Looking for the best camping spots QLD? In this article, we check out great paid and free camping spots in the Sunshine State, Queensland. Everything you need to know about the best campsites in the state, including various free and paid camps, as well as what to expect when you get there. From sunny beaches to lush rainforests, Queensland has something for everyone.
Jump to our top picks or keep reading 🙂
- Cumberland Historic Mine Site
- Babinda Rotary Park Campground
- Bushy Parker Rest Area Campground
- Little Yabba Creek Rest Area
- Fletcher Creek Campground
Picks for Camps in National Parks
- Kroombit Tops National Park
- Broken River Campground – Eungella National Park
- Big Crystal Creek Campground – Paluma Range National Park
- Castle Rock Campground – Girraween National Park
Best Beach Camps QLD
- Teewah Beach Camping Area – Noosa North Shore
- Noah Beach – Cape Tribulation
- Whitehaven Beach – Whitsundays Islands
Best Camping Spots QLD: Our Top Picks
QLD is blessed with an abundance of natural beauty, and there are plenty of both paid and free campsites where you can enjoy it! Here are our top picks for camping in QLD.
Cumberland Historic Mine Site
If you’re keen to learn about QLD’s mining history, then the Cumberland Historic Mine Site is a great place to start. This free camping area is a ghost town in the Shire of Etheridge in QLD and a great spot for exploring the local area.
The free campsite is a basic parking area that can accommodate big rigs, camper trailers, and self-contained vehicles. It has an RV park, and it features a billabong with amazing birdlife. You’ll be fascinated to find water lilies covering the billabong and some willy wagtails, black cockatoos, and brolgas, which you may see from the covered viewing platform.
At the time of writing, there is only 4G phone reception for Optus phone subscribers in the Cumberland Historic Mine Site.
Babinda Rotary Park Campground
Located on the banks of the Babinda Creek in north QLD, the Babinda Rotary Park Campground is neither a paid nor a free camping area. Visitors are requested to give a donation of at least $5 for up to three nights of camping. (pricing accurate at the time of writing – double check before you go!)
It is situated right next to Babinda Boulders, which is a popular swimming spot because of its crystal clear waters that are surrounded by lush rainforest. However, you should swim with caution and crocs in mind, since some of these animals have been spotted in the area.
The campsite has 2-dollar coin-operated hot showers, a chemical toilet dump point, and toilet facilities as well as picnic tables and BBQs. There is also a caravan park, perfect for bringing camper trailers and other big rigs.
If you love solitude while admiring and imbibing nature’s beauty, then, coming to Babinda Rotary Club Campground is a great choice!
Bushy Parker Rest Area Campground
Located off the Bruce Highway is the large, open Bushy Parker Rest Area Campground, provided by the Townsville Council.
This free campsite is one of QLD’s more popular caravan parks. 48 hour maximum stay.
Thanks to the creek that lies adjacent to the free camping area, you can find a lot of swimming holes with crystal clear waters that are perfect for a refreshing dip. And if you’re travelling with your furry friend, they too are welcome to the park.
Once you’re done exploring this free camp, you can expand your horizon and visit some of the kayaking and canoeing spots near the campsite or try fishing.
Aside from having tons of picnic tables and non-potable water, the camp also features a flushing toilet and gas BBQs.
And if you need to stay connected, both Telstra and Optus offer 4G connections in the free camping area.
Little Yabba Creek Rest Area
During your road trip, make a stop at this free camp area, which is located in Kenilworth, QLD.
The campground is surrounded by rainforest and sits on a large area where you can have BBQ or campfires.
It also features easy walking tracks through the Fig Tree Walk but if you prefer a tougher hike, you can always check out the nearby Little Yabba Trail. Afterwhich, you can take a refreshing dip in the Little Yabba Creek, located within a few minutes’ walk from the free camp. And if you want to check out the town of Kenilworth, just take a short walk and find small shops and cafes to explore.
It has drop toilets, BBQ, and picnic tables on the grass for day use and is also suitable for camper trailers.
It’s one of the spots in QLD that is dog-friendly.
However, take note that phone reception is not good in the area. You can check for this using the coverage maps of the network providers on their website.
Whether you’re looking for a weekend getaway or a longer vacation at a low-cost camp, the creek is sure to please.
Fletcher Creek Campground
If you’re looking for a free campsite that’s close to a body of water, then the Fletcher Creek Campground is a great option.
This free camping site is located 45 kilometres north of Charters Towers. It’s situated on the banks of the creek, so you can enjoy fishing or swimming in the swimming holes. And the best part? You can set up camp right on the water’s edge!
With its dirt surface that is flat and open, you can enjoy tent camping or parking your camper van along with other camper trailers.
If you feel like being more adventurous, you can try the canoeing and kayaking spots near the campsite.
Fletcher Creek Campground is a free camp and caravan park with flushing toilets and cold showers as well as wood barbecues and picnic tables. Campers using self-contained vehicles can enjoy the other side of the river where not a lot of people stay.
Camping in QLD: Camps in National Parks
Paid and free camping are also possible at Queensland’s national parks. However, you need to follow a few guidelines to ensure that you are allowed to camp there.
First, you need to make sure that you have a permit to camp in the national park. Visit the QLD Government website for camping information.
Next, ensure that you are only camping in designated areas.
Finally, leave no trace of your stay.
Here are some of the national parks where you can camp at.
Kroombit Tops National Park
This park is located between Calliope and Monto and is a camp that lets you experience nature, away from the pleasures of modern living, including technology and phones.
You can choose between two camping areas in this park, namely the Griffiths Creek camping area and the Razorback camping area. Griffiths is characterised by flat, open, grassy areas, while Razorback is set in a tall blackbutt forest that is small and secluded.
Whichever of the two camping zones you choose, you will need a camping permit and fees apply. Remember to purchase your permit way ahead of time, which you can do online, over the counter, or by phone. Don’t wait till you arrive to get your permit because phone reception in the national park is not available.
Take a bushwalk and explore the forests. Or, better yet, go on a 4-wheel drive ride through the forest for some adrenaline rush.
In terms of amenities, there are no showers, no toilet, no barbecue, and no picnic tables. However, you can enjoy tent camping and camper trailer camping since this park is also a caravan park.
Broken River Campground – Eungella National Park
This campground is located on Eungella Dam Road in the Eungella National Park where you can enjoy bush camping for a fee.
Though it’s a very small camping spot, it’s situated really close to the river, allowing you to see an abundance of platypus in the wild.
The Broken River Campground is a great spot for stargazing as it has very little light pollution, making it a great place from where you can admire the Southern Cross and the Milky Way.
One good thing about this camp is that you can use a conventional vehicle to reach it and that it welcomes camper trailers, motorhomes, buses, and caravans. And because the ground surface is dirt and grass, it allows you to set up your camp next to your vehicle.
Also, the camping area provides you with toilets and water. Treat the water before consumption is the local advice!
Unfortunately, phone reception is not available at the campsite, but it is in Eungella and at the Sky Window day-use area.
Big Crystal Creek Campground – Paluma Range National Park
Accessible via Bruce Highway, the Big Crystal Creek Campground is strategically located beside Big Crystal Creek, making it a popular picnic and swimming spot and a great place for birdwatching.
With dirt, grass, and sand on the ground’s surface, this campsite proves to be perfect for setting up camp beside your vehicle or parking your camper trailers and campervans in the national park.
If you want to experience being close to nature, leave your self-contained vehicles and take any of the different opportunities for hiking. You can go on a short stroll or an all-day hike. The choice is yours.
Just remember to take the necessary precautions as some of the trails are steep with loose gravel and that a permit is required and fees apply when camping in Big Crystal Creek.
Have access to flushing toilets, gas barbecues, picnic tables, and refreshing cold showers, which are perfect for your post-hike relaxation.
Castle Rock Campground – Girraween National Park
One of the major reasons why the Castle Rock Campground is popular among campers is its large open area, making it perfect for campervans and camper trailers.
The place is endowed with a plethora of various kinds of native birds, making it a great place for bird watching.
Plus, if you’re more of the outdoorsy type who loves to explore the beauty of nature, you can take any of the walking tracks in the mid-afternoon.
However, one of the biggest draws of this camping site is its huge granite dome called the Pyramid, which is a favourite for rock climbing and abseiling. It’s a strenuous walk to the top, but it rewards you with immensely breathtaking views over the camping area.
For your comfort, the campsite offers cold showers, picnic tables, flushing toilets, and tons of restaurants nearby that serve delicious meals.
Beach Camping in QLD
If you want to wake up to the sound of the crashing waves, then check out these campsites by the beach in QLD.
Teewah Beach Camping Area – Noosa North Shore
One of the best campsites on the Sunshine Coast is just a few hours’ drive from Brisbane.
As the name suggests, the Teewah Beach Camping Area is located on a beach, making it a great choice for those who love to camp by the shore. Rising in the morning to the sound of the crashing waves has never been this good.
There are currently seven zones for camping in Teewah Beach, and most of them are located behind the foredunes, close to the beach. You simply have to select one and book it to set up camp there. Permits and fees apply.
The place is also great for swimming, surfing, and kayaking, and it also lets you enjoy tent camping. However, there is no phone reception and no facilities on the beach, so you need to bring everything you need with you and take everything back when you leave, especially your rubbish.
Noah Beach – Cape Tribulation
This is one of the most unique paid camps in QLD, as it’s located in the World Heritage-listed Daintree Rainforest. It serves as a great base for exploring the forest.
The Noah Beach Camping Area is shielded from the harsh sun by a forest canopy. Though Noa beach is a 50-metre stroll from the camp, you can still wake up to the wonderful sound of the ocean.
Not only does the campsite have a beach, but it also features the Noah Creek. If you want to experience it, you can take a leisurely 1-kilometre walk south of the beach. Be warned though that crocodiles may be present in these waters so always be on guard.
Moreover, with many overhanging trees, buses, large and high campervans, and caravans are not permitted here for safety.
And since phone reception is not available in the area, it’s the perfect place to get away from the complexities of modern living.
Whitehaven Beach – Whitsundays Islands
Why should you go to the Whitehaven Beach campsite?
Firstly, it’s one of the best and most beautiful beaches in all of Australia. In fact, it claims to have the whitest sand mankind has ever seen.
Secondly, it’s out of the way, so it’s perfect for those who want seclusion and solitude and for those who want to keep all 7 kilometres of white sand to themselves.
As it is located right in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef, the Whitehaven Beach Camp area is only accessible by boat.
The campsite is located on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, and it offers stunning views of the turquoise waters.
There’s also a compostable toilet nearby, making it more convenient for you to stay here.
Just be sure to bring your own food and water as there are no shops or restaurants in the area.
There is phone reception on Whitsundays Islands; however, it may be intermittent in some areas.
What to Look for in a Camp
Whether you’re looking for a paid or free camp, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Aside from safety and accessibility, you also need to check for amenities to keep you comfortable throughout your camp.
Remember though that while many free campsites have the basic amenities for tent camping or bush camping, more contemporary amenities are usually available in paid camps.
Consider these factors:
Picnic tables can be a great asset if you’re travelling with a group. They also come in handy if you want to work remotely outside of your campervan but don’t have a portable table. The appeal of resting your laptop on your knees and looking like a #vanlife digital nomad gets tired pretty quick, so take advantage of the picnic tables for some much-needed stability for your laptop when the sun is shining.
Access to water
While some free campsites provide water on-site, there are others that only offer water for washing. Still, some others will require you to bring your own washing and drinking water so make sure to check before you go, so you can plan accordingly.
Toilets (drop toilets / flush toilets)
This is another important one; whether you’re travelling with family or alone. Some free campsites have composting toilets and drop toilets, which are environmentally friendly but may not be as comfortable to use. If you’re not used to using these types of toilets, it’s best to find a campground with flush toilets instead. These may be easier to find in paid camping areas.
Having a portable toilet in your van such as the Thetford Porta Potti will take away the need to be reliant on public toilets.
All paid camp grounds will be equipt with toilet facilities.
Refreshing cold showers or hot showers are among the best things to do after a long day of exploring. Not all free campsites have showers, so it’s important to check in advance.
If there are no showers on-site, make sure you bring enough water for both drinking and washing, and check out our earlier post about van life shower alternatives.
If your campervan has a toilet, then you’ll need to find a dump station to dispose of your waste.
Dump points are located all over Australia, and thanks to the RV Friendly Town program are free to dump your waste during your travels.
The must-have WikiCamps app has a search feature where you can find all the dump points in Australia!
This is important if you’re planning to work remotely or need to stay in touch with family and friends. Not all free campsites have good phone reception, so it’s best to check in advance.
To determine phone reception, you can check the coverage maps of the two network providers in Australia:
Proximity to attractions and activities
One of the best things about paid and free camping is that you can usually find a campground near popular attractions and activities. This way, you can save on accommodation costs and still have plenty to do during your stay.
Camping in QLD: Frequently Asked Questions
Surely, you’ve got some questions going on in your mind right now. Let us help you answer those questions below.
Is free camping legal in QLD?
Indeed, free camping is legal in the Sunshine State. However, you need to follow camping rules and regulations all the time.
Can I camp anywhere in QLD?
No, you can’t camp just anywhere in QLD. Sleeping in your car is legal in Australia, but you also need to follow local signs.
Find free camps using the WikiCamps app, or use designated camp zones where you’re allowed to pitch your tent or park your caravan.
How do I find free camping sites in QLD?
There are plenty of ways to find free camping sites in QLD. You can ask around for recommendations, check out online directories, or use GPS apps that show nearby camping grounds.
The WikiCamps app is also very useful, as it provides maps, lists, and tons of extras–plus, filters to make your search way easier.
What should I bring when camping in QLD?
Apart from the obvious food, water, and a good book, it’s also a good idea to bring a first-aid kit, flashlight, and bug spray!!
What are the rules for camping in QLD?
Some of the rules for camping in QLD include not littering, not making too much noise, and respecting the environment and other campers. For a complete list of camping rules and regulations, check out the Queensland Government website.
Queensland has plenty of great camps, caravan parks, national parks, and picnic areas to choose from for your camping needs in the great outdoors.
Whether you’re after a secluded spot to relax and unwind, or a basecamp from which to explore all that this beautiful state has to offer, you’ll find it here.
QLD is abundant in camping spots for small cars and camper trailers, free camping sites, low-cost camp areas, and more.
Now that you know all about the best camping sites in QLD, it’s time to start planning your trip. Just remember to follow the camping rules and regulations, and you’re sure to have a great time.
So, what are you waiting for? Pack your tent and start planning your next adventure – everything you need to know about paid and free camping QLD is right here!