The Best Camping Spots On Queensland’s Coast, From Beaches To Rainforests
Camping is one of the best ways to escape the stresses of urban life, and sunny Queensland is one Australia’s best states for it. Whether you’re looking for gold sand on the Gold Coast, want to explore lush green rainforests and stunning waterfalls, or are eager to take your kayak out for a bit of fishing, Queensland has the perfect campsite for you.
Here are some of the best camping spots along Queensland’s coast, from the Gold Coast to the Sunshine Coast and beyond.
Carree, K’gari / Fraser Island
We’d be remiss if we didn’t include K’gari, also known as Fraser Island. Meaning “paradise” in the Butchulla language, K’gari certainly lives up the the name.
Located around 150km north of the Sunshine Coast, Fraser Island is the largest sand island in the world, and host to beautiful rainforests as well as a 120km-long beach. Visitors can go fishing or whale watching, or opt to tour the island in a four-wheel drive. You can even bring your four-wheel drive if you get a vehicle access permit – just leave your dog with a friend.
The island is also well know for a number of shipwrecks, the most famous of which is the SS Maheno which washed ashore in 1935 due to a cyclone. The Maheno shipwreck is a popular attraction on the island, and well worth a photo opportunity.
There are more than 40 camping grounds on Fraser Island, so there’s a location to suit every need. If you want a beach location away from other campers, try Carree camping area at Sandy Cape, on the very north of the island.
You’ll need a permit, as well as a four-wheel drive to get there. Carree has no facilities and doesn’t allow campfires, meaning you’ll also need to bring your own stove. Your reward will be a wonderful sunrise, a quiet fishing spot, and more privacy than you’ll get at the more popular grounds.
Whitehaven Beach, Whitsunday Island
If you’re continuing your trip north from the Sunshine Coast, Whitehaven Beach on Whitsunday Island is known for having some of the whitest silica sand anywhere in the world. Paired with gentle, crystal clear water and Queensland’s warm weather, this destination should be on every beach-lover’s bucket list.
Fortunately, the Whitehaven Beach campground lets you pitch your tent less than a minute away among the eucalyptus trees. Fires, generators and pets aren’t allowed, but there are toilets and picnic tables to make your stay more comfortable. The campground can only be accessed via boat as well, so don’t expect to bring your four-wheel drive.
Whitehaven Beach is a famous spot, but you don’t have to worry about it being too crowded. Bookings are required, and the seven camping sites in the Whitehaven Beach camping ground accommodate a maximum of 36 people all up.
Flinders Beach, North Stradbroke Island
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For those hoping for some beach camping a bit closer to both Brisbane and civilisation, North Stradbroke Island offers a couple of great locations. Smack in between the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast, this popular island has several well-outfitted camping grounds, as well as glamping options if you want to camp without roughing it.
If you want to be on the shore, try Flinders Beach. The more popular of the island’s two beach sites, Flinders Beach comes equipped with toilets, and you can take your dog as well. It’s a good place for fishing, surfing and whale watching, and you might come across some wildlife too. Booking is required for the beach’s 12 camping sites, which are only accessible via four-wheel drive.
If you don’t want to drive, all of North Stadbroke Island’s other camping grounds are just a stone’s throw away from the beach, and some of them even have wifi. Try the Cylinder Beach camping ground if you like your campsites a short walk from the shops. Alternatively, Adam’s Beach and Bradbury’s Beach are the closest options if you want to take your kayak to Brown Lake.
Green Mountains Camping Area, Lamington National Park
If you want to go chasing waterfalls, look no further than Lamington National Park. Just an hour’s drive from the Gold Coast, this beautiful rainforest not only shelters some diverse wildlife, but bears a collection of Queensland’s most spectacular waterfalls and nearby camping.
Waterfalls include Mirror Falls on the Albert River hiking circuit, Chalahn Falls on the Toolona Creek hiking circuit, and Elabana Falls and Box Log Falls on the Box Forest hiking circuit. Each one is incredibly Instagrammable, giving you a big waterfall bang for your camp booking fee buck.
Accessible by car, the Green Mountains camping area puts you in prime position to hike out and see these falls. There are 40 camp sites at the Green Mountains, each allowing a maximum of four adults per tent, and you’ll need to book online. Open fires and generators aren’t allowed, so you’ll need a portable stove to boil your water. There are however composting toilets, as well as hot showers to help you relax after a long hike.
The Settlement, Springbrook National Park
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Right next to Lamington is Springbrook National Park, which itself homes some amazing sights. Most notable among them is the Natural Bridge rock formation, a waterfall that tumbles into a cave through a hole in its roof. Book a night tour, and you may even be treated to the ethereal sight of Natural Bridge lit up by blue-green glow worms hanging from the ceiling.
The only camping area in Springbrook National Park is The Settlement, which contains 11 camping sites. You’ll need a camping permit, and fires and generators aren’t allowed, but toilets, drinking water and a cooking shelter with electric barbecues are available.
Natural Bridge is a short drive from The Settlement, followed by an easy walk. If you prefer to walk to your hikes straight from the campsite, The Settlement is linked to the Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk as well as a track to the top of Purling Brook Falls. There’s also the option to swim if you hike a bit further to Warringa Pool.
Coochin Creek Camping Area, Beerwah State Forest
There are numerous Queensland campsites for those who’d rather kayak than hike. Bigriggen Park at Scenic Rim is a popular kayaking spot packed full of amenities, and is child-friendly to boot. However, if you want to stay closer to the Sunshine Coast, Coochin Creek camping area may be one to check out.
A mere half hour’s drive from the Sunshine Coast, Coochin Creek camping area is nestled in Beerwah State Forest. The forest includes eucalyptus forests as well as coastal rainforest, with the camping area right by Coochin Creek. The creek itself is a perfect waterway for kayaking and fishing that’s filled with Bream and Flathead.
Once you catch your lunch, you can cook it over an open fire in one of the provided fire rings (just remember to bring your own firewood). The area has 21 camping sites, as well as composting toilets and non-potable water, and requires booking.
If you need a break from water activities, a 30 minute drive will take you to the Glass House Mountains lookout in the Beerburrum State Forest.
(Lead Image: Matt Lamers / Unsplash)