Lostock Dam Caravan Park had been on my list of campsites to check out for quite a while. And being only an hour and a half from Newcastle, and away from the coast, it was a perfect choice for a last-minute escape over the summer school holidays.
After following a windy yet beautiful road through the countryside of Paterson, Vacy and East Gresford, we were rewarded with a gorgeous camp spot tucked in a valley on the banks of the Paterson River. It’s often the places where I have few expectations that we seem to enjoy the most, and this was certainly an unexpected gem. So much so that we ended up staying an extra few days!
This isn’t a Big 4 experience. There is a very basic ‘old school’ playground, a clean, well kept but basic amenities block and a little store with some essentials (including ice creams). The rest is up to nature to keep you amused.
But this type of camping site is by far my favourite with young kids – some amenities to make it comfortable, but the feeling of peace, space, and being immersed in nature.
Activities to enjoy at Lostock Dam
The star of this show is the Paterson River. By morning we strolled with our early risers along a lovely little track that follows the river and sat spotting platypi (our first time for the kids to ever see these elusive creatures).
By mid-morning, the kids were going down the shallow rapids on their boogie boards (hours of entertainment) whilst I sat on the bank under a tree with a book and a watchful eye. Bring tubes, boogie boards or lilos (adults – watch your knees… kids seem to navigate the rocks, I certainly didn’t!) Water shoes, or any shoes you are happy to wear in the water (other than thongs which are tricky to walk in) are also super handy to protect your feet. There are also some still pools, perfect for floating around or swimming.
And in the arvo, we all climbed in the kayak and had a paddle. Be aware, that if you paddle down the river, you are more than likely going to have to get out and pull the boat through certain sections to get back to where you started. My dedicated husband was happy to paddle and pull us back up the river after our little mini adventure. You can also head up the river towards the dam, which gives a short but family fun little paddle.
The camp ground itself has lovely big open grassy areas for games of soccer or frisbee. And nearby, Lostock Dam provides the opportunity for fishing, boating or kayaking. Our morning spent kayaking on the dam was surprisingly peaceful and interesting, with loads of birdlife, deadwood and very few people.
Lostock Dam Caravan Park is also close to the Barrington Tops, for even more exploring, bushwalking and beauty. But with so much to do right on our doorstep, we didn’t venture far.
Facilities at Lostock Dam Caravan Park
- Basic toilet/shower amenities blocks
- Picnic tables
- Small shop
- Fire permitted (subject to weather)
- Basic playground
- Suits caravans and tents.
- Dog friendly (on-leash)
Useful tips for Lostock Dam Caravan Park
- Gresford is only 15-20 minutes away for supplies, but it is a windy old road. If you have kids that get car sick, avoid going back and forth!
- Water shoes (or shoes that you are happy to wear in the water and that will stay on your feet) are a must have for playing in the river. And you will need something to float on if you are going to truly enjoy what the river has to offer (a tube, boogie board, or lilo would do). A PFD is also handy for younger kids.
- Make the effort and get up just after dawn to spot the platypus in the still pools. It’s pretty magical.
- There is no phone reception at Lostock Dam Caravan Park. It’s back to old school coin phones if you need to make a call!
- Every few months Lostock Dam Caravan Park has live music on Saturday night. This may or may not be your thing, but it is obviously far busier on these weekends. Check in advance.
- We went super minimalist with our camping trip to Lostock Dam. With BBQs, picnic tables, and amenities, we only took our small hiking tents, a small stove, food, bedding and a few ‘water toys’. Other people there had, what seemed like, an entire house set up. The choice is yours, but both work at this little camp ground.
Location of Lostock Dam Caravan Park
Lostock Dam Caravan Park is on the banks of the Paterson River. The exact address is 1823 Paterson River Rd, Lostock NSW 2311. Visit the Lostock Dam Caravan Park website for more information.
Call on (02) 4931 7118 or complete an online booking enquiry here.
Cost for the trip
Great low budget option, plus all activities to keep you amused are provided free by mother nature! Unpowered camping sites are $20-25 a night (plus $5 for each child over 5) Powered sites are $30-35 a night.
What the kids said
“I LOVED that place! I loved going down the river on my boogie board. Can we go back?”
Sam Doove is a mum of 2 mini adventurers, a nature devotee and a lover of the simple things in life. She is the creator of The Rich Life, where she helps her readers to adopt a mindful approach to their money, so that they can live their version of a rich, purposeful life. She is also involved in the Warners Bay Sustainable Neighbourhood Group, who run quarterly Nature Play events for children around Lake Macquarie.