There’s only one thing better than camping, and that’s free camping. Here are some of the best free campgrounds around Queensland, from the beach to the outback and every camp spot in between. 

North Queensland

1. Babinda Rotary Park Campground

Location: Babinda
Suitable for: Tents, motorhomes, camper trailers, caravans and big rigs
Facilities: Showers, toilets, picnic tables, good phone reception, BBQs, no power, pet-friendly!
Time limit: Free for 72-hour stays

Babinda Rotary Park campground is not just a campground you pitch up in as you pass by. It’s a campground you plan your whole trip around.

Around an hour south of Cairns, this campsite is surrounded by nature worth exploring – Josephine and Millaa Millaa Falls and Bramston Beach are just short bushwalks away.

But if even that seems too far to go to cool off, there’s a creek right there in the campground. Plus you can bring your best furry friend as well. A ++.

 

2. Boulders Rest Area

Location: Babinda
Suitable for: Tents, motorhomes, caravans, big rigs
Facilities: Toilets, cold showers, BBQs, no power
Time limit: Free for 72-hour stays

Boulders Rest Area is Babinda’s sister site, just 6km west, and a great alternative if Babinda is full. This campground is nice and cosy, with just 10 sites up for grabs.

You can’t stay here without taking a dip with the Babinda Boulders – gigantic granite boulders that line the nearby river, surrounded by luscious rainforest. It’s a yes from me.

3. Bushy Parker Park Campground

Location: Rollingstone
Suitable for: Tents, motorhomes, caravans, camper trailers and big rigs
Facilities: Showers, toilets, drinking water, BBQs, picnic tables, pet-friendly, fire pits

With a shallow creek nearby and plenty of shade to hide out in, Bushy Parker Park Campground is perfect for a family camping trip – kids, dogs and all!

Not too far from Townsville and a very popular spot, this campground fills up fast, so don’t muck around! The sites are large and the whole campground is well-maintained by the local council.

4. Toomulla Beach Campground

Location: Toomulla
Suitable for: Tents, caravans, trailers, vans
Facilities: Toilets, bins, wood BBQs, fire pits, drinking water, picnic tables, boat ramp, playground, pet-friendly
Time limit: Free stay for 48 hours

Stuck between the beach and a meandering creek, Toomulla Beach campground isn’t a hard place to be. You’ll find this idyllic campground 40 minutes north of Townsville (and 10 mins from Bushy Parker Park Campground). 

There are plenty of spots to cast a line here and a lot of people know it, making it a very popular spot for avid anglers. As well as the top-notch amenities on-site, it’s dog-friendly and there’s a boat ramp, so you won’t get bored here, that’s for sure.

 

Best Free Campgrounds in Queensland, photos from Tourism and Events Queensland, beach camping, tent, trees, ocean

5. Kauri Creek Campground

Location: Lake Tinaroo
Suitable for: Tents, camper trailers, campervans, caravans
Facilities: Showers, toilets, BBQs, picnic tables, fire pits, pet-friendly, boat ramp

Kauri Creek campground is located within Danbulla State Forest right on the edge of one of Lake Tinaroo’s inlets.

It’s perfect for anyone who loves watersports – access to the dam means you can bring your favourite form of water transport. Kayak, boat, canoe, it’s up to you. Or just drop a line and enjoy some downtime sitting on the banks by your camp.

 

Mackay

6. Lake Elphinstone Campground

Location: Elphinstone
Suitable for: Tents, caravans, camper trailers
Facilities: Toilets, showers, BBQs, picnic tables, pet-friendly

Lake Elphinstone Campground is about as picturesque as they come. With views of the lake from the entire campground, there’s no such thing as a bad campsite here.

Whether you pack your kayak, or boat and waterskis, the lake is waiting for you to play on its waters. Just be sure to check the levels before jumping in – they fluctuate a lot and it can be pretty empty during a drought. 

Lake Elphinstone is just over 1.5 hours inland from Mackay and is a bloody popular place – get in as early as you can to snag a spot. 

Also apparently there’s a resident rooster called Book Book here, so if you’ve got a feathered friend for him to play with, bring them along too.

 

7. Notch Point Campground

Location: Ilbilbie
Suitable for: Tents, caravans, camper trailers
Facilities: Fire pits and it’s pet-friendly, otherwise none

This secluded beach campground is an ideal coastal getaway on the cheap. Laze back on the sand, scoop up a coconut that’s fallen from the surrounding palm trees and just take in the Queensland tropics. Don’t be alarmed if you’re joined by a herd of cows – this campground actually resides on a cattle property, making for a pretty unique camping experience. 

A few words of warning though;

  1. The track to get to Notch Point is pretty rough and should probably only be accessed by a 4WD. 
  2. As tempting as it may be, this isn’t a beach too cool off at – we’re in the tropics here people, the water’s infested with stingers and saltwater crocs. Best to enjoy it from the safety of the sand. 

 

Central Queensland

8. Fletcher Creek

Location: Charters Towers
Suitable for: Tents, motorhomes, camper trailer, caravans, big rigs
Facilities: Cold showers, toilets, wood BBQ, picnic tables, pet-friendly
Time limit: Free for up to a month

Pull up right next to the creek and make yourself at home. Fletcher Creek campsite is an exquisite place to spend a few days.

It’s just a short drive from Dalrymple National Park, where you can check out ancient lava flows and fossilised limestone formations. Gelobera State Forest is just a hop, skip and a jump away too, so there’s no shortage of places to explore. Hike or bike your way around the nearby trails (oh and bring your doggo too!). 

9. Wuruma Dam

Location: Wuruma Dam,
Suitable for: Tents 
Facilities: Toilets, fire pits, wood BBQs, picnic tables, pet-friendly on leash
Time limit: 2 weeks

If settling into camp and fishing to your heart’s content is your idea of a holiday, Wuruma Dam will be your heaven. Three hours inland from Bundaberg, Wuruma Dam is a hot spot for anyone who loves to reel in some barra, golden or silver perch or good ol’ Aussie bass. 

The dam can also be used for all your favourite watersports and even your pooch can join in on the fun, so long as you promise to keep them on a leash!

South East Queensland

10. Little Yabba Creek

Location: Montville
Suitable for: Tents, camper trailers, caravans, campervans
Facilities: Toilets, picnic tables, BBQs, fire pits, pet-friendly
Time limit: 20 hours

Montville is a classic weekend city escape – tie it in with a night under the stars at Little Yabba Creek and you’re in for a stellar weekend. Cool off in the creek, stretch your legs through the nearby Imbil State Forest and explore the gorgeous town of Montville. This place is made for weekend getaways.

 

11. Ngumbi Campsite (Mt Joyce)

Location: Wyaralong
Suitable for: Tents (hike in campground)
Facilities: Toilet, cabin, drinking water

Saphira reckons Ngumbi Campsite is Brisbane’s best-kept secret. And we ain’t arguing.

Unfortunately for those of you who prefer to camp in a vehicle, this is a hike-in campground, but that means it’s much more secluded!

The 2-hour hike in is stunning and easy enough for any hiker, plus there’s an old school building there which you’re allowed to stay in, so no need to pack a tent! Perfect for a weekend adventure from Brisbane.

If you’re up for a bit more of a challenge, why not drop the pack and take a hike to the summit of Mt Joyce itself? The view from the top is worth the extra effort.

 

Outback Queensland

12. Cumberland Historic Mine Site

Location: Georgetown
Suitable for: Tents, camper trailers, caravans, big rigs
Facilities: Toilets, picnic tables, bins, pet-friendly

Cumberland is a mine town, turned ghost town, turned perfect place to rest your head for the night. Although facilities here are very sparse (drop toilets and a few picnic tables) the place is rich in history and offers plenty of wide-open spaces for all kinds of campers. 

The campground is right by the local watering hole with a spot of bird watching to be had there too. The only historical remains of the town that once was is a brick chimney from the old mine, right by the dam. Blink and you’ll miss the whole place.

13. Julia Creek Campground

Location: Julia Creek
Suitable for: Caravans, campervans, big rigs (ideal for self-contained vehicles)
Facilities: Fire places, wood BBQs, pet-friendly
Time limit: 96 hours

Julia Creek campground is a peaceful and pristine campground a few hours east of Mount Isa. Although sparse on its amenities, it’s big on beauty and seclusion. 

The town of Julia Creek takes great pride in providing a clean and comfortable, free campground to passing travellers. They’ve recently introduced free bike hire at the campground, so campers can easily explore the local town without upheaving their entire campsite. What legends!

The local camp caretakers are so warm and welcoming – you won’t want to leave!

 

14. Redbank Park

Location: Jericho
Suitable for: Tents, camper trailers, caravans, big rigs
Facilities: Toilets, BBQs, drinking water, fire pits, playground, pet-friendly

Redbank Park can be found on the banks of the Jordan River in the tiny town of Jericho – no we’re not in the Middle East here, just smack bang in the middle of Queensland.

If you happen to be camping here on a Sunday, word on the street is the local school P&C get together and make pancakes and brew a billy of tea for the campers. Angels alert! 

Cool off in the river, stroll along its banks and keep your eyes peeled for birds and kangaroos around the campsite too. 

Donations are encouraged to help keep the camp running for everyone passing through.

15. Fountain Springs Rest Area

Location: Mt Isa
Suitable for: Tents, big rigs
Facilities: Toilets, fire pits, picnic tables, fire places, BBQs, pet-friendly
Time limit: 20 hours

Smack bang between Cloncurry and Mt Isa, Fountain Springs Rest Area is the place to park up while travelling between these rural centres, but has plenty going for it itself.

Fountain Springs swimming hole nearby is a great way to escape that scorching outback heat. 

You’re limited to one night’s stay here, so make it count!

 

16. Mary Kathleen Ghost Town

Location: Cloncurry
Suitable for: Self contained vehicles only – trailer campers, caravans, big rigs (no tents allowed)
Facilities: None, but it is pet-friendly

Not too far from Fountain Springs lies the now ghost town of Mary Kathleen. Although staying here sounds like getting haunted for life by Mary herself, trust us, it’s worth a stop off. 

Mary Kathleen has a few more obvious town remains than Cumberland ghost town – in fact you can park your rig on one of the concrete slabs that used to hold up the town. While you’re there, you’ve got to check out the open cut mine and the electric blue lake that sits at its bottom. Just promise us you won’t take a dip down there! 

 

Photos thanks to Tourism and Events Queensland