Located south of Brooms Head, another popular camping and RVing destination and north of small but beautiful town of Minnie Waters, Sandon River camping site is perched in the perfect location.
For a few bucks a night, you literally get million dollar views. People pay top dollar to wake up to the sound of the ocean rolling in at their doorstep. But if you’re prepared to sleep in a tent or your caravan, you can get this experience for next to nothing.
Million Dollar Views
The camping grounds is situated at the mouth of one of the most pristine NSW coastal estuaries. On one side you have the ocean crashing at your feet, turn your head 180° and you have the picturesque Sandon River.
Life simply doesn’t get much better than camping here, its truly breath taking.
About The Camp Sites
During our trip to the Yuraygir National Park, we decided to split the camping experience into two. The Sandon River experience was the second leg of our trip. The first few nights we stayed at the Illaroo camping grounds, which we thought was magical enough.
But boy, did staying at the Sandon River camping grounds feel like an upgrade. Not disrespecting Illaroo at all, because I really enjoyed the stay there also, but Sandon River for me was a much more family suitable destination.
The calm waters of the river made the ideal swimming and fishing hole for the kids. If you get the chance, I recommend you stay at both Illaroo and Sandon River campsites, the combination worked really well together.
Are The Campsites Big?
So the number one question any family looking to book a camping site should be whether or not the camp site provides large enough sites to cater to a family. In total, Sandon River has 28 sites and not all of them are suitable for large families or caravans.
We chose to stay at site #25 on the back of a recommendation by another camper. We needed a larger site to cater to our large Coleman tent, trailer, gazebo, en suite etc.
While not as big as the site we had at Illaroo, site #25 was sufficient for our needs. Certainly big enough for a camper trailer, caravan etc. When you go to book online, be sure to look at the rough sizing estimates and make sure you have ample space for your vehicle also.
But best of all, the campsites back right onto the Sandon River and or ocean. Our spot was amazing because it was close to the opening of the river, so we got the high tides which came all the way up to the stairs leading onto the beach.
Quite literally we were sleeping on the doorstep of waves crashing at our feet. No more than 3 meters away at high tide. But don’t worry about the ocean coming in and crashing your tent, the camp site is raised a couple of meters from sea level.
Just check out the view from Site #25 and tell me its not worth the small overnight fee and vehicle fee to enter the national park.
Facilities Provided At Sandon River Campgrounds
There is no fresh drinking water located at Sandon River, however there are large rain tanks set up around the campsite to use to wash your dishes, shower in etc. If drinking water is needed, you need to head to Brooms Head which will take you about 25 minutes by car.
But if you bring enough drinking water and use the rain water for your non drinking needs, you may not need to top up on your drinking water. I found the rain water to be very helpful and a much appreciated service.
The Toilets Are Divine
Not often would you hear toilets being described as divine, but compared to many other campgrounds, the toilets at Sandon River are quite well maintained.
They are non flushing toilets, but they are not your typical dirty and smelly hole in the ground either. They are well lit up, have a nice deodorizer smell to them and are quite private. In total, there was about 6 toilets located in the toilet block.
A really nice feature of the Sandon River campgrounds are the provided BBQ’s. There are 2 locations in the park where you can take advantage of the free to use BBQs. We we camped in site #25, we had a walkway down to the beach on our right side and on the other side of the pathway was the communal BBQ area.
The BBQs are kept clean by the onsite national park worker. Every morning he came and cleaned the BBQs which I was very impressed with. This is not a free ticket to let you leave the BBQ dirty either, respect the next person in line and clean up after yourself.
4WD Beach Access
AS you enter the Sandon River Campgrounds, on your left you will find the 4wd beach access point. So from where you’re camping, you can take the 4×4 and hit the sand.
If you’ve never been 4wd beach driving before, I find the access point at Sandon River to be quite beginner friendly. Its much less choppy and firmer than some other beach access points. Just be sure to lower the air pressure in your tires and your golden.
Fishing At Sandon River Campgrounds
Provided you pay for the NSW fishing fees, fishing at Sandon River can be exceptional. From catering for the family with kids to the keen fishermen with their boats, Sandon River provides the lot.
For the people with boats, there is a boat ramp located in the actual camp grounds which provides parking as well. Further up Sandon River Road before you reach the campsite is another makeshift boat ramp.
However, do not that at full tide the water can come up to your car if you park on the sand. To the right of the makeshift boat amp is a small secluded and raised area. Park your car here if you plan to take the oat out over high tide.
If you don’t have a boat don’t worry. There’s still many areas you can fish from land. Quite literally, you can fish from your camp site doorstep during high tide if you are camped along the river.
The ocean offers unlimited fishing spots and there’s a small island to the north of Sandon River camp grounds. Takes about 5 minutes to walk to and you can bring your fishing gear with you and fish from the rocks.
Even if you aren’t fishing, this little island is worth the small walk to. The views are amazing from here. With minimal effort I was able to climb/walk up the side and reach the top. Breath taking views and the tranquility is out of this world.
From the camp site you can walk onto the sand of the Sandon River. Around the boat ramp is where the ocean meets the river. Here’s a decent spot to go fishing but the option to walk further down the river is also available.
There are also a couple of spots along Sandon River Road where you can take a 2 minute drive to get too. We found this area to be ideal as the wind was not as intense and the water is calmer. You can park your car on the side of the road and fish all day here if you want.
The fish we caught when land fishing are your common species which include: Silver Beam, Whiting, Flathead and of course the dreaded toad fish. We also saw a few turtles swim by and poke their heads up out of the water.
Overall Review Of Sandon River Campgrounds NSW
We stayed for 5 nights at Sandon River and let me tell you, we did not want to leave. Even with 3 kids under the age of 9, the peacefulness combined with the number of water activities to do kept everyone entertained, not wanting to go home.
The Best Northern NSW Beach Campgrounds
Because we enjoyed our stay so much, Sandon River is now our #1 northern NSW camping location. Here’s a run down on our top 3 camping spots:
- Sandon River: Million dollar ocean and river views combined with endless amounts of water fun to be had by all. Perfect camping location to take the kids fishing without having to leave the campsite.
- Black Rocks Campgrounds: A little further up the Eastern Coast is Black Rocks. A truly magical and remote camping spot. A hidden gem that offers amazing beach fishing and activities for the kids. The fact each camp site was shut off from another was one of the critical factors in rating this campsite #2.
- Illaroo North: Large camp sites nestled in the Yuraygir National Park. Well isolated with quick access to the beach. The provided drinking water edges Illaroo into our top 3 national parks in Northern NSW.