Hungry Gate campground

Hat Head National Park

Overview

Pack your tent or trailer and head to Hungry Gate near Kempsey for a back-to-basics camping holiday. The campground has 20 campsites and is a 20 minute walk from the beach.

Accommodation Details
Number of campsites 20
Camping type Tent, Camper trailer site, Camping beside my vehicle
Facilities Picnic tables, barbecue facilities, toilets
What to bring Drinking water, cooking water, firewood
Price

$6 per adult per night. $3.50 per child per night.

Entry fees Park entry fees apply
Bookings
  • Bookings are not required at this campground. Campsites are available on a first-in first-served basis.
  • NPWS fee collectors visit campgrounds to collect camping and vehicle entry fees.
Please note
  • Numbers of picnic tables and wood barbeques are limited
  • Vehicle entry fees are not included in your camping fees.

Hungry Gate campground is located at the southern end of Hat Head National Park. The area has an open, spacious feel but is protected from the elements by sand dunes and surrounded by thick vegetation. You can bring your tent or camper trailer to Hungry Gate, which sits 30km north east of Kempsey and 32km south of Nambucca Heads.

Take time to admire the established fig trees and paperbarks behind the dunes and you’ll be rewarded – they’re home to a variety of birdlife. Brahimy kites often fly over the beach, just a 20-minute walk away. The park’s kangaroos are fond of the campground and graze there regularly. You’ll also see little bent winged bats and well-fed goannas.

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/hungry-gate-campground/local-alerts

Operated by

Park info

See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about Hungry Gate campground.

Getting there and parking

From Kempsey:

  • Take the South West Rocks road to Kinchela
  • Turn right onto Hat Head Road and continue to Hat Head
  • Just before the bridge over turn right onto Gap Road
  • Take the first right and then follow signs to Hungry Gate campground

Road quality

The road is 3km of gravel.

  • Unsealed roads

Vehicle access

  • 2WD vehicles

Weather restrictions

  • All weather

Parking

Parking is available at the Hungry Gate campground.  

Best times to visit

This park's sweeping beaches are extremely inviting during summer, but its wildlife and walking tracks make it a joy to visit all year round.

Spring

A birdwatcher's delight as the heath shrubland bursts into a kaleidoscope of wild flowers and birds come from all around, listen out for the guttural call of glossy black cockatoos.

Summer

Take the Connors track beach walk to experience wildflower displays amongst the banksias .

Winter

Spot humpback and southern right whales migrating to northern waters between May and July.

Weather, temperature and rainfall

Summer temperature

Average

19°C and 26°C

Highest recorded

41.7°C (1968)

Winter temperature

Average

13°C and 20°C

Lowest recorded

4°C (1997)

Rainfall

Wettest month

March

The area’s highest recorded rainfall in one day

343.7mm

Facilities

  • Water is not available at this campground
  • There are some rubbish bins available at this campground, but please take any left over rubbish with you

Toilets

  • Non-flush toilets

Picnic tables

Barbecue facilities

  • Wood barbecues (bring your own firewood)

Maps and downloads

Safety messages

Beach safety

Beaches in this park are not patrolled, and can sometimes have strong rips and currents. These beach safety tips will help you and your family stay safe in the water.

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.

Fishing safety

Fishing from a boat, the beach or by the river is a popular activity for many national park visitors. If you’re planning a day out fishing, check out these fishing safety tips.

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).

Permitted

Camp fires and solid fuel burners

  • Fires are only permitted in designated fire places and not on the open ground
  • There is a limited supply of fire wood available at this campground, however it is a good idea to bring your own.

Prohibited

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

Crescent Head (0 km)

Crescent Head on the NSW North Coast is surrounded by some of the stunning natural environments in the State. As well as long stretches of coastline with fabulous beaches, there is a string on coastal national parks to explore. Go surfing, fishing, boating and bushwalking, enjoy bird watching or whale watching, spot dolphins, turtles and even koalas in the wild.

www.visitnsw.com

Kempsey (33 km)

Kempsey is a historic river town close to national parks and majestic beaches. Kempsey is a convenient place for an overnight stop for anyone driving between Sydney and the North Coast.

www.visitnsw.com

South West Rocks (24 km)

South West Rocks is a sleepy coastal retreat at its barefoot best. It's an oceanfront holiday town on north-facing Trial Bay.

www.visitnsw.com

Learn more

Hungry Gate campground is in Hat Head National Park. Here are just some of the reasons why this park is special:

A long story to tell

Gap Beach, Hat Head National Park. Photo: Barbara Webster

The park is part of the traditional land of the Dunghutti people and remains a significant place. The sea, rivers and wetlands provided a rich source of food like fish and shellfish and the strong Aboriginal heritage is evident today. The park is culturally important to Aboriginal people as it contains ceremonial grounds, burial sites, shell middens and campsites.

A place to play

Views of the beach in Hat Head National Park. Photo: Debbie McGerty

Hat Head National Park protects an extraordinary amount of landscapes, birds and animals, but also offers countless opportunities for secluded relaxation, recreation and enjoyment. Sweeping beaches, rainforests, impressive dunes, and rocky headlands make it the perfect holiday or day trip for walking, swimming, hiking, bird watching and fishing.

  • Green Island walking track Green Island walking track goes through coastal heathland to a lookout with scenic views to Smoky Cape Lighthouse, offering excellent birdwatching and whale watching.
  • Smoky Cape Lighthouse Hat Head National Park on the mid-north coast of NSW near South West Rocks is a natural paradise. Explore the lighthouse, camp by the beach and go fishing and swimming.

Biodiversity

Glossy black-cockatoos (Calyptorhynchus lathami), Hat Head National Park. Photo: John Spencer

Hat Head National Park is rich with birdlife such as black swans, egrets, herons, fantails, and honeyeaters. If you’re lucky, you might even spot a hawk, falcon or eagle soaring above the cliffs. During the spring, you might catch a rare glimpse of a glossy black cockatoo - listen out for the raucous call of this endangered species as it visits the park to feed on ripe she-oak fruit seeds. Resident wildlife at Hat Head includes red-necked and swamp wallabies as well as grey kangaroos and sugar gliders. You're bound to see butterflies fluttering past you in Hat Head National Park. One type, the regent skipper, is only found in Hat Head National Park and Limeburners Creek National Park. With black wings and a range of yellow and red dots and stripes, you might see the regent skipper feeding on tuckeroos in the park's rainforest.

  • Gap Beach walking track Gap Beach walking track is a challenging walk offering birdwatching, swimming, fishing, and scenic views in Hat Head National Park near South West Rocks.

Striking landscapes

Little Bay to Smoky Cape walk, Hat Head National Park. Photo: John Spencer

Some of the largest in New South Wales, the park's enormous sand dunes can't help but catch your eye. The dunes provide a buffer from the ocean, protecting the land from salty winds and waves. They are slowing growing and moving inland, gradually taking over the park's wetlands. See if you can make it to the top of the dunes - you'll get a bird's eye view and feel like you're on top of the world.

  • Little Bay to Smoky Cape Discover the beauty of the South West Rocks region on the Little Bay to Smoky Cape walk. Hike this 10km coast walk and enjoy sensational views.
  • Rainforest walking track The family will love this short walk in the northern precinct of Hat Head National Park. It offers scenic views, wetlands, wildlife and birdwatching.

Plants and animals you may see

Animals

  • White-bellied sea eagle. Photo: John Turbill

    White-bellied sea eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster)

    White-bellied sea eagles can be easily identified by their white tail and dark grey wings. These raptors are often spotted cruising the coastal breezes throughout Australia, and make for some scenic bird watching. Powerful Australian birds of prey, they are known to mate for life, and return each year to the same nest to breed.

  • Closeup of a laughing kookaburra's head and body. Photo: Rosie Nicolai/OEH

    Kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae)

    Of the 2 species of kookaburra found in Australia, the laughing kookaburra is the best-known and the largest of the native kingfishers. With its distinctive riotous call, the laughing kookaburra is commonly heard in open woodlands and forests throughout NSW national parks, making these ideal spots for bird watching.

  • Grey headed flying fox hanging from a tree branch. Photo: Shane Ruming/OEH

    Grey-headed flying fox (Pteropus poliocephalus)

    The grey-headed flying fox is one of several threatened Australian animals and the largest Australian native bat, with a wingspan that extends up to 1m. Known to inhabit woodlands, rainforests and urban regions, these fascinating nocturnal mammals congregate in large roost sites along the east coast of NSW.

  • Short-beaked echidna in Ben Boyd National Park. Photo: Sharon Wormleaton/OEH

    Short-beaked echidna (Tachyglossus aculeatus)

    One of only 2 egg-laying mammals in the world, the short-beaked echidna is one of the most widespread of Australian native animals. Covered in spines, or quills, they’re equipped with a keen sense of smell and a tube-like snout which they use to break apart termite mounds in search of ants.

Plants

  •  Black sheoak. Photo: Barry Collier

    Black sheoak (Allocasuarina littoralis)

    The black sheoak is one of a number of casuarina species found across the east coast of Australia and nearby tablelands. Growing to a height of 5-15m, these hardy Australian native plants can survive in poor or sandy soils. The barrel-shaped cone of the black sheoak grows to 10-30mm long.

  • Grass trees, Sugarloaf State Conservation Area. Photo: Michael Van Ewijk

    Grass tree (Xanthorrea spp.)

    An iconic part of the Australian landscape, the grass tree is widespread across eastern NSW. These Australian native plants have a thick fire-blackened trunk and long spiked leaves. They are found in heath and open forests across eastern NSW. The grass tree grows 1-5m in height and produces striking white-flowered spikes which grow up to 1m long.

Environments in this park

Education resources (1)

Kangaroo. Photo:Debby McGerty