The Gold Coast may be known for its busy beaches and man-made attractions, but away from the bright lights are some of South East Queensland’s best camping areas.
1. The Settlement Camping Area
Barely a detour from the Pacific Motorway, Springbrook National Park is filled with subtropical rainforest that’s punctuated with some stunning natural attractions.
Image: The reverse view of the Natural Bridge in Springbrook National Park.
Settlement Camping Area is the only place to stay in Springbrook, putting campers in the midst of a true wilderness that’s close by to the iconic Purling Brook Falls and the equally impressive Natural Bridge.
2. The Green Mountains Camping Area
Deep in the rolling ranges of Lamington National Park’s rainforest wilderness is Green Mountains Camping Area, which is accessible by a winding road or via Duck Creek Road (when it's open). The camp features green and open sites, along with the chance to delve into Lamington’s many walking tracks and its magnificent Lost World to the south.
The campground is simple, with composting toilets, hot showers and rubbish bins for visitors to utilise - though for those in search of some comfort, a trip into nearby O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat is an enticing one.
3. Amity Point Camping Area
Camping on Straddie is a rite of passage for many Queenslanders, and Amity Point delivers many of the island’s highlights in a single camping area.
Calm sapphire waters fringe the campground, with plenty of open grassy sites available for those who love surfing, fishing and relaxation. For those in search of a bona fide Gold Coast beach experience while camping, North Stradbroke is the obvious choice.
4. Andrew Drynan Park Campground
Spacious, green and situated amongst some truly stunning surrounds, Andrew Drynan Park delivers classic camping vibes for those looking to relax in nature.
Flanked by Running Creek (perfect for a swim) on one side and Mount Chinghee on the other – a wildly picturesque backdrop – there’s plenty to see and do, while a tour through the Border Ranges is a worthwhile drive for even more arresting mountain vistas.
The campground is devoid of facilities with the exception of a toilet, giving camper’s a chance to enjoy nature with minimal distractions or unnecessary comforts.
5. Stinson Park Camping Area
Named in commemoration of the 1937 Stinson plane crash that claimed five lives (the park was the base of operations for a rescue mission for the remaining two survivors), today Stinson Park is a secluded green expanse that sits above bubbling Christmas Creek in the Gold Coast Hinterland. Its location behind Lamington National Park guarantees some choice mountain vistas on the horizon, while its one-two combination of shaded lawns and waterside positioning makes it a dream destination for families.
The park has tables, barbecues and a disabled-access toilet, while outside of its confines are a bevy of national parks that protect some of the most ancient subtropical rainforest in the world.
6. Ngumbi (Mt Joyce Base Camp) Camping Area
Harder to reach than most camping areas – it’s only accessible by walking trail or via Lake Wyaralong – Ngumbi guarantees a level of seclusion to those who make the effort to reach it. The campsite sits on the edge of Lake Wyaralong and backs onto Mt Joyce, which means it’s ideal for outdoor recreation. Mt Joyce itself is home to an extensive range of mountain bike, horse riding and walking trails, while the lake is popular with kayakers, canoers and fishermen.
Ngumbi is a free camp that features a shelter, water tanks and a toilet, but with limited sites available, it can fill up at peak times. Out of courtesy to other campers, visitors are asked to limit their stay to an absolute maximum of seven nights.
7. The Gorge Camping Reserve
Located on the far side of Lake Moogerah and Moogerah Peaks National Park, The Gorge is a no-frills, all-wilderness camping experience set amongst classic Australian bushland. The reserve has a limited number of sites, though each one has plenty of space and spectacular scenery in which to relax in peace.
The campsites sit along the banks of Reynolds Creek, whose unhurried flow is tailor-made for swimming, kayaking or simply watching the world go by from the comfort of a camp chair. With some excellent attractions nearby, both four-wheel drive and two-wheel drive access sites and a low-key atmosphere, The Gorge is a camper’s dream that’s worth the 90-minute drive from Surfer’s Paradise.