The Border Ranges are on Githabul Country. I acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of this area and their connection to Country, and pay my respects to their Elders past and present.
The Border Ranges are actually not that far from the New South Wales coast since they’re only some 100km inland. But as there’s no direct road, you end up doing some sort of a loop, either south via the town of Kyogle or along the scenic Lion’s Road if approaching from Queensland.
Being a rainforest in northern NSW, there’s a lot of rainfall over the summer at the Border Ranges so come prepared.
BORDER RANGES CAMPING SPOTS
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, you now have to pre-book your campsite at all NSW National Parks, and this includes camping at Border Ranges. Neither camping area works on a first come first serve basis anymore.
We pitched our tent at the Border Ranges over Christmas and at no time was the campground completely full. I expect this would be a little different over Easter as the weather should be a bit drier (the driest month is actually September) and not quite as humid.
Being in a rainforest, it never got uncomfortably hot with the average temperature around 30°C in summer.
There are two campgrounds in the Border Ranges: Sheepstation Creek and Forest Tops. We ended up camping at Sheepstation Creek as I didn’t really fancy staying next to the road with no views.
SHEEPSTATION CREEK CAMPGROUND
Being prone to massive rainfall over the summer, you should come expecting a fabulously green and lush but also wet and mozzie-enriched camping spot. The latter didn’t actually bother us much, it was the cicadas that drove me utterly insane during our three nights camping here. I’ve never heard cicadas as loud as I’ve heard in the Border Ranges – I had to put earplugs in, I couldn’t bear it!
There used to be 40 unmarked sites at Sheepstation Creek but this has been reduced to 25 marked sites.
In December 2017, most of the sites were fairly open but also somewhat shady. They varied from grassy spots to more compact dirt sites, which didn’t need much to turn them into mud puddles with a bit of rain. Some sites also had more of a gravel pitch.
It seems that sites now either have a gravel pitch or grass, depending on whether they’re for caravans/trailers or tents. All sites look very level now.
Previously a fairly cheap campground, the price has gone up to $24 a night (for two people). Additional people are $12 per person (adults).
We found this camping area a nice enough spot for a couple of days but it’s not picturesque or interesting enough to tempt me back in a hurry. If we were passing by, we’d stay here again but probably just for a night.
BORDER RANGES (SHEEPSTATION CREEK CAMPGROUND) AT A GLANCE
PROS: Easily accessible (2WD) in a temperate rainforest setting; makes a good base for exploring the Border Ranges; clean, hybrid compost toilets; vehicle-based camping and sites suitable for camper trailers; most sites have shady areas; close to a couple of walks; BBQ shelter; most sites have picnic tables
CONS: Cicada noise: Insanely loud and going on almost all day (at least in summer); a few sites were quite slope-y while others turned into mud baths; relatively little privacy as sites are open around a loop track; not particularly picturesque, e.g. no views other than tall trees
COST: $24 for 2 people per night (2023); pre-bookings only
Not sure what the tents and mozzies mean? Check out my tents and mozzies guides.
FOREST TOPS CAMPGROUND
Alternatively, you could camp at Forest Tops, a very small camping area with three sites.
It’s a grassy clearing that’s right next to the Tweed Drive Scenic Road and probably only suitable for 1-2 families. It’s nicely surrounded by rainforest but we didn’t end up camping there for a couple of reasons.
You can’t park your car directly on your site but instead will have to walk a short distance from the car park. And I didn’t love the fact that it’s right along the road and there’s a bit of traffic coming past.
Just like Sheepstation Creek, you now need to pre-book your site here.
No matter where you camp, practise responsible camping.
In addition to your camping fees, you’ll also need to pay a daily parks entry fee ($8) unless you’ve got a NSW Parks pass. You can pay the day-use fee directly in the park, there’s a pay station (I’m pretty sure it’s cash only) along the Tweed Ranges Scenic Road not far from Sheepstation Creek campground.
You can also order a NSW Parks Pass online if you want to get an annual visitor pass for various NSW national parks.
Find more information about camping at Sheepstation Creek or at Forest Tops on NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service.