Go off the grid at these secret camping and glamping spots within driving distance of Brisbane
With travelling around Australia a bit touch-and-go at the moment, there’s been no better time to jump in the car, escape the daily grind and go on an adventure in our sunny state. Camping and ‘glamping’ are affordable getaways for groups, couples and families, and luckily Queensland is dotted with some top-notch spots to pitch a tent (or seek refuge in a luxe glamping tent) and gather in front of a fire. While well-known areas easily spring to mind (we’re looking at you Stradbroke, Moreton and Fraser Islands – you’re all equally amazing), we’re taking things a little off-piste with some lesser-known camping areas. The hidden gems. The secret spots, if you will. From 4WD-only sites to private safari tents that serve cocktails, here are some of the best secret camping and glamping spots within driving distance of Brisbane.
Formerly known as Elanda Point Education Centre & Adventure Park, Habit offers a unique eco-camping experience for groups, families and couples. There are powered and un-powered camp sites for those with all of the gear, but if you’re not quite a traditional-tent person, you can opt for one of the luxe glamping tents with necessities like an ensuite, linen, a bar fridge (highly essential) and your own private deck. However you roll, there are plenty of ways to stay occupied – take a stroll to the Cooloola Recreation Area, explore Noosa River via canoe, boat or SUP, or soak up the surrounds on a wilderness cruise with an Everglades Ecosafari.
Murphy’s Creek Escape
Based at the foot of the Toowoomba range, Murphy’s Creek Escape and Hideaway offers campers (and non-campers) the best of both worlds – and it’s all just 90 minutes from Brisbane. There are powered, non-powered and group sites for traditional bush camping, while perched high on the canyon top are the luxury safari tents, perfect for couples after a ‘glamping’ experience. Take a stroll along the creek, jump in on the adventure activities (archery, anyone?) and hike to the ridge for stunning views, before settling in front of the camp fire at night.
Mount Barney Lodge
With a stacked program of guided adventure activities on offer year-round, you’ll be able to abseil, bush walk, hike and rock-climb your way through the best that the stunning Scenic Rim region has to offer. The eco-retreat and campground is located at the base of the commanding Mt Barney peak (less than two hours from Brisbane) and offers a range of camping and accomodation options to suit those who like to rough it, as well as the city slickers who want a little taste of adventure. You can book a site in the grassy creek-fronting campground, or stay in a four-person deluxe camper trailer (complete with kitchenette). Don’t do tents? No? Not at all? Okay, there are cabins there too.
Nightfall Wilderness Camp
If you’re flat-out not a camper but still want to escape the hustle and bustle and immerse yourself in nature – this is for you. Nightfall sits in an untouched pocket within Lamington National Park, intersected by the pristine tumbling waters of Christmas Creek. The private camp features luxury safari tents, each equipped with twin bathtubs and a fireplace, and is limited to just eight guests at a time. You can cap off the slow days with pre-dinner drinks (that’s right – camping with cocktails) while an organic meal is prepared for you in a custom-built wood-fired oven. This is the ultimate glamping experience, and you’ll find it just a little over 90 minutes from Brisbane.
Conondale National Park
Inland from the Sunshine Coast, Conondale National Park is a picturesque paradise with mountainous forests and stunning views. There are three camping sites in the Booloumba Creek area, bound by lush forest and streams – though, there are creek crossings involved so you’ll need a high-clearance 4WD. Don’t have one? No worries! Two-wheel-drive cars can enjoy the forests, gorges and walking tracks at the nearby Charlie Morland camping grounds overlooking Little Yabba Creek in the Imbil State Forest (be prepared to rough it – there aren’t any showers!). A little further north there’s also the 12-acre Imbil Camping Retreat (featuring hot showers).
This part-farm, part-campground is further afield in Amiens, just out of Stanthorpe – around three hours from Brisbane. There are five distinct areas to suit every camper’s needs – from waterside sites to pet-friendly spots and areas shaded by trees. Along with a dreamy natural landscape, walking trails and water-bound native surrounds, Foxbar Falls has unique amenities like a laundry, shower and toilet facilities, a children’s play area, firewood and free wifi. There’s plenty to do on-site (like canoeing, mountain biking and hiking) or you can just kick back and breathe in that fresh, brisk Granite Belt air!
Amamoor State Forest
Love a bit of bird watching? Bring your binoculars, as more than 120 different species have been spotted in and amongst the abundant hoop and bunya-pine plantations in Amamoor, inland from Noosa. There are two camping areas here – Cedar Grove and Amamoor Creek – both offering dreamy rainforest settings, walking tracks and easy access. It’s an ideal spot to peg the tent if you want to get off the grid. Pack the road-trip snacks – you’ll be in the car for around two hours.
This newly redeveloped boutique camping site (which first opened in early March and will re-open in line with easing restrictions from June 12) features a range of unique camping areas offering spectacular views and all of the amenities you need for a fun and relaxing stay. There are also cabins on site, and you can jump in on activities and tours from rangers (aka the owners Adam and Emma). Love animals? You’re in luck! There’s a small sanctuary here for adopted and rescued animals like deer, guinea pigs, chooks and a pig named Pumpkin. Kookaburra Park is just north of Maleny National Park inland of the Sunshine Coast, so the drive will take you a little over two hours.
Get back to nature and pitch your tent on the scenic shores of Lake Moogerah. Surrounded by towering mountain peaks just an hour(ish) south-west of Brisbane and just under two hours from the Gold Coast, Lake Moogerah has long been a haven for campers and water-sports lovers. You can book a powered or un-powered tent or van site at Lake Moogerah Caravan Park or Camp Moogerah. Pack the marshmallows!
Image 1: Lake Moogerah, Jason Charles Hill for Tourism and Events Queensland.
Image 2: Nightfall Wilderness Camp, Hannah Statham for Tourism and Events Queensland.
Image 3: Habit Noosa, Tourism and Events Queensland