Have you heard of Camden Haven? You’re one of the rare travellers to know this hidden gem in Australia. It took us three trips from Brisbane to Sydney to finally stop there. We stayed only for one day and had a lovely time. It wasn’t enough to experience all the things to do in Camden Haven, so we will be back one day!
Things to do in Camden Haven
There are many things to do in Camden Haven and I highly recommend staying for a bit longer than we did.
1. Head to the North Brother lookout
The North Brother lookout in Dooragan National Park is a great introduction to the region. Easy to access by car, the summit offers two lookouts with panoramic views of Camden Haven and Crowdy Bay National Park. From up there, you can appreciate the unique water system of the region and the different shades of blue created by the river, the multiple lakes, the inlet and the ocean.
The North Brother is one of three mounts. The Aboriginal people call them the Three Brothers. For once in Australia, that’s also the name that Captain Cook came up with.
The rainforest loop track is a short walk good to stretch your legs in the shade, but don’t feel you’re missing out if you prefer to skip it.
2. Hike Crowdy Bay National Park
I’d argue Diamond Head offers the most remarkable short hikes between Brisbane and Sydney. I fell in love with the rocky landscape there. I’ve written a full article about our hikes in Crowdy Bay National Park, check it out here.
3. Taste the oysters and seafood
We could see many oyster farms while driving around Camden Haven. We could not leave the region without trying them. If you’re up for a dozen, you can purchase them directly at the producer, Armstrong Oysters for example. If it’s lunchtime, Laurieton Riverside Seafood serves seafood and fish and chips. We found bugs at a great price there that we could eat next to the water, under the watch of very interested pelicans. Of course, we didn’t share.
Responsible travel tip: It’s often tempting but it’s never a good idea to feed wildlife. As the NSW Government writes: “A moment’s pleasure for you may result in future problems for animals and people.”
And if you have more time in the region than we had, check out Rockin’ Oysters. You can pre-book a scenic boat tour to learn more about oyster farming and taste the oysters with different dressings.
4. Explore Grants Beach
As we were leaving Camden Haven and heading north back to Brisbane, we had one last stop on Grants Beach to stretch our legs after lunch.
But if you’re after a beach to go for a swim, check out the patrolled beaches of North Haven Beach and Rainbow Beach, and the calm water of Pilot Beach.
If you’re up for a walk, you can also follow the Grants Beach Coastal Walk from North Haven (near the mouth of the Camden Haven River) all the way to Grands Headland.
5. Walk around Kattang Nature Reserve
Otherwise, if you’re travelling in the spring, I’ve read the Flower Bowl circuit in Kattang Nature Reserve back in Camden Head is a good choice to see beautiful wildflowers. In winter, go all the way to Point Perpendicular to try to spot whales.
6. Enjoy the water at Dunbogan Boatshed
It’s a great place to enjoy a coffee with a view, and also to start a small adventure on the water. You can hire kayaks or a small boat there.
7. Try paragliding
The Three Brothers are great flying sites for paragliding. I love paragliding and, although I didn’t try it in Camden Haven – it’s not always easy to get the right conditions – I am sure the bird’s eye view of the coast and rivers is incredible. If you’re interested, check out the paragliding school in Camden Haven, High Adventure Paragliding.
Where to stay in Camden Haven
If you’re camping, check if there are spots available at Diamond Head campground. It’s located just near a beautiful beach and stunning coastal hikes.
Otherwise, there are a few accommodation options closer to town.
Nature and comfort lovers will be charmed by the ECO Certified Diamond Waters Treehouse Retreat. You will be nested in a comfortable and beautifully designed house in the forest, a few metres away from the river banks and the North Brother. Let me warn you, you will want to stay there for more than one night and spend time enjoying the stunning property. In winter, the fireplace will keep you warm.
If your budget doesn’t allow you to stay at the Treehouse, then you may like a room with river views at the Haven Waters Motel*, or go a bit out of town to Bonny Hills to get ocean views at Akama Vista*.
Where is Camden Haven?
Camden Haven is in New South Wales, about 30 minutes south of Port Macquarie, on Australia’s East Coast. It takes about 4.5hrs to drive there from Sydney, and 6.5hrs from Brisbane. It’s an ideal stop when driving from Brisbane to Sydney.