Macarthur region (Campbelltown, Camden)

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Macarthur region for grey nomads
Sundial Hill at the Australian Botanic Garden, Mount Annan PIC: Destination NSW

Most grey nomads hitting the open road for the ‘big one’ can imagine nothing beyond glorious evenings sitting around a campfire beneath the endless Outback sky.

However, the Big Lap also offers a great opportunity to discover our cities and towns. Most interstate travellers, for example, find it hard to resist a trip into Sydney to see the Opera House. For those looking for a base within striking distance of the ‘big smoke’, the beautiful Macarthur region is perfect.

And, best of all, it is also an amazing destination in its own right. Located just 50 kilometres or so south-west of the Sydney central business district, the area has its own unique identity and boasts authentic country charm.

The region encompasses the vibrant communities of Campbelltown and Camden which host fascinating events such as the Camden Show and the Festival of Fisher’s Ghost. Links to Campbelltown’s colonial settlement are reflected in the large number of historic properties here, both in the main street heritage precinct and scattered throughout the city.

Among the highlights are Glenalvon House and Quondong Cottage. Local visitor information centres can offer visitors details of the various walking and driving tours available … including a very spooky ghost tour. Campbelltown has long held a ghostly reputation and its annual 10-day Festival of Fisher’s Ghost in November celebrates Australia’s most famous ghost – Frederick Fisher.

There are also some indigenous walking tours available at Dharawal National Park. At nearby Camden, the main street is a beautiful mix of historic buildings with a range of cafés and restaurants, boutique clothing and unique gift shops.

A simple walk around the area brings the history of this country town to life, and taking a free self-guided Heritage Walking Tour will highlight the stunning examples of heritage architecture. Camden must-visits include Camden Museum, Macarthur Park, the Alan Baker Art Gallery, and Belgenny Farm which is located in the historic Camden Park Estate, home of agricultural pioneers Elizabeth and John Macarthur.

This pretty farm includes Belgenny Cottage built in 1820 and the oldest surviving collection of farm buildings in Australia. Other highlights in the Macarthur region most certainly include the stunning 416 hectares of rolling hills, lakes, lawns and gardens of the Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan. Home to hundreds of plant species, these magnificent gardens are also a great place to see some native amazing animal and bird life. It really is hard to believe you are on the doorstep of Australia’s biggest city.

There are a variety of great camping options around the Macarthur region. It may be just ‘up the road’ but the bright lights of Sydney really do seem a million miles away.

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