Free river camping location QLD

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. Perfect location for river camping. 

Redbank Park river camping spot

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.

Pajinka Cape York beach

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

Bushy Parker Park

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.  


Fletcher Creek

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.

Fletcher creek jetty

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

Cost: Donation

Tips: Popular spot so arrive early otherwise the place can be busy

Cumberland historic dam

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

Access: Roads

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

Babinda Rotary Park river

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.