Nine hidden holiday spots in NSW

We all have our favourite holiday spots, but if you adjust your radar beyond the well-known destinations, you’ll find underrated towns and villages where the beaches are less crowded and off-grid experiences and unique accommodations abound.

Across from the hum of Port Stephens, days at postcard-worthy Jimmys Beach – which stretches from the mouth of Myall River to hike-worthy Yacaaba Headland – tick by at a slower pace. Taking up prime position, Jimmys Beach Holiday Park is just a ramble across sand dunes to the sheltered aqua and cobalt bay, where families, paddleboarders, and fishermen and women while away hours. Camp out in a plush safari-style tent or whisk away your loved one to a stylish tiny house (pets are welcome here, too). Nestled among angophoras and banksias, you’ll have the company of goannas and a soundtrack of kookaburras.

Find that elusive work-life balance at Myall River Camp, a sustainable off-grid escape tucked away from Hawks Nest, where the ping of your phone is replaced with the gentle flow of the Myall River. Join bottlenose dolphins on a revitalising dip in the sandy river beach, kayak around mangroves or try your hand at catching mud crabs. Swap nighttime TV binges for fireside chats in the wild, before slumbering in your solar-powered glamping tent or homely tiny house, the latter built from recycled materials and kitted out with vintage pieces.

Nestled among rainforest on a peninsula bounded by the secluded Seven Mile Beach and turquoise-hued Wallis Lake, Tiona wins the natural beauty trifecta. Just south of Forster, this incredible holiday park is pet-friendly, and boasts treehouse-style glamping tents elevated among palm tree rain forest. Simply unzip your window for a big dose of green therapy. Some of the state’s best surf beaches are a short drive away, while the lake is brilliant for kayaking and paddleboarding. A Wallis Lake Oyster Tour is a great option if you’re looking to shuck and taste these delicious local molluscs.

Just south of Port Macquarie, Ingenia Bonny Hills is set among coastal woodland and fronts onto the three-kilometre-long Rainbow Beach. The park has fun on its agenda with a pool, splash park, mini golf and pedal karts. If you want to camp but enjoy creature comforts too, the Deluxe Ensuite site has all the bells and whistles: a large turfed area, an undercover deck with a kitchenette, and a separate ensuite.

NRMA Ocean Beach Holiday Resort on the Central Coast is sure to cement a permanent spot in your holiday memories thanks to its seaside locale where grommets can learn to surf and beach cricket gets competitive. Add to that a kids’ club, pool, jumping pillow, water park, go karts, games room, playground and tennis court. Elevate your camping experience in a modern two-bedroom ‘glamtainer’ – a converted, and uber-stylish, shipping container kitted out with luxe fittings and furnishings and a barbecue deck for al fresco dining.

Following the glamping brief to a T, Ingenia Byron Bay has a collection of six white bell tents arranged around a barbecue hut, simply perfect for a friend-group holiday. Walk the bush track to surfing spot Tallow Beach, cycle into nearby Byron Bay and unwind together at night under festoon lights. Your comfy abode is decked out with a plush king bed and premium bohemian styling, and the ceiling can be pulled back so you can gaze at the night sky and try to catch a cosmic show of shooting stars.

At Tweed Holiday Parks Kingscliff Beach, crashing waves provide white noise at night, while salt spray is your morning wake-up call. The two- and three-bedroom ocean cabins come with large decks for surf checks and full-sized kitchens, which are perfect for those longer stays. Hire a bike to cycle south along the boardwalk to Cabarita Beach, or meander into Kingscliff for sunset sips and live music at Kingscliff Beach Hotel.

Turn back time at Big4 Ingenia Holidays Soldiers Point with a retro stay in one of its Airstreams. Shiny inside and out, these retro-style trailers boast a double bed, modern bathroom and ensuite. Spend fun-filled afternoons at the park, which boasts a purpose-built bike track, bowling alley, jungle gym and indoor water park, and wrap up your days with Soldiers Point’s epic sunsets. A short drive from Nelson Bay, this quiet enclave is a great base to explore the region’s 26 beaches and bays.

Unplug and unwind at this Sapphire Coast camp, which forgoes the fancy extras for nature immersion. At Tathra Beach Eco Camp days are filled with surfing, kayaking, paddleboarding, mountain biking and bush walking. The Wharf to Wharf Walk, a 27-kilometre track that traces the coast along cliffs, bays and isolated beaches is well-worth a look. Between the camp’s Bellbird and Driftwood Tents and the Banksia Cabins, anything from couples to families of six will be well catered for. Under the shade of large gumtrees, the architecturally designed two-person Gumnut Pods are as cosy and cute as they sound.

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