We’ve all experienced that moment when the car is packed for the next weekend adventure and your pooch sits forlornly by the front door. They know what you’re doing and they’re not going to forget any time soon (until you come home, of course). It’s every fur parent’s worst nightmare.
But what if we told you there were places you could combine your love for a good weekend getaway AND get to bring your dog along? Yep, pack the doggy treats, because we've rounded up the best dog-friendly camping spots in and around Brisbane. All you have to do is gather the fam and pick one (or four). Woof.
Amamoor Creek Campground
Nestled beside the Amamoor Creek, and amongst groves of iron barks and blue gums, the Amamoor Creek campground is as scenic as the drive to get there. As part of the Amamoor State Forest, the campground is secluded, peaceful and offers clear night sky views that will bring your inner stargazer to life. The area includes basic amenities, wood fired BBQ, as well as trail bike paths, lush walks through the surrounds and the promise of heaps of native wildlife that call the forest or the creek home. Just remember to keep your pup on a leash at all times.
North Stradbroke Island
Located as close to the beach on North Stradbroke Island as you can get, Flinders Beach is the tropical island holiday you’ve always dreamed of minus those exxy resort fees. Nestled in the sand dunes, these twelve beachfront camping areas not only make for the perfect playground for your furry better half, they’re also a killer spot to watch the sun go down. Just imagine wiggling your toes in the sand, whipping out the pre-prepared cheese board and sipping on a good bottle of red as the waves crash onto the shore. Yeah, weekend plans are definitely sorted.
Neurum Creek Bush Retreat
On the border of the Mt Mee state forest lays a hidden gem far from the madding crowd of city life. Neurum Creek Bush Retreat is a little slice of green heaven only 75 minutes from Brisbane. Think rolling green plains, access to a creek made for canoeing, a swimming hole and enough grass for your pupper to get back in touch with its roots. Once you’re done lazing underneath a tree, head to the nearby townships of Kilcoy or Woodford for a day trip to remember. Just remember to make it back in time for a dip in the river and an ice cream. Ah, life is hard sometimes.
Esk Caravan Park
Esk is pretty famous in Brisbane for being the go-to country retreat when we want to escape the city. Located only a hop, skip and jump away from both Lake Wivenhoe and Lake Somerset, Esk is a quaint little town that ticks all the boxes. A thriving creative scene and boutique industry make it ideal for the more modern traveller, while views for days will satisfy any hunger for the perfect ‘gram. The Esk Caravan Park itself boasts mountain views, a creek boundary, ample animal and bird life (including koalas) and trees made for reading under. But do you want to know the best part? Well-behaved dogs are completely welcome, so you can take a glorious nature nap with your fur baby curled up at your side. Well, don’t mind if we do.
Queen Mary Falls Caravan Park
Located right on the edge of the Scenic Rim, the Queen Mary Falls Caravan Park contains some pretty stunning views as well as serving as a gateway to the surrounding area. The park itself is designed to allow you to escape from the trappings of modern life: there are no TVs in the cabins and mobile reception is limited. All that means is that when you’re camping you’re really getting back to nature, no cheeky Netflix sessions allowed. The park is also home to a café, dishing up burgers and Devonshire tea, if you decide braving the camp kitchen is just a little bit beyond you. Of course, dogs are totally welcomed. Pro tip: base yourself at the park and head out along a scenic drive to the nearby wineries for a complete getaway experience. Don’t worry, you can thank us later.
The Scenic Rim is where people who like the country and adventure activities go for the weekend and we couldn’t agree more. The existence of Flanagan Reserve means that your beloved doggo can come too. Nestled in the foothills of Mt Barney National Park, the campsite is surrounded by endless opportunities for hiking, eating and drinking—and don’t even get us started on the campsite itself. Perched on the banks of a burbling creek, you'll have views of Mt Barney, and ammenities like hot showers, BBQs and a kiosk. But be careful, dogs are allowed but subject to conditions, so make sure your pup is on its best behaviour before you begin your weekend vacay.
Murphy’s Creek Escape
Upper Lockyer Valley
Okay this one might be a little bit more of a drive than the others, but we bet you’ll think it’s worth it. Located in the Upper Lockyer Valley, just outside Toowoomba, Murphy’s Creek Escape is a gorgeous camping spot nestled on the banks of burbling Murphy’s Creek. Think natural bushland, a distinct lack of road traffic, stars studding the night sky, an inland sandy beach and adventure activities galore. As well as being a great choice for a little R & R, Murphy’s Creek also plays host to a flying fox, rope courses, archery, abseiling and mountain bike tracks, for when you get bored of that whole relaxing shtick. Dogs are fully permitted, as long as they are kept on a lead, so you can include every member of the family in your creek-side chats. See you there.
Bluff Creek Campgrounds
Set on 100 acres of rolling hills, this picturesque campground is abundant with native trees and wildlife, and fronts both the Mary River and the creek that gives the campsite its name. Doggos are super welcome at Bluff Creek, and the more precious among us will appreciate the flushing toilets and hot showers. The campground is also within arm’s reach of Kenilworth’s delicious eateries, which is totally the icing on the cake.
Borumba Deer Park
Borumba Deer Park is a special little camping spot in Imbil, situated on the beautiful Yabba Creek. There’s truckloads to do here, such as swimming, fishing and kayaking…not to mention saying ‘hello’ to a couple of deer. For a little more action, just down the creek is Borumba Dam, where you can water-ski and jet boat! But the best part? Pay a little extra, you can bring your pupper along for all the fun. This Sunshine Coast camping spot will be re-opening for business on 31 July, 2020, so book your site now.
Inskip Peninsula Recreation Area
Gleaming white sand and clear blue seas make ever-popular Inskip Point a paradise for humans and dogs alike. Just a hop, skip and a jump from Rainbow Beach, Tin Can Bay and Fraser Island, you’re literally surrounded by some of Queensland’s most spectacular beachy spots. There are five beachfront campgrounds to choose from at Inskip—with some better suited to 4WD vehicles than others—but you’ll have to be a little strategic when it comes to picking a site because it’s first in, best dressed and this place gets busy.
Glastonbury Creek Camping Area
Are you nature obsessed? Then you’ll love this little gem. Just west of Gympie lies Brooyar State Forest, home to the Glastonbury Creek camping area. An open, grassy campsite surrounded by rainforest, get out and explore on foot and spot birds and other wildlife, amidst panoramic views and babbling rainforest brooks. It’s pretty amazeballs, tbh. Bring your furry friends too—just keep them under control and on a leash.
Goomburra Valley Campground
Goomburra Valley Campground is bush camping at its best—lush grassy areas to pitch your tent in the shade of towering gum trees, a peaceful creek nearby for fishing and yabbying, and of course, proper showers and toilets so you don't have to go full Survivor. Dogs are definitely allowed, but only by prior application—so make sure you follow all the correct steps before booking to avoid being a sad camper.
Want to go further affield? Here's where to find the best camgrounds in Queensland.
Image credit: Christoph Wesi