Life doesn’t get much better than a sitting by roaring campfire with your four-legged friend at your side.
These campsites are much more than just ‘dog friendly’ – they have some extraordinary highlights sure to impress both you and your pooch. From off-track bush bashing and climbing crags, to wild swimming and one of the world’s rarest trees, you might be surprised at what Queensland has to offer.
1. Glastonbury Creek Camping Area, Brooyar State Forest
Campfires and climbing
Get your stoke on at Glastonbury Campsite in Brooyar State Forest, a climbing mecca just 2.5 hours north of Brisbane. Situated in the Mary Valley, Glastonbury is a massive campsite with capacity for 120 campers (or caravaners, if that’s more your thing). The campsite is adjacent to a creek, and there’s a crag just a 10 minute walk away for keeping the humans entertained (Hungry Jacks, Home of the Whopper: grades 15-24, access is via private property so be considerate).
Best of all, Glastonbury permits campfires as well! Keep in mind that dogs are not allowed in the state forest itself, if you’re heading in for a climb.
2. Amamoor Creek Camping Area, Amamoor State Forest
Amamoor State Forest is neighbour to Brooyar, just over 2 hours north of Brisbane. It’s thought to be named from the Aboriginal word ‘amamah’ – meaning swimming water – for the series of waterholes in the forest. Admire the riverine rainforests on the Amama Walk (40 min, 1.5km) or take the Amamoor Creek hiking trail (2.5 hours, 2.5km) straight from the campsite if you’re a fan of eucalypts.
Since dogs are never permitted in national parks, Amama Walk is the closest you’ll get to a dog friendly rainforest walk, which makes it pretty special. Dogs are permitted all through Amamoor, except for Cedar Grove Camping Area. You can delight at the waterfall cascades and even admire a Bunya tree with toe-holds made by the local Aboriginal people for bunya nut harvesting. In terms of wildlife, Amamoor is home to some rare species, like the black-breasted button quail, glossy black-cockatoo, and rainbow bee-eater.
3. Clancy’s Camping Area, Benarkin State Forest
You’d be Benarkin mad not to camp at Benarkin State Forest, 2 hours northwest of Brissie. Traditionally home of the Wakka Wakka and Jinibara people, Aboriginal people also passed through Benarkin for bunya festivals held about every three years. The dominant vegetation is now hoop-pine and eucalypt, but was historically an Ironbark stronghold.
Dogs are permitted on-leash at Clancy’s Camping Area; Emu Creek (a tributary of the Brisbane river) runs adjacent to the camp and is home to Kingfishers and platypus. Dogs are also allowed on-leash at Emu Creek Day Area, but are not permitted at Emu Creek camp. Unfortunately, Fido isn’t allowed to go on any of the trails in Benarkin.
4. Lions Boulevard Park, Russell Island
Free island camping, and off-leash during Winter!
How does free waterfront camping on a quiet island sound? Plus, between May and August, dogs can go off-leash anytime. Lions Boulevard Park is nestled on Russell Island, one of the Southern Moreton Bay Islands. Take a short ferry ride from the Redland Bay Marina, an hour’s drive south of Brisbane, and either taxi or walk 8km to the Southern end of the island.
Russell Island offers chill ocean vibes with views of Straddie for you and your furry pal. Book in advance to secure one of the two campsites (up to four people per site). For off-leash restrictions during other times of the year (the islands are an important habitat for migratory birds), go to the Redland Council Website.
Photo by Jon Harris
5. Wongi Waterholes Camping Area, Wongi State Forest
Wild waterhole swimming
If you love a good waterhole, pack your leash and tent and head to Wongi State Forest. From Brisbane, it’s a four-hour road trip to 25km northwest of Maryborough. The red-brown, tannin-stained waterholes make for idyllic and wild summer swimming, fringed with eucalypt and pines. You can also check out part of the National Bicentennial Trail which passes through the forest. Wongi makes for a great tech retreat, since there’s no reliable reception after you turn-off the highway. The campsite accommodates up to 100 people.
6. Bush camping, Cordalba State Forest
Off-track hiking and one of the world’s rarest trees
If you like your hiking and camping rugged, Cordalba State Forest is the perfect getaway for you and your pooch. Cordalba is 46km south-west of Bundaberg, or 327km north of Brisbane, and is the only option for dog friendly off-track hiking and wild camping. Wander through the open eucalypt forest and pitch your tent where you please for a totally DIY adventure.
As an added challenge during off-track adventures, keep an eye out for one of the rarest trees in the world, the Isis Tamarind, on the western side of the forest. There’s only 17 in Cordalba, out of a total known population of just 26. Look for tessellated rough bark on a tree up to 16m tall, with dark green composite and alternate leaves.
7. Bluff Creek Campground, Kenilworth
Kayaking, campfires, and wild swimming
This dog friendly private campground is situated along the winding Mary River 2 hours northwest of Brisbane. Bordering Imbil State Forest, Bluff Creek is a tranquil riverine campsite where you can truly unwind. Sit around a roaring campfire in the evening, and then explore the Mary River during the day. Wild swimming, fishing, and kayaking are all on the adventure menu, or you can go mountain biking if you’re not aquatically inclined.
All campsites have creek views and access to the Mary River; toilets and showers are available, and campsites are unpowered so you can really unplug.
8. Wooyung Holiday Park, Wooyung
Wooyung Holiday Park is technically in NSW, but it’s under a two hour drive south of Brisbane, near Mullumbimby. With dog friendly beaches just 1-2 minutes from the site, Wooyung Holiday Park makes for a sunny summer escape. Best of all, the beaches aren’t crowded with holiday-goers (keep in mind the beaches aren’t patrolled, so swim safely!). Campsites are unpowered, but otherwise the site has full amenities. There is no extra charge for taking your dog, though make sure to keep barking to a minimum and keep them on a leash.
9. Log Dump Camping Area, Tuan State Forest
Waterfront camping with boating and fishing
Tuan State Forest is an underrated destination well-suited for fans of boating and fishing. Tuan is located between Tin Can Bay and Boonooroo, 3 hours north of Brisbane. The forest is predominantly pine plantation, with some other remnant vegetation types sprinkled throughout. Late winter and spring is a great time to go for the wildflower display: there’s everything from pretty-in-pink Wide Bay Boronia, to the peculiar Leafless Tongue-Orchid.
There’s not much in the way of walking, apart from exploring the unsealed roads through the park, but you’re spoiled for choice with two dog friendly camps. Log Dump camping area, despite its unappealing name, has toilets and backs onto Kauri Creek; Hedley’s Creek camping area provides a truly off-grid experience because it’s only accessible by boat or 4WD. Responsible campfires are permitted.
Essential Gear For Dog Camping
- Short leash for hikes
- Long leash for chilling at the campsite
- Water bowl
- Doggy bags for picking up poo
- Dog food and bowl