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Seven reasons to get your ‘camp on’ in one of Queensland’s National Parks

If you’ve been there, done that (and swiped the hotel shampoo), it’s time to get your ‘camp on’ in one of Queensland’s parks and forests.

Picture you, a view, and very few neighbours (of the two-legged kind at least)—guaranteeing the kind of peace and quiet you’d have to spend big money to achieve at a 5-star resort or perhaps a yoga retreat.

What’s more, nature’s answer to meditation—camping—won’t break the budget! You can each camp for about the same cost as a takeaway coffee (BYO cup, of course).

Swap 'screen time' for 'green time' and take memories, not just hotel slippers, away from your next weekend break.

In case you need more convincing, we’ve come up with seven solid reasons to make your next weekend getaway ‘DIY in the wild’.

Bright orange domes text on a sandy beach, in the dappled shade of coastal trees, with turquoise ocean waters in the background.
Whitehaven Beach camping area, Whitsunday Islands National Park | © Mitchell Burns Imagery

1.  Free upgrades

Ever checked into a hotel, opened your window only to find you overlook a brick wall or, worse, stare directly into a neighbouring unit?

The perk of pitching a tent or unpacking a trailer in one of our parks or forests is you get a choice of camp site when you make your booking (pending availability of course).

Water view, bush view, mountain view—what takes your fancy? Upgrade now for free!! Check out the options and make your choice, all online and paid up front before you step out the door. No messy last minute upgrades here! #winning

Small tinnie moored in tranquil blue waters that reflect the tinnie and the endless blue skies above, with a low line of mangroves in the distance.
Poverty Creek Camping area, Bribie Island National Park | © Tourism Events Queensland

2. It promises a better cost-per-wear than a pair of rubber thongs

Camping is the poster-child for affordable holidays. Where else can you escape for the weekend that costs you less than a night out for dinner and a movie? And, with your purse strings still intact after booking your accommodation, you’ll have budget 'leftovers' to blow on some fun stuff.

If it’s your first foray into camping, you might choose a park or forest camping area close to a resort or township, so that you can splurge on a ‘creature comfort’ or two. A nice meal or a decent coffee will do wonders for camper well-being! Ease yourself into the idea of ‘roughing it’ in the wild. No need to go the whole hog when you first start out, is there?

And, with camping so economical, you’ll probably even lash out on entrées with your mains!

other, in a grassy camp site, with tents and densFive young adults, some in camp chairs, some sitting on the sand, are looking at a phone and laughing, in a beach camp site, with camping equipment and coastal vegetation as a backdrop.
Ocean Beach camping area, Bribie Island National Park and Recreation Area | © Queensland Government

3. You’ll actually spend time together

Nothing brings a family or couple together like sleeping under two square metres of canvas. Nothing.

Spend your weekend as a family or a couple, rather than hiding out in separate rooms of the house, each to their own device. (We know—we all do it). Explore exhilarating walking tracks by day and swap stories around the camp fire or lantern light by night.

The weekend will seem much longer than usual. As well as having more time (because you’re not commuting, cleaning, washing, taxi-driving…), the days will feel a lot longer because they’re not defined by your regular routine. Even longer still if you head to a park or forest without a phone signal!

All communication will be between yourselves…and nature, of course.

A couple relaxes in camp chairs, facing the bright blue waters of the ocean, where people paddle a yellow kayak across the blue ocean and a high island seemingly floats near the horizon.
Whitsunday Islands National Park | Justin Heitman © Queensland Government

4. You don’t have to see your neighbours

If the idea of a campground conjures up images of row-upon-row of tents (more like a city than a remote getaway), or of caravans crammed so close you can watch the neighbour’s TV, think again. Camping in our parks and forests can be, well, different.

In many of our camping areas, it’s just you and nature—especially if you avoid holidays and book mid-week. Your neighbours are usually the furred or feathered variety. Sure, they can still be nosy, and sometimes a little loud, but somehow you don’t mind—it’s just natural.

Some parks and forests are very popular and book out early, especially during school holidays and long weekends, so make your choice carefully. Of course, you may enjoy camping with other like-minded visitors, and swapping travel stories. You see, we have something to suit everyone!

A couple relaxes on camp chairs outside their small dome tent, surrounded by tall forest.
Neurum Creek camp, D’Aguilar National Park | Maxime Coquard © Queensland Government

5. Your camp site becomes your ‘nature play’ ground

The phrase, ‘make your own fun’, sums up camping in a nutshell. You won’t find any slippery slides, water parks or kid’s clubs in park and forest camping areas. But families with active kids will find plenty to occupy them.

With bushwalks and mountain bike trails to explore, swimming holes and lookouts to experience, birds to spot and wildlife to watch, there’s so much to fit in to each day!

And the fun isn’t limited to the kids. ‘Big kids’ too will find themselves armchair-birdwatching with cuppa in hand, wildflower-seeking on walking trails, or gazing from lookouts over sweeping views. The more active among us will be paddling kayaks through pristine waterways or climbing summit trails for the ‘Insta-love’. We could go on and on but you get the idea. Go wild with nature play.

People in yellow life jackets paddle several bright red canoes up the paperbark-fringed river, bathed in the soft light of sunset
Upper Noosa River waterway, Cooloola Recreation Area, Great Sandy National Park  | Adam Creed © Queensland Government

6. You can find hot showers and flushing loos if you want to

The mere thought of the old ‘long-drop dunny' might make you want to hug your porcelain, but fear not! You’re sure to find amenities to suit your needs in our parks and forests.

If composting toilets and ‘bucket showers' don’t sound like your ‘thing’, there are camping areas with flushing loos and showers, and if you’re lucky, a donkey boiler (wood-fired water heater) to warm the shower water for you, if you know where to go. Pun intended.

And, where do you go? Online of course, to check out your options, make your choice and secure your booking.

A small amenities block nestles into the surrounding forest, in a grassy clearing where tall eucalypts are interspersed among the camp sites.
Manna Gum camping area, Main Range National Park | Maxime Coquard © Queensland Government

7. You can recharge your batteries

Escape the pings, rings and trills of your mobile phone with a weekend break that’s not dictated by a little screen in your hand. Breathe in, breathe out—those emails will happily wait for you to return.

Start to take back control by choosing a camp site in a park or forest without Wi-Fi (oh yes, some parks now come with that little rainbow signal) and switch off for the weekend.

You’ll find a weekend away from technology will bring on a week of extra productivity, whether at home or in the office, as you return refreshed and revitalised. You’ll be ready to take on the world once again, thanks to some DIY wild time in Queensland's parks and forests. #rejuvenated

Two people wrapped in a beach towel are standing on the beach watching the sunset.
Ocean Beach camping area, Bribie Island National Park and Recreation Area | © Queensland Government

Isn’t it time you went wild with a weekend camping? Where would you like to go? Check out all your options here.

Remember to book before you go!
Camping must be booked in advance.
Book now

Last updated: 07 October 2020

Acknowledgement of Country

The Department of Environment and Science acknowledges Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the Traditional Owners and custodians of the land. We recognise their connection to land, sea and community, and pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging.

Design developed by Boyd Blackman, a Butchulla and Birri Birri man, featuring the artwork of Elaine Chambers, a Koa (Guwa) and Kuku Yalanji woman.