45 Ryries Rd, Lawrence, NSW

0499 732 738 (0499 SECRET)

Q: Is there phone reception or Wi-Fi?

A: You will get limited 3G/4G mobile reception from your campground and in certain parts of the property. Telstra works best and the strongest reception is on the hill behind the campground. There is no public Wi-Fi but, if the need is urgent, ask us!

Q: What facilities/amenities do you have at Secret Lake Retreat?

A:  We have a camp Kitchen with two BBQs, sinks, microwave, benches and some basic cooking utensils. We have an undercover dining area with tables and chairs as well as lights and fans.

We have two toilets and three showers and one wheelchair-accessible combined bathroom with shower, vanity and toilet. There is an outdoor vanity sink for communal use.

There is a pontoon and swim out platform.

We have some limited lawn activities but plenty of room to set up if you bring your own.

Q: Is there drinking water?

A: There is ample filtered rainwater at the amenities block for drinking, vanity, kitchen sinks, cooking or personal use. By law the signs say “Do Not Drink!” … (We do) Taps in the camping areas and toilets use filtered dam water which is good quality but can be a little brown from the tannin.

Q: Do I have to take out all my rubbish?

A: We have bins and encourage guests to separate their rubbish and recycling. The red-top waste bins are for general waste, the yellow top bins for recyclable items and there are speciality bins for cans and bottles that attract a refund that goes to local organisations.

Q: Do I need a 4WD?

A: Secret Lake Retreat is accessible by 2WD and so are most sites. Depending on rainfall, some areas might be more suitable for 4x4s or SUVs. Any concerns or questions, contact us.

Q: Are the sites powered?

A: All sites are unpowered. There are power points to charge your phone/electronic devices in the camp kitchen/dining room.

Q: Are the campsites level?

A: We are a primitive camping location (not a caravan park with flat/concreted slabs) and we have tried to minimise our impact on the natural environment. Our sites slope gently towards the lake; flatter sites are on the unallocated hillside camp. Levelling blocks are definitely needed for caravan and camper trailers. See our site descriptions to decide what’s best for your specific camping set-up.

Q: Can I have a camp fire?

A: Yes, except on Total Fire Ban days. Fire pits are scattered around the unallocated sites. FIRE PITS ARE NOT OFFERED FOR ALLOCATED CAPSITES, HOWEVER IF YOU HAVE YOUR OWN THAT DOES NOT BURN THE GRASS WE WELCOME YOU TO BRING IT ALONG FOR USE IN THE ALLOCATED CAMP AREA. Ash drums are provided for you to empty ash into. You can also sit on a log and enjoy the strategically placed communal fire pits that are scattered around the campgrounds. We allow the collection of kindling and wood from our surrounding bushland but no chainsaws. Avoid collecting hollow habitat timber. Mixed firewood is also available from the office. $10 per returnable tub.

You can bring your own firewood as long as it complies with NSW biosecurity regulations to avoid transporting unwanted pests and diseases. Any store bought firewood is okay.

Q: Is Secret Lake Retreat Pet Friendly?

A: You are welcome to bring well-behaved pets. Use a leash or restrain your pets whilst on the property - no chasing or interfering with the birds or wildlife. We want to ensure the safety of all our guests. If your dog is enjoying lake activities, they must not interfere with others. Please pick up any waste and place it a plastic bag in the bin.

*please refer to our rules and policies for more information

Q: How big is the lake?

A: It covers approximately 60 acre and holds 100 million gallons when full, which is most of the time! Its deepest parts are approximately 10 meters. Water depth at the end of the pontoon is 2.4m when the dam is full.

Some areas are more suited to kayaking and others are perfect for swimming.

Q: What's the lake like for swimming?

A: Generally warm and fairly clear. Expect some mud around the edges in places. We have a pontoon to access the water.

We advise all adults and children to wear foot protection as there may be sharp sticks, tree roots and stones in the shallows.

In severe drought, we still have plenty of water but advise people to be more aware of underwater snags.

Q: What do I do with my Grey Water?

A: Please dispose of grey water at the dump point or take it with you.  Do not allow grey water to flow onto the ground. We don’t want it running across other sites or into the lake. Toilet canister waste also goes into the dump point. There is a hose for flushing.

Q: Do we hire out equipment?

A: No, but we have a limited supply of free kayaks for your use. There is no booking system so please limit your use to an hour, unless no-one else is waiting. We advise you to bring your own flotation devices - especially if kids are swimming and using any of the equipment. You are welcome to bring your own mountain bikes, fishing gear, kayaks, canoes, small sailing craft, unpowered boats. No large sailing craft due to mast height restrictions.

*please refer to our rules and policies for more information

Q:Can I water-ski or jet-ski?

A: For everyone’s peace and safety we do not allow powered craft apart from the Lake’s tinny which is for staff use only. Electric motors may be used (with permission).

Q: Can I fish in the lake?

A: Catch and release on non-barbed hooks is permitted. The lake is quite deep and is well stocked. Food sources are plentiful so we can’t guarantee the fish will always be hungry! You may find silver perch, golden perch, bass, catfish and other freshwater species. We have many turtles so please return these as well if unintentionally caught.

There are a few areas we try to keep clear of fishing so it doesn’t interfere with other people’s water activities (e.g. the pontoon is a NO fishing area).

*please refer to our rules and policies for more information

Q: How big is the property and can I explore?

A: Around 800 acres all up. We have some of the 10km of boundaries fenced. Where there is no fence, the line is marked with pink tape. Entering neighbouring properties is prohibited.

You are welcome to bushwalk and mountain bike to explore the many km of tracks and roads. Property maps are available at reception.

Q: Can I drive my 4WD or ride motorbikes on the property?

A: No, for the reasons of safety, noise and erosion. Anyone ignoring this rule will be asked to leave. You may, however, come across Secret Lake management vehicles using the tracks (tractor, truck, bobcat, four-wheeler and four wheel drives).

Q: Am I allowed to use a generator?

A: In these days of solar power, generators are discouraged but are allowed between 10am and 4pm. Please try to minimize your impact on other campers with the noise.

Q: Where can I get firewood?

A: We sell tubs of firewood for your convenience. You can bring your own as long as it complies with NSW biosecurity regulations and is not transporting unwanted pests and diseases. Any store bought firewood is okay. 

Q: Do you sell supplies?

A:  At the office, we sell frozen slushies and, when in season, we sell farm gate produce such as local honey, sauces, jams and chutneys, free range eggs, fruit and vegetables. No EFTPOS facilities … cash only.

The Lawrence General Store is only 10 minutes away and has a wide variety of items including Barista coffee, newspapers, fuel, alcohol, bread, milk, eggs and ice. Takeaway meals are also able to be purchased from the Tavern or General Store.

Q: Do you allow day visitors or additional guests?

A: We want everyone to come and enjoy this space and will announce when we have the infrastructure to allow for day visitors. When it is introduced, there will be a small fee to cover our own costs for facilities and rubbish disposal. At this stage our retreat is primarily for our campers. Watch this space but do ask if you had a special function in mind.

Q: What about Bushfires?

A: The free RFS app “Bushfires Near Me” is really useful. We have a Refuge Area at the amenities block as well as fixed and mobile fire-fighting equipment. We may ask you to evacuate in extreme conditions or on RFS advice. At times we conduct fuel reduction burns. The areas around the campsites have been thinned for your safety.

The lake is used by fire helicopters to collect water in emergencies. Please stay out of the lake if this is happening.

Q: When is the best time of year to visit?

A: Any day, any season. but you have the cooling breeze off the lake and the lake itself to cool down in. Summer can see heavy rainfall at times which may affect the availability of some sites and/or access to some areas. We are a primitive camp with improved amenities, so you can always take cover in our camp kitchen/undercover dining area. You may wish to bring your own awning as its pretty open by the lake. Autumn and Spring are very popular times to enjoy the outdoors in the Clarence Valley due to the mild weather.

Q: What’s the best way to contact you?

A: Phone (0499 732 738) or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . We endeavour to answer emails on the same day within office hours. The phone is on between 9am and 6pm (office hours). If we don’t answer we may be out of range. Please leave a message or send an email. If you see us in the camp vehicles, try us on UHF Channel 49.

If we aren’t in the office, we will leave a note there with the best way to contact us.

Q: What else can we see and do in the area?

A: We think there is more than enough to keep you entertained at Secret Lake Retreat and it is the perfect spot to just relax … but if you are exploring the Clarence Valley, we are a great place to base yourself. There is a lot to see and do in the area. We have a list of our favourites but it isn’t even scratching the surface of what is on offer.

There are some other great resources to help you as well:

  • See the friendly and well informed staff at Grafton or Maclean Tourist Information Centres and collect some brochures.
  • Check out available websites:
    • My Clarence Valley website is full of information, event calendars and lists for markets where you can get some great local produce and craft. https://myclarencevalley.com