If you are heading north to escape the southern chill this winter, here are some free and cheap camps from Queensland’s Sunshine Coast to Townsville. Let’s start at Caboolture.
This is a cheap and good spot to set-up camp, with heaps of great day trips including the famous Australia Zoo, Kings Beach (Caloundra), the Glasshouse Mountains, Bribie Island, Redcliff (the home of the Bee Gees), and, of course, the city of Brisbane. Caboolture also has a good market each Sunday.
GPS coordinates: 27 4 4 S, 152 56 55 E.
Facilities: Toilets, showers, drinking water, powered and unpowered sites, a dump point, and dogs and big rigs are welcome.
Price: $100 per week with power or $20 per night unpowered.
INSKIP POINT CAMPGROUND
From Inskip Point, you can catch the ferry to Fraser Island and drive to its many attractions if you have a 4WD., But Inskip Point is 2WD-accessible, and there are heaps of day tours on offer and plenty of hire companies available. It’s also a good base camp for exploring the coloured sands at Rainbow Beach and visiting Tin Can Bay, where you can feed dolphins.
GPS coordinates: 5 49 0 S, 153 4 15 E.
Facilities: Toilets. The campground is suitable for dogs, tents, caravans, camper trailers and motothomes, but big rigs will struggle. A permit is required prior to arrival.
Price: $6:15 per person per night, children under five are free.
APPLE TREE CREEK REST AREA
Apple Tree Creek is near the town of Childers. It’s a good spot if you need a break from the busyness of the coast. You can spend the day walking around town – Childers has a lot of character.
GPS coordinates: 25 13 9 S, 152 14 18 E.
Facilities: Toilets. 2WDs, big rigs, caravans, camper trailers, motorhomes and dogs are welcome.
WORKMANS BEACH CAMPING AREA
Workmans Beach Camping Area is north of Bundaberg, near the Town of 1770, which is built on the site of the second landing by James Cook in 1770.
Workmans Beach is a small camp area among trees, a short walk to the beach. It’s also close to Agnes Water and a good spot for taking a reef cruise, or a day cruise to Lady Musgrave and Middle islands.
GPS coordinates: 24 12 45 S, 151 54 51 E.
Facilities: Toilets, showers, drinking water. Two-wheel-drive vehicles, tents, small caravans, camper trailers and motorhomes are welcome.
Price: $25 per day, up to six people per site.
CALLIOPE RIVER CAMPING GROUNDS
The Calliope River Camping Grounds are inland from Gladstone and there are plenty of great campsites along Callope River. It’s a great spot to do a bit of fishing or take a drive to Gladstone, where you can easily spend a day.
GPS coordinates: 23 57 40 S, 151 9 9 E (turn west off Bruce Highway onto Old Bruce Highway, then follow the road to the river bank. Camping is available on both sides of the river).
Facilities: Toilets. This site is 2WD-accessible and big rigs, tents, dogs, caravans, motorhomes and camper trailers are welcome.
SEAFORTH CAMPING RESERVE
Seaforth is a small town on the coast, north-east of Mackay. It’s a nice spot if you like bushwalking, fishing, catching a crab or two, or reading that book you have been neglecting, while listing to the sounds of the sea.
GPS coordinates: 20 53 58 S, 148 57 57 E.
Facilities: Toilets, showers, drinking water and pay phone. The reserve is 2WD-accessible, and tents, big rigs, motorhomes, caravans and camper trailers are welcome. Dogs are not allowed.
Price: $25 per night, or $150 per week, up to six people per site.
BALL BAY CAMPING RESERVE
Ball Bay is about 9km east of Seaforth. It is a smaller camping reserve than Seaforth’s, though, but it’s a good option if Seaforth Ccamping Reserve if full or if you like things a bit quitter. It offers fewer facilities, with the only shower being outdoor.
GPS coordinates: 20 54 11 S, 148 59 44 E.
Facilities: Shower, toilets and drinking water. This reserve is 2WD-accessible, and tents, caravans, camper trailers and small motorhomes are welcome. Dogs are not allowed.
Price: $25 per night or $150 per week, up to six people per site.
FUNNY DUNNY PARK
Funny Dunny Park (no, that’s not a misprint) is north of Bowen, 5km south of Inkerman. When you see the dunny, you will see why it’s funny. It’s a quiet spot with a beach for walking, fishing and just slowing things down a bit.
GPS coordinates: 19 45 8 S, 147 35 45 E (look for the ‘Wunjunga’ signpost).
Facilities: Toilets and non-potable water. The site is 2WD-accessible, and tents, big rigs, caravans, motorhomes, camper trailers, and dogs are welcome.
ALLIGATOR CREEK CAMPGROUND
Alligator Creek is south of Townsville and located in Bowling Green Bay National Park. The national park has some great bush walks and a beautiful swimming hole. It’s also close enough to Townsville for day trips. The campsites are small spots among the trees.
GPS coordinates: 19 26 2 S, 146 56 46 E (25km south-east of Townsville, turn west off Bruce Highway).
Facilities: Toilets, showers, and non-potable water. The site is 2WD-accessible, and tents, small caravans, camper trailers and motorhomes are welcome. Dogs are not allowed.
Price: $6.15 per person per night or $24.60 per family – visit www.npsr.qld.gov.au to book.
Bluewater park is a rest area 29km north of Townsville beside Bluewater Creek, close to Townsville. If you have children, in Townsville I recommend you go to the Reef HQ Aquarium.
GPS coordinates: 19 10 35 S, 146 33 5 E.
Facilities: Outside cold shower, toilets, and drinking water. The park is 2WD-accessible, and caravans, big rigs, motorhomes, camper trailers, tents and dogs are welcome.
Broadwater Campground is in Abergowrie State Forest. With beautiful grass campsites, it’s one off my favourite spots. It’s right on a river with good swimming spots and lots of bushwalking tracks. You can easily spend a week here, relaxing in the beautiful surrounds.
GPS coordinates: 18 24 59 S, 145 56 43 E (45km north-west of Ingham, via Trebonne along Abergowrie Road).
Facilities: Toilets, showers and non-potable water. The campground is 2WD-accessible, and caravans, motorhomes, camper trailers, and tents are welcome. Dogs are not allowed.
Price: $6.15 per person per night, or $24.60 per family per night.