Photo: Andrea Schaffer
Located just under 3 hours drive south of Sydney is Green Patch camping area
. It is part of Booderee National Park
, which is owned by the Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community, and technically is not part of New South Wales, but rather the Jervis Bay Territory.
If you're in search of a quiet romantic weekend's camping, you might be better off camping at nearby Bristol Point
or the picturesque Cave Beach
on the other side of the headland. Likewise, if your idea of camping is listening to loud music around the fire all night long, Green Patch is probably not the right place for you. Long known as a family campsite, you can expect the tranquil sounds of nature to be interspersed with screams of laughter (and occasional tears) from the masses of young children playing from dawn to dusk. Loud noise after 10pm is not allowed, and you can bet on a visit from the rangers and even the Federal Police if you flout this rule. However, if you are looking for a family friendly camping area then chances are this is just the place for you.
The camping area is divided in two, one with drive in sites and the other with walk in sites. Both are equipped with gas and wood barbecues, drinkable water, well-maintained toilets and even showers with (gasp!) hot water, making camping an extremely civilised affair. For those with young kids, there's even a baby changing room.
It's a short walk from the campsite down to the stunningly white sand of the beach. When the tide is out the water is very flat and calm making it great for kids to play. There is also a little stream that runs into the bay, which is popular with toddlers.
Green Patch's biggest attraction is definitely the wildlife though. The campsite and the picnic area next to the beach are full of kangaroos, wallabies, king parrots, rosellas and rainbow lorrikeets, none of whom are particularly shy.
It's not unusual to stick your head out of your tent in the morning and be greeted by a wallaby grazing nearby or to run into a kangaroo on your way to the loo. If you're lucky you might also catch a glimpse of an echidna hiding in the bush or a diamond python sunning itself on the road.
Not so long ago feeding the animals was tolerated but these days it's strictly forbidden. Not only is it unhealthy for the animals, it can also lead to them becoming aggressive and stealing food. This is definitely the case with the local possums so keep your food close to you after sundown.
Green Patch is generally booked out every weekend during the warmer months, so you'll need to book in advance. To get a site during the Christmas holidays you need to enter a ballot and try your luck.
More information can be found on the Booderee National Park website
or by calling the Booderee Visitor Centre on 02 4443 0977.