Mount Kaputar National Park near Narrabri feels fairly remote even though it’s only 560 km northwest of Sydney (or some 630 km southwest of Brisbane).
And it’s probably not the most popular national park in New South Wales, or even the New England region, compared to the lures of the Blue Mountains or Kosciusko National Park. But it’s a fantastic spot for some hiking, especially if you don’t want to meet too many people.
READ MORE: 5 short hiking trails at Mount Kaputar
And the good news is, camping is also rather glamorous here.
Mount Kaputar: Camping Options
Like many other NSW national parks, you can’t book your camping spot at Mount Kaputar National Park. All you can do is rock up as early as possible and hope for the best.
We actually had no idea how busy it would be over the Easter long weekend.
It turned out to be fairly packed but most people only stayed a night and then moved on. A couple of people actually said that they had never seen either campground as busy as they were over the weekend. So my guess is that if you come outside of school holidays or long weekends, you’ll be fine and may find yourself being the only one here.
There are two designated campgrounds at Mount Kaputar: Bark Hut, offering 15 camping spots, and the more popular Dawsons Spring campground with 25 sites. Bark Hut is probably a better setup for groups but since Dawsons Spring was completely packed, we squished in at Bark Hut for our three nights in the park.
Bark Hut Campground
Both campgrounds at Mount Kaputar offer camping in a bush setting with tall trees surrounding the area, but of the two camping spots, Bark Hut offers the least amount of privacy. Neither campground really has individual bays (my preference) but Bark Hut is mostly one large area with picnic tables and fire pits in random spots.
It’s all a bit slopey though you can find some flatish areas where people have clearly set up tents before.
Given the elevation (about 1,100m for Bark Hut) and the bush setting, the campground stayed fairly nice and cool though it was nowhere near as cool as I had expected for early April.
Down in the flatlands, the temperatures were easily in the mid 30°C during the day but you couldn’t really tell how hot it was if you just stayed in the campground. (Going for a hike was a different story.) And even at night, the temperatures never dropped enough for me to pull out long pants.
But the only time I’d really avoid this area is during the (long) summer as they’re just brutally hot here.
The best part about camping at Mount Kaputar, however, is that for $6 per person per night, you not only get a campsite but you also have access to hot showers!
The amenities block in itself was a bit unusual in its open-air design but to have unrestricted hot showers in an area that looks so drought-stricken just seemed impossible. So if you’re after some glamping, here’s your opportunity!
Just a note on the water pressure: there is none. The water is sourced from of a spring (Dawsons Spring) and gravity provides all the water pressure you can expect. I didn’t mind and just enjoyed being able to wash my hair after some hot and dusty hikes.
We had certainly expected a more rustic campground and less fancy facilities so having a) flush toilets and b) hot showers was a complete surprise, and made it feel quite luxurious to us. We are easily pleased. 🙂
PROS: Easily accessible (2WD) from the Newell Highway at Narrabri (about 50 km in); clean, flush toilets; hot showers; shady spots under large gum trees (watch for branches dropping); a few picnic tables (but not enough for every site); electric BBQ; rubbish bins including recycling bins (!); no mozzies, in fact, not many insects in general
CONS: Little privacy as sites are in a group area (except for one or two smaller spots); the camping area is quite slopey though if you only have a small tent you’re probably fine; cars parked off to the side (depending on your tent spot, your car might be 10-20m away)
Not sure what the tents and mozzies mean? Check out my tents and mozzies guide.
Dawsons Springs is similarly set up as Bark Hut in terms of amenities but without the single large tent area. Camping spots are somewhat separated and camping next to your vehicle is possible in some sites. May also be more shady than Bark Hut.
There’s a pay station at each campground but make sure you bring the exact amount (or a cheque) as you’ll need to put the camping fees into an envelope and deposit them into a box. Find more details about camping at Bark Hut (or Dawsons Springs) on the NSW Parks website.
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