REVIEW: 10 of the Best Camping Gold Coast Spots for Families
Are you looking for the best camping Gold Coast spots to pitch a tent or hire a cabin for your family?
The Gold Coast is a wonderful destination for family-friendly camping, with so much to see and do nearby. Wherever you pitch your tent you’re only a short journey away from thrilling theme parks, zoos and wildlife experiences that are perfect for Queensland school holidays.
There are also fantastic beaches, bushwalks and look-outs, whale watching vantage points, waterfalls and swimming holes, and a wealth of tourism venues and activities – no wonder families keep coming back for more!
Our guide to some of the best camping Gold Coast sites for families will help you find your perfect canvas-covered getaway under the stars.
South Stradbroke Island
An old fashioned tent-only camping experience (strictly no caravans or vehicles), this is camping old school with whatever you can carry! There are no bridges or ferries to South Stradbroke Island but you can choose any of a number of exciting ways to get there: private boat, water taxi, jet ski safari, and sea plane included.
Once on South Stradbroke Island you’ll have three campsites to choose from: Tipplers on the northern end, and South Currigee and North Currigee on the southern end. There’s a small kiosk for supplies at both ends of the island, but only Tipplers has a licensed café. Note: South Stradbroke Island is 21km long; if you intend to travel between the campsites watercraft is recommended.
Why South Stradbroke Island?
South Stradbroke Island is a real back-to-nature retreat. One side of the island overlooks the Broadwater with calm beaches and netted swimming areas, and on the other side is 22km of pristine surf beach. The centre of the island is natural untouched bushland (for this reason no dogs are permitted). South Stradbroke Island is a great place to visit from May to October when the humpback whales pass by on their annual migration. If you want a place to totally relax and unwind and soak in the peace and tranquillity of a natural setting, then South Stradbroke Island is the place for you.
South Stradbroke Island facilities:
Showers and toilets, camp kitchen and BBQs, café near Tipplers,
South Stradbroke Island activities:
Bushwalks, swimming, surfing, whale watching, volleyball, snorkelling, fishing.
Is South Stradbroke Island pet friendly:
No, please leave pets at home.
What’s restricted at South Stradbroke Island:
No generators, and campfires must be within the defined fire rings.
You’ll find their website here.
Springbrook National Park
Located just north of the NSW border in the Gold Coast Hinterland, Springbrook National Park is part of the extinct Shield Volcano Group and heritage listed. It’s a lush rainforest haven of ancient trees, waterfalls, flora and fauna, and a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life (i.e. you’ll have a poor phone signal and limited Wi-Fi!).
Camping in Springbrook National Park is only available in The Settlement and requires a prior permit, but there are only 11 sites available so booking early is recommended. The campsites are well defined and suitable for tents and camper trailers but not caravans, and none of the sites have power. The small town of Springwood is only a short distance away for cafes and provisions if required.
Don’t be put off thinking there’s nothing here for kids; it’s a real back-to-nature experience and a technology detox, but with so many bushwalking opportunities and ‘wildlife bingo’, it’s a great opportunity to let children rediscover the natural joys of childhood.
Springbrook National Park camping facilities:
Toilets (no showers), drinking water, picnic facilities, free electric BBQs, car park.
Springbrook National Park activities:
Bush walking, wildlife spotting, horse riding.
Is Springbrook National Park pet friendly:
No. As a national park, pets are not permitted.
What’s restricted at Springbrook National Park:
No open fires permitted, no generators. Fuel stove recommended.
Check out their website here.
Tallebudgera Creek Tourist Park
This waterfront tourist park is a popular family-friendly camping Gold Coast destination, with facilities for tents, trailer tents and caravans. There are over 250 sites to choose from; some with power, some without, some with en-suites, some waterfront, and others more centrally located to the resort’s facilities. Villas are also available for those who like a little more space and luxury.
The resort has great facilities to keep the whole family entertained, and the friendly office staff are available to assist with ticketing to other local attractions for days out. Camping at Tallebudgera Creek Tourist Park is great as it is also within easy distance of shops, cafés and restaurants.
Tallebudgera Creek Tourist Park facilities:
Toilets and showers, camp kitchens, BBQs, gas bottle exchange, coin operated laundry, kiosk for provisions, accessible facilities, playground, swimming pools, TV and games room, free Wi-Fi, boat ramp, boat and car wash, car park.
Tallebudgera Creek Tourist Park activities:
Swimming (pools, swimming hole and creek), snorkelling, beach, surfing, tennis, hiking, canoeing, go-karts, cycle track, water playground, local attractions.
Is Tallebudgera Creek Tourist Park pet friendly:
No. Please leave pets at home.
There’s lots more information on their website here.
Looking for Sunshine Coast camping spots? – click here
Big 4 Helensvale
The Big4 Holiday Parks know what it takes to make a great family holiday when you are camping Gold Coast style, and they even welcome your four-legged family members too!
Big4 Gold Coast, located close to the theme parks at Helensvale, is a perfect family-friendly getaway. They offer powered and unpowered sites from the smallest of tents through to the biggest caravans and mobile homes, and some sites even have their own en-suite facilities. The amenities block is bright, spacious and modern, as is the huge onsite laundry, and the resort even has a luxurious poolside café and bar area.
Big4 Helensvale even has its own petting zoo! Meet the alpacas and a variety of small farm animals at Big4, and look out for local wildlife visiting too.
Big4 Gold Coast Helensvale camping facilities:
Toilets, showers, mother’s room, baby facilities; internal and external camp kitchens with hotplates, ovens, microwaves and fridge-freezers; BBQs, laundry facilities, free Wi-Fi, heated resort style pool with cabanas, water slide and wading pool; luxury café and bar, jumping pillow, tennis court, bike and go-kart hire, dog off-leash area, petting zoo, BMX track
Big4 Gold Coast Helensvale activities:
Swimming, tennis, cycling and BMX, petting zoo, hiking, theme parks and local attractions
Is Big4 Gold Coast Helensvale pet friendly:
Yes, dogs are welcome! The park offers an off-leash play area, dog friendly campsites, and dog-friendly cabins. Conditions apply.
Big4 Gold Coast Helensvale restrictions:
Fires are not permitted at the en-suite sites, but allowed in other areas.
Find out more here.
Jacobs Well Tourist Park
Jacobs Well Tourist Park is perfectly located for the big thrill theme parks and a great destination for a camping Gold Coast holiday. Easily accessible, the tourist park offers a range of camping options with sites to pitch your tent and powered and non-powered caravan sites, and even a few cabins for those who want a little more luxury. There’s something for the whole family to enjoy here, from a spot of quiet fishing and canoeing in the calm waters, to the theme parks only minutes away.
Jacobs Well Tourist Park facilities:
Power, showers and toilets, camp kitchen and BBQs, coin operated laundry facilities, playground, library, gas bottle exchange, car and boat wash, boat ramp, Wi-Fi access, car park, close to local shops and tavern.
Jacobs Well Tourist Park activities:
Fishing, daily lorikeet feeding, swimming, local attractions.
Is Jacobs Well Tourist Park pet friendly:
Yes. Dogs welcome by prior arrangement, conditions apply.
More information is on their website here.
Binna Burra Lodge Rainforest Campsite
Binna Burra Lodge is a luxury resort (please note – the lodge burned down in the 2019 September fires) with fabulously styled cabins and apartments, but for those of us wanting an affordable alternative, the Lodge is also home to the Rainforest Campsite. The Rainforest Campsite is high up on the mountainside adjacent to the Lamington National Park, set amongst lush tropical forests and ancient trees.
The campsite offers a number of powered and non-powered sites on which to pitch your tent or park your campervan, and Safari Tents (unpowered) for those wanting more comfort and convenience.
Check out the Echidna Club, which runs a daily activity program for kids aged 6-12 during school holidays. Costs apply but lunch is provided and your kids are guaranteed to be exhausted at the end of each day! While the kids are at the club the grown-ups can indulge in a little luxury and pampering at Bliss Massage, where massages and facials are available, or if your stay includes Saturday and Sunday you can start your day with a relaxing guided yoga session.
Binna Burra Lodge camping facilities:
Toilets and showers, coin-operated laundry facilities, coin-operated BBQs, gas bottle refills, linen hire for Safari Tents, restaurant (open for breakfast too), bar and café, take-away BBQs and picnic packs.
Binna Burra Lodge activities:
165m flying fox, archery and abseiling (charges apply), bushwalking, nighttime spotlight walks, organised campfire nights with marshmallows, adventure playground, Echidna Club. Find out about prices to stay here.
Is Binna Burra Lodge pet friendly:
Not stated. Please contact Binna Burra Lodge directly to enquire.
You can find out more on their website here.
NRMA Treasure Island Holiday Resort
If you’re new to camping and looking for a gentle introduction, then NRMA Treasure Island Holiday Resort could be just what you need. The camping Gold Coast option is a resort that offers neatly laid out powered sites for tents and caravans, or glamping safari tents with kitchenette and en-suite already set up for you to move in to. Lovers of luxury can also book one of the many cabins, units or villas on site.
This place is heaven for children with so many things to do that you don’t even need to leave the site, but if you are planning on heading out for the day don’t forget to look in on the office for discounted theme park tickets. NRMA Treasure Island Holiday Resort is conveniently located close to Harbour Town Shopping City for a great shopping experience too.
NRMA Treasure Island Holiday Resort camping facilities:
Showers and toilet blocks, camp kitchen and free BBQs, laundry facilities, TV and games room, free Wi-Fi, playground, four swimming pools, heated spas, bistro, outdoor gym, DVD hire, outdoor cinema, accessible bathroom for those with special needs, car park.
NRMA Treasure Island Holiday Resort activities:
Swimming, mini golf, tennis, giant jumping pillow, go-karting, basketball, giant outdoor board games, local attractions, water play park.
Is NRMA Treasure Island Holiday Resort pet friendly:
No, please leave pets at home.
Tamborine Mountain Caravan and Camping Park
In a beautiful mountainside setting, the Tamborine Mountain Caravan and Camping Park in the Gold Coast Hinterland offers a peaceful wilderness retreat deceptively close to some of the best family-friendly tourist venues south of Brisbane. You can pitch your own tent in one of the powered or unpowered sites or book a glamping stay in one of the luxury safari tents, fully equipped with all you need.
Tamborine Mountain Caravan and Camping Park is located within the boundary of Thunderbird Park, famed for its range of adventurous activities, and close to natural creeks, look-outs and stunning bush walks. We wrote more about camping at Binna Burra here.
Tamborine Mountain Caravan and Camping Park facilities:
Power, toilets and showers, laundry, gas bottle refills, kiosk for basic provisions. Restaurants and other dining options available a short walk away within Thunderbird Park.
Tamborine Mountain Caravan and Camping Park activities:
Businesses located nearby offer horse riding, Tree Top Challenge, thunderegg mining, laser skirmish, skywalk, and glowworm cave. Other activities include swimming in creeks and waterholes, hiking and bushwalks, volleyball, tennis, mini golf, and local attractions.
Is Tamborine Mountain Caravan and Camping Park pet friendly:
Yes, dogs are permitted in your own tents and caravans (conditions apply, and excludes public and school holiday dates), but not in the Safari Tents.
What are the restrictions at Tamborine Mountain Caravan and Camping Park:
Campfires are permitted within specified areas, please take note daily of state fire restrictions. Bring or purchase bottled water as water at the site is highly chlorinated.
More information is available on their website here.
Broadwater Tourist Park
If you want to get away from it all without getting away from it all, then Broadwater Tourist Park is the perfect destination.
Located next to the Broadwater and parklands, Broadwater Tourist Park has the convenience of cafés, restaurants and shopping nearby, with plenty to do onsite too.
There are powered and non-powered sites available for tents, campervans and caravans, and villas for those who like their comforts a little more homely.
Broadwater Tourist Park camping facilities:
Toilets, showers, coin-operated laundry, facilities for those with special needs, kiosk for provisions, boat ramp, gas bottle refills, free Wi-Fi, camp kitchen and BBQs, playground and jumping pillow, heated swimming pools, games room, tennis court, car park.
Broadwater Tourist Park activities:
Swimming, beach, rockpools, cycling (bike hire available), tennis (racquets available for hire), local attractions and theme parks.
Is Broadwater Tourist Park pet friendly:
No, but other tourist parks in the group are. See the website for details.
Find their website here.
Yes, you can camp at Paradise Country! This is the perfect way to combine a farm stay with camping in a very convenient location – and you don’t even need your own tent! Paradise Country on the Gold Coast already has a selection of pitched tents to choose from, including luxury safari Eco Tents and 2-room canvas tents (no BYO tent sites available). There are also powered sites to park your own campervan. It’s a great introduction to camping for nervous beginners without splashing out on all the gear!
Kids will love a camping farm stay at Paradise Country where every day starts with feeding the farm animals and collecting eggs, and ends with a nightly gathering around the campfire. There are lots of animal encounters available throughout the day too and access to the wildlife park is included.
Paradise Country camping facilities:
Bathroom facilities, restaurant, picnic packages, bar, power, linen and beds provided.
Paradise Country activities:
Feeding the farm animals, egg collecting, milking cows, wildlife talks, dingo and koala encounters, opal fossicking, gold panning, wagon rides.
Is Paradise Country pet friendly:
No. Because there are farm animals on site dogs are not permitted.
Find out if there is availability and prices here.
Last but not least, find out all about family friendly camping in the Murwillumbah region here!
Want to take your dog camping? We wrote about dog friendly camping spots in Queensland here.
The golden rules of camping
- Check local restrictions – are you permitted to camp here? Are there any rules or restrictions?
- Check fire regulations – where and when are campfires permitted? If you build a campfire tend to it responsibly and always put out the embers with water. Buried embers can cause nasty burns to unwary bare feet!
- Keep dogs (where permitted) leashed and under control (note: dogs are generally not allowed in QLD national parks).
- Be mindful of your camping neighbours and don’t blast loud music out into the night, and check that generators are permitted before using. Let the wildlife be the only noisy neighbour!
- Do remove all rubbish when you leave. If bins aren’t available, bag your waste and take it home.
- Be kind to wildlife; this campsite is their home too!
- Don’t poop in the bush! If there are no toilets, dig a hole at least 15cm deep and at least 70 adult steps away from campsite, trails and water sources, and bury your creations with the toilet paper! Recycled and bio-degradable toilet paper is recommended if you’re burying it.
- MAKE FRIENDS! This one is easy… the joy of sharing an outdoor adventure experience with your new temporary neighbours is one that can last forever!