A caravan stay in Sydney. Surely, it’s not possible? Accommodation for a family of four from $43/night? A haven from the constant traffic, bright lights and press of a rising population? Tall trees, space to take your breath, the North Shore…it doesn’t sound real. But it is. And it’s magic.
Lane Cove River Tourist Park, part of the greater Lane Cove National Park is a tree-sheltered oasis tucked away, on Plassey Rd off the M2 at North Ryde. Lane Cove River Tourist Park offers full-service sites to caravans, campervans, motorhomes, car-campers and tents. Your neighbours are the inhabitants of a cemetery and the resident bush turkeys, lizards and birdlife of a National Park. There is a business park and train station no more than 500 metres away that is one stop to Chatswood or, Macquarie Centre or, a mere 20 minutes to the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
As part of the Lane Cove National Park, the tourist park grounds are clean, tidy and well maintained. The grounds seem to have a constant flow of traffic. Many campervans are direct from the International airport and arrive, jet-lagged but, excited to discover Australia. The layout of the grounds allows for each ‘type’ of camper to stick together for the most part. Camper trailers with camper trailers, motorhomes with motorhomes, car-campers with car-campers. I can understand that this is for access to similar requirements such as the camp kitchens or the amenities blocks.
It is quite a large park with 206 campsites. There are three camp kitchens with sinks, fridge, gas bbq and electric hotplates, instant hot water service, kettle, toaster, tables and chairs. There are a number of bbqs to be found as well. There are four amenities blocks, each with showers, toilets and laundry and washing lines. There is a small television room with WiFi. The seasonal swimming pool has an integrated paddling pool and good shade sails across much of its length.
Naturally, we pay particular attention to the caravan sites and the turn required to back onto the sites as Cranky is 30feet from tailgate to the drawbar. Thre are a couple of tight spots so, I would suggest going for a quick walk when checking in to check the site if you are driving a bigger rig. Where able, the office will move you. The majority of powered caravan sites are on what I would call a triple site. There is room to park the caravan beside a concrete slab and park the car next to the concrete slab. Some sites are a little tighter than this but, nine times out of ten, we have been able to park in this configuration.
There are lovely simple cabins throughout the park. We’ve stayed in these and found them perfect for our needs. A well kitted out kitchen, dining and lounge space, linen, air conditioning, television and a little balcony to enjoy the visiting birdlife. The family cabins have a queen bedroom and a single bunk over a double bed with access to the bathroom. The cabins need to be booked well in advance as they are popular, and rightly so.
We’ve stayed when the Park is empty (or as near to as it gets) and when it is flat out. Booking well in advance at peak times such as Christmas and Easter or, Footy finals and Sydney Royal Show is a must. We have noticed from November to March it seems to be constant. Lane Cove Tourist Park does have limitations on your length of stay (3 weeks in any one booking with a maximum of 12 weeks in 12 months. Refer to website for details). There is a strict 2pm check-in policy. We’ve been caught out and had to sit patiently for a couple of hours at the end of the cul de sac on Plassey Road.
This is not as personal as some caravan parks. What it is, is convenient to Sydney. Travelling with a caravan in Sydney you don’t have many options. North Narrabeen Big 4 or, Dural are your only options but neither of them is quite as convenient to public transport lines. The impact of the train station at North Ryde cannot be underestimated. In the very near future, the high-rise, ‘integrated communities’ of Lachlan’s Line, Centrale and Ryde Garden will bring cafes, restaurants and a ‘major chain supermarket’ to enhance the convenience of Lane Cove River Tourist Park. Yes, these monstrous high-rise apartment living complexes change the skyline immeasurably but, they also bring with them yet more services. I will acknowledge that although you don’t hear much of the M2 traffic, you are under a flight path for international flights arriving in Sydney. It doesn’t bother us. In fact, we have a bit of fun trying to name the different airlines based on their tail logos. We know a number of people who have based themselves at Lane Cove River Tourist Park when being treated at the North Shore hospitals for a variety of reasons. Using the train is easy and in 20 minutes you can be at Milson’s Point enjoying a coffee, croissant and views of the Opera House.
We’re not Sydney born and bred but we do consider ourselves Sydney-philes. We can always find something the whole family can enjoy in Sydney. We can’t go to Sydney without going to the Botanical Gardens or Centennial Parklands, the Opera House, one of the many museums, going for a Harbour walk, visiting Taronga Zoo and eating really well. It’s a long list when we go to Sydney!
The Lane Cove River Tourist Park allows us to have the quiet space we crave but, have the bustle of Sydney and all it has to offer on our doorstep.