Camping near Brisbane: 5 of the best spots to camp with kids
Camping with the family comes with its very own essentials outside of food, equipment, firewood and emergency supplies (aka marshmallows). Is there something for everyone? And how the hell are we going to keep the kids occupied from pre-sunup to beyond sundown? After all, the only thing worse than “are we there yet” is “I’m bored”.
With that in mind, and with Easter fast approaching, we’ve put together some family-friendly national park campsite options that won’t break the ‘I-spent-too-much-at-Christmas’ bank balance. You’ll be in world-class surroundings, with permits costing around $25 per night per family. For booking and other essential stuff, you’ll need to head to Queensland National Parks.
If you’re keen on camping near Brisbane, check out these top 5 spots to take the kids:
1. Clancys, Benarkin State Forest, Somerset Region
While most camping trips mean leaving the family pooch behind, Clancys campground in Somerset’s Blackbutt Range welcomes them with open arms. Bring your horse and mountain bikes too! The Brisbane Valley Rail Trail crosses the northern section of Benarkin State Forest while the Bicentennial National Trail runs past Clancys campsite in the south.
Adjacent to Clancys, Emu Creek provides water activities including fishing and a safe swimming spot for littlies (big tick for you!) and shhh… they might even spot a platypus or two come dusk. Pack your hiking boots, beyond the campsite’s grassy surrounds there’s hoop pine plantations, eucalypt forests and woodlands to explore.
The site only takes a maximum of 60 people so while you know it’s not going to be sardine town, chances are there’ll be plenty of other kids to keep the little’uns occupied. And if you really do want – or need – to take a break from camp life, the twin towns of Benarkin and Blackbutt are close by, home to the famous Blackbutt wood-fired bakery for pie connoisseurs.
Clancys is easily accessible by 2WD or 4WD including trailers and caravans in good weather. From Brisbane, it’s about 150km (two hour’s drive) north-west. The final 16km to the camping area is via a winding gravel road.
- Flushing toilets
- Tap water (treat before drinking)
- Fireplaces (BYO firewood)
- Dogs permitted on leash
- Horses permitted (tether away from camping area)
2. Teerk Roo Ra National Park (Peel Island), Moreton Bay
Ok, we’ve gotta be upfront with you. The reason you haven’t heard of this one is that you need a boat to get there. But what an excuse to borrow your mate’s! This 500-hectare, remote island is pure Heritage-listed magic, sitting between Brisbane and North Stradbroke Island.
Anchor at either Horseshoe Bay or Platypus Bay and enjoy endless water activities on the sheltered, clear waters of this marine conservation park. ‘The Platypus’ shipwreck at Platypus Bay is close enough to snorkel or swim out to, tide permitting, and teeming with fish.
If the kids don’t fall asleep after swimming, snorkelling, canoeing, kayaking and fishing all day, you’re doing something wrong!
- Long-drop (composting) toilets available at Horseshoe Bay
- It’s essential to bring your own water as none is available on the island
- Fuel stoves only (no fires permitted)
3. Archer and Neurum Creek, North D’Aguilar National Park
Both these campsites are great family-friendly bases for exploring the D’Aguilar National Park and are oh-so-close to Brissy! Archer (9 numbered sites) offers grassy campsites on the banks of the Neurum Creek while Neurum Creek (13 numbered sites) is a more enclosed forest setting with a walking track to the nearby creek.
With a 4WD you can explore a 25km loop of walking trails and spectacular scenery including Rocky Hole rock pool, waterfalls at Falls Lookout and Bulls Falls and The Gantry picnic area.
About 90 minutes drive from Brisbane, 4WD recommended for unsealed sections. Archer campground is on Lovedays Road about 1km from the northern access to the park (Woodford end) or by 4WD it’s 16km from the southern end (Sellin Road via The Gantry). NB: there’s no access from South D’Aguilar Park.
- Septic toilets
- Untreated water
- BBQ facilities
- Fireplaces (BYO firewood)
4. The Settlement, Springbrook National Park
Location, location, location. The Settlement is the only camping area in Springbrook National Park and while it’s small (at just 11 un-numbered sites), it’s roomy. There also happens to be the whole of Springbrook National Park at your tent doorstep to discover: Gondwana World Heritage-listed rainforest, lookouts and waterfalls. Tick, tick, tick!
A short walking track to the top of Purling Brook Falls links the camping area and if the kids are up for it, Warringa Pool at the bottom of the falls (2km walk) is a great spot for a swim.
And check out the nightlife. Nearby Natural Bridge comes to life with glow worms after dark, or make a date at Springbrook Research Observatory, open weather-permitting and via phone booking (+61 7 5533 5055).
Quaint cafes (and a fudge shop) are dotted nearby as is a small playground, skate park, tennis courts and basketball court. Who’s bored now?
Easily accessible by sealed road, The Settlement is on Carricks Road off Springbrook Road, 120km south from Brisbane (1 to 2 hours drive). Turn right at the Springbrook Community Hall (keep your eye out for the mural).
- Drinking water
- Day use area with cooking shelter with free electric BBQ
5. Harrys, Great Sandy National Park
Family camping: been there, done that? Getting there is half the fun when you can go canoe camping near Brisbane. Harrys Hut camping area is a popular camping spot with direct access to the upper reaches of the Noosa River. But don’t worry it’s also accessible by 4WD.
Explore the extensive river system including Noosa Everglades and family-friendly Lake Cootharaba, or visit Elanda Point Education Centre. Put nearby Boreen Point on your to-do list: if you’re there on a Sunday, the historic Apollonian Hotel serves up a home-style family Sunday roast.
Harrys is in the Cooloola Recreation Area, Great Sandy National Park and is 4WD or watercraft access only. It’s around an hour’s drive from Noosa via Cooloola Way and Harrys Hut Road. Canoes and kayaks can access from Lake Cootharaba – book a River Access camping site. And if you need the gear to get you there, talk to the gang at Kanu Kapers.
- Toilets (non-flush)
- Picnic tables (BYO BBQ – no open fires)
- Picnic shelter
- Canoe landing access and jetties
- Untreated water
- Wheelchair access
*Please note the temporary closure of all Queensland campgrounds in national parks, state forests and state-managed recreation and protected areas, in response to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.