Camping. Is there anything more satisfying to the heart, mind and soul than packing our car with the people we love most and heading off in search of a tranquil, picturesque pocket of nature that we can completely lose ourselves in for a few days? Somewhere that allows us to get outside and simply breathe?
We have collected the best winter camping spots near Brisbane, close enough to drive for the weekend, or just a barge ride away.
Camping is not only for the warmer months. Here are some reasons why some people prefer to camp in winter:
- Our mild, mostly dry and cloudless conditions make for ideal camping weather.
- You can always rug up at night – it’s not as easy to escape the humidity and heat.
- Storms and downpours are not common and so booking ahead is not such a gamble.
- Bugs and insects are at a minimum
- Clear skies and earlier sunsets make for longer campfires (so more toasted marshmallows) and easier stargazing. Did you know, many stars are brighter and easier to discern in winter?
- Let’s just mention campfires again.
- Less chance of snakes (important to some).
Best Winter Camping Spots Near Brisbane
Bigriggin, Scenic Rim
Bigriggin is 90 minutes drive from Brisbane.
Located only 90 minutes from Brisbane, Bigriggin is situated right in the heart of the Scenic Rim and therefore has plenty to offer any family keen to explore. Nearby Mt Barney National Park, which encompasses Mt Barney, Mt Maroon, Mt May and Mt Lindesay, offers some amazing bush walks and hikes to spectacular views and the Scenic Rim’s many lakes, creeks and rivers provide numerous water activities close by as well.
There are also some beautiful drives including the Border Ranges, Lions Road, Lamington National Park and Main Range National Park.
Bigriggin Park is home to 100 acres of hilltop flats, with easy access for camping, caravans and motorhomes. Their unpowered and powered sites lay nestled beneath towering gum trees and they have an on-site shop for essentials and bait. Kids will love wildlife spotting (platypus, birds, possums), fishing, swimming, riding or simply sitting around an open fire at night looking at the stars.
Mount Tamborine is 30 minutes drive from Brisbane (South Brisbane)
Mount Tamborine is only 30 minutes south of Brisbane’s CBD and is the perfect weekend getaway when time is short but you are seeking the full nature experience. Mount Tamborine offers tranquil scenery with rainforests you could lose yourself in forever. Enjoy an abundance of scenic views, trails, creeks, rock pools and lookouts.
Mount Tamborine is well known for their main street that is overflowing with craft and gift stores, art galleries, restaurants, pubs, cafes and the mountain is also home to a fantastic cheese factory, winery and the ever-popular glow worm caves.
Set amongst trees in the Northern Valley, Mount Tamborine Caravan and Camping Park has unpowered and powered sites (each with their own fire pit) as well as the more luxurious glamping option. Families will love the activities found at Thunderbird Park which include a treetop course and canyon flyer, fossicking, bird feeding, mini golf and horse riding…just to name a few.
Moreton Island is a barge ride away from Brisbane.
One of the more spectacular winter beach camping spots has to be the rugged landscape of Moreton Island. With five different campgrounds and five camp zones to choose from, you can opt for something tucked away in a valley or a spot right on the sand in front of the ocean.
Whether it is a quiet getaway filled with fishing and relaxing or a high adventure trip – Moreton can offer you anything you desire. You can snorkel the wrecks, go on hikes, slide down sand dunes, visit the Cape Moreton Lighthouse, 4WD along the beach or if you are game, take a brisk winter swim.
Choosing which camping spot to go to will come down to the experience you are after. Each of the campgrounds and camp zones come with their own rules and specifications. Some you can only access by 4WD and not all allow open fires (so in winter you may want to check that before you book). The 5 beach camping zones all have no facilities, so make sure you bring all the essentials, or just drop past Castaways Moreton Island at Bulwer to stock up on all your holiday essentials! You can check out each of the different campgrounds and zones as well as what they offer here.
TIP: You will need a vehicle access permit to drive on Moreton Island and you will also need to book your camping permit before you travel. All camping permits must be obtained before you arrive on the island and as Moreton Island camping spots are limited they tend to book out fast in peak periods.
Stradbroke Island is a barge ride away from Brisbane.
Another amazing camping spot that literally puts your tent beachfront is at the iconic Cylinder Beach, one of North Straddie’s most amazing stretches of sand. Cylinder Beach Campground is one of the most popular spots to pitch on the island and with a lifesaver patrolled beach right on your doorstep it is perfect for families to explore. It also has plenty of modern amenities and free WiFi.
Braziers are allowed here for cooking but if you are looking to make an open campfire you may want to check out beach camping at Flinders Beach Campground instead. Although it only has the most basic of facilities (toilets only), Flinders is very popular for its protected clear waters, open space, dog-friendly attitude and tranquil location. For $10 you can get access to the facilities at Adder Rock campground if needed.
Stradbroke Island is not only about the surf and beaches though (even if they are super impressive) – there are many other great attractions too. Wildlife is plentiful with dolphins swimming right up to the jetty at Amity Point and the headlands at Point Lookout a perfect spot for whale watching. There is also the 1.2km stunning North Gorge Walk, as well as attractions like Brown Lake and Blue Lake. If that’s not enough you can also go fishing, scuba diving, on a kayak tour to Peel Island and so much more!
Charlie Moreland Campground
Charlie Moreland Campground is a two-hour drive from Brisbane.
Charlie Moreland Campground is a leafy campground, located in the Imbil State Forest. It is only a two-hour drive from Brisbane. Set in a grassy, open forest, close to Little Yabba Creek and native pine plantations, it makes a picturesque spot to pitch a tent. Open fires are allowed (except when fire bans apply) so you can enjoy those gooey, toasted marshmallows until your heart’s content. Waking up to the sounds of the bell-birds, and listening to the wind rustling through the forest will be the simple pleasures that make this campground one of our favourites.
There are a number of bushwalks that leave from the campground, including one that is wheelchair and pram friendly, and if you’re lucky, you may spot wildlife such as goannas, pademelons and many different bird species along the way. The creeks also offer the perfect place to cool off, either by swimming or paddling/kayaking (byo).
Murphy’s Creek Escape
Murphy’s Creek Escape is a one and a half hour drive from Brisbane.
Murphy’s Creek Escape is only a short one and a half hour drive from Brisbane nestled at the foot of the Toowoomba range. Without question, it is one of the most incredible camping grounds for Brisbane Families. Murphy’s Creek Escape is set on a stunning 50-acre park that backs onto the White Mountain National Park. This camping ground is a natural oasis among tall gums and ironbarks, filled with birdsong and nestled beside a spring fed creek with rock pools for swimming. It boasts an amazing inland beach and open fire pits to warm yourself by in winter!
There is a free Kids Club for children up to the age of 8 years and, during school holiday periods, the camp runs a fun holiday program. Activities include flying fox, archery, ropes course, abseiling, beach games, movie and trivia nights, biscuit decorating, army truck rides, craft activities, beach games, disco and bonfire nights.
With the stunning White Mountain National Park on your doorstep you can enjoy full day hikes to spot rare and beautiful native birds. If you are a family of adventurers, there are several guided adventure activities, including abseiling tours, sandstone cliff highline rope walks, adventure climbing, eco walks, hiking and orienteering.
The Bunya Mountains
The Bunya Mountains is a 3-hour drive from Brisbane.
The Bunya Mountains may be a little further away from Brisbane than the others, a 3 hour drive in fact, but the saying “hows the serenity?” has never applied more than when you arrive there. You can look forward to a natural paradise which is home to one of the largest stand of ancient bunya pines in the world.
The Bunya Mountains offers panoramic views, rolling green hills and an abundance of exotic plants, birds and wildlife. Hiking boots and binoculars could both get a real workout with an array of walking tracks available to explore. Ranging from 500m to 10km, the different tracks lead through rainforest to stunning lookouts, rock pools, picnic spots, waterfalls and vistas.
Bunya Mountains National Park is actually home to three different campgrounds, each tailoring to a different camping experience. Whilst the Westcott and Burtons Well areas are only suitable for tents, the Dandabah Camping area is a large open space that is best suited to larger motorhomes or caravans. Facilities in all areas include showers, BBQ equipment and the permission to build your own campfire!
Brisbane Island is located an hour from Brisbane.
Located in Moreton Bay, north of Brisbane, Bribie Island is the perfect destination when you don’t want to go too far for a beachside camping experience. In just over an hour of leaving the hustle and bustle of the city, you can be making sandcastles and toasting marshmallows, surrounded by stunning natural scenery and amazing wildlife. What we love about Bribie Island camping is their generous camping sites, their ocean views and toilet and shower facilities making it an ideal destination for families who are a little nervous about camping but still want the full experience.
There are plenty of fantastic bush walks on the island with an amazing array of wildlife and birds to be met along the way. For a great bushwalk to do with kids, head to the Community Arts Centre, 191 Sunderland Drive, Banksia Beach. From just south of the entrance to the centre, you will find access to the Bicentennial Gardens and the Bicentennial bushwalks. The trail is 3.8 kilometres long (so allow around an hour) and features The Banksia, Palm Grove and Melaleuca walks, which take you through eucalypt forests, paperbark wetlands and wallum heathlands.
Poverty Creek and Ocean beach campgrounds both have toilets and showers and are accessible by camper trailers. These campgrounds also have fire rings that are perfect for winter warming. If you have a boat, both Mission Point and Lime Pocket camping areas are accessible and both have fire rings provided as well, although the cold showers may make them less desirable in winter. To find out more about the campsites or book a campsite, then visit the National Parks Website.
Winter Warmer Camping Tips
- Be smart when selecting your camping area to stay out of high wind spots.
- As in all cold climates, the 3 layer clothing rule is highly effective. The first layer is for warmth and moisture control, the second is insulation and the top layer is for weather protection.
- Put an insulating layer between your airbed and the ground. This could be an old sleeping bag, doona, bubble wrap or even newspapers.
- Once you are snug in your sleeping bag or blanket pop an additional sleeping bag over the top of you. This double layer will help further trap the heat. If you only have one and it gets particularly cool overnight – place a sheet of plastic or unused tarp over you instead. You won’t believe the difference it will make.
- In the same vein, placing a tarp over your tent in winter to keep the cold out will also make your entire sleeping area inside much warmer.
- Roll any moisture out of your bag each morning when you get up (roll from foot to head), then leave it open until it cools to air temperature.
- Pack in some disposable heat packs / hot water bottles as well as some extra blankets! A little warmer by your feet or in a hoodie pocket is always appreciated as the weather gets chillier.
- Light that campfire, toast those marshmallows and snuggle in close to those you love to stay super warm! Just remember to put the fire out completely before going to bed.
And with that, happy winter camping everyone!