It is tough living in Brisbane where we are blessed with an almost embarrassing number of beach camping options. Double Island Point, Fraser Island, Moreton Island and Straddie. Here is our six hidden camping gems.
Kinkuna is bush camping at the beach with only the sea breeze to keep you company that gets the juices flowing, then work your way down through the gears, drop the tyre pressures when the gravel starts smacking the insides of the guards and rock on in to a world of no-numbered campsites, no toilets, no showers, no rubbish bins, no water and no rice burners with thumping subs.
How to get there: Access to Kinkuna, the northern section of the Burrum Coast National Park, is by 4WD vehicle only. Travel 14km south from Bundaberg on the Bundaberg-Goodwood-Childers Rd.
Why it’s great: Kinkuna is a quiet and peaceful location ideal for families.Camping is permitted behind coastal dunes, just a short walk to the water and beach. There are 40 sandy sites to choose from. One of the best things about this site is the minimal beach traffic which means kids can play on the beach without parents worrying about them. For the less-dedicated fishermen who only fish all night and half the day, a walk along the shoreline with the better half is a must. Seemingly endless white sand stretching as far as you can see in either direction with the biggest decision being which way to go… up or down the beach.
Tips: There are no facilities but open fires are allowed – except when fire bans apply. Sections of very soft sand on tracks; and the beach can be loose as a goose as well. Carry a snatch strap and shackles and someone will always help if you get into strife. Don’t forget a tyre gauge for deflating tyres, or a set of Stauns.
Borumba Deer Park
How to get there: From the Bruce Highway head towards Imbil via the Mary Valley Tourist Drive.
Travel through the country town of Imbil towards Borumba Dam, cross Yabba Creek five times (9km) and the entrance is on the left after crossing number five.
Why it’s great: Fifteen acres of landscaped rural bush where you can pitch your tent along the banks of Yabba Creek. You can fish, swim, bush walk or enjoy the open areas of the Park’s Sherwood Forest. Farm tours can be arranged where you can feed the animals, and of course, check out the beautiful deer.
Tips: The vast and incredible Borumba Dam is on your doorstep
Water Park Creek in Byfield State Forest
Water Park, Byfield State Forest, is a beautiful campground set amongst rain forest on water park creek. Though the creek is accessible for fishing and canoeing
How to get there: Byfield State Forest is 34 km north of Yeppoon via Yeppoon-Byfield Road. Access to Byfield State Forest is suitable for conventional vehicles; however, a four-wheel-drive vehicle is needed if you wish to travel into the adjoining Byfield National Park and access Byfield Conservation Park.
Why it’s great: You can catch glimpses of Water Park Creek through small openings in tall turpentine forest and enjoy the cool rainforest that features the ancient fern-like cycad, Bowenia serrulata (Byfield fern). All three camping areas have adjoining day-use areas with picnic tables and toilets. Upper Stony and Water Park Creek have automatic barbecues, while Red Rock has wood barbecues – you must bring your own clean, milled timber for firewood.
Tips: Wear protective clothing. Venomous bites and heat exhaustion are a danger on land and in the water. Wear sun protective clothing and sunscreen during the day. Good sturdy footwear is recommended to protect against stings and bites on land and in the water. Use a portable gas or fuel stove. This reduces fire danger and eliminates the need for firewood. Remember, different fire restrictions apply throughout Byfield’s camping areas. Watch out for: Rough tracks – unsealed road experience is required. Swimming is not advised as the creek is considered crocodile habitat.
Sandy Creek Camping Ground
Sandy Creek Campin’ is a family run campground, hidden in the quiet hills, just a short drive through the countryside behind Kilcoy, in South East Queensland.
How to get there: Five-hundred acres of untouched natural landscape reached from the Bruce Highway’s D’Aguilar Hwy exit, past Woodford and right onto Mary Smokes Creek Rd. Drive 16km to Cedarvale Rd, then left for 2.5km to the Sandy Creek entrance.
Why it’s great: Kids will love the wide open grassed areas, while nature can be found at its best if you camp by the banks of Sandy Creek’s stream. The icy waters will cool you on a hot day, while the simple pleasure of just sitting back on a rock in the shade of a tree and listening to the many bird calls is hard to beat.
Tips: Bring your walking boots and binoculars. There are almost 20km of rough walking tracks, and bird life is abundant. Wallabies wander close to the camp grounds. Camp fires are permitted and flushing toilets and hot
showers are treats. Watch out for: Busy holiday periods as there aren’t a huge number of camping plots and they quickly sell out. Also visit the website for a map – the owners say GPS and Google Maps aren’t reliable for finding their remote spot.
This is rugged exploration at its best – Four Wheel Drive tracks to remote and secret fishing spots, back to basics bush camping, beaches, sparkling ocean, wilderness and wetlands. Curtis Island is accessible by private boat or by a regular ferry service; although once on the island and camping you will need a Four Wheel Drive to get around.
How to get there: Boat transfers are required from Gladstone mainland, with regular ferries and barges departing daily. Vehicles are permitted, four wheel drives are recommended. Head north from the vehicle ferry point at South-end to Turtle Street or Joey Lees camping areas. If you are looking for a more remote spot, continue north to Yellow Patch, a highly secluded area known to host the endangered Yellow Chat.
Why it’s great: With an extraordinary diversity in landscapes, from salt flats to coastal sand dunes and dry rainforests, Curtis Island provides a new adventure every day. Plenty of daily activities available for campers, bushwalks can easily consume an entire day; of particular interest is the trek to the Cape Capricorn Conservation Park to view the historic lighthouse. Great four-wheel-driving opportunities are abundant on Curtis Island.
Tips: Book a camping permit up to six months in advance. Wood and charcoal fires are not permitted, so equip your party with a fuel stove. Remember to bring ample drinking water. Composting toilets are on site at Turtle Street and Joey Lees.
St Helens Beach
Small, secluded and alluringly tranquil St Helens Beach in north Queensland is one of the state’s little hidden gems situated centrally in a bay fed by a multitude of mangrove creeks.
To say that the St Helens area is heaven for small boat enthusiasts would be pretty much right on the money. There are close to a dozen creeks to explore and fish, ranging from tiny mangrove and rock lined inlets to long meandering systems that wind inland past the Bruce Highway and offer excellent freshwater sport. Add to this more rock and mangrove flats than you can poke a rod at, a string of inshore islands, some deep holes, sandy beaches and prime land based hotspots and you have the perfect destination for the travelling angler looking to explore somewhere different.
How to get there: Drive north to Calen about 50km from Mackay, turn right and follow the St Helens Beach Road which is signposted. At the beach turn right and follow the road to the ‘old’ beach where the caravan park is located.
Why it’s great: This area is a hot-spot for
fishing, with access to a vast and productive creek system which includes Murray and St Helens creeks, and further north to the Seaforth area, so bring your tinny. It’s a peaceful spot right on the beach.
Tips: Showers and toilets are available and there is a fee for camping. Watch out for: The tides are big in this area so make sure you bring your tide chart, because the water drops a long way.
“There’s no place like camp. I wish I could stay forever.”