The Blueys Beach area, close to Forster has, in my opinion, the best beaches near Sydney.
Just over a 3-hour drive north of the city, you’d be forgiven for thinking you are closer to Byron than you are to Sydney. If you’re looking for stunning coastal landscapes with glimmering blue waters and tropical green flora, then you’ve found your getaway.
Here’s my guide to camping around Blueys Beach.
Where: Mid North Coast, NSW, Australia
The Blueys Beach area
The popular Blueys Beach is in the Pacific Palms area just south of Forster. Enjoy Booti Booti National Park as well as many stunning beaches in the area including Boomerang, Elizabeth, Shelly, Seven Mile and of course, Blueys Beach. With all these stunning beaches within a 10-minute drive of each other if the weather forecast is looking good and you fancy soaking up some rays and laid-back beach vibes, then this is the place to come.
The beauty of spending time in this area is that the change of scenery and pace of life allows you to really get some distance from everyday life and fully switch off. I always feel so much lighter after a weekend around Blueys Beach.
Camp at The Ruins Campground
The Ruins Campground is located in Booti Booti National Park. It’s amazing how quickly you’re thrown into the lush green bushland of the national park when turning off The Lakes Way road.
Run by National Parks & Wildlife Services (NPWS), the facilities are good (it has hot showers!), the sites are big and it’s next to Seven Mile Beach so the location is excellent. It’s also popular (probably because it’s the cheapest camping option in the area) so I recommend booking in advance if you can. I managed to book last-minute on one of the tent-only sites where you park in front of your spot (you could sleep in your car but wouldn’t be able to put out an awning).
When booking your site, the campground map on the website is split into two sections. I stayed in spot no.95 which was a good side to be on away from The Lakes Way road, with lots of space between sites. However, it is a little bit more of a walk to the amenities (2 minutes) so I would suggest booking sites 77-88 if you’re happy with tent only. Otherwise, sites 63-68 looked the best to me: away from the road and other people but close to amenities and the beach access path.
$34.85/night peak time; $24.85/night (2 adults, unpowered site), 4374 The Lakes Way, Booti Booti, NSW, 2428, 1300 072 757 (13000 PARKS).
Blueys Beach in a weekend
Here’s a list of things to do in the area over a weekend stay.
Walk the Booti Hill Walking Track through lush rainforest
The Booti Hill walking track starts from The Ruins Campground (day parking available) and Seven Mile Beach, taking you over the headland to Elizabeth Beach (1hour 15mins walking one way). Marked as a moderate walk (Grade 3), the path runs along the rainforest bed. It is clearly marked but uneven underfoot and challenging in the places where it gets quite steep. Worth it though because I’ve done a few rainforest walks now and I would say this is definitely one of the more beautiful ones. You really do feel like you’ve entered another world and the glimpses of the coastline along the way are stunning. For example the lookout across to Shelly Beach about halfway.
If you want a longer walk you can do the loop track which takes you inland and along Wallis Lake (I didn’t do this but based on the NPWS guidance on their website, expect this part to take an extra hour).
Visit one of the many beaches in this area
Pack a bag and head to Elizabeth Beach from The Ruins Campground. It’s a popular spot with a Surf Life Saving Club patrolling the beach. There is no cafe or toilets here – just an outdoor shower off the beach – so take food and drink with you.
A short drive away there is also Shelly Beach (one half is a nudist beach – you’ve been warned!), Boomerang Beach and Blueys Beach. All are stunning and special in their own way so I’d recommend all of them.
Visit the cafes and shops at Blueys Beach
Grab food at the cafes between Boomerang and Blueys Beach. I ate at Kembali Café for an Asian twist on the classics. Great for fresh juice to quench your thirst on a hot day too!
If you need to stock up on anything, there is also a local supermarket here and a few nice surf and lifestyle shops to browse.
Watch the sunset at The Reccy
Head to Pacific Palms Recreation Club (known locally as ‘The Reccy’) for sunset. There was a wedding on when I visited which was being held on the lawn overlooking the water so I didn’t stay. The indoor area is very much your classic old bar (if you get what I mean) so you definitely want to be outside overlooking the lake which points West for sunset. I’ve heard it’s a bit of an institution to go to and they have their own courtesy bus so book onto it if you’re staying in the area and don’t want to drive. (Note, during Covid-19 times the courtesy bus is only available for drop-offs – see their website for more details).
Visit nearby Seal Rocks
A 20-minute drive away is Seal Rocks, another favourite of mine with the same tropical scenery characteristic of this area. So you can combine the two in one weekend (something I’ve done a few times now because I keep coming back here). For more on things to do in Seal Rocks, check out my post on Camping in Seal Rocks.
Top tip: Take your own water and have at least some food with you. Aside from the cafes near Blueys and Boomerang Beach, this area doesn’t have a lot of food options. Instead of expecting to experience a café culture here, you’re better off accepting that you’re going to be wowed by the scenery and unspoilt beaches here. In other words, come here and embrace camping life. You will not be disappointed.
If you’re looking to get away from Sydney and have a laid-back, beachy weekend then Blueys Beach and its surrounds is perfect for this. The area igves you the best of both worlds with the option to head to the cafes close to the beach for a bit more of a Byron town vibe (on a much smaller scale mind you), or to Seven Mile Beach and Booti Booti National Park to enjoy the more secluded natural beauty of this area.
I hope this guide to camping in the area and what to do helps you plan the perfect weekend getaway.