Top 5 Winter Weekenders

Bush to beach to snow. Come winter, our favourite weekender camping spots change to something a little more suited to the climate. That said, there are some great summer spots that work just as well in winter. You’ll just need to rug up!

Words and Pics by Wes Whitworth
Article from Unsealed 4X4 Magazine

THE VICTORIAN HIGH COUNTRY

The obvious choice for a weekender over winter has to be the High Country. Nestled to the north east of Melbourne, the base of the High Country can be reached within an hour or two from Melbourne, while the northern edge can be reached from Sydney in just six hours.

The specific area we love for a weekender is Talbotville. Talbotville is in a valley just north of the village of Dargo, and along the Dargo High Plains Road. It has some amazing nearby tracks, from Billy Goats Bluff Track, to the Crooked River Track, and just up the road you’ll find Blue Rag Range Track and trig point. You also have the abandoned township of Grant up on the ridge above Talbotville to go and explore.

Camping is free-range and at no cost, and there are many ruins to explore, and old gold mines to see. There are plenty of picnic tables, fireplaces, and camping spots, and there are toilets at the campground.

Cost: Free

Address: Talbotville Road, Crooked River, Victoria

GPS: 37º 20′ 3.91″ S 147º 04′ 5.21″ E

Toilets: Long-drop or composting

Showers: No

Campfires: Yes

Water: Non-potable

Number of Sites: Many!

Dog-Friendly: No

PEBBLY BEACH – YURAYGIR NATIONAL PARK

Despite being winter, Pebbly Beach earns a spot on our top 5 weekenders list. The entrance to the park is located about 40 minutes north of Coffs Harbour, with Pebbly Beach Campground another 20 minutes on dirt roads.

To get to the campground, you’ll need to cross Station Creek, which is best done at low tide, and after walking the creek – there are a few holes in the sandy bottomed creek, and they do move around from month to month.

Once you’re across the creek, it’s pretty well free-range camping, with around 60 sites in total on offer. Camping costs $12 per night for adults, and $6 for the kids. There’s a caretaker that just about lives on-site, so you’ll have someone to chin wag with, and he’ll generally load you up with firewood (though there are usually piles of the stuff on the way in).

For the avid and horrid fishermen alike, this time of year is kicking off Tailor season on the east coast of Australia. So, despite being a magic place in summer, winter is absolutely amazing!

Cost: $12 adults, $6 kids

Address: Take McPhillips Road off the Pacific Highway, Halfway Creek, NSW

GPS: 29°56’31.0″S 153°15’29.2″E

Toilets: Long-drop or composting

Showers: No

Campfires: Yes

Water: Non-potable

Number of Sites: 60

Dog-Friendly: No

GEORGES JUNCTION

Hidden between Armidale and Kempsey, New South Wales, Georges Junction is an incredible little campground at the junction of the Georges and Macleay Rivers. To get there, you’ll follow Armidale Road out of Kempsey, heading west towards Armidale. Follow it through Willawarrin (the Willawarrin Pub does a spectacular counter lunch), and keep following your nose. Heading west, the campground is on the left directly opposite the Bass Lodge.

The camping is free and dog-friendly, has long-drop toilets, and has some of the best scenery New South Wales has on offer. There’s plenty of tracks farther up the hill from the campsite, with gold prospecting to be had around the old gold mines up the hill. For campsites, there is a large area on the field, however you can also camp down next to the river, and head across the river for a bit of a look if you’re feeling adventurous.

There’s plenty of kayaking, fishing, and relaxing to be done up here. It’s usually pretty quiet, but make sure if you make a mess, you clean it up, and put all your rubbish in the bin. There was recently a fight to keep the camping area open after a few grubs left the place littered with rubbish.

Cost: Free

Address: Armidale – Kempsey Road, Lower Creek, NSW

GPS: 30°45’05.0″S 152°11’25.4″E

Toilets: Long-drop or composting

Showers: No

Campfires: Yes

Water: Non-potable/fresh river

Number of Sites: Many

Dog-Friendly: Yes

UPPER ALLYN / BARRINGTON TOPS

For locals, Ladies Well in the Upper Allyn needs no introduction. For those who want an amazing weekender away from the rat race, look no further.

The Upper Allyn area in the Chichester State Forest is about two hours’ drive north west of Newcastle, New South Wales. To get there, you head up through Maitland, to Vacy, then on to Chichester State Forest at the base of the Barrington Tops. Ladies Well itself is a spectacular little waterhole along the Allyn River, however it’s the side tracks, and hidden camping spots that make this area stand out.

You’ve got Mount Allyn a few kilometres into the state forest from Ladies Well that has an incredible lookout, then once you’ve had a good look around the lookout, head down and explore the rest of the state forest, and you come out on the western edge at Lostock Dam.

We’re not going to give too much more away, but there are days and days of exploring to be had up there!

Cost: Free

Address: Allyn River Forest Road, Upper Allyn, NSW

GPS: 32°09’09.8″S 151°29’11.1″E

Toilets: Long-drop or composting

Showers: No

Campfires: Yes

Water: Non-potable/fresh river

Number of Sites: Many

Dog-Friendly: Yes

LANCELIN TO CERVANTES

If you happen to be over the western side of Oz, you’ve got a magic little weekender just up the coast. Lancelin Dunes are the obvious sand playground for Perth-based punters, with more than a few hidden gems around the area.

To the north, you’ll find the Wanagarren Nature Reserve, which leads into the village of Wedge Island out on the coast. They’ve got a massive dune system and stunning beaches to explore. Back away from the coast, you’ll find Nambung National Park, which features the Pinnacles Desert that makes for some stunning photography near sunset.

From there you’ve got spectacular camping spots all the way up the coast to Cervantes to check out. Regardless of the time of year, it’s magic over here.

Cost: Varies

Address: Lancelin, Western Australia

GPS: 31°00’10.0″S 115°19’48.2″E

Toilets: Various

Showers: Various

Campfires: Yes

Water: Depends on site

Number of Sites: Many

Dog-Friendly: Depends on location

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Comments 2

  1. Some good campsites there, many I have camped at myself. Maybe you should this on a more permanent way. With both you guys and readers to offer new spots? Expand to maybe 8 spots and include a small settlement north of NSW called Queensland? Even NT and South Australia could get a mention?

    1. Post
      Author

      G’day David, Thanks for reaching out. Happy to get suggestions on new spots, and I’d love to include more content on other states. If you’d like to send through some images and content on a few in any areas outside NSW you have seen, that would be awesome! Regards,
      Aiden

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