It’s been a year Gold Coasters and right now, any escape from the daily grind is a good escape. After a couple of seasons of complete overindulgence, cheap and cheerful is the go, so camping it is friends.
Luckily there are plenty of pretty places close by that will soothe your wanderlusting soul and BONUS, all you need is a tent, some two minute noodles and your very best sense of adventure.
Found on the spectacular Scenic Rim, Bigriggen Park is very family-friendly and you may also bring along your fur babies if they need a break from a life of sleeping and eating. It’s only about an hour and a half from the Coast so just far enough to feel like you’ve escaped the city and it’s 55 hectares of land so plenty of spot for hiking, exploring and generally just enjoying the serenity. There’s also fishing and watersports and the lake at Maroon Dam is not too far away.
Get there: Head out toward Beaudesert and follow the signs toward Rathdowney and onto Bigriggen from there.
Another immerse-yourself-in-nature gem, The Settlement is the only place you can camp in the Springbrook National Park. There’s no electricity or WiFi so you will certainly be escaping all the creature comforts you know and love (RIP Insta stories). Never fear though, you can amuse yourself by trekking to Purling Brook Falls and sizzling some snags at the BBQ area. Take a book or get involved in a good old-fashioned conversation.
Get there: Head towards Mudgeeraba and follow the signs to Springbrook then follow the signs to Carricks Rd.
Found in the Lamington National Park, it’s only an hour but it feels like a lifetime away. There are full shower and toilet facilities, a coin-operated washing machines/tumble dryers, barbeque stoves,hot plates and milk and ice available at the on-site Lamington Teahouse. It’s an eco-friendly spot and you can spend as much time as you please exploring the surrounding national park. There are stunning views of the hinterland and the Tweed region beyond and you can choose from two and four-man tent sites, unpowered and powered drive-on sites and two, four and six-bed permanent Safari Tents. So all the things.
Get there: Find it on Binna Burra Rd, out toward Beechmont.
Mount Barney Lodge Campground
Here you’ll get full creek frontage, a swimming hole, open campfires (love) and a kids holiday adventure program. How good. Mount Barney Lodge Campground is a grassy and shaded spot complete with stunning views of Mt Barney, which is just across the road should you wish to embark on a climbing adventure. You can drive directly onto shady, unpowered and grassed camp sites with designated fire circles. Camper trailers, motorhomes, RV’s and caravans are welcome. There is also a non-vehicle area that is suitable for tents and families with children.
Get there: Pop Upper Logan Rd into your GPS and head toward the big old mountain.
Adventure is the name of the game at Thunderbird Park with plenty of activities for the kids both big and small. Play laser skirmish in the jungle, tackle the high ropes course at TreeTop Challenge, boost the adrenaline with a thrilling ride on the Canyon Flyer, enjoy a horse trail ride or play a round on the championship mini golf course. See, adventure. It’s not a quiet camping adventure but it’s definitely a fun one.
Get there: Head on out to Mount Tamborine and you’ll find Thunderbird Park on the corner of Cedar Creek Falls andTamborine Mountain Roads
South Stradbroke Island
The wild southern sibling of far-more-populated North Stradbroke Island (name creativity is off the charts), South Straddy is always a good time. Getting there is an adventure in itself and the campground is surrounded by scrub so you’ll need to be self sufficient (you can’t drive on the island either). There are bathrooms and the like at Tipplers Kiosk so don’t despair but it’s definitely a down and dirty nature-lovers paradise.
Get there: By private boat or water taxi or hire a seaplane if you’re not short of a dollar.
Specifically the James Sharp Memorial Park can be found on the banks of the Coomera River. It’s a big old grassy area with plenty of blessed shade (how’s the heatwave) and enough river for swimming, fishing, canoeing and whatever else floats your boat. Oh AND, you can bring your doggo (or cat if you must) and open fires are permitted because these good people appreciate the magic of marshmallows. If you’ve got a family, this spot might be your best bet.
Get there: Drive to Nerang and follow the signs to Canungra then turn off onto Beechmont Rd toward Witheren.
Nightfall Wilderness Camp
Okay so this place definitely doesn’t qualify as camping but diversity is key right. Nightfall Wilderness Camp is a five star glamping (best word) experience found in the Lamington National Park and it is F A N C Y. There’s bathtubs, food cooked over coals, comfy beds and the prettiest of furnishings. Also, the crew at Nightfall are dedicated to ecotourism so they protect the local wildlife and watch the creeks water quality. It’s an absolutely beautiful place and you should definitely spend some hard earned pennies here.
Get there: Head out toward Canungra then Beaudesert and follow the signs to Lamington National Park.
The newest camping ground of the bunch is set within the lush World Heritage Lamington National Park at O’Reilly’s. Your camping facilities include an open space communal camp kitchen with stunning views overlooking the McPherson Range, a fire-pit and gathering area and an amenities building – with pathways and ramping to enable accessibility for all guests. There are 24 campsites featuring Altitude and Basecamp sites, but 17 powered safari tents are also available if that’s more your jam.
Get there: Head out toward Canungra, once you reach The Canungra Hotel, turn onto Kidston Street off the main road in Canungra (Nerang-Beaudesert Road) as it turns into Lamington National Park Road. If you pass O’Reilly’s Canungra Valley Vineyards you’re heading the right way (may as well pick up a bottle too!).
Words by Kirra Smith