Home to some spectacular landscapes and a wide array of beautiful flora and fauna, Queensland’s great south east holds many hidden gems for boating, camping and fishing enthusiasts. From the glitz and glamour of the Gold Coast, to the untouched beauty of South Stradbroke Island, South-East Queensland is choc-a-block with things to do and amazing places to go camping or caravanning. The BCF’ing experts thought they would help you out by putting together a collection of the best camping locations in South East QLD - so let's go!
Although the Gold Coast has always been known for its high-rises and fancy apartments, the sun, surf, and sand are only part of what the Goldie truly has to offer. For those willing to step off the beaten track, campers, caravanners, and hikers (not to mention fishos!) can all find something to tickle their fancy on a holiday to the Gold Coast. If you enjoy bushwalking or hiking, Mt Tamborine and the adjoining rainforest area is perfect for you. A charming location nestled in the foothills of the Gold Coast hinterland, Tamborine has countless walking tracks that take full advantage of the natural beauty of the region. The Lamington national park is another must-see for hikers, renowned for its picturesque waterfalls and cave circuit which offers cracking views over the Coomera Valley. There are many accommodation options for those hitting the Gold Coast hinterland, with rainforest retreats and day spas for anyone wanting to treat themselves to a little TLC. If camping is more your thing, the Numinbah Valley allows you to pitch a tent, kick back and relax to the sounds of nature.
The Gold Coast is also known for its first-class fishing and has a variety of options whether you wish to stay in the still water or venture further offshore. You can't beat wetting a line in the Jumpinpin Channel - it truly is a fishos paradise! There are a range of species on offer, ranging from bread-and-butter bream and whiting to hungry pelagic’s such as trevally, tailor and the elusive jewfish. The major target for fishos however, is the humble flatty. Scattered throughout the system the old flat-fish can be caught on a range of baits and lures. They grow to an impressive size and make for a delicious table fish. Another species that the Goldie is renowned for is the mangrove jack. Riddled throughout the canal systems you will find some monster jacks. ‘Red dogs’ love structure, from jetties and wharves to rock bars and mangroves. They can be targeted on both baits and lures with deep diving hardbodies and shrimp style soft plastics some of the best artificials to have a crack with. When summer comes around many anglers start focusing their attention on all things billfish. From the beginning of December till the end of February there is an influx of Juvenile black marlin that show up in the Pacific Ocean off the Gold Coast and are sure to pull some string. There are 32 boat ramps on the Goldie, to help get your pride and joy in the water. Some of the best and most accessible include Thrower Drive boat ramp, Main Beach boat ramps, and Southport Broadwater Parklands boat ramp.
South Stradbroke Island
South Stradbroke, or Straddie as it is known to the locals, is one South East QLD location that has the lot, with next-level snorkelling, 4-wheel driving, and bushwalking tracks and a fishery that’s hard to beat. This island paradise lies just a short 40-minute ferry ride from Sanctuary Cove and ends only 200 metres from the northern end of the Gold Coast spit. Straddie is the perfect location for a day trip due to its proximity to Brisbane and the Goldie but also makes for a great spot to kick back and enjoy a couple of days. There are three campgrounds on Straddie that are positioned at different ends of the island. Tipplers Campground is located to the north, while North and South Currigee are further to the south end of Straddie. All campgrounds come equipped with the appropriate amenities including toilets, showers, camp kitchen, and BBQs, with a choice between self-contained cabins, campsites, and onsite huts. If you prefer something a little fancier there is a variety of quality hotels to keep you and the family happy. Straddie has regular events on offer, with live music, sporting events, group activities, and art exhibitions to ensure you will never be short on something to do.
When you talk about fishing on Straddie there are plenty of options to help put a bend in your rod. Whether beach fishing is your jam or you prefer boat fishing the rivers and estuaries, Straddie has sheltered bays and inlets covering the inside of the island to give you something to cast at. There is easy access to the Coomera and Pimpama rivers as well as the Jumpinpin bar. If you don’t have access to a boat, there are no dramas with jetties at Amity and Dunwich on the western side of the island providing awesome fishing locations out of the wind.
Moreton Island/ Moreton Bay
Right on the doorstep of Brisbane and the Sunny Coast, Moreton Island is the ideal location for those wanting to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. With a simple 75-minute ferry ride from the Port of Brisbane, you can be transported to a tropical oasis. Laidback beach holidays don’t get much better than this, with natural and unspoiled beauty that is hard to find so close to a capital city. Moreton Island is the third-largest sand island in the world, stretching 44km in length and taking up an area of 186km2. There are many things to do and places to visit once you’ve hit the shores of Moreton. Whether you like to hit the sand in your 4x4, take to the hiking tracks for a healthy way to view the sights, or get out the fishing rods for a fun and relaxing way to while away the afternoon, there is plenty of action for everyone. For the 4-wheel drivers among us, there are no sealed roads on Moreton, meaning the whole island is your playground. From the smooth open beaches of the eastern side to the plethora of 4WD tracks running through the guts, Moreton provides one of the most exciting and rugged sand-driving locations in Australia. If hiking or bushwalking is more your style, then Moreton’s got you covered too. The two most popular hiking tracks are the Rous Battery Track and the Telegraph Walking Track. Both tracks take you through a variety of different landscapes including woodlands, sand dunes, scribbly gum forests, and the impressive Mount Tempest, also letting you discover a bit about the history of the island. If shorter walks are more your style Five Hills Lookout, Blue Lagoon, and Honeyeater Lake are all less than 1km in length and make for an easy and enjoyable way to spend a few hours. The fishing on Moreton is red hot, with beaches, jetties, and the unmissable shipwrecks all providing a fishing experience to remember. Your bread-and-butter species like bream, flathead, and whiting as well as tailor and dart are all common catches when fishing from the beach and always take a liking to baits like prawns, hardy heads, and pilchards. When fishing the jetties or the famous Tangalooma wrecks the diversity of fish species on offer kicks up a notch with trevally, jewfish, and even the odd yellow-tailed kingfish thrown into the mix. It’s important to fish on the lighter side when fishing Moreton, and as the water is crystal-clear 4-8lb fishing line is normally a must. If you’re heading out wider or even trying your luck in the Brissy River for threadfin salmon and jewies, you can bump it up to 20lb.
There is no shortage of accommodation options on Moreton Island. Whether you prefer things a bit more luxurious with apartments, villas, or holiday home rentals, the foreshore is lined with plenty to choose from. All have spectacular ocean views and come furnished with all the comforts of home. If camping tickles your fancy the whole island is riddled with camping areas from north to south and east to west. The Wrecks, Blue Lagoon, North Point, Ben-Ewa, and Comboyuro Point are just some of the options. Within walking distance to many of the attractions Moreton is renowned for, camping on the island is a great way to reconnect with nature and provides a ripper holiday.
The Sunny Coast is another one of those locations jam-packed with places to go and things to see. With an array of pristine beaches fringing its coastline, beautiful subtropical rainforests at its heart, quaint towns and villages scattered throughout the hinterland, and a number of picturesque mountains just waiting to be climbed, the Sunshine Coast has something for everyone. Starting with the coastal towns of Caloundra, Mooloolaba, Maroochydore, and Coolum, each with its own atmosphere and laid-back seaside vibe, you can soak up some rays, or take a walk along kilometres of sandy beachfront. If you’re a surfer, you can hit the waves for a relaxing way to ease the mind and body. Maroochy is also a great place to embark in a little retail therapy. If you prefer a slower pace, you can take a drive through the hinterland and visit some of the old-fashioned towns oozing with country hospitality. Montville is one such town that is full of history and offers a unique shopping and dining experience with picturesque views of the Sunshine Coast and hinterland below. This area is also ideal for bushwalkers and hikers, with the Kondalilla Falls circuit and Hinterland Great Walk providing over 50kms of beautiful tracks through tall eucalypt trees, tropical rainforests, and picture-perfect waterfalls. Accommodation comes in many forms throughout the Sunny Coast with many campgrounds, caravan parks, and hotels on offer. Try the beachside Coolum Beach Caravan Park situated in the middle of town or choose from the long list of apartments and hotel accommodation options available in Mooloolaba. Maybe you would prefer a secluded cottage hideaway in Maleny? There are options galore on the Sunshine Coast.
Fishermen don’t have to miss out in this neck of the woods either. With the Mooloola and Maroochy River close at hand you can easily launch the boat for a chilled-out day on the water as you wet a line. Both rivers are rich in diversity and allow you to go from fishing the sand flats at the mouth for whiting and flathead, snag bashing the mangroves and rock bars for mangrove jack and trevally to fishing the freshwater reaches for wild Australian bass in a single outing. There are plenty of options for the offshore fishos too. With easy access to the open ocean through the Mooloolaba river mouth and bar, you can take a short run to Old Woman Island where the fishing is great all year round. During winter the snapper and jewies will be on the chew and offer fantastic pelagic action during summer, with mackerel and tuna the main targets.
South-East Queensland is paradise for BCF’ers of all sorts. Whether you love your fishing, or prefer to kick back at the campsite, SEQ has something for everyone. BCF loves this area of the sunny state too, with a massive number of stores in the area where you can buy some great gear for your next adventure. So, what are you waiting for? Get into store and start your next BCF’ing adventure today!