When you have a backyard as stunning as the Gold Coast, it's a crime not to take advantage of its wonder and natural beauty.
Plus, it can be a lot of fun and an awesome adventure with your closest friends. But if you’re anything like us, you might be a camping newbie, worrying about your ability to survive in the bush with nothing but a tarpaulin hanging overhead and big questions like, what’s it like out there without wifi and a fridge packed full of Messina Gelato?
Fear not, for we have found the best camping spots near the Gold Coast that can cater to the most inexperienced campers! Plus, there might even be wifi…
Binna Burra Lodge
Regardless of your camping prowess, if you want to lift your camping obsession to new heights right from the outset, you’ll want to book yourself a spot at stunning Binna Burra Lodge. A stay at the lodge itself is out of the league for most of us, but you can experience the rainforest magic at a fraction of the price. Go luxe by booking one of their canvas “safari tents” or BYO tent (or campervan) to pitch among the lush forest and take advantage of the lodge’s guided bush walking, activities, and flying fox for a nominal extra fee. Without question, this is some of the best camping on the Gold Coast.
Springbrook National Park
Where else in Australia do you have big city amenities, a buzzing dining scene, endless near-empty beaches, an international airport, and a verdant rainforest hinterland all within spitting distance? Yep, the Gold Coast is seriously blessed! We love nothing more than an arvo adventure to the mountains, but to truly surrender to the tranquillity we always yearn to stay the night. Imagine camping five minutes’ walk from one of the region’s most dramatic waterfalls, Purling Brook Falls? With just 11 sites, The Settlement is Springbrook National Park’s only campground and has all the basics you need—compost toilets, water, and free barbecues (no showers). Don’t forget the shade and mozzie repellent (or to book)!
About a 90-minute drive from the Gold Coast will transport you to the bush camping you’ve been dreaming about; towering gums, babbling brooks, and native wildlife scurrying about (beware of the possums!). This 55-hectare campsite of grassy fields in the foothills of Mount Maroon is surrounded with scenic spots for hiking, bush bashing, river swimming, fishing, or water sports at nearby Maroon Dam, if you BYO boat or canoe.
Fingal Holiday Park
If falling asleep to the methodical sound of crashing waves is more your style (us, too!), dip your toes in the camping scene with a short stay at well-established campground, Fingal Holiday Park. All the essential amenities will ensure you’re never stretched too far from your comfort zone. While you’re there, hunt down the wild and hidden beaches of Litita Spit and Kerosene Inlet, the perfect backdrop for some Instagram brag posts.
Nightfall Wilderness Camp
Don’t own a tent, nor have any desire to sleep on the rock-hard earth, but still eager for a night under the stars? Gold Coast’s own luxe glamping operation, Nightfall Wilderness Camp has nailed it with the perfect combination of secluded wilderness and wholesome luxuries. Finer details of each tent include elements like hand-carved stone basins, smooth wire-brushed timber floors, and lush organic bedding. Not sold yet? How about private natural spa-pools, lazy hammocks, explorations into the tangled forest, or—wait for it—an outdoor massage by the creek. Warning: you’ll be spoiled from actual camping for life.
North Stradbroke Island
For the camping rookie who’s eager to graduate immediately to intermediate on the experience scale, challenge yourself to a weekend away at Straddie. Under the shade of Pandanus palms, She-oak trees, and awash with salty sea breezes, you’ll find basic beachside campgrounds peppered throughout, including Amity Point, Cylinder Beach, and Adder Rock. An island getaway without the exotic price tag, best attempted minus the chaos of school holiday crowds.
Mt Warning Base Camp
Mt Warning Rainforest Camp
Longing to tick the Mount Warning sunrise hike off your bucket list but can’t bare the 3am wakeup call? Well, you can pitch a tent at base camp and brush up on your camping skills in the same trip! Mount Warning Rainforest Camp in Northern Rivers has you covered with sweet facilities like coin-operated barbecues, camp kitchen, wifi, and a swimming pool for that post-hike splash. Weekend = sorted!
Hacienda Holiday Park
For camping newbies who can’t tear themselves too far from an iPhone charger, hot shower, or handy convenience store for ice cream, we suggest you set your GPS for Hacienda Holiday Park just across the border on the Tweed River. Pack your fishing rods, deck of cards, and bottles of red vino; it’ll be like picturing your future self as a retiree, and you’ll love it.
Image credit: Homecamp