The best secret camping spots near and around Brisbane

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.

Take this as your invitation. It’s time to swap the city for scenery and explore the best secret camping spots Brisbane has to offer.

Alive with an up and coming city culture and the gateway to both the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast, Queensland’s capital lends itself to some pretty good-looking natural landscapes. But, did you know that it’s also the place to find secret camping spots?

So, organise the crew, roll out the swag and hit the road. We’ve uncovered the places you need to peg your tent near and around Brisbane.

1. Booloumba Creek Campground

Secret camping spot distance from Brisbane: Approximately 2 hours

Why you should visit: When you stay at Booloumba Creek, it’s best to camp for a few days. Why? There’s so much to nature to explore that you’ll want to do it all. From the turquoise swimming hole with incredibly clear water, to direct access to the start and finish of the Conondale Range Great Walk, you’ll leave feeling disconnected and recharged as you drive back to Brisbane.

Perfect for: Those in search of peace and quiet. Here you’re guaranteed to find a secret and secluded spot with plenty of space to explore.

Note: Access to the day area and campgrounds is via 4WD only, so be prepared to drive off-road.

2. Bigriggen Park

Secret camping spot distance from Brisbane: Approximately 1.5 hours

Why you should visit: Bigriggen lives up to its name. It’s big. By that, we mean lovely grassy campsites surrounded by 100 acres of bushland in the Scenic Rim. Here, you can choose between non-powered and powered camping if you’re really looking to go off the grid for a few days. If your furry friend isn’t keen to stay at home you can bring them along, too. Bigriggen is a dog-friendly park with reasonable guidelines to make sure everyone enjoys a peaceful getaway.

Perfect for: When camping, it’s always a good idea to judge a place by its amenities and at Bigiriggen even the city slicker will be happy. From the pay-by-the-minute hot showers to the short drive to the nearby national parks and birdlife aplenty, you’ll have everything within your fingertips. Bigiriggen also runs a local store with basic groceries and firewood so if you forget something, no worries. Oh, and parents, over school holidays, the dirt roads around the campsite easily turn into a bush velodrome for kids on bikes.

3. Cedar Creek Camping at Amamoor Creek

Secret camping spot distance from Brisbane: Approximately 2.5 hours

Why you should visit: You’ll spend more on the coffee on the drive up than you’ll spend staying the night. Seriously. It costs less than $7 per person per night to stay at Cedar Creek Camping at Amamoor Creek surrounded by forest and a small creek so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t go off the grid here.

Perfect for: Hiking through a bird-filled forest and laze in the creek during summer. And history, of all places. Gympie “saved Queensland” in 1867 when James Nash discovered gold in the bankrupt state: He attracted some 25,000 folks to the region. There’s a neat little Gold Mining Museum on the edge of the town to celebrate the fact.

4. Mount Barney Lodge Camping

Secret camping spot distance from Brisbane: Approximately 2 hours

Why you should visit: You can sit back in your camp chair, toast your marshmallows and gaze up as the sky changes around the rocky peak. Or, you can plan a trip to Mount Barney summit – a full day hike for experienced adventurers, leaving by 7am and arriving back to camp by sundown. For everything in between, the friendly Lodge owners are eager to share their recommendations for Mount Barney National Park.

Perfect for: Tackling the 1.5 hour Lower Portals track, you’ll be rewarded with a refreshing dip in a magical swimming hole, complete with a stunning waterfall. Note: you have to squeeze through a crack in the rock to get there, but it’s so worth it.

Depending on your level of fitness, you have a number of options when camping at Mount Barney Lodge, which rests at the base of the second highest peak in Queensland (after Mount Bartle Frere near Cairns).

5. Cylinder Beach

secret camping near Brisbane

Photo by @chiefsimo77

Secret camping spot distance from Brisbane: Drive 45 minutes to Cleveland and take a 45-50 minute ferry ride to North Stradbroke Island.

Why you should visit: On any given weekend, Cylinder Beach would score a ten for camping. The location is second-to-none and the facilities are great, boasting flush toilets and hot showers (you pay for them). On the downside, the car ferry to the island, at $140+, is a bit expensive. So best to stay a few days to get a return on your camping investment.

Perfect for: Cylinder Beach is the ideal spot if you like your camping holiday with a side of outdoor activities; everything from surfing, stand up paddleboarding, hiking, cycling – even scuba diving – is literally on your doorstep. Want to practice the art of relaxation? Drop a towel on the golden sand and listen to the rolling waves for the afternoon – you’ll feel a million miles away.

6. Charlie Moreland

Secret camping spot distance from Brisbane: Approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes.

Why you should visit: By other camping standards, Charlie Moreland is a little rustic. There are no showers (the creek is a popular bathing spot at dusk) and you have to bring your own drinking water. Perhaps because of this, the grounds are always spacious – even over long weekends.

Being on the edge of Conondale National Park, this spot teems with birdlife. The climb to Mt Allan is a rewarding 8.8 km round trip and there are a couple of other mid-range walks to Booloumba Falls and an old gold mine.

Perfect for: It’s worth coming here for two reasons: the beautiful uphill hike to Mt Allan fire tower for 360-degree views out over the Conondale ranges, and the charming town of Kenilworth which sports a cheese factory with award-winning creamy stuff made from the local dairy herd and a secondhand shop full of bargain treasures.

7. Peach Trees Camping

Secret camping spot distance from Brisbane: Approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes.

Why you should visit: Peach Trees Camping is best enjoyed with a crew of your best mates. It’s got the requisite mob of kangaroos at dusk, shared fire rings and some super pleasant short hikes. Note: there are no shower facilities and the water at Yabba Creek is a bit stagnant for a swim.

Perfect for: Being in the middle of a lush state forest at little cost. Plus, there’s a wheelchair-accessible day-use area.

8. Lake Moogerah

Secret camping spot distance from Brisbane: Approximately 1.5 hours.

Why you should visit: A necklace of mountains adorn the lake and promise a colourful backdrop for the setting sun. Lake Moogerah is just minutes from the quaint towns of Aratula and Boonah, and loads of stunning hikes including Governor’s Chair at Spicers Gap Road where the view is breathtaking.

Lake Moogerah Caravan Park is a private campground right on the lakeshore, with rolling green powered and unpowered tent and van sites. Pick carefully for a level spot though, or you might just roll into the water.

Perfect for: You can drop a line from the shore and there are fishing dinghies, kayaks, and paddleboards for hire. Or, bring your own. Note: a permit is required to fish legally here.