Gladstone is where iconic Queensland beaches, pristine national parks and the Great Barrier Reef — one of the seven wonders of the natural world and the world’s largest coral reef system — are all ready and waiting to explore.
A road trip from Bundaberg to Gladstone takes just over two hours, and Brisbane to Gladstone is only around 6.5 hours by car. Gladstone weather is typically described as “subtropical”, with temperatures varying from 15°C in winter to 31°C in summer. So … the perfect location for camping year-round!
Here are some of the best Gladstone camping spots. For more info about fees, vehicle restrictions, available amenities and getting a camping permit in Qld, head to the Queensland National Parks website.
Just under an hour and a half from Gladstone, Eurimbula National Park has secluded fishing spots, long sandy beaches, pristine waterways and windswept headlands. The Ganoonga Noonga lookout track is ideal for a walk to view spectacular views over the lowlands, and there are also four serene beach camps.
They include Eurimbula Creek, Middle Creek (with its vehicle-based camping), Bustard Head and Rodds Peninsula (with its boat-based camping). Access to the national park requires a high-clearance 4WD.
When it comes to good camping spots in Qld, Deepwater National Park is up there with the best of them. Located under two hours from Gladstone, it boasts unspoilt coastal landscapes and great fishing spots. This is truly a nature lover’s paradise. Take a scenic drive through eucalypt woodlands, and you may spot a wallaby or emu.
In terms of camping, sleep under the stars at Middle Rock or Wreck Rock. Middle Rock camping is accessed by high-clearance 4WD, and Wreck Rock by 4WD from the north or by conventional vehicle from the south.
Rugged and isolated, Curtis Island’s sweeping sand dunes and windswept coastline provide multiple opportunities for camping adventures galore. Access is only by private vessel or Curtis Ferry Services, and once on the island, you’ll also need a 4WD to get around.
Multiple camping spots extend from the South End camping ground (only one kilometre from the ferry drop-off point) to bush camping at the north-eastern end of the National Park at Turtle Street, Joey Lees and Yellow Patch (known for its bright yellow sand). It is also the third largest turtle rookery in Queensland, so from October to March, you can also watch the flatback turtles nest and hatch. Amazing!
Located around 12 kilometres from the Gladstone mainland, Facing Island is again only accessible by private vessel or Curtis Ferry Services. Regarding Qld camping sites, it is renowned for its calm waters, superb fishing and long sandy beaches that are ideal for 4-wheel-driving adventures.
As a local favourite for camping, it can get a little crowded on public holidays, but there is plenty of room here to explore further afield on water on your kayak or stand-up paddle board. It is ideal for day trippers, but the Oaks camping ground offers 32 unpowered sites a short distance from the ferry drop-off point.
After a quick camping trip without having to drive too far? Only 20 minutes away from Gladstone, you’ll find Lilley’s Beach. A sensitive foreshore area, it can only be accessed by 4WD and extends along the coastline for approximately 7.1 kilometres.
Camping is only permitted within the fenced enclosed area at the northern end of the beach, and it is best to travel here at low tide or within two hours either side of low tide. Furry friends are also permitted here!
About an hour from central Gladstone, this spot offers fantastic sunsets over the river, and excellent fishing. Its river system is packed with a huge variety of fish species, from bream, cod and flathead to Queenfish and of course, the mighty Barramundi. Accessed by 4WD, the camp is also dog-friendly and has amazing kayaking conditions for tranquil upstream adventures with a side of bird spotting.
Around 45 minutes from Gladstone, this is a tranquil bush camp with enough space to distance yourself from others and have some privacy. It is a basic campsite (so you’ll need to bring your own water), but does have fire pits, shelters and toilet facilities.
Lake Awoonga nearby offers more than just gorgeous nature views — you can also enjoy some kayaking or fishing or just pitch a tent, stoke the fire, grab a drink and soak up the serenity of the outdoors.
Just under two hours from Gladstone, you’ll find Lake Victoria. And if you prefer basic, no-fuss bush camping, this spot is for you! Entry is via an unsealed road, and the campground has no reception, no marked sites or facilities, so you’ll need to BYO your water and firewood (there are open fire pits here).
Canoeing, fishing and swimming are on offer in the lake, and the site is also quite remote, so more than likely, you’ll have the campsite to yourself (well, apart from your furry friend, who is totally allowed here). But the best bit? It’s FREE!
Around an hour and a half from Gladstone is Baffle Creek Campground, and this is another basic yet quiet spot set under the coastal She-Oaks, overlooking the estuary and Sandy Beach. It is also a lovely spot for stargazing over the creek as night falls. In the morning, you might even get a visit from a kangaroo!
Accessible by boat or 4WD, there are no separately defined sites, and you’ll also need to be self-sufficient with water and cooking facilities. It also has minimal mobile phone coverage, so ditch the tech and pitch a tent instead!
Lady Musgrave Island
Paradise is only a boat ride away with a trip to Lady Musgrave Island. The closest access point on the mainland is from the Town of 1770, which is under two hours from central Gladstone. As the only coral island on the Great Barrier Reef with a navigable crystal-clear lagoon, it is also only eight kilometres in circumference.
This unique cay truly has it all — reef, island, stunning coral formations and, of course, marine life. A scuba dive or snorkel may also see you face to face with moray eels, manta rays, coral trout or giant rainbow-coloured fish. It’s like swimming in a massive aquarium! In summer, animal lovers will delight in watching thousands of seabirds nesting in their rookeries and turtles coming ashore to lay their eggs.
North West Island
Located around 75 kilometres from Gladstone, North West Island is the largest coral cay in the area and forms part of the Capricorn Cays National Park. Transfers are by boat, and the island offers lots of bushwalking, fishing, diving, snorkelling and reef-walking opportunities.
Self-sufficient camping is available, however, visitors need to bring their own water and cooking facilities. What an amazing way to get off the grid!
- 2023, Island & beach camping in the Gladstone region, Gladstone region
- Meri Gasem, 2021, 18 Free Camps You Need To Know About In The Gladstone Region, Big Lap Bible
- 2023, The Gladstone Region, Gladstone Region
- 2023, Climate and Average Weather Year Round in Gladstone Australia, Weather Spark