Riverways and lakes meet the ocean in a spectacular landscape of blues and greens in the Camden Haven region of NSW. This area is not one for partying or rowdy nights, it is for picnics, lattes by the river and long walks with the pelicans. Fishermen (and women) will love this region and bushwalkers will find more than a few daytrips to keep them entertained.
To be honest, this is not a region that we would have stopped into if it were not for the fact that Monique’s parents relocated there a couple of years ago, and it’s always nice to stop in and see your parents! Infact the photo above is taken from the lake just in front of her parent’s house. Not too shabby at all. Over the past 18 months we have stopped into the Camden Haven region twice and each time have been in awe of the manicured beauty of the place. This is pleasantville come to life.
Most of the region is made up of older folk and those who look after them, however there are some area where young people thrive and make the most of this quiet setting. Depending on how much time you have, you should check out the following in the Camden Haven:
Just passing through for the day
In the morning hit up North Haven’s The Appletree Soul Food Cafe for breakfast (or if you’re coming in off the highway, we recommend Miss Nellies in Kendall for a great feed too) and take a walk along the lake to the North Haven breakwall.
Just bakc in the car and head up the North Brother mountain lookout for a panoramic of what makes this region so special. There is a short rainforest loop walk that you can venture out along too. To access the lookout, head up Captain Cook Bicentenary Road into the Doorgan National Park, North Brother.
Finally, make your way out towards Pilot Beach, making sure to stop in at the Charles Hamey lookout for spectacular views. Take a walk along Pilot beach – or a swim if you’re in season or super brave in winter then head out back to the highway and be on your way.
Staying the night
On day one, head to North Haven to start your day, like above, but take your walk a little longer and when you hit the end of the breakwall, turn left and head toards the surf lifesaving club. This is where the younger generation hangs out and hangs ten. The surf here can be great and it’s rarely crowded. The beach is also great to swimming in summer.
After that big walk, grab a snack and head up to the North Brother Lookout (as above) an enjoy the picnic tables and the view for lunch.
Heading down the mountain, take the road to Dunbogan and enjoy a sunset walk along the river there.
Day two, grab a coffee at the Dunbogan Boat Shed and head to Pilot beach for a swim, or a walk along the beach and rockpools. There are two beaches accessible form the carpark her, one is easy to get to an obviously marked, the other is via a grassy pathway to the right of the carpark (if you’re facing Pilot Beach) and well worth checking out. Be sure to check out the Charles Hamey lookout on your way out and make your way back through North Haven to Lake Cathie and Bonnie Hills. Both are small townships in your way into Port Macquare. They are close together but have very different vibes. Lake Cathie (for some reason pronounced Lake Cat-Eye) is a fishing town with a placid lake, great for relaxing and reading your book. Bonnie Hills is younger and a surf beach, perfect for higher energy individuals.
I’ve got a few days to kill
Great – you have enough time to take on some serious walks then! Here are some suggestions:
- instead of driving up North Brother, take the bushwalk. It begins just beind the township of Laurieton and is a slightly challenging walk. The walk is 3km each-way. More info can be found here.
- If you’re not into walking uphill too much, then the walk from the Henry Kendall Reserve, along Queens Lake is a much easier stroll that is also worth checking out. The trail is well marked and stretches for 4.4kms along the Lake. Start at the Henry Kendall Reserve and have a picnic lunch packed for your return. This is also a great picnic and sunset watching spot! Download the info brochure here.
- Head into the Crowdy Bay National Park and explore the un-groomed section of this region. You can bushwalk, camp, enjoy the wildlife in this unspoiled National Park – more info here.
Accommodation in the Camden Haven
Camping is available at the Council owned and privately run North Haven and Bonnie Hills Holiday Parks. These campsites are expensive however the North Coast Holiday Parks that run these campgrounds offer a loyalty program where you get a nigh free if you pay for 6 across two of their parks.