Mount Allan Walk view, Imbil State Forest. Mount Allan Walk view, Imbil State Forest.

Five reasons little campers LOVE Imbil State Forest

Camping with kids may seem like a daunting prospect, but at Imbil State Forest, in the beautiful Sunshine Coast hinterland, we’ve got you covered.

The simple delights of Charlie Moreland camping area will make the job of keeping your little gems occupied and entertained easy! So, if your kids have been champing at the bit for #myfirstcampingtrip, read on for all the tips and pointers you need to make it a good one!

1. Camping

Blue skies above bright green foliage of surrounding forest and grassy camping area with bright blue tent, and assorted trailers and vehicles in foreground.
Charlie Moreland camping area | Tomek Z Genek © Queensland Government

Charlie Moreland camping area is about two hours’ drive from Brisbane or an hour from the Sunshine Coast. To the sound of a final ‘are we there yet?’ you’ll drive past a gorgeous rock-strewn stream and into a camping area dotted with fire rings and shaded by towering trees.

You’ll find several modern toilet blocks with flushing toilets throughout the site. So, if you’re in that delightful stage of parenting where every aspect of your day (and night) is beholden to little bladders, you’ll want to pick a spot near one of them.

Once you’re set up, it’s time to explore the features of Charlie Moreland, that little kids can’t get enough of.

2. Swimming and paddling

Clear shallow waters of the creek reflect the deep green of the forest backdrop.
Little Yabba Creek, Charlie Moreland day-use area | Trevor Hatfield © Queensland Government

Remember that beautiful stream we mentioned earlier? That’s Little Yabba Creek. It winds its way around the edge of the camping area, so it’s really easy to access. But, you’ll be glad to know that there’s a wall of foliage separating the creek from the camping area in most places, meaning your little angel can’t just dash straight into the water the second you turn your back.

The awesome thing about Little Yabba Creek is that there are deeper sections for a proper swim and shallower sections for paddling. Pick and choose depending on your child’s confidence in the water, or do one spot in the morning and another in the afternoon!

3. Rock-hopping, pond-dipping and exploring the bush

Stepping stones through shallow water provide a creek crossing along the track.
Little Yabba Circuit | Trevor Hatfield © Queensland Government

Ready for a different kind of freshwater adventure? Take the kids to one of the creek crossings so they can jump from one rock to the next. You’ll be amazed how long it keeps them occupied! Take some cute 'pics' and then find yourself a comfy spot in the shade, to absorb the serenity of the babbling stream, while you wait for them to tire themselves out.

Take your creek-side exploration to another level by walking through cool, shallow waters across smooth river stones with a little fishing net. The kids can use it to scoop things out of the water for a closer look. This is a great opportunity to teach them about putting things back once you've finished looking at them—caring for nature and leaving the park just as you find it.

Simply exploring the plant life around the edges of the camping area will provide far more entertainment for your little ones than you might think, but there are walking tracks to choose from as well.

The Little Yabba circuit is a great one for newbie bushwalkers of all ages. At 1.8km, the whole family will enjoy this shady stroll through riparian rainforest. Think the kids can handle more than that? Add on the Piccabeen circuit for a total of 3.5km. A bushwalk is a sensory feast if you take the time to notice the sights, sounds and smells around you.

4. Wildlife watching

Fluffy white breast and head of kookaburra squatting on branch, with head turned to side to show strong powerful beak
Kookaburra | © Kirk Newcombe

Regardless of how we might feel about goannas and scrub turkeys strolling through the camping area like they own the place, the kids go bananas for it. The red-necked pademelons aren’t quite so brave, but they’re still clearly visible if you’re paying attention, and the list of birds you’ll encounter is virtually endless.

Want to check out the nightlife? Put some red cellophane over your torches (to protect the animals’ eyes—never shine an unprotected light at an animal), and take the kids spotlighting for possums and gliders in the gum trees after dark.

5. Camp fires

Children and parents grouped around a camp fire with tent nearby and surrounded by forest.
Camp fire in camping area | © Queensland Government

Boy, do kids love a camp fire! Building them, watching them, toasting marshmallows over them and telling stories around them—you just name it. If you went camping as a kid you probably have fond memories of them too—the smell of wood smoke, the soothing, crackling sound they make, and the way they throw sparks up into the night.

In fact, camp fires (well-supervised ones, of course) are becoming more and more popular in childcare centres that value nature play and teaching children how to make safe choices for themselves. If the thought of letting your little one near a fire makes you nervous (or even if it doesn’t), set clear boundaries so they know exactly how close they’re allowed to get and what sort of behaviour is off limits. Never leave a fire unattended.

Need more ideas?

  • There’s heaps of room for the kids to run around or kick a ball in the adjoining, grassy day-use area. Cook dinner on the gas barbecues as you keep an eye on them from a distance.
  • Leave them to make their own games from sticks, stones and leaves (give it a shot, it’ll work better than you think!) or send them on an expedition to hunt for interesting insects (just be cautious about picking them up!).
  • There’s a horse paddock 100m or so from the camping area for visitors who ride into camp on their trusty steeds, so wander down to the paddock and see what you find, because who doesn’t love a horsey?

Other stuff worth knowing

There are water taps onsite, but the water needs to be treated before drinking. If you’d rather not deal with that, just bring your own drinking water with you. There are no showers, but if you’ve got little kids then you’ll probably only want to stay for a couple of nights anyway, in which case wet wipes and a dip in the creek will get you through.

So, what do you think? If you’re ready to embark on a camping adventure with the tribe, check out Imbil State Forest for more information and make sure you have a look at Charlie Moreland camping area to plan your perfect weekend away. Remember to check Park alerts before you go.

Remember to book before you go!
Camping must be booked in advance.
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Last updated: 04 June 2019