From stunning beaches and islands, magnificent rainforests, World-Heritage listed areas, the Great Barrier Reef and national parks, Queensland has something for everyone.
Queensland is a favourite destination for grey nomads escaping winter from the southern states, but it has plenty to offer campers of all ages. Best of all, there are plenty of free campsites available to help keep your trip affordable and stay in beautiful natural settings or charming country towns.
Free Campsites Around Queensland
The following is a mix of sites located on beaches, in towns and near lakes all for no more than a donation.
Redbank Park, Jericho
Location: Banks of Jordan River
Access: Roads can be slippery
Suitable for: Tents, camper trailers, caravans, big rigs
Facilities: Amenities block, barbeque, playground, shaded sites, bins, drinking water, open fire pits
Cost: Donations appreciated
Tips: Located on the edge of town, school P&C makes pancakes & billy tea Sunday mornings, no shops so bring your food
What to Do/See: Self-drive 4WD tours, gorge, large tree-lined billabong that’s rarely dry, an abundance of birds and wildlife, fishing, swimming, miniature clay village, railway park, Lake Dunn sculpture trail, drive-in.
Pajinka, Cape York
Location: Frangipani Bay, the tip of Cape York
Access: 4WD only on the 33km track
Suitable for: Tents and a trailer, leave your van at the nearby caravan park
Facilities: None bring everything you will need
Cost: Free camping is included in the price of the Jardine River ferry ticket
Tips: Try to do the walk to the tip at low tide so you can walk around the beach, rather than a rocky outcrop. The Bamaga road to the tip is corrugated in patches with a shallow creek crossing; the ferry isn’t available at lunchtime.
What to Do/See: Walk to the tip, take a photo in front of the northernmost tip of Australia sign, throw in a line from the rocks at the tip, visit Fruitbat Falls for a swim, Logans Creek is another swim opportunity and a chance to watch others attempt the shallow water crossing.
Vincent ‘Bushy’ Parker Park
Location: Rollingstone Street, Rollingstone
Access: Roads, in-town location,
Suitable for: Motorhomes, camper trailers, caravans and big rigs. Not suitable for tents.
Facilities: Cold showers, toilets, drinking water, barbeques, bins, picnic tables, shade. Generators allowed, good TV and mobile reception, dump spot.
Cost: Free for 48 hours
Tips: Popular spot so it can be full by mid-afternoon, take toilet paper in case it’s empty
What to Do/See: Swim in the creek with turtles and fish and rock pools at the campsite. Visit Paluma Range National Park for Jourama Falls, rainforest walks and Balgal beach. Take a ferry to nearby Magnetic Island to indulge in a variety of water sports for a drive a little further south to visit Cape Cleveland, and beautiful Bowling Green Bay is a 1-hour drive to the south.
Location: Fletcher Creek, Charters Towers
Access: Both sides of Gregory Highway
Suitable for: Tents, motorhomes, camper trailer, caravans, big rigs
Facilities: Cold shower, toilets, wood barbeque, picnic tables, bins, mobile reception, dump spot
Cost: Free for up to one month
Tips: The site gets busy particularly near the toilet block on Charters Towers side, but if you are self-contained you can park further away. Bring your firewood, advisable to boil water before drinking.
What to Do/See: Swim, canoe or kayak at the campsite river. Walking tracks with scenery in nearby Dalrymple national park, bird watching, swimming, fishing, historic sites, ancient lava flows, fossil limestone. Visit the museum and Hill Lookout in town at Charters Towers.
Cumberland Historic Chimney, Mine & Dam
Location: Gulf Development Road, west of Georgetown
Access: Roads, parking area
Suitable for: Motorhomes, camper trailers, caravans and big rigs
Facilities: Toilets, picnic tables, bins, shady sites
Tips: Popular spot so arrive early otherwise the place can be busy
What to Do/See: Walking trails, viewing platform over lilly covered billabong, and Cumberland Dam attracts an array of birds, check out the historic chimney of the gold crushing plant, visit Georgetown for a look around.
Babinda Rotary Park Rest Area
Location: Howard Kennedy Drive, Babinda
Suitable for: Tents, motorhomes, camper trailers, caravans and big rigs
Facilities: Showers (cold free or $2 hot showers), toilets, picnic tables, bins, good TV and phone reception, dump point.
Cost: Donation for up to 72-hour stay
Tips: Plenty of room but gets busy, limited sites available at Babinda Boulders Camping Area
What to Do/See: Visit picturesque Josephine Falls, Eubenangee Wetlands, Bramston beach, Golden Hole, climb the Bambinda boulders and take a 10-minute walk to quaint shops and café.
Keeping Campsites Free for the Future
For a small donation or even free, you can access some truly magnificent spots in Queensland. Try to visit these sites outside the popular holiday periods for a guaranteed spot and quiet camping. Remember these types of free campsites are often maintained by the local council and need to be kept clean otherwise they can be closed down. Support the local towns by having a meal, filling the car and buying some groceries where you can.
Free Camping Queensland Maps & Guides
If you want to investigate more free campgrounds all over Australia, not just Queensland, the latest edition of Guide to Free Campsites has just been released for 2018/19. The large magazine lists over 1,500 free or low cost sites plus information about camping with kids and pets and the latest in camping gear and accessories.
The type of information you need will depend on where you are going and what you’re doing. We recommend the following maps and guides if you are planning a trip to discover all the sunshine state has to offer.
Hema Queensland State Map
Lonely Planet Queensland & The Great Barrier Reef
4WD & Camping – South East Queensland
If you are after a particular book, map or a recommendation, don’t hesitate to ask the expert staff at The Chart & Map Shop by calling (08) 9335 8665 or contact us online.