Best Camping in Queensland
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Australians love the outdoors and what a better way to explore this vast country than packing the car, loading the tent, fishing gear, esky, sleeping bags and heading off to that special place for a getaway. Queensland on the east coast of Australia has many ideal camping grounds so we set out to ask fellow bloggers to share some of their favourite spots, for camping in Queensland.
With the Queensland climate ideally suited to camping, it’s a favourite pastime of many Queenslander’s and visitors alike. So come with us as we share some of the best camping spots in Queensland.
- 1 Bargara Beach Caravan Park
- 2 Settlement Campground, Springbrook National Park
- 3 Camping at Double Island Point, Noosa Northshore
- 4 Coolum Beach Holiday Park
- 5 Cotton Tree Holiday Park
- 6 Camping on Fraser Island
- 7 Camping near Sapphire
- 8 Lake Moogerah in the Scenic Rim Region
- 9 Big Crystal Creek campground, Paluma National Park
- 10 Camping at Tangalooma Wrecks, Moreton Island
- 11 Amity Point Campground, North Stradbroke Island
- 12 Summary of best camping in Queensland
Bargara Beach Caravan Park
This popular camping and caravan park is situated opposite Neilson Park beach at Bargara and has every amenity needed for that camping getaway. With ample tent sites, a camp kitchen equipped with microwave, cook tops, fridge, barbecues and washing up facilities, it’s ideal for short or long stay.
The location couldn’t be better, with sandy beach access and almost perfect year round climate it attracts locals and visitors who come not only to enjoy everything this beautiful region of Queensland has to offer, but also to enjoy day trips for whale watching from July to November.
It’s also located near the walking path to Mon Repos beach which is home to the largest concentration of nesting marine turtles on the eastern Australian mainland between November and March.
With so many more things to enjoy in the surrounding area it’s an ideal location for anyone visiting regional Queensland to spend a relaxing camping getaway.
Settlement Campground, Springbrook National Park
by Warren Dobe from Sling Adventures
Located less than an hour from the glitz and glamour (and theme parks) of the Gold Coast is Settlement Campground, nestled within the remarkable Springbrook National Park. A perfect stop to explore this region on an East-Coast Australia road trip.
First the campground. It consists of 12 designated campsites of similar size. Campsites don’t have their own power or water but the communal facilities are not too far away. A covered communal picnic has a picnic table and a free gas BBQ. The toilets are clean and the modern eco-friendly pit style design.
Bookings are recommended in advance via the NPWS website. The sites aren’t numbered so it is a first in first served affair. At $6.50 per person per night, it is likely the cheapest place to stay along the entire coast.
The Springbrook National Park is a waterfall lovers paradise. There are plenty of short and longer day hikes which can have you looking down or looking up or even standing under at the plentiful cascades. In fact, one walk leads directly from the campsite to the stunning Purling Brook Falls.
The nearby town of Springbrook is small and quaint. However, unless you want to survive on fudge, it’s best getting your food supplies and fuel at a before you get to the National Park
Camping at Double Island Point, Noosa Northshore
By Kathy Marris from 50 Shades of Age
For those who like a bit of 4 wheel driving adventure along the pristine beaches of Noosa Northshore there are plenty of camping opportunities along this long stretch of beach.
Cooloola Recreation Park, or Great Sandy National Park, is located north of Noosa and covers the region right up to Rainbow Beach. It’s known as the “Great Beach Drive” and is a distance of 65 kilometres to Double Island Point, and a further 13 kilometress to Rainbow Beach.
The Great Beach Drive begins with a short vehicular ferry crossing over the Noosa River at Tewantin. Then the fun begins once you access the golden sands of Teewah Beach! Initially you will be blown away by the large flat stretch of sandy beach before your eyes and then as you proceed further along the beach you will drive past towering coastal sand cliffs and coloured sands. These are spectacular.
Arriving at Double Island Point for a well earned cuppa, we then scaled the headland offering mesmerising views along the beach and out to sea. Double Island Point has a historical lighthouse that sits at the highest point.
We spent two days in the Cooloola Recreation Park and camped right on the beautiful and pristine Teewah Beach. You do need a 4WD Access Pass and a Camping Permit to enter the park. These are available at the Queensland National Parks office near the ferry on the Noosa River.
To read the full story of our two day 4 wheel driving and camping adventure click here:
Coolum Beach Holiday Park
By Jan Robinson of Budget Travel Talk
If you love a campground with absolute beach frontage, then look no further than Coolum Beach Holiday Park on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland. With four direct access points from the park you can literally be on the beach in minutes.
Winning features include the three large modern security coded amenity blocks with no-waiting hot showers; a well-equipped camp kitchen with fully enclosed adjacent dining room and free Wifi.
Pets are allowed on application and Stumers Creek Off Leash Dog area is a short beach walk north. Beach fishing and happy hours are always in vogue.
After arrival you can forget about the car. There are grassy parks, playgrounds and fitness equipment on both sides of the campground, while Coolum Beach Hotel plus the Cafe and shopping strip are just across the street.
Sampling Cafes is an art form at Coolum. Begin with those on the front Strip, before venturing further afield to Caf and Compound – two local favourites.
A walkway leads to Coolum Surf Club, with a huge outdoor deck and dining areas overlooking the beach. From here, a boardwalk continues to Point Perry for views back toward town. From the point there are great views of the intermediate/advanced surf break in First Bay. Continue walking to the Whale Watching platform to see these giant acrobats from July to late October.
Climbing Mount Coolum is on many people’s holiday list, but for an easier climb choose Mt. Ninderry on the Yandina Coolum Road or even easier still Emu Mountain at Peregian Beach.
Markets are a way of life on the Coast and are easily accessible by car. Try the always popular twice-weekly Eumundi Markets, the twice-monthly Peregian Beach Sunday market or Yandina’s weekly Saturday market which specialises in Plants.
Read more about things to do in Coolum here.
Cotton Tree Holiday Park
by Melissa Delaware of Thrifty Family Travels
One of my families all time favourite camping spots in Queensland is Cotton Tree Holiday Park. Located along the banks of the Maroochy River and just a few minutes’ walk from the Maroochydore Beach.
The holiday park itself offers both powered and unpowered tent and van sites as well as cabins. I highly recommend you book one of the waterfront sites so you’re right on the beach. The holiday park has all your standard facilities such as a shower block, laundry and BBQ facilities.
However, the main reason we come to Cotton Tree is for the location. Having the calm waters of the river are just perfect for kayaking – you can even kayak to the other side of river. As you move from the river to the beach, the waves get bigger and bigger, so this is ideal for families who can find the perfect sized waves. Great for boogie boarding!
You can also walk out along the river where there is a playground, bike paths, public swimming pool, playground and a huge range of shops and restaurants.
If you’re wanting to go further a field there is the Sunshine Plaza Shopping Centre and of course all the great attractions of the Sunshine Coast such as Australia Zoo, Sea Life, the Sunshine Coast hinterland and stacks more.
My number one tip for camping at Cotton Tree, is just before dusk, grab a few chairs, snacks and drinks and find a comfy spot on the sandy river banks for a spectacular sunset.
Camping on Fraser Island
By Fiona Berry of Passport and Piano
Fraser Island is off the Northern coast of Brisbane. It’s a heritage site and the largest sand island in the world. The scenery is stunning, and the white sandy beaches are some of the best in Australia.
There are 45 campsites to choose from on Fraser Island; some have facilities, and some are known as wilderness camps. The only thing you’ll need is a 4wd as all the roads are made of sand. Even with a 4wd, there’s a good chance of getting stuck.
On my last visit to the island in August, I camped at Dilli Village near Boomanjin Lake. This is one of the bigger campsites on the island, and the facilities are excellent. There are separate amenity blocks with showers and hot water. There’s also plenty of picnic tables and BBQ areas. Tents are pitched on a grassed area, and the whole site is fenced from Dingos.
There’s a freshwater hole which you can swim in just a short walk from the campsite, and the beach is close by. It’s a great place to stay if your travelling with children.
Fraser Island has many great sites and trails to explore. Particular favourites of mine are wading through the water at Elli Creek, spotting humpback whales at Indian Head and swimming in the gorgeous turquoise water of Lake Mackenzie.
To get to Fraser Island, you can take the barge at Inskip point near Rainbow beach, or you can cross from River Heads, just south of Hervey Bay.
If you are heading over to Fraser Island, don’t forget to obtain the correct permits. You’ll need a vehicle permit and a camping permit. For more information click here.
Camping near Sapphire
by Sinead Camplin of Map Made Memories
One of our favourite camping spots in Queensland was a beautiful, tranquil camping park just outside the small town of Sapphire, in the inland Gemfields area. We were lucky to bag the very last camping spot!
The rural 4-acre park is surrounded by dense bush and aromatic eucalyptus trees. It was common to see kangaroos at dusk in the vegetation around the park.
Camping pitches were large and secluded and there was an excellent barbeque and clean, plentiful washroom facilities. It also had a well stocked, stone built campers kitchen and bar area. Park lighting was kept to a minimum to avoid light pollution and the result was an incredible star-filled night sky. We spent hours outside our van simply star gazing.
The small towns of central Queensland are well worth visiting especially if you are following the well-trodden Queensland coastal route. The detour inland to the Gemfields provides a completely different landscape to the coast. In the small town of Sapphire, there are gem and jewellery shops to browse but several places also offer fossicking trips.
We joined a self-drive, guided fossicking trip into an isolated area out of town. We were shown how to speck (looking for sapphires on the surface), how to use the digging equipment, and how to wash and sort the stones we dug up. The day trip was hard, hot work with only our daughter striking lucky. She found $300 worth of sapphires!
Lake Moogerah in the Scenic Rim Region
By Marion Halliday of Australia by Red Nomad OZ
You COULD spend all your time in the stunningly scenic campground on the shores of Lake Moogerah, surrounded by the magnificent mountains – mostly extinct volcanoes – of south-east Queensland’s amazing and diverse Scenic Rim region. There’s plenty to do right here – fishing, boating, kayaking, paddle boarding, birding, photographing, walking the water’s edge; or just chilling in the clear mountain air as you soak up the serenity.
But then you’d miss out on a LOT of other things to do in the Scenic Rim just an hour south-west of Brisbane, or west of the Gold Coast. Hike; go mountain or rock climbing; pack a picnic; watch wildlife; visit waterfalls, enjoy watersports on one the region’s three lakes; or just generally explore your way around any or all of the impossibly scenic Main Range, Mount Barney, Koreelah, and Moogerah Peaks National Parks, all within a short distance of the Lake Moogerah campground.
If that sounds too energetic, just take a mini road-trip around the Rim and check out Carrs and Logans lookouts, Cunninghams Gap and the Governor’s Chair Lookout at Spicers Gap. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, head back to one of the nearby towns – try Boonah, Kalbar, Aratula or Rathdowney for starters – scattered throughout the valley and find some of the produce the region is famous for at one of the local pubs, wineries, cafes, bakeries or restaurants.
Then return to your campsite, watch the sunset then chill out around your campfire!
Big Crystal Creek campground, Paluma National Park
By Ashlea Fairbairn of Dashing Around the World
The Big Crystal Creek campground is located in Paluma National Park, 61kms north of Townsville. It is situated next to a popular local swimming hole and picnic area (Big Crystal Creek) and is close to many popular swimming areas and bushwalking paths.
The campground is accessible for campervans and tent camping, and has a toilet/shower block, gas barbeques and picnic tables. Many of the campsites offer lovely shade during the day, and most are equipped with firepits for warmth and roasting marshmallows in the evening. The only thing to watch out for are the gangs of marauding bush turkeys, who will tear into any food or rubbish which is not properly secured.
Big crystal creek is a clear river with no strong current, making it an excellent place to swim for all abilities.
Just a short drive (or walk) away the Rockslides are a great alternative swimming area with smaller pools, a short waterfall and many smooth rocks to sit or lay on. As the name suggests there are a few rock ‘slides’ to try if you dare, and local kids are often seen jumping off the large rocks above the pools.
Perhaps the most picturesque area nearby is Little Crystal Creek. Approx. 13 kms away, Little Crystal Creek is known for its heritage-listed stone arch bridge (built in the 1930s with just picks and shovels) and great rock pools for swimming. It is a little more difficult to enter the pools here, so not the best if you have any mobility issues. However, for the adventurous there are cascading waterfalls and many rock pools to explore. Little crystal creek is particularly fun after rainfall, when the waterfalls have enough water to create rockslides and the pools are larger.
If you’re not feeling like swimming, head to McClellands lookout near Paluma town for great views. Alternatively, get an ice cream at the nearby Frosty Mango (a north QLD icon), or sample some fresh local-caught fish and chips at Balgal Beach.
Big Crystal Creek campground has something for everyone and is a great place to relax for a few days and get back to nature.
Camping at Tangalooma Wrecks, Moreton Island
By Amanda Twine of Fly Stay Luxe
As a University student, I spent many summer holidays camping at Moreton Island. Located in Moreton Bay, just off the coast of Brisbane in sunny Queensland, ‘The Wrecks’ campground may not be one of the most equipped in terms of facilities, but certainly makes up for it with personality. A mere 50 metre walk from the campsite is a spectacular marine wonderland, the Tangalooma Wrecks.
Fifteen old dredging ships were towed to this spot in the 1960s and deliberately sunk to create a break water and man made reef. Today, the wrecks are teeming with reef fish, turtles, reef sharks and the occasional visit from dolphins and whales that enter Moreton Bay to rest. The Wrecks campsite is situated in the sand dunes near the wrecks, offering 19 campsites with eco-toilets, cold water showers and fire pits. There is no power available around the campsite.
The best way to get to the Wrecks campsite is to catch the Micat Passenger and Vehicle ferry from Port of Brisbane. The ferry arrives into Moreton Island at a landing point on the beach just to the north of the Tangalooma Wrecks, approximately 200 metres from the campsite. It’s possible to camp without a vehicle by carry your own gear onto the ferry, however, having a 4WD vehicle will allow you to see a little more of Moreton Island beyond the wrecks.
Other than snorkelling and diving at the Tangalooma Wrecks, other things to do on Moreton Island include; sand boarding, wading in the champagne pools, quad-biking tours, transparent-bottom kayaking tours, swimming in the Blue Lagoon and feeding the dolphins at Tangalooma Island Resort.
Amity Point Campground, North Stradbroke Island
by Warren Dobe from Sling Adventures
A Queensland camping road trip is not complete without a trip out to North Stradbroke Island. On the northern tip of the island lies Amity Point Campground which is right on the water and has a small fishing wharf, boat ramp and local koalas hanging in the nearby trees. The campground is quite large and mid-week is virtually empty.
Sites are both individually powered and have a tap for drinking water. Advance bookings are recommended as the office is not always attended. Your key will be left for you at the office window if no one is attending when you arrive. A large covered BBQ area has picnic tables and free gas BBQs for cooking. The toilets and shower block is small but clean.
North Stradbroke Island has a number of beaches and walks to explore. The gorge walk is a well-marked boardwalk along the north-eastern headland where you can spot migrating whales and is close to the main town centre.
Blue and Brown lakes are located in the middle of the island. Brown Lake is a better option if you want to go swimming. The car ferry from the town of Cleveland runs every hour and while there is a small supermarket, you might have a greater selection of options by stocking up on the mainland.
Summary of best camping in Queensland
This is a snapshot of some of the many places to enjoy camping in Queensland. There are of course so many more throughout the state.
So whether your a local or visiting this vast state of Australia, we hope we have inspired you with our list of QLD camping grounds. Do you have a favourite campsite? let us know!
If you are planning a New South Wales trip then be sure to check out or guide to camping in NSW.
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