Sandbar, NSW Australia
Trent Webster, Editor, Australia
Sometimes you just need to get away and take a break for the weekend…and about 3 hours north of Sydney you will find a little caravan park nestled on the Smith Lakes, perfect for such an escape.

Sandbar is one of those old school caravan parks. No fancy play gyms, no water park, no free wifi (don’t stress you now get mobile reception)…there isn’t even bitumen roads. It’s a park that makes you enjoy the simple things in life.

When you turn off the Lakes Way onto the entrance road you instantly realise there is something different about Sandbar.

Shores of Smith Lakes at Sandbar NSW Austalia
Photograph by Not A Gap Year

The road quickly turns to dirt and the sides of the road are thick with vegetation. The further the road winds, the more you start to relax. A few kilometres down the road you come to a turn-off. Keep driving as you need to check in at the main camping area.

You will now pass one of the camp areas on your left (Bushlands – more on that below), and by now the lake is coming into view on your right. Keep following the road around and you arrive at Sandbar Camp area.

You will need to check-in at the shop before continuing through to your site. The shop is small but it stocks the basics like bread, milk, ice and the general treats to keep the kids happy.


“This is one place that has become our go to destination when we want to escape the noise and enjoy a quiet weekend.”

The park is broken into 2 separate areas, Sandbar and Bushlands.

Sandbar is surrounded by crown lands and the Smith Lakes. This area also has self contained cabins and a few van sites with slabs. All the site here have power and water available.

When we head up here, you will find us set up at the Sandbar end of the park, usually on one of the external sites that adjoins the crown land. Like most parks these days, fires aren’t allowed in the park itself, but around in the crown land you will find a few fire pits, and if you’re lucky enough, one might end up in front of your site.

There is only one amenities block, which albeit old is always kept clean. Attached to this is a laundry with coin operated machines and outside are a few clothes lines.

The main attraction at this park is your proximity to the lake and ocean. At the shop end of the park is the main lake access. With a sandy beach and shallow water that extends out about 100m, hours are lost here swimming.

The sandy shallow waters are perfect for swimming
Photograph by Not A Gap Year

The lake is a great spot for kayaking, riding a SUP or even getting around in a small boat. The back end of the park has a small boat ramp, but you would need a 4WD to launch from here – otherwise the closest boat ramp is at the other side of the Lake.  Little tip…you can paddle across the lake and round a little bit and you’ll find a coffee shop at the boat shed (ramp). You can also hire boats and SUP’s here as well as have a meal.

If you are wanting more than just swimming,  there are walking tracks around the edge of the lake in both direction (even out to the beach).  There is also a 9 Hole golf course if you want to have a hit.

Kids can ride their bikes around the grounds, play in the trees, or even get a group together to play on the volleyball court.

If you have a 4WD, the you must go for a run down the beach. You do need an access permit but it covers all the great lakes area beaches not just Cellitos, so make sure you get that from the shop. The access track is just beside the shop. The beach is always soft so make sure you let your tyres down.

Depending on swell great waves can be found all the way along the beach. If surfing is not your thing, its also a great spot to get some worms and have a fish.

Don’t worry if you don’t have a 4WD drive you can still enjoy the beach. You just need to make the short drive to the pedestrian beach access. Here you follow the boardwalk through the rainforest and come out at the northern end of the beach, which is a great spot for swimming (please note Cellito is not a patrolled beach).

The view from the southern headland looks back over Cellito Beach and Smith Lakes
Photograph by Not A Gap Year

Getting There




Finding The Pines in
Barrington Tops
Island hopping in
South East Queensland
Following the Tele Track
to Cape York