If there’s one pastime that speaks to the unyielding surf culture and bohemian feels of the Gold Coast, it’s camping.
So strong is our love of camping that, in recent times, some of the Gold Coast’s most notable babes have been spotted pitching conical tents for their wedding reception. Ah yes, it’s a deep and sometimes Native American-inspired love.
Whether a humble twig sarong structure on the beach or a complete-with-vintage-bathtub-and-fireplace glamping situation, camping is all the rage. To make the most of this balmy weather, we’re helping you out with a handful of the best camping trips from the Gold Coast
Just over two hours down the Pacific Motorway from Coolangatta you will find yourself in Yamba, a peninsular of surf breaks, rock walls, and still waters surrounding an exceptionally cute village. Home to Angourie Beach, declared one of only 18 National Surfing Reserves in Australia, a few great pubs, and a hoard of lively locals, Yamba is a fairly accurate conspectus of Australia as a whole. You can soak up the family atmosphere at a dedicated site like BIG4 Saltwater or Calypso Holiday Park, or try pitching solo in Yuraygir National Park*.
*Not necessarily legal.
The Sunshine Coast
The Goldy/Sunny Coast dynamic is akin to sibling rivalry. Where Brisbane is the mum that we pretend is a total dag but secretly admire. Rarely do Sunshine Coasters and Gold Coasters feel the need to swap turf, independently going about their business with very little need to cross-pollinate. But for the love of new scenery, both sides should give it a whirl. We have it on good authority that the Sunshine Coast is home to plenty of great camping sites.
Both South and North Stradbroke Island are peppered with camping spots: South Currigee, Tipplers, Home Beach, Cylinder Beach; you really can’t go wrong. With the added giddy up of wallabies, echidnas, koalas, dolphins, dugong etc., and the boat ride required to get there, the Stradies are quite the camping excursion.
A small window into the life of the retiree, the Tweed River Hacienda Holiday Park in Tweed Valley is a slow and steady accommodation and camping ground, complete with its own convenience store so you never have to leave. A place for fishing, playing cards, and not much else; but that’s the point of camping, no?
Nightfall Wilderness Camp
Lamington National Park’s Nightfall Wilderness Camp might be a little pricier than your average camping experience (read: $455—$745 per night depending on your package of choice) but you just can’t put a price tag on glamping, can you? These authentic safari tents pitched in Queensland’s Scenic Rim are decked out with wooden floorboards, tin bathtubs, fireplaces, and cozy lounge areas. Oozing with homemade love, the owners of Nightfall built the place with their bare hands, even welding the frames and sewing the canvas. All topped off with unpretentious organic food and a carbon neutral stamp—start saving.
Anywhere in the Greater Byron Region
For original Gold Coasters, a camping trip in Byron Bay might muster up memories of childhood family holidays gone by. If the memories are a bit: mum drinking too much cask wine and you being the only kid that can’t ride a pushbike, there are a few ways to spice things up. Arts Factory Backpackers Lodge opposite the Cumbedin Swamp Nature Reserve offers a quirky camping alternative if you select their teepee option. You can also venture a little further south to the quaint area of Broken Head Holiday Park, or try upstream of Byron in the Tyagarah Nature Reserve where you will find a nudist beach; time to start making your own awkward family memories.
Notorious for losing her own possessions, making poor life decisions and sleeping in stairwells, Samantha Chalker is the ideal candidate for staying home wrapped in cotton wool. Which makes her a not so ideal candidate for being a travel writer. But here she is, making it work, and feeling very thankful that the universe has her back. Find Samantha online.
Photo Credit: Home Camp