From sleeping under the stars surrounded by Wet Tropics rainforest, to family-friendly holiday parks with all the bells and whistles, here’s a round-up of the best camping in Townsville.
Perhaps you want to immerse yourself in the surrounding World Heritage wilderness made up of prehistoric rainforest to tropical islands, are exploring North Queensland in your caravan or motorhome, or simply want affordable camping accommodation to save your money for Townsville’s many adventures.
Whatever the reason, camping options in Townsville are wide and varied, from remote national park sites only reached by four-wheel-drive to glamping with all the creature comforts.
National parks and reserves
Lake Paluma, Paluma Range National Park
Lake Paluma (or Paluma Dam) is a popular campsite inside Paluma Range National Park for those coming to enjoy aquatic adventures, such as swimming, stand-up paddle boarding and kayaking or to explore the nearby national park. There are 25 campsites, picnic areas, barbecues and fires are allowed.
Features: unpowered sites, toilets, barbecues, picnic shelter, fires allowed
Ethel Creek Falls is one of many freshwater creeks inside Paluma Range National Park. (Image: Tourism & Events Queensland)
Remote bush camping, Bowling Green Bay National Park
Combining coastal and mountain scenery, Bowling Green Bay National Park is located 25 kilometres south of Townsville, stretching from Cleveland Bay to Mount Elliot Range.
Intrepid visitors come here to hike in its remote wildernesses, through rugged bushland and pockets of rainforest to find hidden creeks and waterfalls. If you choose to stay overnight, there are several options for basic bush camping, accessed only by four-wheel drive. Alligator Falls camping area is accessed only on foot; it’s for fit, well-prepared, and experienced walkers only.
Features: four-wheel-drive or foot access only, unpowered sites, fires allowed
The remote camping area at Alligator Falls allows for plenty of wildlife spotting. (Image: Tourism & Events Queensland)
Big Crystal Creek, Paluma Range National Park
Located in the southern section of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, 70 kilometres north of Townsville, Paluma Range National Park is a tropical wonderland that is popular for bushwalking, bird watching and wild swimming.
Big Crystal Creek is one of the best spots for taking a dip, and conveniently there’s a campsite located on its banks.
The campsite is accessible in a car and has sites that are suitable for tents, camper trailers, campervans and motorhomes. It also has toilets, picnic tables and barbecues. Campfires are also allowed, so after a day of bushwalking and swimming in fresh, pristine waterholes, you can snuggle up by a fire under the stars.
Features: unpowered sites, flushing toilets, cold showers, picnic tables, gas barbecues, fires allowed in fire rings
Paradise Waterhole is one of the many places to swim while camping at Big Crystal Creek Townsville.
BIG4 Tasman Holiday Parks – Rowes Bay
A short walk from Rowes Bay, one of Townsville’s best beaches ideal for refreshing dips, long walks and playing, Big4 Tasman Holiday Parks Rowes Bay is one of the best-located caravan parks. When not at the beach, you can easily walk or cycle into town along The Strand.
Surrounded by tropical gardens, the caravan park has plenty to do on-site with a swimming pool, tennis and basketball courts, and a giant chessboard. When it comes to accommodation, the park features cabin and villa accommodation, as well as powered and unpowered sites for camping and caravans.
Features: cabins, powered and unpowered sites, camp kitchen, barbecues, amenities, laundries, swimming pool, tennis and basketball courts, kiosk
Big4 Tasman Holiday Park is a short walk from Rowes Bay. (Image: Tourism & Events Queensland)
Discovery Parks Townsville
Fifteen minutes south of the city centre, Discovery Parks Townsville is a large park that offers a range of accommodations including motel rooms, cabins and powered and unpowered sites.
Most importantly – for parents with kids, that is – this park is kid heaven, keeping the little ones entertained with a bouncing pillow, playground, swimming pool, waterslides and a water park.
Fun aside, the park is packed with conveniences, too, including a camp kitchen, barbecues, laundry, kiosk, and it’s also dog-friendly.
Features: cabins, powered and unpowered sites, camp kitchen, barbecues, laundries, kiosk, amenities, dog-friendly, swimming pool, waterpark, playground
Discovery Parks Townsville is the perfect camping location.
Bungalow Bay Koala Village
Magnetic Island is the ultimate day trip from Townsville, however, if you choose to stay overnight, Bungalow Bay Koala Village is an affordable option with budget accommodation and camping in double and twin bungalows, share bungalows and on powered and unpowered sites, within minutes from Horseshoe Bay.
There’s also a tropical-style pool with sun lounges, a bar that is open all day – from coffee to cocktails, a camp kitchen and laundry.
But the best bit? Bungalow Bay boasts its own wildlife park, which is home to koalas, turtles, pythons, wombats, lizards and crocs. There are two tours daily, for guests to get up close and personal with these native animals.
Features: powered and unpowered sites, bungalows, camp kitchen, laundry, amenities, swimming pool, bar/kiosk
Spot the koalas on Magnetic Island. (Image: Khy Orchard/ Tourism & Events Queensland)
Townsville Lakes Holiday Park
A short 10-minute drive from Townsville’s CBD, Townsville Lakes Holiday Park is perched on Curralea Lake and offers units, cabins and bungalows that can fit up to five people, as well as powered sites with ensuites. These large concrete sites are suitable for caravans, camper trailers and tents.
The park is fuss-free featuring barbecue facilities and a camp kitchen, convenient for those nights that you feel like staying in, and a swimming pool for those hot Townsville days. It’s also dog-friendly, so your furry best mate can join you.
Features: cabins, powered sites with ensuites, swimming pool, camp kitchen, barbecues, dog-friendly
Big4 Ingenia Holidays Townsville
This park is another one that will please all campers, from young to old to furry. Set among tropical gardens, Big4 Ingenia Holidays is a 20-minute drive from Townsville but has everything you need right at your fingertips – that includes essentials such as a camp kitchen and barbecues, a laundry, a convenience store/kiosk and a whole heap of non-essential super fun features.
Think several pools including a toddler pool, a waterpark, waterslides, a playground, trike hire, jumping pillow, beach volleyball, pedal karts, mini golf, bike hire, basketball… the list goes on.
When it comes to rest, you can choose from two- and three-bedroom villas, cabins, and dog-friendly unpowered and powered sites.
Features: cabins, powered and unpowered sites, camp kitchen, barbecues, laundry, kiosk, amenities, dog-friendly, swimming pool, waterpark, playground, waterslide, bike hire, mini golf, jumping pillow
Around 45 minutes north of Townsville, Balgal Beach is one of the area’s most beautiful beaches.
There is free camping available here at two campsites, one of tents only and one for RVs, set on the foreshore so you can fall asleep to the sounds of the waves. The RV site has a boat ramp and kiosk, where you can grab some fish and chips, and a playground for little ones to enjoy. Dogs are permitted at both campsites but must remain on leash.
Features: unpowered sites, toilets, barbecues, picnic area, dog-friendly
Camp at Balgal Beach for easy access to one of the region’s most beautiful beaches.
This beachside RV site at Saunders Beach is located a little more than 30 minutes north of Townsville, equipped with shaded picnic tables, barbecues and a pirate ship playground for kids.
Beach fishing is popular here and the sand is excellent for fossicking shells; it’s also dog-friendly but they must always be on the lead. There’s also the Wulgurukaba Plant Trail nearby, a community trail with interpretive signage to teach visitors about native plants and how they’re traditionally used for food and medicine.
Features: unpowered sites, barbecues, shaded picnic tables, toilets, dog-friendly, playground
Close to Saunders Beach, this small campsite is surrounded by tranquil bushland with access to Bluewater Creek. It is suitable for caravans and RVs and has a playground, café, picnic benches and is dog-friendly, however they must always remain on the lead.
Features: unpowered sites, toilets, picnic tables, playground, café, dog-friendly
Townsville Eco Resort
Set on 14 acres of landscaped grounds where wallabies graze, Townsville Eco Resort is a family-owned, eco-conscious property that offers unpowered and powered sites as well as comfortable cabins, just 20 minutes from Townsville. However, it’s the new glamping tents that are set to open in early 2023 that are the real zinger.
These safari-style tents will include queen, king and wheelchair-friendly options, fitted out with modern furnishings and have views over the lilypad-dotted wetland. The property also has a swimming pool, restaurant and café, and is located across the road from Billabong Sanctuary, a native wildlife park.
Features: unpowered and powered sites, cabins, glamping tents, swimming pool, restaurant, café, amenities
Heading to Townsville soon? If camping isn’t your thing, find out where to stay in and around Townsville for your next adventure.