Every now and again we arrive at a new campground, and I have to pick my jaw up off the floor. Copmanhurst Boat Ramp near Grafton did exactly this, and we spent three amazing nights overlooking a stunning part of the Clarence River. To top it all off, this camp ground is completely free, which was icing on the cake.
Where is Copmanhurst Boat Ramp?
You’ll find this place right next to the Copmanhurst Recreational Reserve (which you can also camp at), in Copmanhurst, about 30 minutes drive North West of Grafton in NSW.
Nothing makes a camp better than when its completely free. Support the town if you can, and leave the area pristine so there’s no reason to put an end to it, and the locals and travellers can continue enjoying it for years to come.
Do you need a 4WD?
If its not been raining, you’d sneak a 2WD vehicle into some of the camp sites here, providing you had a bit of clearance. My advice is to park at the top and walk down, to make sure you’re happy with it though.
A 4WD certainly makes life much easier; the hill down is quite steep, and there’s a few wash outs and humps to navigate depending on where you go.
What’s the camping like?
This camp ground is really picturesque. There’s a spot right at the top of the hill before you head down (which is taken by a semi permanent), then a magic spot half way down the hill, and then a huge area where you can camp on the rocks, or small grassy sections back up off the river itself.
The views of the Clarence river and the rock walls and cliffs are magic, and that’s without the huge rolling hills in several directions, cows that literally walk through your camp site and easy access to the water.
During the week this is very quiet, with it getting busier over the weekends but its still a very quiet place to camp.
Amenities at Copmanhurst Boat Ramp
There is a toilet block at the top of the hill that you can use, but we had heard it was shut at times, and also filthy, so I didn’t look at it. Take your own toilet, be respectful of the area and away you go.
Swimming and fishing in Clarence River
We’d heard reports of huge numbers of Bull Sharks in the Clarence River, but we decided they’d be few and far between down this far in the river. We saw a number of people swim here, and enjoyed a couple of swims with the water being surprisingly warm.
You can catch good Perch and Bass here, and its a popular fishing location. We only managed to get a heap of catfish which the kids absolutely loved.
If you do catch one though, please be super careful of their barbs; I was trying to swim one kindly in the water and it flicked and got me in between my fingers resulting in some fairly nasty pain, and me sitting at camp with my hand submerged in water that was as hot as I could handle, for 90 minutes. Fortunately the pain basically stopped after that, but it was a pretty nasty encounter and one I’d recommend you avoid!
This is a magic spot
The Copmanhurst Boat Ramp is a spectacular camping spot, that we completely fell in love with. We ended up spending 3 nights here, despite having a booking at Boundary Falls as I spent 5 hours waiting to see a doctor in Grafton for an infection from the cat fish.
In terms of scenery, this is magic. Our spot was amazing, with waterfront views just down the slope, plenty of room for the kids to run wild and we thought it was one of the better camping in New South Wales options so far.