Gap Creek campground

Watagans National Park

Overview

This campground offers everything you need for a relaxing and private getaway, with immediate access to walking tracks and a dramatic waterfall.

Accommodation Details
Number of campsites 3
Camping type Tent, Camper trailer site, Camping beside my vehicle
Facilities Picnic tables, barbecue facilities, carpark, toilets
What to bring Drinking water, cooking water, firewood
Price Free.
Bookings

Booking are not available. For information, contact NPWS on (02) 4320 4203.

Please note
  • Campsites are small, unmarked and unpowered
  • Campsites at Gap Creek campground are not suitable for large groups.
  • There is no mobile phone coverage from this location
  • This is a remote campground, so please make sure you arrive well prepared.

Gap Creek campground is perfect for families and adventure travellers alike.

The natural setting is outstanding, with colourful plant life, like red cedars and blue gums, coupled with amazing birdlife like lyrebirds as your backdrop. It’s impossible not to feel relaxed here, particularly in late summer when the rainforest is cool and quiet.

For something truly spectacular, the Gap Creek walking track can be traced to the impressive Gap Creek waterfall, cascading more than 40m after heavy rains – so don’t forget your camera. Afterwards, head back to the campground for a barbecue and maybe a game of cricket. The trees provide plenty of shade for that afternoon nap to wind down after an adventurous day.

Alternative camping spots can be found at Bangalow campground, an easy 1km down the road.

For directions, safety and practical information, see visitor info

Current alerts in this area

There are no current alerts in this area.

Local alerts

For the latest updates on fires, closures and other alerts in this area, see https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/camping-and-accommodation/campgrounds/gap-creek-campground/local-alerts

Operated by

Park info

  • in Watagans National Park in the North Coast region
  • Watagans National Park is always open, but may have to close at times due to poor weather, roads closures or high fire danger.

See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about Gap Creek campground.

Getting there and parking

Gap Creek campground is in north eastern section of Watagans National Park. To get there:

  • Take the Cessnock exit off the F3 (Freemans Waterhole)
  • Turn right onto Freemans Drive, Cooranbong, then right onto Mount Faulk Road into the park.
  • Turn left into Bangalow Road
  • It’s approximately 4.8km from the turnoff, past Bangalow camping area.

Road quality

Check the weather before you set out as the road to this campground can become boggy when it rains.

  • Unsealed roads

Vehicle access

  • 2WD vehicles

Weather restrictions

  • 4WD required in wet weather

Parking

Parking is available at Gap Creek campground.

Best times to visit

There are lots of great things waiting for you in Watagans National Park.

Spring

Camp at Gap Creek or Bangalow campground and enjoy a campfire as the sun sets.

Summer

Cooling off at Boarding House Dam is especially popular during summer months Enjoy the moist and cool Circuit walking track .

Winter

Late winter sees the bloom of Illawara flame trees which can be seen across the valley from Gap Creek lookout Check out the views from the various lookouts, while the air is crisp and clean .

Weather, temperature and rainfall

Summer temperature

Average

16°C and 30°C

Highest recorded

44°C

Winter temperature

Average

5°C and 16°C

Lowest recorded

-6.7°C

Rainfall

Wettest month

December

Driest month

July

The area’s highest recorded rainfall in one day

91.4mm

Facilities

  • Water is not available at this campground.
  • Firewood is not provided and may not be collected from the park.
  • Rubbish bins are provided

Toilets

  • Non-flush toilets

Picnic tables

Barbecue facilities

  • Wood barbecues (bring your own firewood)
  • Gas/electric barbecues (free)

Carpark

Maps and downloads

Safety messages

Camping safety

Whether you're pitching your tent on the coast or up on the mountains, there are many things to consider when camping in NSW national parks. Find out how to stay safe when camping.

Fire safety

During periods of fire weather, the Commissioner of the NSW Rural Fire Service may declare a total fire ban for particular NSW fire areas, or statewide. Learn more about total fire bans and fire safety.

Mobile safety

Dial Triple Zero (000) in an emergency. Download the Emergency + app before you visit, it helps emergency services locate you using your smartphone's GPS. Please note there is limited mobile phone reception in this park and you’ll need mobile reception to call Triple Zero (000).

Accessibility

Disability access level - hard

Wheelchairs can access this area with some difficulty.

Prohibited

Gathering firewood

Generators

Generators are not permitted in this campground

Pets

Pets and domestic animals (other than certified assistance animals) are not permitted. Find out which regional parks allow dog walking and see the pets in parks policy for more information.

Smoking

NSW national parks are no smoking areas.

Nearby towns

Cessnock (20 km)

Some of the finest wines in the world are created in the Hunter Valley and its towns, gourmet food is acclaimed and luxury, boutique accommodations are matched by the most beautiful natural scenery.

www.visitnsw.com

Morisset (11 km)

Morisset is a gateway to the Watagan Mountains. It's a resort and residential town close to huge state forest. It's situated on Lake Macquarie between water and woodlands.

www.visitnsw.com

Newcastle (36 km)

Newcastle is a harbour city surrounded by amazing surf beaches that are linked by a great coastal walk, the Bathers Way. The walk from Nobbys Beach to Merewether Beach takes about three hours and is a great way to explore the city.

www.visitnsw.com

Learn more

Gap Creek campground is in Watagans National Park. Here are just some of the reasons why this park is special:

Blossoming rainforest

Boarding House Dam, Watagans National Park. Photo: John Spencer

The area is rich in plant life, producing moist forests and a wealth of plant species. Mountain blue gums and blackbutt trees shelter the smaller brush cherry, climbing vines and tree ferns. Across late winter and into early spring, colourful orange-coloured banksias, brilliant purple happy wanderers, and the many hues of yellow wattle trees all flower in bright abundance.

  • Circuit walking track Circuit walking track is a short walk near Newcastle. Plunging into rainforest, following the creek as it passes a dramatic moss-covered rock wall, this is a great place to visit.
  • Great North walk - Watagans National Park The section of Great North walk in Watagans National Park features great scenic lookouts and wonderful birdwatching. It is best suited to experienced bushwalkers.
  • Monkey Face lookout Monkey Face lookout provides excellent scenic views over the Martinsville Valley, with space for a picnic.
  • The Narrow Place lookout For scenic views of Hunter Valley, you can't go past The Narrow Place lookout in Watagans National Park. Visit this historic lookout, near Cessnock, to go sightseeing or birdwatching.

Breathtaking views

Great North Walk, Watagans National Park. Photo: John Spencer

From Monkey Face lookout, there are spectacular views down over Martinsville Valley, and 6km along Georges Road to the north, Narrow Place lookout provides a 180-degree panorama toward Cessnock, Hunter Valley and beyond the Barrington Ranges. There are so many ways to enjoy the scenery, whether by horse riding, 4WD touring in the wetter months, mountain bike riding or pulling into a shaded picnic area to cool down after a walk.

  • Boarding House Dam picnic area A popular picnic spot with daytrippers in summer, Boarding House Dam picnic area offers all the amenities, as well as local history, paddling, and hiking opportunities.

Building a nation

Turners walking track, Watagans National Park. Photo: John Spencer

Log chutes and old saw mill sites used during past forestry operations still stand among the plants as a testament to the region's rich settlement history. By the 1820s, a fertile timber industry had established itself, providing cedar and hardwood from the area to the building and growing coal mining industries. Increased timber production provided employment and wealth to the region, and you can still see relics from these operations throughout the park.

  • Boarding House Dam picnic area A popular picnic spot with daytrippers in summer, Boarding House Dam picnic area offers all the amenities, as well as local history, paddling, and hiking opportunities.
  • Turners walking track Steep and challenging, Turners walking track in Watagans National Park, near Cessnock, boasts rainforest views, historic heritage and superb birdwatching.

Fascinating Aboriginal landscapes

A man enjoys the forest, Watagans National Park. Photo: OEH

The park is of great importance to the Awabakal and Darkinjung People, and rare insights into art and engraving techniques have been found at over 40 recorded locations in the Watagan Range and surrounding lands. Given that there are only six known Aboriginal engraving sites in the wider Sydney region, this one is particularly noteworthy for its display of more than 100 abstract motifs carved into walls throughout the park.

Education resources (1)

Sun spotted grounds, Watagans National Park