There is just something about Central Queensland that makes you yearn for adventure. The ruggedness and natural untouched beauty found here makes it the perfect destination for us boating, camping, and fishing enthusiasts to get amongst it! The region is jam-packed with an endless list of things to do and sensational places to pitch a tent, roll out the swag or even park the caravan. From the fish rich waters of Gladstone to the pure and pristine sands of Whitehaven beach, there’s sure to be something that whets your appetite in CQ. The BCFing experts thought they would help you out by putting together a collection of the best camping locations in Central Queensland – so let’s go!
Tannum Sands & Boyne Island
The twin towns of Tannum Sands and Boyne Island have always been a family friendly holiday location well worth a pit-stop when travelling with the tribe. Situated only 20 minutes drive from Gladstone and perched right on the doorstep of the Great Barrier Reef, the picturesque landscape and abundant flora and fauna make this a nature lovers one-stop-shop. It’s not hard to see why many Aussie families come back year after year, with an assortment of activities that cater to any BCFer ranging from walking trails, 4-wheel drive tracks and a first-class fishery that will ensure you never get bored. If you enjoy putting your legs to good use, the Turtle Way Trail is great for a trek or bike ride. Stretching for over 18km the track meanders along the Boyne River and provides a great scenic view of the area.
If you prefer letting your vehicle do the hard yards, Lilley’s Beach is one of the most popular spots for beach 4-wheel driving in the area. Extending along the coastline for over 7km it gives you a great look at the ocean and offers a perfect spot for sunrise photos. If you’re feeling more adventurous, driving west will open up a number of 4-wheel drive tracks including the must see Kroombit Tops National Park and Bulburin National Park, each boasting incredible changing landscapes and breathtaking views guaranteed to leave you speechless!
If wetting a line tickles your fancy, the area boasts an array of excellent fishing hotspots including the Boyne river and its sensational estuary. Here you can enjoy epic fishing for the likes of barramundi, mangrove jack, queenfish and Trevally. If you prefer hitting the fresh water, Lake Awoonga is another fishing spot well worth a look. It’s home to some of the largest barra in the world, and also one of the most beautiful places you can imagine to try and put a bend in your rod.
When it’s time to pull up stumps and have a break for the night, Tannum Sands and Boyne Island have you covered with several great places to set up camp and catch some Z’s. The Boyne River Tourist Park and Greenacres Motel and Van Park are both great options in the heart of town for caravanners - and they also offer cabins if you’re looking to glamp in style! Lake Awoonga Caravan Park is another great place to stay overlooking the stunning Awoonga Dam where you can fish, swim, ski, and boat, or just simply relax and enjoy some quiet time with your accommodation close at hand.
There’s something special about the tiny town of Yeppoon that BCFers can’t get enough of. Although small, this town more than makes up for its size in personality. Situated right in the heart of the Capricorn Coast with Rockhampton (the beef capital of Queensland) just down the road, this may be the perfect place for your next camping adventure! With the unmatched beauty of the Southern Great Barrier Reef on your doorstep, an assortment of spectacular beaches fringing the coastline, and the Keppel Islands providing the perfect backdrop, Yeppoon is a water lover’s playground. With a list of marine based activities sure to keep your day jam-packed including kayaking, snorkelling, tubing, or SUPing, what more could you ask for?
If you’re wanting to wet a line, Yeppoon is blessed with some of the best river and estuary fishing on the planet! Some spots well worth a look include Roslyn Bay Harbour, Corio Bay, Coorooman Creek, and Causway Lake. If you enjoy hunting for the likes of barramundi, mangrove jack, finger mark and threadfin salmon, there’s nowhere better.
If you prefer strapping on the hiking boots, the Bluff Point Circuit will give you plenty of opportunities to pull out the camera. Check out the marine life in their natural habitat by climbing the steep 600m to the Turtle Lookout, then continue along the track to the Ritamada Lookout which offers remarkable views of the Keppel Bay Islands and the Capricorn Coastline. If you don’t want to venture too far from town or have the littlies in tow, the Pineapple Rail Trail is a popular track for walkers, cyclists and joggers alike. Stretching 4.5km from the centre of town, it takes you through a mix of urban landscapes and beautiful bushlands.
There’s no shortage of places to camp in and around Yeppoon, with the Beachside Holiday Caravan Park and Blue Dolphin Caravan Park providing 2 great options close to town and the beautiful beach. These locations have friendly staff, clean facilities and powered or unpowered for caravanners and campers alike. If you head to Hipcamp you can also discover many other local private camping gems well worth a look!
The tranquil town of Stanage Bay is an isolated piece of paradise located smack bang between Rockhampton to the south and Mackay to the north. Offering the perfect escape for any water loving BCFer, Stanage is full of amazing things to do and unreal places to camp. Although not essential, a 4-wheel drive will make it much easier to access the town with over 100km of dirt road laying before you. Leave your worries at home and take in the serenity of one of Queensland’s best kept secrets! With a wild and ruggedly beautiful coastline that’s littered with pristine beaches and mountainous trails, it’s not only the Heritage Listed Great Barrier Reef that makes this place so special.
However, it is what you’ll find below the water that attracts most people to Stanage Bay. For fishoholics there’s no better place to visit! If you like fishing reef flats and eddies for tasty reef dwellers, the Duke Islands and Shoalwater Bay area are great spots to wet a line with an abundance of rocky structure that makes the perfect habitat for nannygai, coral trout and fingermark. If the estuaries are more your thing Stanage won’t disappoint, with numerous creeks well worth a look. Thirsty Sound offers great snag bashing for the likes of big barra, king salmon, and solid jacks, with lure and bait fishing both extremely effective. You don’t have to venture too far to get into the action either, with the “Jew Hole” located just around the corner from the boat ramp. Here monster black jew are common and always put your fishing gear to the test.
For the camping and caravanning enthusiasts there are several spots for you to do your thing, but Endeavour Park makes for a fantastic camping spot. This quaint but extremely beautiful location is nestled along the north facing beach and situated right next to the boat ramp. Conveniently located with the local store across the road, it’s also the only camping area which offers toilets and is home to plenty of trees which provide shelter and shade on those balmy summer days. Happy Valley and Porters Creek are 2 other camping areas well worth a look and make for some great spots to rest your head at the end of a long day fishing.
(It’s important to remember that there’s no power, water or firewood available at Stanage Bay. This means some extra care needs to be taken to ensure you are well prepared).
One of the most popular holiday destinations in Queensland, the coastal town of Airlie Beach is a location that shouldn’t be missed. Perfectly positioned within the beautiful Whitsundays region with a coastline fringed by the Great Barrier Reef to the east and a lush rainforest interior to the west, this really is a BCFers paradise.
The mainland hub of the Whitsunday Islands is located 150km north of Mackay or an easy drive south from Bowen. Although renowned for its exquisite islands and their pristine white sand beaches, Airlie offers so much more both in and out of the water. Try your hand at snorkelling, kayaking, boating, or hiking - not to mention hitting the insane local fishery that will ensure you are never short of something to do!
If you feel like heading out for a hike, the Conway National Park has some of the best trails in Central Queensland and can be found just a few kilometres from town. The Honeyeater Walk is great for more experienced hikers, and with a length of 7.4km return it takes you for a lovely journey through the rainforest as you climb to the lookout at the top where the views will knock your socks off! If you prefer something a little easier the Airlie Beach boardwalk caters for all skill levels, following the beautiful foreshore for 3.9 kilometres it offers plenty of spots to take a dip.
For the fisho’s, be sure to wet a line in the Proserpine river where you can target the likes of barramundi, threadfin salmon, grunter bream and mangrove jack. Shute Harbour Jetty is another popular spot for land based fishos, and with such a diverse range of species tormenting the bait schools you never know what you’ll hook up to! Here, everything from GT’s, spanish mackerel and Northern Bluefin are fair game. If you head offshore the reef edges and bombies provide the perfect habitat and structure for coral trout, trevally, and everything in between. You also can’t forget about Proserpine Dam, the freshwater gem that holds some of the biggest barramundi you will find anywhere!
After all that adventuring it’s nice to know you have somewhere to hang your hat at the end of the day, and Airlie has no shortage of places for the campers to strut their stuff. The Island Gateway Holiday Park and Discovery Parks Airlie Beach both offer a great spot to roll out the swag or pitch a tent. They have all the facilities you will need for an enjoyable trip away, as well as cabins if you prefer to treat yourself for a few nights.
Central Queensland is the perfect location for BCF’ers of all sorts to strut their stuff. Whether setting up the campsite and kicking back by the fire or wetting a line in the hope of catching a fresh feed of fish, CQ has something for everyone. Before you hit the road be sure to stop into your local BCF store and get your hands on some great gear for your next adventure. Wherever your headed in the sunny state, remember there is sure to be a BCF close at hand if you forget any of the essentials or just need the advice of a BCFing expert. So, get out there and start your next BCFing adventure today!