What you need to know about camping in Goolawah National Park

Growing up, Goolawah Reserve was my second home. Every year, rain hail or shine we would be camping in this area for weeks at a time multiple times a year. Recently I have had the opportunity to revisit this area, and wow have things changed. Once upon a time, this was a little hidden gem. A place tucked away from everything, a place to disconnect and spend some time in nature. Now this spot has become very popular. This could be due to the council sealing the road, making it more accessible to those with caravans and 2wd. Or it could be social media, it’s hard to say. This unexpected popularity led to the ranger recommending we head to the national park instead of the reserve to avoid the crowds. Whilst initially a little disappointed that we wouldn’t be camping where we intended, it’s given us the perfect opportunity to compare the campgrounds, so those heading to the area know exactly what to expect. So here are the Goolawah National Park camping options, and what you need to know before choosing between the national park and the reserve.

Where is Goolawah National Park?

Goolawah National Park is located 10 minutes south of Crescent Head on Point Plomer Road. The area is known for its dramatic headlands, secluded beaches, fishing and surfing. This area feels almost untouched which is part of the appeal of the area.

Goolawah National Park Map

The Campgrounds

Delicate Campground

Delicate Campground is the campground I spent much of my childhood on. This little hidden gem had been calling my name and that is why we headed back up to Crescent Head. However, as mentioned earlier, the campground is very popular nowadays.

This is for good reason. Delicate Campground is located in the Goolawah Regional Park, being just outside of the national park has a few benefits, the reason for the popularity of this campground is that you can camp here with your dog. Very few places are dog-friendly camping areas in NSW these days. So this may be due to the spike in popularity.

Delicate Campground is located on a point, part of the appeal of this site is that regardless of the wind, you’ll be able to surf, swim, or enjoy your time at the beach. During the low tide head north towards Racecourse Headland and you’ll find a plethora of rockpools and swimming locations making it great for families looking for a safer area to swim.

If seeing wildlife is top on your to-do list while camping, you’ll be in for a treat dingoes and goannas frequent this campsite.

dog friendly campground NSW
Old photo from our time camping at delicate campground

Things to note:

  • Flush toilets in the main amenities block, non-flush available at the north end of the campsite
  • Cold showers available
  • No drinking water
  • Fishing is allowed with a current fishing licence
  • Firewood can be purchased from site managers
  • Dog Friendly, however, they must be desexed. Un-desexed dogs will lure dingoes to the sites, who may become aggressive.
  • Dingoes may freely roam this campsite. Do not feed them, or leave food, rubbish and scraps around your site.
  • No powered sites must be self-sufficient
  • Caravan accessible, however, generators are not permitted
  • Sites unassigned but checked by ranger daily
  • No reception
  • Sites $24.60 a night

Bookings can be made here

Racecourse Campground

Located just north of Racecourse Headland you’ll find racecourse campground Goolawah National Park’s main campground. This camping area is approximately half the size delicate campground making for a much more intimate camping experience. Racecourse is located right on Goolawah Beach, and right in front of the campground is a famous surf break, which locals from Crescent Head often travel to try and catch. During off-peak season you’ll often find yourself with the campground to yourself, or with only a few others.

Unlike Delicate Campground, you cannot bring your dog into Racecourse Campground. This area is part of the national park, so dogs, generators and collecting firewood are prohibited at this campground. Goanans also frequent this campground so it is important to keep all food scraps inside your car.

This campground is perfect for those looking for seclusion, there are no rock pools at this campground, however, the headland is only a short hike away where you find them on the south side.

Things to note:

  • No dogs
  • Caravan accessible, however, no generators are allowed
  • No drinking water is available
  • Non-flush toilets only
  • Cold shower available
  • Garbage bins are provided during peak seasons only. Please take rubbish with you
  • Goolawah Beach is known for strong rips and there are no surf lifesaving services available. Only enter the water when it is safe.
  • Fishing is permitted from the beach with a NSW fishing permit
  • No steps in this campground
  • 3G is available for Telstra and Vodaphone users
  • sites $24.60 a night

Bookings can be made here

Waves Campground

waves campground crescent head
Credits @waves campground

Waves Campground is located south of the Goolawah National Park and is a privately owned campground. This campground is very popular with groups, and families seeking an off-the-grid experience with a few of the necessities. This campsite is located across the road from the beach where you’ll find the crystal clear waters the Crescent Head area is known for. The campground is known for its facilities, complete with a cafe, free camp kitchen, general store inside reception and a surf store where you can hire boards for all experience levels.

This campground is known for being a lot more luxurious than the other campgrounds in the region, not only does it provide hot showers, but you can also enjoy yoga or a massage during your stay at this site. Waves Campground prides itself on getting back to nature in a comfortable way so is a great starting point for new campers, or those on a longer trip who are looking for a more comfortable campground to set up camp.

Rates for Waves Campground are based on season and are as follows:


$22pp per night

Off Peak

$15pp per night

There is also the option to stay in the shared bunk house here which starts at $30 per night which is great for backpackers!

Things to note:

  • No dogs
  • Powered sites available for an extra fee
  • Hot showers and flushing toilets are available
  • 50m from the closest beach access point
  • The camp kitchen is available for free for all campers
  • Water is available to purchase
  • No reception at the campground, it is available at the beach
  • This campground does fill up during peak season

Bookings can be made here

Happy camping and enjoy your trip to Goolawah National Park!

While on the Barrington Coast, check out this epic campsite!


Latest News


Sign up for our newsletter and stay up to date


Leave a Comment