The best Queensland islands for your next camping adventure
Please note the temporary closure of all Queensland campgrounds in national parks, state forests and state-managed recreation and protected areas, in response to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.
Eager to experience the near 2000 islands that call this state home, but without the means to do so? Island-hopping on a budget is possible, we promise you. The key to (almost) freely experience Queensland islands? Camping.
Forget for a moment about luxury accommodation as you know it; we promise the same seaside views but at a fraction of the cost to your wallet and the environment. Not to mention, you’ll connect to nature in just about the closest way possible. What’s not to love?
Join us for a foray through the best islands for camping in Queensland.
The tropical getaways
One of Queensland’s most famous residents, Whitsunday Islands is also its biggest cluster of islands, numbering at 74. Pull out your swag at one of the ten coves, beaches, and bays you can settle in overnight. The most popular? The creamy sands of famed Whitehaven Beach.
Lady Musgrave Island
Plan ahead when it comes to camping on this coral cay island, which allows up to 40 campers only at a time. Settled on the fringe of the Great Barrier Reef, this untouched tropical escape is best explored by flipper, so don’t forget your snorkel gear.
A fellow island with a reputation for its lavish accommodation is Orpheus. But a resort stay isn’t a non-negotiable here; there are three campsites scattered across its National Park, and 11 kilometres of awe-inspiring coastline.
Set up camp at Yanks Jetty, Pioneer Bay or South Beach, but be warned, a boat is required.
The adventure playgrounds
Believing variety is the spice of life is Moreton Island, with island options aplenty; five established campgrounds mingle with five beachside sites.
This sandy mass is a playground for the adventurer; 4WD its length, meander its bushwalks, and dive amongst the Tangalooma Shipwrecks before spending the night under the stars.
Adventurers will want to gather like-minded friends and a 4WD for a trip to Fraser Island. The world’s largest sand island is not only a hive of outdoor activity but a haven for campers of all abilities.
More than a dozen established camp zones live alongside self-sufficient sand sites and glamping options too.
Considering the natural wonders awaiting visitors to uninhabited Hinchinbrook, it’s no surprise the island is heritage-listed. Sea kayakers in particular flock here, tempted by its nine separate sites catering to the sport, though more than a dozen camping spots are scattered among the island’s bays and beaches.
Grab the passenger ferry from Townsville and make the 8 kilometre journey to Magnetic Island. The 20 kilometre stretch is a haven of swimming holes, with 23 different bays and beaches dotted throughout. But exploring on foot is also recommended; walking the island’s many bush tracks, keep an eye out for the population of koalas and rock wallabies.
Camping is available here at two separate sites: Bungalow Bay Koala Village and Base Backpackers.
Set sail from Cairns for Fitzroy Island, catching the ferry or a private boat if you’re feeling a little more indulgent. The terrain here is so diverse you’ll want to spend the night; settle in to one of the handful of beachside camps after days spent wandering Fitzroy’s many bushwalking tracks and swimming in its many beaches.
South Stradbroke Island
When it comes to oh-so-accessible Queensland island camping, this one couldn’t get much closer. Sitting just an arm’s length from the Gold Coast Spit sits South Stradbroke Island. While conveniently close to civilisation, this waterworld will tempt you if you harbour a passion for watersports.
The district is a haven of surfing, sea kayaking, canoeing, parasailing, windsurfing, fishing and more. Set up camp at one of three grounds: Tipplers at the northern end of the island, North Currigee and Currigee at the south.
Keppel Bay Islands
Found yourself camping with extended family and friends? Spread across the beach-heavy seven islands in the Keppel Bay Islands National Park are plenty of campgrounds catering to larger groups, particularly at North Keppel Island and Humpy Island. Couples and individuals aren’t forgotten, but better suited to the smaller islands in the collection.
Frankland Group National Park
If self-sufficient camping is your forte, Frankland Group National Park is calling your name. The collection of five uninhabited islands are fringed with coral reefs and sandy stretches free from crowds.
Both Russell Island and High Island of this gaggle offer camping options – you’ll just need to find a boat to get there.
Forgo Lizard Island’s luxury amenities and get back to basics with a stay on the sand at self-sufficient Watsons Bay. The Great Barrier Reef resident has a reputation for opulence courtesy of its famed resort, but you can still enjoy the island’s natural wonders for a fraction of the fee from the campground.