Camping in the Northern Beaches of Sydney
I have friends & family in Sydney who we could stay with, but trying to figure out where you can store your car & camper trailer (if you are doing an extended trip) is always tricky. So we had to find somewhere to base ourselves, where we could take the car & trailer to camp, but not be too far away from Sydney CBD and the surrounding attractions. Using my CamperMate app I could see that there were only a handful of choices north of Sydney (which is where we ideally wanted to stay as we were heading north after our stay and it's somewhere we haven't explored before). Lane Cove is a popular choice, and it cropped up in our CamperMate Sydney camping search results, but we wanted to be close to the infamous northern beaches so decided Narrabeen would be a perfect spot. Narrabeen is kind of in the middle of the northern beaches stretch and was a great location for us to base ourselves. Although transport is notoriously bad in the northern beaches area, there are plenty of bus routes that can take you all the way into Sydney city, or at the very least to Manly so you can catch the ferry over to Circular Quay. We had our car so providing you remember to pay your toll road charges and try to avoid rush hour traffic it was actually really easy. We got an Emu visitor pass which was easy to set up & the fees were very reasonable. We did a couple of day trips into the city to visit museums, the Sydney Opera House, Darling Harbour as well as visit some friends & family. It's also an easy drive to the amazing Taronga Zoo which is just in Mosman, so you are on the right side of the bridge. The great thing about Narrabeen though was that if you're not too interested in the city life you had plenty of sites around you. Just from the campsite you could do some fantastic coastal walks, or just walk along & watch the surfers on Narrabeen beach. They also had an ocean pool so you could take a dip without the fear of being eaten by anything, and there's Narrabeen lake which means you can find some calmer waters if you're more interested in kayaking, fishing or a quiet walk. Narrabeen itself has everything you need from supermarkets, cafes & restaurants, and it's not too far from various other popular spots like Dee Why, Collaroy or Curl Curl - all of which have fantastic coastal walks too. I'd recommend though heading up to the top of the northern beaches stretch to Palm Beach. Even if you aren't a huge fan of Home & Away (and desperate to see "Summer Bay" or say g'day to Alf Stuart), it really is a beautiful spot. As it's right on the peninsula, you have the ocean on one side and the calm waters of Pittswater on the other. There's a fantastic walk up to the lighthouse at the end too, which winds through the lush rainforest and showcases everything Palm Beach has to offer. The campsite we found on my free CamperMate app was also fantastic - it was called Lakeside Tourist Park and it had everything and more you would need. The spots were pretty level and big - we even had a view of the beach from ours. The amenities block was spotless and it had some fantastic outdoor bbq areas surrounded by beautiful palm trees - the perfect setting to the end of a busy day. We have a two year old, so the playground and amazing splash park were also a big hit. Overall though just the location was ideal. You still heard the odd bit of traffic but you wouldn't believe you were only 45 minutes or so from central Sydney, with a beautiful beach just across the road. All in all a great way to explore Sydney & the surrounds, especially if you're looking for something a little quieter.