6 Of The Best (Almost) Free Camp Grounds Near Brisbane

  • Toddlers
    All Ages

By: Carolyn Tate, ellaslist
Nov 23, 2018

The greatest thing about camping is that it’s a fun but affordable holiday, so you don’t have to spend months saving up, and you can do it more often. And once you’re there, the simplicity of life in a tent is a breath of fresh air. If you can get your kids to give up their screens, even better. 

Camping is regulated in Queensland and you need a permit everywhere you go, which will attract a small fee, but there are some mega cheap options around that still make for a fun family holiday. Basically, if you stay in a state park or forest (in campgrounds, or you can go bush in some parks – see the Queensland Parks and Forests website for more info https://www.npsr.qld.gov.au/experiences/camping/camping_fees.html), you only pay for your camping permit. That’s $26.20 per family (one or two adult and up to eight children under 17) per night.

More information about camping fees can be found on the Queensland Parks and Forests website.

Here are some of our favourite options:

Poverty Creek, Bribie Island

This is how you get away from it all, while still being a short drive from home. Bribie Island has beautiful coastal scenery, low-key bush camping spots, great boating and fishing in the Pumicestone Passage, excellent birdwatching and spring wildflowers. 

If you’re on a budget – and who isn’t sometimes – the aptly named Poverty Creek camp ground provides a spacious and shady spot on the western side of the island, with views across to the Glasshouse Mountains. Facilities include toilets, cold showers, fire rings and picnic tables. 

Note: this camp ground is only accessible via 4WD or boat. For campgrounds on Bribie accessible by car, see the Bribie Island camping website. 

Website: Bribie Island National Park
Where: Poverty Creek Road, Welsby

Archer Camping Area, Mt Mee

The park formerly known as Brisbane Forest Park, D’Aguilar National Park is super close to the city (all within an hour and a half’s drive). You can discover remote gorges, sheltered pockets of subtropical rainforest, expanses of eucalypt woodland and spectacular views out to Moreton Bay. 

With about 36,000 hectares to explore, you’re sure to find a camping spot to suit your needs but Archer is in an open, grassy natural bush setting near Neurum Creek and is super family-friendly. The camp ground has toilets and fireplaces but no showers. 

Website: Archer Camping Area
Where: Lovedays Road, Mt Mee 

The Settlement, Springbrook

Springbrook National Park is a great place to introduce camping to kids. It’s close to a local shop so you’ll never run out of anything, and there are some spectacular views across the Gold Coast from nearby walks. The campground itself boasts toilets, water, shelter and electric barbecues. And as a bonus for those bath-hating 
kids, there are no showers, so it’s all wet wipes and spit until you pull up stumps and head home.

Website: The Settlement
Where: The Settlement, Springbrook National Park

Frog Buttress Camping Area, Mt French

This small camping area in the Scenic Rim – and the only camp ground in Moogerah Peaks National Park. It’s set in open eucalypt forest with grassy understorey, close to a bunch of walking tracks, toilets and a day-use area. There are some picnic tables too. If you’re planning on visiting at Easter, or during the winter or spring school holidays, book early as this place fills up fast. It’s also popular with climbers, but it’s recommended you avoid this area in the summer as temperatures regularly reach 40 degrees on the mountain. 

Website: Frog Buttress Camping Area
Where: Frog Buttress, Mt French

O’Reilly’s, Lamington National Park

The Green Mountains in Lamington National Park are commonly known as O’Reilly’s after the luxurious rainforest retreat that’s also here. But you don’t have to spend the big bucks to stay here: you can enjoy restaurants, café and shop of O’Reilly’s without splashing out on the cash to stay there. That means budget camping with loads of perks that will up the comfort factor and keep the kids happy. There is no power or cooking facilities so you’ll need to plan ahead, but there are toilets and hot showers.

Website: Green Mountains Camping

Where: Several sites in Lamington National Park – see website

Want more great adventures? Check out these local treasures:

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Image credit: Visit Moreton Bay Region