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Some of my best Christmases have been spent camping with my family and friends. When our children were young we would put all of our camping gear into a trailer and tow it to many of the great coastal areas over the border into Northern New South Wales or to one of the islands just off the coast of the Gold Coast.
Although it was a mission preparing for our camping trips and then setting up the tent, erecting camp stretchers, pumping up air mattresses and unpacking clothing and food, it was fully worth the effort once everything was done. You could kick back and relax and forget about all the stress of the hectic lead-up to Christmas.
Woody Head is near the village of Iluka in Northern New South Wales and is only a 200 kilometre drive from the Gold Coast. The grassy campsites are all unpowered but are suitable for tents, camper trailers, caravans of campervans. There are coin operated hot showers, toilets, drinking water, BBQ facilities, picnic tables and a shop that sells a few necessities located at the office.
It’s a great place for a family holiday, with a protected sandy beach that’s ideal for swimming and fishing, a boat ramp and the spectacular rock platform. We loved exploring the rainforest in the National Park and shallow reefs around the campground.
On the southern side of the Clarence River, just a hop, skip and jump from Iluka, is the popular family holiday town of Yamba. It boasts 3 caravan parks that are either located on the river or nearby the beach. We stayed at the Calypso Yamba Holiday Park that is only a short stroll into town and has riverfront access as well a nearby beach.
Our children were never bored, particularly if they had other children to play with. Their entertainment for the holidays included everything in or around the ocean and estuaries. They would be surfing, paddle-boarding, snorkelling, fishing and building sand castles from sun-up to sundown.
One of our favourite camping spots was at South West Rocks, near Kempsey, in Northern New South Wales. Here we camped at the Horseshoe Bay Holiday Park that is right near Horseshoe Bay Beach. As well as having a great safe little bay for children to swim in there was also an estuary for fishing, swimming and snorkelling.
Standing high on a narrow headland 5 kms south of South West Rocks, sits Smoky Cape Lighthouse which is surrounded by the stunning coastal scenery of Hat Head National Park.
Only a short drive from South West Rocks, is another fantastic campground at Trail Bay Gaol. It’s idyllic location in the Arakoon National Park, on Front Beach and near the old gaol ruins, makes it an extremely popular family camping spot.
For something a bit different we’ve tried lakeside camping at Lake Moogerah near Boonah, around an hour’s drive west of the Gold Coast. Lake Moogerah Caravan Park is a private campground right on the lakeshore, with grassy powered and unpowered tent and van sites.
You can drop a line from the shore and there are fishing dinghies, kayaks, and paddleboards for hire. Otherwise bring your own power boat or jet ski and go water skiing or wake boarding on the lake. Otherwise the adults are only too happy to relax and unwind on a comfortable camp chair and read a book or drift off to sleep in a semi-hazy state.
We’ve spent a few Christmas or Easter holidays camping at Lake Ainsworth Holiday Park in Lennox Head, just south of Byron Bay in Northern New South Wales. All campsites are within a one minute walk to the tea tree Lake Ainsworth and under a five minute walk to Seven Mile Beach, which is a patrolled beach adjacent to the caravan park.
Late afternoons at Lake Ainsworth would generally entail enjoying a few refreshments with other campers and swapping stories of the day’s activities. Followed by a BBQ dinner.
One of the best places we have camped includes the beautiful Moreton Island just north of the Gold Coast. You can load your 4WD vehicle up with your camping gear and drive onto a vehicular ferry at Redland Bay across Moreton Bay to the island and camp anywhere along the oceanside of the island.
There are fifteen shipwrecks on the bayside of the island at Tangalooma that have created an artificial reef to attract coral formations and marine life such as wobbegongs, trevally, kingfish yellowtail and an array of tropical fish.
There really is no better way to keep the children entertained than an island, beachside or lakeside camping holiday.
Do you have memories of camping during the Christmas holidays? Where are some of the best places you have camped?
Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 6 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now in her early 60s. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Tweed Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Kathy enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, photography, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.
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