It's five months to the Christmas holidays but my Sydney friends want to decide now where they're going camping so they can book early. Wise, given that the best camping spots go to rebooking regulars and early birds. And they've just emailed me asking for suggestions for the NSW coast north of Newcastle.
My family has camped along the coast over many years, and not until we stayed one Christmas at the privately owned Delicate Nobby Camping Ground just south of Crescent Head on the Point Plomer Road did we visit a spot more than twice. In fact we like it so much we've been there each Christmas-New Year holiday for 13 or 14 years.
But there are many other great places on the coast to visit, although campers should be warned that the size of camping sites, in almost all parks marked out with a white line, are not big and, it seems to me, have been shrinking. Perhaps they seem to be shrinking because my set-up has been growing at the generous Delicate sites.
My suggestions, outlined in my column in the Herald today, include Myall Shores Nature Resort, the former Legges Camp, at Bombah Point; Sandbar Holiday and Bushlands Park on Smiths Lake, when there's plenty of water in the lake; Tony's Point Island at the back of Lani's Holiday Island at Forster; Hat Head Holiday Park and the beautiful Korogoro Creek; Lakeside Caravan Park fronting Woolgoolga Beach and Woolgoolga Lake; Red Rock Holiday Park; parks at Yamba; Brooms Head Caravan Park; and the NPWS camping ground at Sandon just south of Brooms Head.
Access to the beach, and whether the beach is family friendly, park trees, amenities and the presence of an estuary are important, and so is the ambience of a camping ground or park. Some are unfriendly, clinical, suburb-like places, others are relaxed and friendly, and I can tell you the latter is the better!
Do you have any favourite spots on the coast north of Newcastle? Tell us about them.