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As we continue to face the ongoing effects of Covid-19, many of us have had overseas travel plans postponed or cancelled. But now’s the perfect time to explore Australia’s sprawling coastline – especially in Queensland, which has sunny, temperate weather ideal for camping year-round.
Cylinder Beach Camping Ground, Stradbroke Island
Stradbroke Island has a range of camping options, depending on your needs. Camping is permitted in designated areas along Main and Flinders beaches. If you’d prefer access to facilities, Cylinder Beach Camping Ground is our pick for its surf, weather and topnotch amenities. Expect a shady camp site with toilets, barbeques and picnic tables. Point Lookout shops and cafes are nearby. Getting to Straddie will require either a ferry (you can take your car, too) or water taxi from Toondah Harbour in Cleveland, just east of Brisbane’s CBD. Once on the island, there are buses from the harbour to Point Lookout.
Noosa North Shore Beachfront Campground
This camping ground has direct pedestrian access to the vehicle-free beach. There are eight powered sites and plenty of non-powered sites, many with views of the coastline. The sites are unallocated and spacious, and they provide a sense of wilderness (you pitch your tent among the native vegetation). You’ll likely see some local wildlife during your stay – kangaroos and colourful birds call the area home too. There’s a total fire ban right now, and the camp kitchen is currently closed due to Covid-19, so you’ll have to bring your own cooking and washing-up items. Drinking water and toilets are both available. Access is via ferry from Tewantin.
Inskip Peninsula Recreation Area
If you’re up for a drive, Inskip is a 500-metre-wide peninsula just south of Fraser Island with a handful of beachside camp sites. The peninsula is a natural breakpoint for Tin Can Bay, and, because the land is so narrow, campers have easy access to both the surf beach and the calmer bay waters. Facilities vary depending on the spot, but you can expect toilets, picnic tables and barbeques at all of them. Bonus: this area is dog-friendly too. If you’re looking for an alternative to beach activities, Rainbow Beach – with shops, cafes and restaurants – is just a 15-minute drive away.
This Unesco World Heritage site – the largest sand island in the world ¬– is home to some of Australia’s most iconic natural scenery, including freshwater lakes, tropical rainforests and golden dunes. All of this is in addition to the sprawling beaches, which offer great surfing and fishing. There are plenty of camping sites across the island, and your choice may depend on how scared of dingoes you are. Central Station, Dundubara and Lake Boomanjin all have dingo-deterrent fences for safety. There are more informal camping spots and beach camping along Fraser’s east coast for those who don’t require facilities. Wherever you choose, you’ll need to obtain a permit from the Department of National Parks, Sport and Racing.
The Wrecks, Moreton Island
Moreton Island is just north of North Stradbroke Island, so it’s another convenient getaway for Brisbanites. The Wrecks camping area is a short walk from the ferry landing, so you’ll only need a car if you want to explore the rest of the island. The camping ground, as the name suggests, has a view of the iconic Tangalooma shipwrecks, with defined spots to pitch your tent. Facilities include water (treat before drinking), hybrid toilets and cold showers. Open fires are prohibited. The wrecks are ideal for snorkelling, swimming and diving, and there are plenty of scenic walks and fishing spots around the island.
Coolum Beach Holiday Park, Sunshine Coast
The Sunshine Coast has a range of places to pitch your tent beachside. The popular Coolum Beach Caravan Park has top-of-the-range facilities including hot showers, a camp kitchen, a laundry and wi-fi. It’s also close to the town centre and its shops, cafes and restaurants. Sites have direct access to Coolum’s patrolled surf beaches and are dog-friendly on request.
Travellers take note: while campgrounds reopened to the public in early June, there are still some restrictions in place. Many sites have reduced the number of guests to accommodate social-distancing rules, and some communal facilities (such as showers and kitchens) remained closed. Be sure to book ahead – and check the Queensland Government Parks and Forests website for updates.
When swimming at Australia’s beaches, be aware of strong currents. Always swim between the red and yellow flags, which indicate the section patrolled by Surf Lifesavers. Never swim alone, at night, under the influence of alcohol or directly after a meal. Always check water depth before diving in and never run and dive into the water from the beach. Learn more about water safety in Australia here.
This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Tourism Australia. Whether you’re seeking a quick getaway, a lazy holiday or an epic trek, Australia is a land of endless adventures. There’s never been a better or more important time to get out and explore. Take a holiday here this year.