Top 5 coastal hideaways

Claudia Bouma — 9 December 2016


Hat Head National Park might be small in size, but this coastal gem more than makes up for it with stunning scenery, breathtaking views and fascinating history.

Nestled on NSW’s spectacular coastline, the park boasts unspoilt sandy beaches, pockets of lush rainforest, the impressive Smoky Cape Lighthouse as well as historic Trial Bay Gaol.

The lighthouse is a must-see - the octagonal, two-storey white building stands like a sentinel, protecting the surrounding coastal waters.

The nearby head keeper’s and assistant keeper’s cottages have been fully restored and now serve as comfortable holiday accommodation.


Location: 356km north-east of Sydney along NSW’s coast

Camping: $6/adult, $3.50/child/night. One-off $8/vehicle fee

Facilities: Bush camping (20 sites), picnic tables, barbecue facilities, toilets


This spectacular national park in WA’s south-western corner stretches for 120 km, and contains some of Australia’s most impressive coastal scenery. It is one of the most visited national parks in WA – according to the Conservation Commission of Western Australia – with more than two million visits each year.

The camping is fabulous – just imagine setting up your tent in the middle of the bush with the roar of the ocean in the background. Conto’s Campground is a fantastic base, offering  beautiful secluded campsites, most with a table and a fireplace, just outside Margaret River town.


Location: South-west WA, Cape Naturaliste to Cape Leeuwin

Camping: $7.50 - $10/adult, $2.20/child/night and concessions apply

Facilities: Toilets, tables and barbecues


Freycinet National Park is one of Tasmania’s most popular national parks with about 160,000 visitors a year. The major attraction is the walk to Wineglass Bay lookout which is a 1.3km uphill climb with over 300 bush steps, but is still achievable by most people.

For the more adventurous, you can continue the walk by descending to Wineglass Bay and enjoy a swim in the azure-blue waters. A trip to Cape Tourville Lighthouse is also a must-do. A boardwalk gives you spectacular views of the steep cliffs and the often wild and stormy Tasman Sea.


Location: 179km north-east of Hobart

Camping: $13/pair/night unpowered or $16 powered/night (family $22). Park entry fee applies

Facilities: Power and water; coin-operated hot showers


The magnificent Snowy River is an Aussie icon for many good reasons. The crystal clear mountain stream starts its 352km journey on the steep slopes of Australia’s highest peak, Mt Kosciuszko.

Flowing through breathtaking alpine country, the Snowy carves its way through majestic gorges, past rainforest-clad ranges and rugged wilderness areas to finally empty into Bass Strait at the picturesque town of Marlo. A day trip along the Snowy River Country Trail is an absolute must. The entire trail will see you clock up about 284km but the awe-inspiring mountain vistas are well worth it.

One of the major features of the trip is the historic McKillop Bridge. Corringle Foreshore Reserve is situated at the mouth of the Snowy River estuary.


Location: Corringle Reserve, 20km south of Orbost, East Gippsland, Vic

Camping: $25.80/site/night unpowered; booking is compulsory

Facilities: two taps, bore water, picnic tables, fire places, non-flush toilets, bins


This coastal treasure in NSW’s far north protects 65km of secluded beaches, impressive cliffs and picturesque lakes, as well as the endangered coastal emu.

Stretching from the Corindi River in the south to the mouth of the Clarence River in the north, the park is home to the four-day Yuraygir Coastal Walk, which is one of the many ways to experience the beautiful area.


Location: 60km north of Coffs Harbour.

Camping: Illaroo: 60 sites, $11.50/adult,$6/child/night, under five free; $8 vehicle entry fee

Facilities: Toilets, picnic tables, gas barbecues

The full feature appeared in the 2017 Caravan World YearbookSubscribe today for the latest caravan reviews and news every month!


top 5 coastal hideaways getaway campsite summer family fun


Chris Bouma