8 camping spots near Cairns (where you can have a campfire!)

Finding a new campsite that ticks all the boxes can be harder than folding a pop-up shower tent. Luckily, Cairns campsites are a goldmine for campers with sites in the Daintree Rainforest, along the beach and throughout several national parks.

And, to make your search easier, we’ve found eight secret camping spots near Cairns that match this three-point checklist:

  1. The campground must be less than a two-hour drive from Cairns (for those sneaky weekend getaways).
  2. It must have accessible toilets.
  3. They must have an open fire pit.

PS. We’ve also included a handful of other camping spots at the end of this post. Although they didn’t fit the above criteria, they’re definitely worth mentioning.

Audroy’s Place, Upper Barron

Camping spots Near Cairns, Audroys Place Upper Barron

Photo by Adam Gonano via Facebook

In most campgrounds there’s a site that every camper wants – it’s usually secluded from neighbours, gets lots of shade during the day and more than often, it’s closest to the creek. That’s not the case at Audroy’s Place in Upper Barron on the Atherton Tablelands. Here, all seven camping spots have access to the creek, are set amongst shady trees and on huge grassy areas.

This working cattle station is pet-friendly, kid-friendly and fire-friendly, and the owners will even provide firewood and have it waiting, at your campsite, before you arrive (at an extra cost).

Pat wandering steers or visit the livestock yards for the kids to meet the animals. If you love getting down and dirty on a quad bike, the owners allow bikes on the property as well, so long as they stay on the designated tracks.

And when you need to cool off, dash to Moses Pool (complete with waterfall) near the property’s main gate.

Drive distance from Cairns: Approx. 1.5 hrs
Facilities: Drop toilets, and firewood can be provided (arrange in advance)
Price per night: $30 per car, per night
How to book: Contact the owners on +61 449 579 003 or via the public Facebook group.

Upper Davies Creek Campground, Dinden National Park

Camping spots Near Cairns, Upper Davies Creek

Photo by @danitoast

Once a treasure chest for gold miners in the 1900s, Davies Creek and its nearby campgrounds in Dinden National Park are now golden spots for campers.

Surrounded by waterfalls, lookouts and hiking trails, you can camp alongside Davies Creek with rock wallabies and bettongs (mini kangaroos the size of rabbits).

There are two campgrounds here, but if you want a campfire, Upper Davies Creek Campground is the one for you. With a total of eight sites spread out in groups of two, each set is separated by a toilet block. So, you get a bit more privacy and only need to share the toilets with your next-door neighbour.

Although 4WD vehicles are recommended to get to the campgrounds, conventional cars can access the corrugated roads most of the year.

Psst! If you’re camping with a large group and want exclusivity, book sites 7 and 8.

Drive distance from Cairns: Approx. 1 hr
Facilities: Toilets
Price per night: $6.35 per person, per night. Kids under 4 years are free.
How to book: Book online via the National Parks Website

Babinda Boulders Campground, Babinda

Camping spots Near Cairns, Babinda Boulders

Photo by @awolfamily

Two words: free camping!

Pitch your tent a stone’s throw from the cool waters of Babinda Boulders at the Babinda Boulders Campground. With 13 double sites protected by trees, you can swim in the rejuvenating pools during the day and warm up next to a campfire at night.

If your furry friends like to camp as well, head for the Rotary Park Campground (also free). While you can’t have open fires here, it’s pet-friendly.

Drive distance from Cairns: Approx. 55 mins
Facilities: Toilets and cold showers
Price per night: Free
How to book: Contact 07 4067 1008 or visit the Babinda Tourist Information Centre

Malanda Falls Caravan Park

Camping spots Near Cairns, Malanda Falls Caravan Park

Photo by @simonktsang

New to the whole camping thing and need an entry-level campsite? Well, think of Malanda Falls Caravan Park as your training wheels.

Yes, you’re camping, but there are shops nearby in Malanda (3 mins away) for any last-minute supplies, and the grounds are fully equipped with hot showers, a camp kitchen and laundry facilities. There’s also an animal nursery on the property to keep little ones entertained.

While you’re in the Atherton Tablelands region, be sure to visit the Nerada Tea Factory, just a 13-minute drive from your tent!

And when the day heats up, stumble 300m from your camping spot to the refreshing Malanda Falls and swimming hole.

Drive distance from Cairns: Approx. 1 hr and 20 mins
Facilities: Hot showers, toilets, camp kitchen, electric BBQ, laundry facilities
Price per night: $23 per night (2 people) in an unpowered site. Children 5 years+ $5 per night. Kids under 5 years are free.
How to book: Book online or call +61 7 4096 5314

School Point Campground, Danbulla National Park

While there are other campgrounds around Lake Tinaroo, School Point Campground in Danbulla National Park is perfect for pro campers looking for a quick overnight nature fix.

Our top picks are spots 10 and 11 because they’re closest to the lake and not accessible by car. So, pack your backpack because you’ll need to carry your camp equipment into the camping spot. Don’t worry, it’s just a short stroll from the car park.

Facilities wise, this site offers the basics like toilets and shower cubicles. So, BYO portable showers and leave those annoying pop-up shower tents at home!

Tip: Bring your kayak because you can paddle into Lake Tinaroo from your campsite.

Drive distance from Cairns: Approx. 1 hr and 25 mins
Facilities: Toilets and shower cubicle (BYO portable shower)
Price per night: $6.35 per person per night. Kids under 4 years are free.
How to book: Book online via the National Parks Website

Goldsborough Valley, Wooroonooran National Park

Camping spots Near Cairns, Goldsborough Valley Campgrounds

Photo by @therawphoto

Drive up the Gillies Range and into Goldsborough Valley where you’ll find the Wooroonooran National Park and 12 campsites along the Mulgrave River.

Our fave campsite is number 12. It’s the farthest from other campers, yet close enough to the toilet blocks.

From swimming and fishing in the Mulgrave River to mountain biking and hiking in the forest, this Goldsborough Valley camping spot offers a range of nature-based activities.

Chant “hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to work we go” as you retrace the footsteps of gold prospectors along the Goldfield Trail. It’s a full-day hike for experienced adventurers, so be sure to plan, carry lots of water and follow the signs. If you’re not about the #hikinglife but still want to explore, follow the 1.7km Wajil Walk and you should make the return trip in about 1.5 hours.

Drive distance from Cairns: Approx. 1 hr
Facilities: Gas and wood BBQ areas, fire rings, toilets, sheltered areas
Price per night: $$6.35 per person, per night. Kids under 4 years are free.
How to book: Book online via the National Parks Website

Woodleigh Station, Ravenshoe

Hugging the border of Outback Queensland in Ravenshoe is a working cattle station open to the public for camping and experiencing the simple country life.

The property is outlined by The Millstream and Wild Rivers and if you opt for the bush campsites, you’ll camp on one of the river beds and away from other campers.

And for entertainment during the night, you can make use of the communal bonfire pit and light up the night sky up with floating embers.

Tip: If you’re camping in the cooler months, warm up at the Innot Hot Springs; nature’s own hot tub – just a short 15-minute drive from the station.

Drive distance from Cairns: Approx. 2 hrs
Facilities: Flushing toilets, BBQ areas, and communal bonfire pit
Price per night: $30 per car, per night
How to book: Book online via the property owners

Bustard Downs, Mount Carbine

Camping spots Near Cairns, Bustard Downs Mount Carbine

Photo by @jaydenharrod

Load the kids and the dog (terms and conditions apply) into the 4WD and point your car in the direction of Mount Carbine.

From humble beginnings as a tobacco farm and mining camp, the Bustard Downs campground and caravan park have evolved over the years into a natural retreat for families.

Get ultimate privacy (and lots of play area) with campsites spread 25m apart and separated by shady trees.

Bustard Downs is all about connection and bonding, which is why the property has just one communal fireplace. So, pull up your camp chairs, throw your Mystical Fire sachets into the fire and swap stories over dancing colourful flames.

Psst! If you prefer connecting with your Facebook friends and Instagram followers, there is free WiFi on the property for those emergency Tweets and Instagram shares.

Drive distance from Cairns: Approx. 1 hr and 45 mins
Facilities: Flushing toilets, hot showers, coin-operated laundry, portable water available
Price per night: $15 per adult, per night; $6 per child, per night
How to book: Book online via the property owners

Beach campgrounds less than two hours from Cairns – no campfires

  • Ellis Beach (approx. 30 mins)
  • Bramston Beach Campgrounds (approx. 1 hr and 10 mins)
  • Kurrimine Beach (approx. 1 hr and 40 mins)
  • Mission Beach (approx.. 1 hr and 50 mins)

Escape it all: Campgrounds over two hours from Cairns

  • Karma Waters Campground, Hurricane (approx. 4 hrs)
  • Archer Point Campground, Cooktown (approx. 4 hrs and 15 mins)
  • Elim Beach, Hopevale (approx. 5 hrs)

And, if you’re looking for more camping spots in Queensland, check these out:

Which one of these have you pitched a tent in?