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Camping v five–star: roughing it or styling up?

Thursday, October 14, 2010
For our "Best things to do in Australia" program, Catriona Rowntree was asked to experience a couple of totally different locations in New South Wales. The first assignment was to camp in a national park and then stay in one of Sydney's five-star hotels. She thoroughly enjoyed both.


Catriona set up in Rummery Park campground in Nightcap National Park, 45 minutes from Byron Bay on the far north coast of New South Wales. It's on the southern rim of the caldera of the Mt Warning shield volcano. Local vegetation has been influenced by past basalt and rhyolite lava flows.

The camping site has basic amenities in cabins and cottages, and sites for caravans and tents. There are barbecue facilities, camp kitchen, open fireplace, toilets and picnic tables. You need to take your own firewood and water. It really is all about getting back to nature and it's hard to beat a night in the wilderness.

The area is surrounded by dominant massifs, sheer cliff walls, lush green gullies and beautiful waterfalls. Minyon Falls is one of most spectacular with a 104m drop. There's a small, deep plunge a few metres away, perfect for a dip on a hot day. The park provides habitat for significant animal species — little bent-winged bat, wompoo fruit dove, masked owl, Stephen's banded snake and the red-legged pademelon all live there.

If you don't have a tent to take with you, pop into Coffs Harbour Disposals & Tent City. They will help you choose one just right for your needs and give you some pointers about pitching it.

Do some searching and you will find caravan parks and camping grounds right across this vast country, some close to home and others taking you on a drive to new places.

Five-star hotel

Park Hyatt Sydney is on some of the most valuable real estate in Australia. It is literally on the shore of the harbour, stretching along the coastline in Sydney's historic Rocks area.

One of Australia's foremost hotels, it's a long way from camping out. Each of its five stars has been well earned and if views were awarded with stars, Park Hyatt Sydney would be a 10-star hotel.

There are 12 room choices. Italian marble bathrooms have a full size bath and separate walk-in shower.

Harbour Kitchen & Bar has views across the harbour to the Sydney Opera House. It's open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and high tea where guests enjoy sandwiches, sweet delights, scones with jam and cream and tea or coffee, or possibly a glass of champagne.

Chef's Table offers an intimate harbourside dining experience.

There's butler service, valet parking and everything you might need is taken care of in a wink.

Related videos: Camping in the city


Mullumbimby and Sydney Harbour's edge.


Rummery Park Campground costs $10 a night for adults and $5 for children.

Park Hyatt Sydney has rooms from $695 a night. The Governor Suite starts at $6995 a night. It has six balconies with spectacular views and a personal butler.

For further information

Rummery Park Campground
Nightcap National Park
Mullumbinby 2482
Ph: 1300 361 967
Fax: (02) 6628 3937

Coffs Harbour Disposals & Tent City
162 Pacific Highway
Coffs Harbour 2450
Ph: (02) 6652 1192
Fax: (02) 6651 2699

Park Hyatt Sydney
7 Hickson Road
The Rocks
Sydney 2000
Ph: 131 234
Fax: (02) 92561555

User comments
In what universe does this article make any sense? How can you compare a camping ground in Byron Bay with the Park Hyatt in Sydney? ridiculous! I guarantee you that those who can afford the Hyatt are NEVER going to be caught in a camping ground and vice versa.

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