Young Master Grove enjoys his campfire at Kinkuna.
Young Master Grove enjoys his campfire at Kinkuna. Elizabeth Grove

Top 6 hidden gems for Queensland campers

It's a tough job, but someone's got to do it. In search of the best camping spots in Queensland, our reporters have unearthed six hidden gems.

1. Kinkuna

GPS: -25.027857,152.4380209

How to get there: Access to Kinkuna, the northern section of the Burrum Coast National Park, is by 4WD vehicle only. Travel 14km south from Bundaberg on the Bundaberg-Goodwood-Childers Rd.

Kinkuna, names after the Aboriginal words that means 'laughing', is another part of the region's relatively untouched landscape.
Kinkuna, names after the Aboriginal words that means 'laughing', is another part of the region's relatively untouched landscape. Elizabeth Grove

Why it's great: Kinkuna is a quiet and peaceful location ideal for families.

Camping is permitted behind coastal dunes, just a short walk to the water and beach.

There are 40 sandy sites to choose from. One of the best things about this site is the minimal beach traffic which means kids can play on the beach without parents worrying about them. 

Tips: There are no facilities but open fires are allowed - except when fire bans apply.

2. Borumba Deer Park

GPS: -26.491179, 152.601225

Easter Weekend Borumba Dam. Danny Clarke, Ken and Jedd Simpson.
Easter Weekend Borumba Dam. Danny Clarke, Ken and Jedd Simpson. David Crossley

How to get there: From the Bruce Highway head towards Imbil via the Mary Valley Tourist Drive.

Travel through the country town of Imbil towards Borumba Dam, cross Yabba Creek five times (9km) and the entrance is on the left after crossing number five.

Why it's great: Fifteen acres of landscaped rural bush where you can pitch your tent along the banks of Yabba Creek.

You can fish, swim, bush walk or enjoy the open areas of the Park's Sherwood Forest.

Farm tours can be arranged where you can feed the animals, and of course, check out the beautiful deer.

Tips: The vast and incredible Borumba Dam is on your doorstep - it is currently closed due to drought and algal bloom, so check to see when it re-opens.

Positively, there are far fewer visitors coming to the area right now as a result, so if you enjoy the peace and quiet, now's the time to go.

Watch out for: Grumpy local business owners in the area who have lost trade with Borumba Dam closing.



3 Water Park Creek in Byfield State Forest


GPS:  -22.855332, 150.685884

How to get there: Byfield State Forest is 34 km north of Yeppoon via Yeppoon-Byfield Road.

Access to Byfield State Forest is suitable for conventional vehicles; however, a four-wheel-drive vehicle is needed if you wish to travel into the adjoining Byfield National Park and access Byfield Conservation Park.

Why it's great: You can catch glimpses of Water Park Creek through small openings in tall turpentine forest and enjoy the cool rainforest that features the ancient fern-like cycad, Bowenia serrulata (Byfield fern). All three camping areas have adjoining day-use areas with picnic tables and toilets. Upper Stony and Water Park Creek have automatic barbecues, while Red Rock has wood barbecues  - you must bring your own clean, milled timber for firewood.

Tips: Wear protective clothing. Venomous bites and heat exhaustion are a danger on land and in the water. Wear sun protective clothing and sunscreen during the day. Good sturdy footwear is recommended to protect against stings and bites on land and in the water.

Use a portable gas or fuel stove. This reduces fire danger and eliminates the need for firewood. Remember, different fire restrictions apply throughout Byfield's camping areas.

Watch out for: Rough tracks - unsealed road experience is required.

4 Sandy Creek Camping Ground 

GPS: -26.8584361,152.6424851 (but see below)

How to get there:  Five-hundred acres of untouched natural landscape reached from the Bruce Highway's D'Aguilar Hwy exit, past Woodford and right onto Mary Smokes Creek Rd. Drive 16km to Cedarvale Rd, then left for 2.5km to the Sandy Creek entrance.

Why it's great: Kids will love the wide open grassed areas, while nature can be found at its best if you camp by the banks of Sandy Creek's stream. The icy waters will cool you on a hot day, while the simple pleasure of just sitting back on a rock in the shade of a tree and listening to the many bird calls is hard to beat.

Tips: Bring your walking boots and binoculars. There are almost 20km of rough walking tracks, and bird life is abundant. Wallabies wander close to the camp grounds.

Camp fires are permitted and flushing toilets and hot showers are treats.

Watch out for: Busy holiday periods as there aren't a huge number of camping plots and they quickly sell out. Also visit the website for a map - the owners say GPS and Google Maps aren't reliable for finding their remote spot.

5 Curtis Island 

GPS: 151°13'16"E, 23°31'47"S

How to get there: Boat transfers are required from Gladstone mainland, with regular ferries and barges departing daily. Vehicles are permitted, four wheel drives are recommended.

Head north from the vehicle ferry point at Southend to Turtle Street or Joey Lees camping areas. If you are looking for a more remote spot, continue north to Yellow Patch, a highly secluded area known to host the endangered Yellow Chat.

Why it's great: With an extraordinary diversity in landscapes, from salt flats to coastal sand dunes and dry rainforests, Curtis Island provides a new adventure every day.

Plenty of daily activities available for campers, bushwalks can easily consume an entire day; of particular interest is the trek to the Cape Capricorn Conservation Park to view the historic lighthouse.

Great four-wheel-driving opportunities are abundant on Curtis Island.

Tips: Book a camping permit up to six months in advance. Wood and charcoal fires are not permitted, so equip your party with a fuel stove. 

Remember to bring ample drinking water.

Composting toilets are on site at Turtle Street and Joey Lees.

6 St Helens Beach

GPS: -20.8731168,149.01374

How to get there: Drive north to Calen about 50km from Mackay, turn right and follow the St Helens Beach Road which is signposted. At the beach turn right and follow the road to the 'old' beach where the caravan park is located.

Why it's great: This area is a hot-spot for fishing, with access to a vast and productive creek system which includes Murray and St Helens creeks, and further north to the Seaforth area, so bring your tinny. It's a peaceful spot right on the beach.

Tips: Showers and toilets are available and there is a fee for camping.

Watch out for: The tides are big in this area so make sure you bring your tide chart, because the water drops a long way.

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