Waterside Camping Spots in the Wet Tropics

With hundreds of rivers and creeks meandering through the landscape, and more islands than we know what to do with, Far North Queensland is overflowing with gorgeous waterside camping spots. Here’s some that we love.  

Station Camping 

Emu Creek Outback Holiday Station  

A remote-feeling bush camping experience on a working cattle station. Just 2 two hours drive from Cairns, the turnoff for the station is 23km from Dimbulah. The creek is long and wide with shallow sandbar sections and deeper areas that are perfect for kayaking and fishing. Book through the station: (07) 4094 8313

Woodleigh Station 

Easily accessible from Cairns and the Atherton Tablelands, Woodleigh Station is another working cattle property that has opened its gates to campers looking for an almost-outback getaway! The Millstream River runs through the property, and there are plenty of private camping spots along its banks. Book through the station: (07) 4097 0204 

Goshen Station 

90km from either Mount Garnet or Cardwell, Goshen Station has private campsites along the beautiful Herbert River. Explore the Herbert River Falls and gorge which are a half hour drive from the camping area, take your kayaks or paddleboards for a splash in the water, or fish for bream and yabbies. Book through the station: (07) 4097 1428

Island Camping 

Fitzroy Island 

Wake up in an island paradise at this campground just a 45 minute ferry ride from Cairns! When the day visitors catch the ferry back, you and resort guests will have the island to yourself. The campground has a beachfront BBQ and basic amenities block. Book online through Fitzroy Island Resort. 

Rusell and High Islands 

Part of the Frankland Island group, camping is allowed on the beautiful Russell and High Islands. You’ll need your own boat (or a mate with a boat!), or you arrange a camping transfer (Russell Island only) with a private operator. The islands are about 10km offshore but you’ll feel a million miles away. Book online through Queensland Parks & Wildlife Service. 

Wheeler Island 

Again, you’ll need a boat (or a mate with a boat) for this one. This is a full remote island experience – white sand, crystal clear water… And the best thing about it? Look across to Bedarra Island and that you’ve got the same island vistas without the thousand dollar price tag! Book online through Queensland Parks & Wildlife Service. 

National Park & State Forest camping 

Broadwater Creek 

Spread out in this spacious, grassed campground and enjoy the backdrop of eucalypt forest and creek. An hour’s drive inland from Ingham, Broadwater camping area is located in Abergowrie State Forest. Excellent facilities make it perfect for large groups and families. Book online through Queensland Parks & Wildlife Service. 

Danbulla National Park & State Forest 

Pick from a range of camping areas around the banks of Tinaroo Dam to suit anyone’s camping tastes. From secluded bush camping to large open areas with excellent facilities, all camping areas are a great base for water activities on the dam or exploring the surrounding area. Book online through Queensland Parks & Wildlife Service. 

Responsible camping 

  • Soaps, detergents, medication, sunscreen and repellents contain chemicals that can interfere with aquatic plants and animals’ reproduction and development.  
  • Set up camp at least 20 metres from any water source (lake, creek etc.) 
  • At bush camping spots without toilets, bury toilet waste at least 15cm deep and at least 100m from water sources. Never bury wet wipes or baby wipes – they don’t break down. Put them in the rubbish. 
  • Always take your rubbish home with you. 
  • Use plain old hot water, or eco-friendly detergents and soaps for washing dishes or yourself, and do it at least 20m away from the water’s edge.    

If you’re swimming: 

  • Don’t wee in the water when you’re taking medication (including contraceptives).
  • Wash off sunscreen and insect repellent first.  

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