Cathedral Reserve; Great Free Camping in the Blue Mountains

If you’re chasing a beautiful, easy to access camp site that is completely free in the Blue Mountains, you won’t go wrong with Cathedral Reserve. This was our home for a couple of days whilst we bunkered down as a massive rain storm came down the coast, giving us a thorough soaking of 300mm over 48 hours!

In actual fact the national park camp sites were all closed, and it was one of a handful of options, and we completely fell in love with it. The 300mm of rain did very little to us thanks for a good choice of camp site, and being up nice and high, but we were glad to get out of our camper trailer after two solid days of rain!

Cathedral Reserve is a ripper free camp in the Blue Mountains
Cathedral Reserve is a stunning free camp in the Blue Mountains
Set up for lots of rain
We spent a few nights here, and got more than 300mm of rain in 48 hours

Where is Cathedral Reserve?

You’ll find this place in the northern parts of the Blue Mountains, in Mt Wilson, which is a stunning part of the world. It’s just beyond the main town, on Mt Irvine Road, which is one way in, and one way out. We actually had a tree come down and knock the powerlines over the road, which effectively blocked us in during the storm, but it was all cleared very quickly and didn’t really affect us.

Mt Wilson Waterfall
You’ll find this magic place in Mt Wilson, near the Waterfall Walk

What are the amenities?

There are a number of drop toilets here, along with fire pits, a big grassy area and a couple of walks that you can do nearby. There’s also a lot of rubbish bins, which do get full in busy times, and then you need to take your rubbish home! Do not leave it on the floor near a bin for the animals to spread everywhere.

Toilets at Cathedral Reserve
There’s toilets here, and a heap of rubbish bins

Does it get busy?

Yes, in good weather, this is a hugely popular camp site for all sorts of campers. It’s especially busy over long weekends and school holidays, and when the chestnut and walnut picking is on. More on that below.

What’s at camp?

Cathedral Reserve has two entrances, both off Mt Irvine Road. The main tent camping area is a massive, green oval surrounded by beautiful trees. People park next to this, and set their tents up on the lawn.

Camping at Cathedral Reserve
The main grassy area is for tent camping
Camping at Cathedral Reserve
There’s a heap of room

Alternatively, there’s a little rabbit warren of camp sites tucked under the various trees, and a big gravel area that we set up camp on, to avoid the heavy rain flooding our site.

Camped in the trees at Cathedral Reserve
You can camp under the trees too, with lots of different options

There’s a couple of picnic areas as well, and views in Autumn that are nothing short of stunning.

Attractions nearby

Completely unknown to us, the Walnut and Chestnut farm had opened not long before us arriving, and they were open on the weekend that the weather got good. We took a 10km drive up the road to the farm, which is a $5 entry fee, plus $11 per kg of nuts that you pick, and the kids had a heap of fun. We’d not done this before, and left with a number of nuts to eat, and a new experience under our belt.

This is a pretty popular attraction when its on, with a lot of cars going back and forth during the good weather, and I’m not that surprised.

Chestnut and walnut sign at Cathedral Reserve
The Chestnut and Walnut farm is just down the road
Picking chestnuts was a heap of fun
Collecting Chestnuts and Walnuts was a lot of fun
Chestnut hunting
The kids had a ball

You can also head to the Waterfall walk, which is a stunning part of the world with a magic waterfall. We got incredibly lucky to see the water coming down at such a rate after the rain, but the walk itself is stunning, and well worth a look.

Dogs and fires

You’re allowed both dogs and fires here, but you can’t take your four legged friends into the National Park, and you have to adhere to any fire bans.

Is it worth staying?

Free camps are often not that amazing, but Cathedral Reserve is fantastic, and we were very glad to camp here. We nearly planned to stay longer and day trip into Katoomba to see the rest of the Blue Mountains, but managed to jag an overflow site at Grass Tree Hill, which was far more convenient, but we would have been happy to spend longer at Cathedral Reserve.

Cathedral Reserve is gorgeous
This is a stunning camp site, and its completely free

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