After a four-year stint in Sydney, I’m excited to rediscover the hidden gems of Newcastle with you as I return to my old stomping ground.
Published March 12th 2013
Go bush and get back to basics
Not too far from civilisation, yet far enough to feel lost in the wild outdoors, The Ruins is the perfect camp spot for anyone wanting a quick weekend away from Newcastle.
Scenic surroundings of cabbage tree palms, Booti Booti National Park and the private Seven Mile Beach makes the two-hour drive from Newcastle worthwhile. Families and friends can park their caravans or pitch a tent in the open area to background music of ocean waves rolling into shore. With the rugged beach on your side of The Lakes Way and the pristine Wallis Lake on the other side, you really do feel spoiled for choice.
The rates are $14 per adult per night and $7 per child per night during peak times, or $10 per adult per night and $5 per child per night during off-peak times. Vehicle entry fee is $7 per day. You can't make bookings, but the campsite generally has plenty of space. The Easter long weekend and the summer school holidays are notoriously busy, so avoid these periods for peace and quiet.
If you enjoy camping for the "getting back to nature" side of things, you will love this campground. It is also well equipped for families, as there are amenities blocks on site and the nearby village of Pacific Palms only minutes away for cute cafés and basic shopping needs. However, children should take caution swimming in Seven Mile Beach as it is an unpatrolled beach with strong currents.
The facilities are fairly standard as far as campgrounds go, with hot water an added bonus. The free BBQs, picnic tables and two amenities blocks are in good condition – just watch out for the creepy crawlies in the toilets.
A highlight of The Ruins camping experience includes the beautiful bushwalking tracks leading up Booti Hill through the national parkland. Once you conquer your fear of heights on some of the more dodgy cliff paths, the ocean views are magnificent.
Fishing, surfing, birdwatching and kayaking are also popular activities around this campsite. Nature lovers will enjoy a moonlight walk to view the possums in the trees, millions of tiny sand crabs and other interesting wildlife. For more information on what to do in Pacific Palms, click here.