How we spent 3 days camping in Hat Head National Park

Hat Head is easily one of our new favourite NSW camping destinations. With so much to see and do nearby, it’s a great place to go with the family or with your friends. Here’s how we spent three days in Hat Head National Park and surrounds.

Hat Head is located on the traditional land of the Dunghutti people.

Camping at Hat Head Holiday Park

We booked a powered campsite at Hat Head Holiday Park. It’s located right near Connor’s Beach, a boat ramp that brings you into Korogoro Creek and not far from the Korogoro Walking Trail (especially if you book a non-powered campsite near the footbridge – take a look at the park map).

If you have young children or like playing basketball, there’s a great playground and a basketball court. There’s also a small convenience store at the reception which is really handy if you’ve forgotten to pack any of the essentials.

There are two laundries and three toilet blocks, two of which have shower facilities with hot water. Hat Head Holiday Park also backs onto the Hat Head Bowling club, where we had a great meal.

Camping in Hat Head National Park

Here are a few other camping accommodation options in Hat Head National Park:

  • Hungry Gate Campground: For something more remote with basic facilities, there are 20 campsites available at Hungry Gate. This is a great option for young couples or groups of friends who don’t need all the facilities of a holiday park. If you like surfing, it’s a 10 minute walk to the beach, where you can also see the Hat Head Sand Dunes. There’s only one small toilet block, and beware this campsite is located in dense bush so there would be lots of mosquitoes here.
  • Smoky Cape campground: We went for a quick drive through this campsite which has 20 spots available. Similar to Hungry Gate it’s small and has very basic facilities, but again if you don’t need all the facilities it’s a stunning spot nestled in the bush. This campsite has a little more open space than Hungry Gate. Personally I’d stay here over Hungry Gate. You will need to bring drinking water, cooking water, a firepit and your own firewood. There are no marked or powered sites, but there is a very small toilet block.
Our campsite at sunrise.
Sunrise behind our tent at Hat Head Holiday Park.

Go for a swim in Korogoro Creek

Swimming in Korogoro creek was an absolute highlight of the trip. Floating down the creek when the tide is rushing in or out is a delight, just keep your eyes peeled for jet skis or boats coming in or out of the very narrow waterway.

Walking beneath the trees to the beach.
Walking from the car park to Connors Beach.
Connors Beach, Hat Head.
People enjoying a swim at Connors Beach.

Hiking in Hat Head National Park

Korogoro walking trail: This Grade 4 3.2km loop trail starts at The Gap carpark, or you can walk across the footbridge from Hat Head Holiday Park and you’ll find the trailhead easily. Set aside 1-2 hours for this hike.

Walk along the foodbridge towards The Gap to start the Korogoro walking trail.

Connors Walking Track: This Grade 4 3.7km one-way hike winds through shrubery on a beautiful headland in Hat Head National Park. You can start the hike at either The Gap caprpark or Kemps Headland further south. You’ll even see a blowhole along the walk. Should take approximately 1-2 hours, or 3-4 hours if you’re doubling back.

Kangaroos watching the sunrise.
Kangaroos watching the sunrise from the car park for Connors Walking Track.

A day trip to Smoky Cape Lighthouse

About a 25 minute drive from Hat Head Holiday Park is Smoky Cape.

In May 1770 when Captain Cook sailed past what is now known as Hat Head National Park, he saw fires on a headland which is now called Smoky Cape. Here, you’ll find a beautiful lighthouse sitting at the top of a steep hill.

The walk up to Smoky Cape Lighthouse is short, but incredibly steep. There’s a handrail to hold on to. Make sure you’re wearing grippy shoes.

Green grass and a cloudy sky with Smoky Cape lighthouse in the distance.
Smoky Cape Lighthouse.
Smoky Cape Lighthouse.
A beautiful lighthouse worthy of the steep walk.
The view from Smoky Cape, Hat Head National Park.
Once you’ve finished the walk up to the lighthouse, come back down the hill and sit at one of the many picnic tables.
A kangaroo.
A kangaroo shares the view from Smoky Cape.

Macleay Valley Farm

After checking out Smoky Cape, we took a 30 min drive to Macleay Valley Farm. There are so many animals here for the kids to pat and play with, plus there’s a sandpit, cubby house and pencils and paper for the kids if they get tired of the animals.

You can also buy honey and some snacks from a little shack at the gate.

South West Rocks and Trial Bay Gaol

South West Rocks is just a 30 minute drive from Hat Head Holiday Park. We went to the bakery and let Zoey play in the park beside Horseshoe Bay Holiday Park. There’s plenty to do around South West Rocks, including a visit to Trial Bay Gaol which is just 15 minutes from the town centre.

You can take a paid tour of the gaol, or you can just walk around the outside to get a feel for this historic place. You can also book a campsite at Trial Bay Gaol campground.

Trial Bay Gaol.
Behind the gates of Trial Bay Gaol.

Have you been to Hat Head National Park or South West Rocks? Share your favourite things to see and do around the area in the comments below.

March 21, 2024

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