7 of the best camping spots near the Gold Coast

The camping and real estate industries have a lot more in common than first meets the eye. Their main mantra is “location, location, location” and everything else (like amenities, facilities and maintenance) can be overlooked when your foundations are fixed to the right location.

With 57km of beach that backs onto UNESCO-worthy bush, as far as location goes, you’ll be one happy camper on the Gold Coast.

Whether you’ve got a swag, tent, camper trailer or caravan, you’ll be pitch perfect at these 7 best camping spots near the Gold Coast.

1. For Rainforest Camping: Binna Burra

Get your Mowgli on and sleep in a rainforest that proves Australia and Antarctica were once connected with a night at Binna Burra Campground in Lamington National Park.

Nestled amongst the foliage you’ll find a selection of tent sites and a handful of caravan sites with their own designated fire pit.

It’s not just five-star rainforest views, but amenities too (at least for the camping world), with shower and loo facilities, BBQs and the option of buying breakfast, lunch, and dinner out when camp oven cooking falls into the ‘too hard basket’.

If the privately owned campground is a little too bourgeois, swap Binna Burra for the Green Mountains section of Lamington National Park – just don’t attempt this section with a caravan because the road to get there resembles the zig-zag stitch on a sewing machine.

Drive distance from Surfers Paradise: Approx. 50 mins
Facilities: Shower, toilet, laundry and gas BBQ
Price per night: $30 (2 people) in an unpowered site
How to book: Book via Binna Burra Lodge

2. For a place where you won’t see your neighbours: Bigriggen Park

If you’ve been angling for a holiday with privacy on your side, swap the beach for the bush and find new levels of remoteness at Bigriggen Park.

There are over 100 acres of space to pitch within, including 45 acres of private hilltops and 55 acres of river-hugging campgrounds.

You’ll be in the Scenic Rim’s Mt Barney National Park with a view of not one but four mountains – Mt Barney, Mt Maroon, Mt May and Mt Lindesay – if you choose your campsite wisely.

It’s not just a family-friendly park, but a pet-friendly park too – making it easy to take them up on their ‘stay four nights, pay three’ deal.

The onsite general store also has your back, selling everyday items such as bread and milk if you do decide to stay that little bit longer than initially planned.

Drive distance from Surfers Paradise: Approx. 1 hr and 45 mins
Facilities: Toilets & showers
Price per night: $32 per night (2 people)
How to book: Book online via Bigriggen Park’s website

3. For a bush camping (complete with a running creek): Spring Gully Stays

Spring Gully Stays | Best camping spots Gold Coast

Photo by @dusty_fix

For camping which will leave you feeling less like a tinned sardine and more like a wild salmon, check into Spring Gully Stays.

There’s everything from unpowered sites right up to safari tents, which come with their own stretcher beds so you can walk into camp without any of the set-up and pack-down hassle.

You can be as ‘on’ or ‘off-grid’ as you like, with the option to cook your meals in the bush kitchen, meet new friends and swap travel stories. But if the thought of small talk with a bunch of strangers makes your introverted toes curl, just bring your own portable stove and make your own camp kitchen.

By day, it’s all about swimming in the swimming hole (large enough for canoeing too) and by night it’s about open fires, bright stars and marshmallows.

There’s no internet in this neck of the woods so consider yourself unplugged and ready to digitally detox.

Drive distance from Surfers Paradise: Approx. 1 hr
Price per night: $12.50 per adult, per night; $8 per child, per night for an unpowered site (additional $5 per night for power – only 4 powered sites available)
Facilities: Toilet
How to book: Contact +61 7 5543 4490

4. For beachfront: Ocean Beach Tourist Park

Ocean Beach | Best camping spots Gold CoastIf you’d come to the Gold Coast in the 1950s or ’60s, you wouldn’t have had to look hard to find beachfront camping – it was everywhere.

Today, those campsites have been transformed into high rise accommodation (pssst – check out this guide if that’s more your style) but Ocean Beach Tourist Park remains, tucked behind the sand dunes of Miami promising good, old-fashioned holiday fun.

On its doorstep is a world-class patrolled surfing beach, so you don’t have to pack lunch for a day at the beach, rather return to home base before doing it all again.

Choose from caravan sites, and powered and unpowered camping sites – just be sure to book ahead because this place packs out for good reason.

Onsite, you’ll also find BBQs, laundry block, kiosk and the all-important for the modern camper – WiFi.

Drive distance from Surfers Paradise: Approx. 20 minutes
Facilities: Toilet, shower, laundry, BBQ, and WiFi
Price per night: From $48 per night for a powered site (2 adults)
How to book: Contact +61 7 5567 2710

5. For camping with all the activity trimmings: BIG4 Gold Coast Holiday Park

BIG4 is a name as synonymous with the word ‘fun’ as the Gold Coast itself. So, if you’re looking for the kind of family holiday defined by big smiles put BIG4 Gold Coast Holiday Park as your #1 campsite of choice.

You’ll find it 45 minutes from Brisbane and smack bang in the middle of the theme park action, walking distance to Movie World, Wet ‘n’ Wild and Outback Spectacular and two minutes further to DreamWorld and WhiteWater World.

Although you’ll need to hop in your car if you want to go to the beach – you won’t need to with a resort pool, waterslide and licensed family restaurant all within the 16 acres of landscaped gardens on the property.

As far as pitching goes, you have the option of powered and unpowered sites – and you can dial up the comfort factor if you want to, with an ensuite site.

Of course, if camping ends up giving you the irrits, there’s always family cabins and villas to upgrade into. Consider it camping with a backup plan.

Drive distance from Surfers Paradise: Approx. 30 minutes
Facilities: Toilet, shower, laundry facilities, BBQ, heated pool, free WiFi
Price per night: From $40 for an unpowered site (sleeps up to 6)
How to book: Book online via BIG4 website

6. For camping that doesn’t resemble camping: Nightfall Wilderness Camp

Nightfall Wilderness Camp | Best camping spots Gold CoastIf you wanted a dictionary definition of glamping, Nightfall Wilderness Camp is it.

It’s a perfect 10 when it comes to rugged, bush luxury – and no expense has been spared on the fit-out of their three safari tents from the 1000 thread count sheets down to the swivelling fireplace that allows you to curl up anywhere inside your canvas abode.

There’s nothing to do here but eat and drink yourself into a siesta state, before waking up and doing it all again.

There’s plenty of great spots to get your snuggle on – whether it’s down by the creek, around the fireplace or soaking in one of the antique French tubs in your room.

Unlike everywhere else on this list, it’s a fully catered experience so there’ll be no cooking or washing up in the dark this time. Meals are organic and served under the stars.

Drive distance from Surfers Paradise: Approx. 90 minutes
Facilities: Glamping safari tent, all meals & open bar
Price per night: $795 per couple, per night (2 night minimum)
How to book: Online or call +61 7 5544 8070

7. For waterfall chasing: The Settlement Springbrook

If you want to settle into the World Heritage-listed Springbrook National Park, there’s only one spot to do it – book a campsite at The Settlement.

Even though there are only 11 sites to choose from – don’t rule this campground out as pokey especially when you have Gondwana just beyond your tent pegs.

Love it or hate it – the amenities and facilities are divisive here, with loos and WiFi but no showers or fires allowed. But if you choose your campsites, not for their amenities but the location, you won’t be disappointed. This is waterfall country after all.

The closest is Purling Brook Falls with the walking track starting at this campground.

A short drive away you’ll find Natural Bridge, which is a waterfall well worth chasing or visiting after dark to catch the nightly show put on by its resident glow worms.

Of course, if you’re feeling really adventurous, try this campground on for size while completing part of the Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk.

Drive distance from Surfers Paradise: Approx. 1 hr
Facilities: Toilet, drinking water, cooking shelter and electric BBQ
Price per night: $6.35 per person, per night, or $25.40 per family, per night
How to book: Book online via Queensland National Parks

Get more camping action than your local adventure expo with these guides:

Which Gold Coast camping spot would you add to this pitch list?