQ Campground is located in the Olney State Forest along Watagan Forest Road. Ideal for families and small groups, Olney HQ Campground is situated west of Lake Macquarie and borders the Watagan National Park, Wyong State Forest, and Watagan State Forest. It is a great stopover spot and is accessible by camper trailers and camper vans. Olney HQ Campground is a dog and wheelchair-friendly site that also permits tent camping.

Facilities include toilets, non-drinking water, picnic tables, barbecues, and open fireplaces.

Cost: Free
Directions: Find on map

Turpentine Camping Area

Turpentine Camping Area

Turpentine Camping Area is a small tent-based camping ground in the Olney State Forest. This free dog-friendly site is set among pines and forest oak. It is accessible by 4WD vehicles, motorcycles, campervans, camper trailers, and caravans. Open fires and camping tents are permitted. Facilities like toilets are located in the nearby Pines Camping Area or the Casuarina Camping Area. You can enjoy the scenery, wildlife, or nearby walking trails.

Cost: Free
Directions: Find on map

The Pines Campground

The Pines Campground

The Pines Campground is located in the Olney State Forest. It is set among tall pine trees that offer excellent protection from the elements. Pines Campground is the most popular of the three camping areas: Pines Campground, Turpentine Camping Area, and Casuarina Camping Area.

The Pines Campground has access to three walking trails, including the Abbotts Falls walking trail. This dog-friendly camping area has toilets, fire pits, picnic tables, and garbage bins. Apart from walking on the trails, you can also enjoy the scenery or watch wildlife. The site is accessible by motorcycles, campervans, camper trailers, caravans, and RVs. Tent camping is allowed.

Cost: Free
Directions: Find on map

The Basin Campground

The Basin Campground

The Basin Campground is located in the Olney State Forest and further away from The Pines, Casuarina, and Turpentine Camping Areas. Sat on an open grassy spot, the Basin Campground has access to the nearby Wollombi Brook Creek. It is a free and pet-friendly site where you can enjoy swimming, walking the trails, taking in the scenery, or watching out for the wildlife.

The Basin Campground is not as busy as the other camping grounds located in the Watagan area. It is accessible by 4WD, motorcycles, RVs, motorhomes, camper trailers, and caravans. Facilities include toilets, non-drinking water, picnic tables, and fire pits. 

Cost: Free
Directions: Find on map

Gap Creek Campground

Gap Creek Campground

The Gap Creek Campground is a free camping ground in Watagans National Park. The site has 3 unmarked sites ideal for ground tent camping or camper trailers. It has access to walking tracks and a waterfall. You will have to carry your own drinking water and firewood, as collecting firewood within the precincts of the national park is prohibited. 

The camping ground is accessible by any vehicle, but a 4WD might be needed during the rainy season. The Gap Creek Campground is accessible by motorcycles, RVs, campervans, camper trailers, and caravans. Facilities include showers, toilets, non-drinking water, BBQs, laundry, a playground, picnic tables, and garbage bins. Although the site is wheelchair-friendly, pets, smoking, and generators are not allowed.

Cost: Free
Directions: Find on map

Gentlemans Halt Campground

Gentlemans Halt Campground

Gentlemans Halt campground is located towards the northern end of the Marramarra National Park near the Hawkesbury River. Due to its remoteness, you’ll have to take a 10km hike or paddle in by boat, canoe, or kayak. The hike towards the camping ground offers incredible views of the Hawkesbury River and the Sandstone ridges.

Apart from hiking, you can go swimming, fishing, or watch wildlife like sea and wedge-tail eagles, lyrebirds, and bandicoots. This ground is not pet-friendly, but it offers facilities such as toilets, garbage bins, fire pits, and picnic tables and allows tent camping. There is no fresh water; you are advised to carry your own.

Cost: Free
Directions: Find on map

Low Cost Camping Options in Central Coast

The Basin Campground

The Basin Campground 2

The Basin Campground is your only camping option in the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. It is a waterfront ground overlooking Pittwater on a sheltered bay with a wharf and ferry to drop you right into the campground. This camping site is accessible by road or water. Using a kayak, boat or ferry will save you from carrying your luggage for approximately 3km, as there’s no car access if you opt to access the camp by road. You have to leave your cat at the Careel Bay Sporting Fields and take the 199 bus to the wharf. This campsite is on a large grassy area and can accommodate up to 400 campers. Pets are now allowed on this site.

Facilities include flushing toilets, cold showers, drinking water, shades, picnic tables, public phones, electric BBQs, mobile reception, canoeing, kayaking, and it allows camping in tents. While you are here, you can go swimming, paddle boarding, snorkeling, fishing, bushwalking on the trails, or sit back, relax and take in the scenery.

Cost: $14 per person per night
Directions: Find on Map

Tallow Beach Camping Area

Tallow Beach Camping Area

Tallow Beach Camping Area is located near Killcare in the Bouddi National Park. It is a remote camping spot, and you’ll be required to walk approx. 1.2km from the car park to the site. It is only accessible using 4WD vehicles.

Tallow Beach Camping Area offers six unmarked and unpowered sites that are only suitable for tent camping. Pets, smoking, generators, or wood fires are prohibited. The spot is ideal for swimming, fishing, surfing, and bushwalking. With no garbage bins, you’ll also need to take away your rubbish. The site has no power or water; make sure to carry your own. Enjoy the tranquility that the combination of lush bushland, wildlife, and the sea has to offer.

Cost: $20 per person per night
Directions: Find on Map

Putty Beach Campground

Putty Beach Campground

Putty Beach Campground is situated at Killcare Heights in the Bouddi National Park. It sits at the southern starting point of the Bouddi Coastal Walk. Putty Beach is an ideal camping spot for fishing, swimming, kayaking, and bushwalking. The camp spot consists of 20 unpowered sites. It is only suitable for tents and swag camping.

Facilities include toilets, showers, drinking water, shades, picnic tables, electric BBQs, mobile reception, and a camp kitchen. Pets are prohibited at the Putty Beach Campground. Cars are not allowed on the campsite, and you’ll have to park your car a short distance away.

Cost: $17.50 per person per night
Directions: Find on Map

Frazer Campground

Frazer Campground

Frazer Campground is a tent-only campsite located in the Munmorah State Conservation Area. It sits just 50m off the Frazer Beach, where you can enjoy serene beach views. The site has easy access walks, and you can enjoy swimming at the nearby lagoon. If you love water activities, you can swim, fish, go canoeing, and kayaking.

This gated-access campground has 6 unpowered sites that are ideal for swag and tent camping only. Pets are not allowed into this campsite. Facilities include picnic tables, barbecues, showers, flushing toilets, mobile reception, and drinking water. Fires and solid fuel stoves are not permitted.

Cost: $15 per person per night
Directions: Find on Map

Freemans Campground

Freemans Campground

The Freemans Campground is located in the Munmorah State Conservation Area. The camping spot is nestled in the grassy bushland. Birdie Beach is only a short walk away from the campground, where you can enjoy a relaxing walk on the beach. You can also go fishing, surfing, cycling, and bushwalking while at the camp.

The Freemans Campground is accessible by motorcycles, campervans, RVs, camper trailers, and caravans. Facilities include toilets, showers, drinking water, picnic tables, BBQs, cell reception, and garbage bins.

Cost: $17 per person per night
Directions: Find on Map

Little Beach Campground

Little Beach Campground

Little Beach Campground is a secluded cove in the Bouddi National Park that has 6 sites. It is an ideal spot for relaxing with family. You can enjoy surfing, fishing, swimming, and bushwalking. Camping in tents is allowed. Pets are not allowed. Facilities include toilets and BBQ areas. The campground has direct access to a sheltered beach, making it a great spot for kids.

Cost: $15 per person per night
Directions: Find on Map

Patonga Caravan Park

Patonga Caravan Park

Patonga Caravan Park is located in Patonga village, just 25 km south of Gosford in the Brisbane Waters National Park. It is located between Patonga Beach and Patonga Creek. The nearby bushwalking trails offer breathtaking views of the nearby park, Patonga, and Hawkesbury River.

It is a secluded ground where you can sit back and relax. You can try water activities here, including boating, paddle boarding, surf skiing, fishing, and swimming. There is a ferry that operates between the Palm Beach and the Patonga public wharf daily. The site offers 26 powered and 45 unpowered sites. Pets are not allowed into the camp. An adult must accompany persons under the age of 18.

Services include toilets, showers, drinking water, tables, garbage bins, laundry, BBQs, a playground, a boat ramp, cell reception, water hookup, and power hookup. The site is accessible by motorbikes, campervans, camper trailers, and caravans.

Cost: From $14 per person per night
Directions: Find on Map

For more free camping in NSW, check out our complete NSW Free Camping Guide.