State Parks are a great alternative to bush camping with a range of facilities and numerous choices all over NSW. On this occasion, we check out Glenbawn Dam.

Looking for somewhere to go camping where you can take your boat, go fishing, do some bike riding or just unwind and relax?  Then Glenbawn Dam should certainly be on your list.  Located just to the west of Aberdeen on the New England Highway, it’s an easy spot to get to for a short or long weekend out of Sydney.

It is easily accessible for all types of vehicles and all camping styles are well catered for.  There is a large range of camping areas available and you can easily situate yourself right by the lake or further away in some of the more isolated sections.  It’s not hard to get away from other people in the park as it is quite open and spacious.  There are also powered sites available and you could easily get your caravan or large motor-home into many of the camping spots.

There is a range of wildlife inside the park and depending on the time of year that you visit, you may be lucky enough to spot a juvenile eagle learning to fly and leave the nest.  Kangaroos are regularly seen grazing in many parts of the park and will approach many campsites to check out what is going on.  They are not exactly tame, but they don’t scare easily either, so getting up close and friendly with the roos won’t bother them too much.


The Dam is located about three to four hours north west of Sydney depending on the traffic, so it is far enough out to not be hugely popular, however some weekends can see the park get pretty busy.


Camp fires are permitted and there is a large stock of firewood available for sale from the kiosk located within the park.  This is a great alternative to bringing your own wood, which can often be an annoying aspect of camping.  There is mainly clear farm land around the park, so collecting firewood outside the park is not really an option and there is no collecting wood inside the park.


There are plenty of things to do here at the park, but many of them will need you to bring stuff.  You can go fishing on the side of the lake, so bring a fishing rod and some bait.  Or if you want to get a bit more serious, bring your boat and get out in the deeper sections to hook up the big fish.

Water based sports like canoeing, water skiing and sailing are all popular, but once again you will need to BYO.  If you bring a bicycle, there is plenty of roads and open space to ride around and get some exercise or just take in the sights on a more leisurely pedal.  But beware, if you ride out the entry road of the park, it is a pretty tough ride back up to the main section of the park.


Accessing the Park is simple.  If you’re travelling north from Sydney then head up the F3 and then take the New England Highway through Maitland, Singleton and Muswellbrook.  Once you have travelled through Muswellbrook you will come to the small town of Aberdeen.  Turn right in Aberdeen at the signpost to Lake Glenbawn.  Simply follow the signs to the dam.  There are usage fees and camping fees to pay and it’s not the cheapest place in Australia to go camping, but it does have good facilities including showers, toilets and a well stocked Kiosk.  If you are heading south and coming from north of Scone, then you can follow the signposts in Scone to the dam.

If you don’t fancy camping, then there are cabins available for rent and you should contact the park for rates and availability as there are only a few and you might be disappointed if you turn up without a booking.