It’s not impossible to camp freely or cheaply in the Byron Bay area. Outside Mullumbimby, at the little village of Main Arm, there’s Maca’s Camping Ground where powered sites and hot showers are available for very reasonable rates.

We drove up Main Arm Road, past the Main Arm Primary School and stopped at Maca’s Camping Ground immediately on the left. Although it’s owned by a fellow named David, it’s named Maca’s because of the number of macadamia trees on the ground.

Sign for Maca's Camping Ground, Main Arm, NSW, October 2013
Just past the Main Arm primary school but on the righthand side of the road, Maca's offers powered and unpowered sites among old fruit trees.

Maca's Camping Ground, Main Arm, NSW, October 2013
With a nice mix of lawn and shade, there's a spot to please everyone in the off-season. I suspect that it gets rather busy in holiday times, however, as this road also goes to a terrific swimming spot.

This was a great, secluded stop after the busyness of CircusFest. The caretaker Greg directed us to a secluded corner and charged us $15 for an adult (only $5 for a second adult) and nothing for the kids. There’s also a laundry and camp kitchen on-site with hot water and electrical appliances.

Peacock showing its tail at Maca's Camping Ground, October 2013
A lonely peacock calls for a mate in vain and comes to show us his plumage instead.

We collected bags of macadamias, picked mulberries straight from the trees, watched the bush turkeys and flirted with the peacock. It was a lovely spot to stay, and I suspect that we’ll be back to camp there whenever we want a quiet bush spot in northern NSW.