COVID-19 update
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Camping safety

Camping is a fun way to discover the beauty of our national parks. In NSW national parks, camping is usually restricted to within the boundaries of a campground. Follow these safety tips to keep you and your camping group safe.

Plan and book your camping trip

  • As of 1 June 2020, you need to book in advance if you plan to stay at a NSW national parks campground or campsite. This is to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the community.
  • Find and book a campground from our list of popular sites. If you can't find the campground that you're after, check this list of lesser known campgrounds.
  • Designated camping areas within NSW national parks vary from park to park, and bush camping is permitted in some national parks.
  • Check if there’s any park alerts or closures before you go.
  • Download the Emergency+ app to your mobile or satellite phone.
  • Drinking water isn’t available at most campgrounds. Check before you arrive.
  • Check the weather forecast before setting out.
  • Check that your camping equipment is in working order.

Wild or back country camping

COVID-19 safe camping

  • Bring water, hand soap, hand wipes, cleaning products, and toilet paper with you to maintain good hygiene. 
  • Be mindful of common touchpoints like taps, picnic benches and barbecues.
  • Be prepared to pay with card instead of cash when purchasing your park entry fee or items like firewood.
  • If you are unwell, stay at home.
  • Current rules on public gatherings  apply –at all campgrounds.
  • Physical distancing is required at campgrounds. If a national park is too crowded to practice physical distancing, please leave the area. Don’t wait to be instructed by NPWS officers or NSW Police.
  • The enforcement of closures and restrictions is the responsibility of NSW Police. Contact the local police station or Police Assistance Line on 131 444 if assistance is required.
  • Some campgrounds will remain closed if the risk to public safety from COVID-19 cannot be managed.

Tell somebody

Give your trip details to family and friends who are not travelling with you. Tell them when you expect to return and let them know when you have returned. For longer trips or remote areas, consider filling in a trip intention form and taking a personal locator beacon (PLB).

Where to set up camp

  • When you arrive, check signage on the ground to see where camping is permitted.
  • If you have booked a specific campsite, go to your reserved camping spot.
  • When pitching your tent, remember to look up to ensure there aren't any loose, dead or overhanging tree limbs.
  • To protect the land, avoid camping on low or poorly drained areas where soil or vegetation may be easily damaged. Look for harder ground or sandier soils.

Campfires

  • Follow all fire safety information during park fire bans and total fire bans and download the Fires Near Me mobile app, especially in summer.
  • Only light fires in designated fireplaces.
  • Do not leave fires unattended. Completely extinguish all fires before you leave an area or go to sleep.
  • Campfires should not be used to incinerate rubbish. Fire doesn't destroy aluminium foil, and plastics release toxic gases when burned.
  • Dead wood provides valuable habitat for native animals. Please don’t break branches or collect fallen timber for fires.
  • If you're camping off the beaten track, use a fuel stove. If you do need to light a fire, please remove the top layer of soil before making the fire. Keep the fire small and ensure you put the fire out thoroughly, scatter the ashes, and replace the top layer of soil.
  • The use of chainsaws is not permitted.

Cooking and heating

  • Never use gas stoves or fuel burners to heat your tent.
  • Never cook inside a tent or enclosed camping spaces.
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning can occur from combustion of fuels such as petrol, oil, gas and wood in areas with little or no ventilation, including tents and caravans. Read more about carbon monoxide safety.

Generator use

Limited use of generators is permitted in some NPWS campgrounds. To reduce the risk of wildfire:

  • Never use generators during fire bans.
  • Locate the generator in an area clear of fuels, dry grass or other combustible material.
  • Ensure extension leads do not cross access tracks and are rated for external use.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for safe operation of your generator.
  • Only operate generators in well ventilated areas outside of tents and sleeping spaces.
  • Be around whenever the generator is operating.

Be a considerate camper

The safety of other park visitors, native wildlife and the environment is important too. Domestic animals pose a danger to native animals and are not permitted in most NSW national parks. Please leave your pet with a friend or family member. Read these tips on how to be a considerate camper.

Aerial view of Sheepstation Creek campground. Photo: John Spencer/DPIE