Having a campfire on a beach with a sunset backdrop may seem like a scene straight out of a movie. However, due to environmental concerns, some areas in New South Wales (NSW), Australia, have restrictions on whether beach fires are allowed or not.
Beach fires are not allowed on New South Wales (NSW) beaches within a National Park. Different beaches will have different rules. Signs on different areas of the beach will indicate whether fires are allowed there or not. You cannot have a beach fire on Total Fire Ban Days.
In the rest of this article, I’ll talk about why beach fires aren’t allowed on some beaches, which places do allow beach fires, and why certain days are designated as Total Fire Ban Days.
Why Beach Fires Are Not Allowed in New South Wales National Parks
National Parks in Australia are tracts of land given protected status to preserve their environment. National parks include many environments – from rainforests and deserts to coral reefs and woodlands.
Since environmental conservation is the focus of national parks, the authorities responsible for their oversight keep strict fire control within the national park’s area. Most of these national parks contain wildlife and vegetation that could be seriously harmed by fire or smoke.
Thus, the authorities ban fire in parks to protect their plant and animal life.
You might be wondering, why beaches? With their sandy banks and large amounts of water nearby, surely beaches can’t be a fire hazard?
The truth is, that beaches can easily turn into a fire hazard depending on nearby plant life. Many beaches within national parks lie close to sand dunes with some type of vegetation that could easily catch fire because of an out-of-control campfire.
Historically, New South Wales has been one of the more fire-prone states in Australia; in fact, it was one of the hardest hit areas during the 2019-2020 Australia bushfires. So, the NSW government has decided to completely ban fires within any national park area, including beaches.
Which Places Allow Campfires Near Beaches in NSW?
While beach fires may be banned within NSW National Parks, some campsites near beaches do allow campfires. These campsites provide fire rings on or near beaches so guests can enjoy the campfire experience against an ocean backdrop. However, there may still be some restrictions on the types of fires that can be set up.
Here are four places that allow campfires near beaches in NSW.
- Palm Beach Caravan Park, Jervis Bay.
- Reflections Holiday Park Jimmys Beach.
- Big4 Nelligen Holiday Park, Batemans Bay.
- Wooyung Beach Holiday Park, Wooyung Beach.
Palm Beach Caravan Park, Jervis Bay
Palm Beach Caravan Park near Jervis Bay is a beautiful, family-friendly park that caters to all sorts of campers. Whether you prefer standard campsites, bungalows, or ensuite cabins, Palm Beach Caravan Park has it all! However, on occasion, Jervis Bay will enact total fire bans, so it’s best to check beforehand.
If you’re visiting the park as a camper, you may be pleased to know that they have a community fire pit. With the park so close to a beach, toasting marshmallows around this campfire can make you feel like you’re on the beach itself!
Reflections Holiday Park, Jimmys Beach
Reflections Holiday Park, Jimmys Beach in Hawks Nest NSW is a scenic campsite with multiple accommodation options. They have options for regular tent campsites, cabins, and glamping. You can even choose your preferred campsite when booking for a small fee!
The camp has many amenities, from pet-friendly accommodation to children’s facilities to barbecue and fire pits. With its close proximity to a beach, you can enjoy a campfire in Reflections Holiday Park Jimmys Beach right next to the beach! Bear in mind that you won’t be able to have a fire directly on the beach, but there is a communal pit next to it in the picnic area.
Big4 Nelligen Holiday Park, Batemans Bay
Located just ten minutes from Batemans Bay, on the banks of Clyde River, lies the Big4 Nelligen Holiday Park. This park includes cabins and campsites for caravans and tents.
Surrounded on three sides by water, the campfire experience in this park is sure to be wonderful. Apart from seasonal fire pits, the camp also offers fishing, water sports, children’s activities, kayaking, and much more!
You can find the complete list of BIG4 parks where campfires are allowed here.
Wooyung Beach Holiday Park, Wooyung Beach
Wooyung Beach Holiday Park is a rustic, old-fashioned campsite modelled after the ’60s-style campground. The park features powered and unpowered sites, eco-friendly cabins, and pet-friendly accommodation.
This campsite is perfect for relaxing, kicking back, and roasting marshmallows around a campfire. Set on a beach, Wooyung Beach Holiday Park provides the perfect beach fire experience!
What Are Total Fire Ban Days?
While fires are completely banned in most NSW national parks, some may allow them at certain times of the year. If you wish to use a campfire on any beach in NSW, make sure you double-check with the local authorities. Of course, you are expected to follow fire safety guidelines to prevent an out-of-control campfire.
However, the NSW Government may institute a Total Fire Ban. These bans last for a minimum of 24 hours, during which open fires are banned throughout the state.
Total Fire Ban Days are declared when rising temperatures and wind speeds increase the risk of bushfires. To prevent bushfires, the NSW Government can ban open fires in any area for a minimum of 24 hours. These bans are typically announced the day before they’re enacted.
Since Australia has struggled with wild bushfires that have caused devastating damage to people, animals, and the environment as a whole, preventing them is a priority for the government. Thus, on days when the probability of a bushfire spreading is high, the government implements a Total Fire Ban Day.
Apart from the Total Fire Ban Days, campfires are also restricted during the annual Bushfire Danger Period, which runs from 1 October to 31 March. You will require a campfire permit if you want to start a campfire anywhere in NSW during this period. You can apply for a permit from this page.
Fires are also prohibited on No Burn Notice Days, as declared by the Department of Planning, Industry, and Environment. These days are designated to reduce air pollution from smoke.
While beach fires are not allowed on beaches within national parks, you can check your camping site for their rules on campfires. However, if there is a high probability of bushfires, the NSW Government may implement a Total Fire Ban Day, during which all open fires are banned.
Apart from these restrictions, open campfires everywhere are heavily restricted between October and March due to the annual Bushfire Danger Period. You will need a permit for a beach fire during this period.
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