Island Bend Campground

The best place to camp in NSW! That’s what we’d heard, and read from a few different people and places before our visit to Island Bend, and I had high expectations when we rolled in. We didn’t camp here, but visited for a few hours, having lunch and doing school work with the kids. We’d been out to Charlott’s pass, and couldn’t resist the temptation to see ‘the best camp site in NSW’.

So, is it the best camp site in NSW? I don’t think so, but its certainly a pretty stunning place, with some truly ripper camp sites. If we didn’t have other places already booked, we’d have considered dragging the camper out here and staying a couple of nights.

Island Bend is beautiful
Island Bend is a great spot

Where is Island Bend?

You’ll find this camp site on the way out towards Charlottes Pass from Jindabyne, along the Kosciuszko Road. It’s roughly 5km drive off the road, mostly downhill. You’ll find it right on the Snowy River, too.

The snowy river at Island Bend
The Snowy River is very picturesque

The camp ground is split into two

When you arrive at Island Bend, you’ll see a sign pointing to the upper Island Bend, and the lower Island Bend. The lower one is the pick of the bunch, and has some great sites near the river.

The upper camp site is quite large, but well away from the water, and to be honest, not a camp site that I’d ever consider staying at. It’s dry, dusty, and not anywhere as near as the lower region.

Do you need a 4WD to get here?

No, and we saw a number of motorhomes and 2WD vehicles at camp. There is a 4WD only section of the campground, but there’s plenty of places you can get a normal vehicle to. It is gravel, and can be a bit corrugated, but its perfectly fine.

Island Bend 4WD section
There’s one small 4WD access only section, with the rest fine for 2WD’s

Is it caravan friendly?

If you’re experienced towing, and have a suitable vehicle, with a good understanding of engine braking you should be OK here, and we did see a full size offroad van right at the bottom. However, it’s a fair drive downhill to get here, which is hard on your brakes if you don’t use the engine properly, and it means it’s a fair old slog back out.

It’s doable, but certainly not the place a novice tower should take a big caravan, without a really good understanding of hill descents with a caravan.

Costs and booking requirements for Island Bend

You need to book Island Bend, but its just the usual $6 booking fee, regardless of how long you stay. That’s amazing value, and probably one of the reasons its so popular. You will also, however, have to pay the access fee into Kosciuszko National Park, unless you get it included in your NSW parks pass.

What amenities are there?

You’ll find fire pits, some picnic tables and drop toilets here, and that’s it.

Island Bend toilet
A typical toilet at these National Park Camp Sites

Best camp sites at Island Bend

We had a good look around the whole camp site, and thought the handful of camps at the bottom of the 4WD only section were the best. These are very close to the water, with great views, decent privacy and lots of room.

Lunch at Island Bend
The 4WD access camp sites are brilliant, and quiet

Alternatively, there’s another low level on the other side where the bends are, which had a number of nice pools that you could see from camp, and swim in. The tent camping in particular here was pretty amazing, inside the enclosed bollard area with nice grass, metres away from the water.

Great camping at Island Bend
The tent camping on the other side is brilliant too

The water levels can rise rapidly

The river at Island Bend is attached to Guthega dam, which is used for hydro power, and they release substantial amounts of water when the electricity demand is high. As you’d expect, this causes the river levels to go up hugely, and quite quickly.

There are signs around the place that show this, but you’d get a bit of a fright if you didn’t know what was happening, and we did read of a few people who thought they were at risk from it.

Stopped at Island Bend
If you’re staying here, be aware of the rising water levels!

Is it the best camp site in NSW?

We liked Island Bend, and its certainly our style of camp site. I wouldn’t say it’s the best camp site in NSW, with Behrs Flats taking the cake over this, but its certainly a pretty stunning option if you get the chance!

I’d rate this a lot higher than Thredbo Diggings though, simply because its more private, the sites are larger and it has a more ‘bushy’ feel to it.

You can see our other Camping in New South Wales posts, if you’re keen to see others.

Amazing camping at Behrs Flats
Island Bend is great, but Behrs flats is better!

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