|NOAH BEACH, CAPE TRIBULATION|
Dream of waking up to the Great Barrier Reef at your doorstep? Done. How about snoozing on the largest sand island in the world? You’ve got it. Prefer to sleep on the best beach in Australia? Go for gold.
The limit does not exist.
And while it wasn’t an easy task to narrow it down to just these 14 locations, we made it our mission to bring you some of the lesser-known beauties in the state where the location is absolutely beachin’.
Don’t forget to triple-check these beach camping tips before you pitch!
1. NOAH BEACH, CAPE TRIBULATION
Even though the national park campground can be accessed by conventional cars and small campervans, it still has that world’s away feeling, tucked under a rainforest canopy just 50 metres from the beach.
And did we mention its prime location? You’re basically central to all the action of Cape Tribulation, so lace up those shoes and get exploring along the park’s rainforest tracks, or head into one of the main villages to see the sights and stock up on supplies.
2. GOOLD ISLAND NATIONAL PARK, CARDWELLThe say good things come in threes, and ain’t it the truth when it comes to beach camping on Goold Island.
Boasting beachfront locations at all three national park campgrounds, the only thing you need to work out is: 1) how to get there, and 2) can you survive without a drop toilet?
If you don’t have your own means of water transportation then The Spit (Western Beach) is for you, because Hinchinbrook Island Cruises will happily ferry you to-and-fro from their port in Cardwell. This site is perfect for larger groups and has composting toilets, picnic tables, and a shelter shed.
If back-to-basics is more your camp-jam, you’ve got two choices: Wilderness Cove (accessed via private boat) or Southern Beach (accessed via sea kayak). Capped at a minimum number of campers, they both have no facilities and require you to be completely self-sufficient.
3. SMALLEYS BEACH, CAPE HILLSBOROUGH
|SMALLEYS BEACH, |
Smalleys Beach is a definite winner in our books, killing it with accessibility (conventional vehicles, caravans and campervans permitted), facilities (drinking water is available too), and of course, location.
The national park campground remains totally off-the-radar to most travellers, which is baffling considering its beautiful location under shaded eucalypt trees just behind the beach.
Bring the active wear because there are some great walking tracks throughout the park, and don’t forget to pay a visit to the main foreshore for a sunrise brekkie with the famous beach roos (you’re only a five-minute drive away so no need to set your alarm too early).
4. WHITEHAVEN BEACH, WHITSUNDAY ISLANDFancy camping on the best beach in Australia?
Just visiting Whitehaven Beach is a bucket list experience in itself, but having its white silica sands and piercing blue waters all to yourself after the boat-loads of tourists have gone for the day? Priceless.
Alright, so you’ve got to cough up around $6 per night to stay in the national park campground. But still, that’s pretty damn good.
If you don’t have your own boat to get there, the Scamper Water Taxi can drop you off/pick you up and supply you with camping gear (and while you’re at it, you may as well throw in some kayaks and snorkel gear to your hire bundle because, #yolo).
*Missed out on a spot? There are five more national park campgrounds on Whitsunday Island to choose from, all within a stone’s throw from the beach.
5. HOOK ISLAND, WHITSUNDAYS
|HOOK ISLAND, WHITSUNDAYS|
The Whitsundays just keeps on giving.
The second-largest island in the Whitsunday Islands group, Hook Island is the place to be if you’re keen to spend more time in the water than on land, boasting some of the best snorkelling and diving in the region.
Like we’ve said before, you really can’t go wrong with any of the four national park campgrounds here. They’re all beachfront, have fringing reefs just offshore, and each one is capped at a maximum of 12 people. #bliss
Need a hand getting there? Scamper‘s got you covered.
6. SWAMP BAY, WHITSUNDAYSDon’t let the name put you off because this secluded spot is a solid 10.
Sticking to the Whitsundays mainland this time, Swamp Bay is a pebbly coral-strewn beach in the rainforest-clad Conway National Park, just 20 minutes from Airlie Beach.
But wanna know the best part about it? You only need your two feet to get there!
Think of it like a mini Wild adventure as you strap on your gear to walk the 2.1km from the Mount Rooper car park to your bush camping site beside the beach.
Alternatively, you can access the bay by private boat, but where’s the fun in that? (Actually, it’s still pretty boss.)
7. FRASER ISLAND, FRASER COAST
|FRASER ISLAND, FRASER COAST|
And all (aside from Central Station) boast beachfront views. Spoilt for choice, right? But where you choose to pitch your tent should come down to the type of camping experience in mind.
If it’s a family affair with little ones, we recommend the Dundubara, Waddy Point and Lake Boonmanjin camping areas with dingo-deterrent fences.
For a raw, low-key kind of experience, set your sights on one of the seven remote camping sites along the western beaches.
If you’ve got a decent crew together keen for some epic 4WDing, then the eastern beaches will definitely hit the right spot.
(Psst, never camped on Fraser Island before? Learn the need-to-know in this 5-minute boot camp guide and keep this list of sights to see handy.)
8. INSKIP PENINSULA, RAINBOW BEACH
|INSKIP PENINSULA, |
Just 10 minutes north from the main strip you’ll find the Inskip Peninsula campgrounds, and lemme tell you, they’re seriously dreamy.
Shaded by beach she-oaks and cypress pine, the four campgrounds offer the best of both worlds, fringed by open beaches and sheltered estuary shores.
While it’s recommended that 4WD vehicles are used to reach the campgrounds, the M.V. Sarawak site can be accessed by conventional cars if conditions allow. (*Bonus: No vehicle access permits are needed for any of the camping areas.)
And one more thing to seal the deal… campfires are permitted. #yew
9. DOUBLE ISLAND POINT, GREAT SANDY NATIONAL PARKHitting you with a three-point combo is Double Island Point, a haven for camping enthusiasts with surfing, fishing and beach 4WDing on their minds.
Sandwiched between Rainbow Beach and Noosa North Shore in the Cooloola section of the Great Sandy National Park, the coastal headland is regularly frequented by locals wanting to take advantage of its aquatic glory.
Although you can’t camp directly at the point, there are plenty of options not far off, the most popular being the spacious Teewah Beach camping area stretching for 15kms.
This is one of two campsites in the national park that permit campfires, so don’t forget to bring the firewood for s’mores under the stars.
10. NOOSA NORTH SHORE, NOOSA
There aren’t many destinations that can balance an air of sophistication with a laid-back lifestyle, but Noosa certainly nails it on the head.
Although it’s only a zippy (and convenient) two-minute ferry ride across the river, the Noosa North Shore Beach Campground still manages to maintain a feel of wilderness despite being close enough to jump back on the ferry to the main hub of Noosa town.
Not that you’d be so inclined to when you’ve got fishing, surfing, bushwalking, and 4WDing adventures at your doorstep.
Ideal for the more self-sufficient camper, the campground stays true to the au naturale vibe with limited amenities and basic facilities.