With rugged sand islands to the east, a rural wilderness to the west and lush national parks to the north and south, Brisbane is blessed with an array of stunning camping options within easy reach of the city centre. Whether you prefer pitching a tent by the beach or deep in the Aussie bush, like to rough it away from the crowds or can’t live without a hot shower every day, there’s a weekend camping escape with your name on it.
If you’re planning to camp in Queensland’s national parks, check the website to keep up-to-date on the latest park conditions. And if you’re travelling during school holidays, it’s well worth booking ahead. Here are six gorgeous spots to get your camping holiday started.
Just a 75-minute ferry ride from Brisbane, Australia’s third-largest sand island offers the ultimate coastal camping adventure. There are five seaside campgrounds and five camping zones to choose from (remember to purchase a camping permit in advance), and plenty of activities to keep you busy, from snorkelling the Tangalooma Wrecks to surfing down sand dunes, and tackling the island’s hiking trails to whale watching. If you don’t fancy bringing your own tent, there’s also glamping at Castaways in the small township of Bulwer, just a 20-minute drive north from the ferry landing point.
Just south of Moreton Island, North Stradbroke Island, or “Straddie”, is a similarly popular island camping escape from Brisbane. There are half a dozen camping grounds to choose from across the island, with all camping and 4WD permits arranged through Minjerribah Camping (advance booking essential). If you’re hoping to catch a few waves, pitch your tent at Cylinder Beach campground on the island’s northeast coast, which lies just steps from the surf. It’s also handily close to the Stradbroke Island Beach Hotel for campers craving ice-cold bevvies.
Part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area, Lamington National Park is characterised by lush temperate rainforest, ancient trees and gurgling waterfalls. Less than two hours’ drive south of Brisbane, the park’s main camping spot, Green Mountains Camping Area, is due to reopen at the end of 2020 with a raft of new ecotourism facilities including a communal camp kitchen and glamping tents. However, there are 10 additional basic bush camps scattered throughout the park for those keen to tackle its excellent multi-day trails. There are more than a dozen shorter walks to be had, too.
Nestled amongst towering gum trees, rolling grassy hills and gurgling creeks, and an easy 90-minute drive southwest of Brisbane, Bigriggen Park is one of Queensland’s best kept camping secrets. A scenic hike from the campsite will bring you to a stunning swimming hole perfect for a dip (keep your eye out for the elusive platypus), while nearby Mt Barney National Park offers some excellent bushwalks. Simply pick your favourite site within the 60 acres (24ha) of camping ground, and relax into the Aussie bush.
Tucked up in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, roughly two hours northwest of Brisbane, Conondale National Park boasts three lush rainforest camping areas alongside crystal-clear Booloumba Creek. While there are no facilities here other than toilets and campfire pits, there’s plenty to do, from paddling in the creek to tackling the multitude of trails leading to attractions such as Booloumba Falls, the Strangler Cairn sculpture by internationally renowned artist Andy Goldsworthy, and the Mount Allan fire tower, from where you can enjoy incredible views over the forest. Keep in mind that the Booloumba Creek Road access includes creek crossings, with a high-clearance four-wheel-drive vehicle recommended.
Connected to North Brisbane via a bridge, Bribie Island makes for an easy island camping getaway when you don’t have the time, funds or patience for ferries. There are five camping areas to choose from across the island, but the wide, grassy Poverty Creek campsite on the island’s sheltered west coast is a crowd favourite. Only accessible by 4WD (unless you have your own boat), getting here is half the fun.