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Camping Toowoomba: Perfect Spots for Families

This article will tell you some of the best spots for a family camping trip, in Toowoomba.

Nothing says the great outdoors quite like the Toowoomba and Lockyer Valley regions, with their landscapes of grassy plateaus, hills and mountains, eucalypt forests and lakes, and we think we’ve rounded up the ten best spots for camping Toowoomba style.

There are back-to-nature bush camping options for experienced campers, free camping sites, privately owned camping grounds with full amenities, farm stays, and holiday parks for campers who want the reassurance of neighbours and comfortable amenities close at hand. Whatever your camping, caravanning or glamping style, we’ve got you covered with these camping within 2 hours of Brisbane. These are your ideal Toowoomba Region campsites, perfect for school holidays in Queensland!

So pack up your camping equipment and pull out those ‘no cook camping recipes‘ and head out into the great outdoors!

Check out our list – can you think of any we’ve forgotten?

Camping Toowoomba the ten best spots for families!

There are so many awesome things for families to do in and around Toowoomba and camping is one of our favourites!

Here are our picks:

Ten best places to go camping in Toowoomba map:

Murphy’s Creek Escape

Murphy’s Creek Toowoomba

Who’d have thought you could find a beach only 30 minutes from Toowoomba? That’s just what they have at Murphy’s Creek Escape! You can relax on the inland beach, swim in the creek, or take part in any of the many exciting adventure activities at this awesome family-friendly campsite. Kids will love flying along on the giant swing – 14 metres high!, or challenging themselves to archery, mountain biking, or the ropes course.

Murphy’s Creek Escape has powered and non-powered camping sites in a natural bushland setting, with remote camping sites too for those who prefer more privacy. There is even a wagon and glamping options for those who like something a little out of the ordinary.

If you have a big family and want to see what tents are on offer, check out this range of 8 person tents! And even if you don’t have your own tent you can ‘try before you buy’ by hiring one on-site, and they’ll even set it up for you for an extra cost. If you’re more the “travel in luxury” type, there are powered and non-powered sites and room to explore for those with an offroad camper.

For more luxury, hire one of the camper trailers complete with queen bed, kitchen, furniture and flooring. Dogs are welcome in most areas of the campsite provided they are leashed, and there’s a fenced off-leash area to give your fur baby a run. Even your horse can accompany you on this camping holiday – pitch your tent right next to the shady, watered horse yard and enjoy the local riding trails!

Facilities at Murphy’s Creek Escape

Camp kitchen with fridge-freezer, microwave, and a large bonfire ring for proper campfire cooking, BBQ area with seating, coin operated laundry, flushing toilets and hot showers (bring 20¢ coins for hot water), playground, kiosk for gas and basic provisions, fenced paddocks for your own horse.

Activities at Murphy’s Creek Escape

Ropes course, giant swing, hiking, archery, mountain biking (trails on site), bird feeding, swimming in the creek, adventure playground.

Is Murphy’s Creek Escape pet friendly?

Yes, dogs and horses are welcome! Dogs must be leashed at all times except in the off-leash area. Horses are accommodated in individual shady paddocks. Other small pets (e.g., cats and birds) can be brought along too, but must be declared to reception and kept under control.

See the Murphy’s Creek Escape website for more details, and check out our review here!

Heifer Creek

For a spur-of-the-moment escape Heifer Creek Campsite is ideal. You don’t need to book and it’s all free camping – just turn up and pitch your tent or caravan in one of the 20 camping spots. There’s not much by way of facilities but there are toilets (composting), wood BBQs (bring your own wood) and picnic tables. Note: There are no taps so bring plenty of water with you, or if using water from the creek, boil it for at least ten minutes before use. Plan ahead and be aware that occasionally the creek can run dry.

Heifer Creek itself is small and shallow (perfect for paddling!) and the area has an abundance of local wildlife, including wallabies and brush turkeys.

There is no website for Heifer Creek Campsite, but you can find it at 2536 Gatton Clifton Road, Fordsdale, QLD. Please be mindful to take all rubbish home with you, and leave the campsite clean.

Facilities at Heifer Creek Campsite

Longdrop toilets, wood BBQs, picnic tables.

Activities at Heifer Creek Campsite

Hiking, relaxing, BYO lawn and ball games.

Is Heifer Creek Campsite pet friendly?

As Heifer Creek Campsite is technically a rest area dogs can be brought onto the site, but please be considerate of wildlife and other campers and ensure your dog is always under your control, and all mess is cleaned up.

Crows Nest – Crows Nest National Park

Crows Nest camping ground, 56kms north of Toowoomba, is set in the Crows Nest National Park and accessible in a standard car. There are 13 non-powered sites for which you pay per person or per family group, though under fives are free. The sites are suitable for tents, caravans, camper trailers and campervans.

There are pit toilets and showers on site, and a covered BBQ area, but all water from the tap must be boiled before consumption and you must bring your own wood for the BBQ.

Take advantage of all the beauty that Crows Nest National Park has to offer by taking an easy stroll through the eucalypt forest to the cascading waterfall and swimming hole.

Facilities at Crows Nest Camping Ground

Composting toilets, shower cubicles (BYO camp shower), picnic tables, wood BBQs (BYO wood).

Activities at Crows Nest Camping Ground

Hiking, swimming in the waterhole, bird watching.

Is Crows Nest Camping Ground pet friendly

No. The campsite is in a Crows Nest National Park. Dogs are not permitted.

Are there any restrictions to camping in Crows Nest Camping Ground?

Generators are not permitted, and fires must be in the designated fire areas. Check the daily fire restrictions for the national park.

Find more details about camping in Crows Nest National Park here.

Cressbrook Dam

Situated on the shores of Lake Cressbrook Dam, the campsite offers you the choice of more than thirty camping sites suitable for tents, campervans and caravans. There are bathroom facilities on site and wood BBQs (bring your own wood!).

This is a just-turn-up campsite with bookings not taken, but please make sure you register your stay upon entry. Fees are charged per individual or per family group. Check the website for current fees and bring the correct money – it’s an honesty box with envelopes–but no change–available.

Facilities at Lake Cressbrook Dam Camping Site

Toilets and hot showers, wood BBQs (BYO wood), camp kitchen, picnic tables, boat ramp.

Activities at Lake Cressbrook Dam Camping Site

Water sports, walking, wildlife spotting, fishing.

Swimming is not permitted.

Is Lake Cressbrook Dam Camping Site pet friendly

No. Please leave pets at home.

You can find more details at the Lake Cressbrook Dam website.

Lake Dyer Caravan Park

Lake Dyer Camping and Caravan Park is a popular family destination for holidaymakers and day-trippers, with plenty to do for those who love to be outdoors. You’ll find Lake Dyer in the picturesque Lockyer Valley, and if you love to fish there’s plenty of opportunity in this well-stocked lake (QLD fishing licence required).

For campers and caravaners there are fifty sites available, with more than a dozen being powered sites. It’s a popular campsite in school holidays so we recommend booking well in advance to secure your space, and don’t forget the smores to enjoy around your campfire as you watch the sun set over the water!

Facilities at Lake Dyer Camping and Caravan Park

Toilets, hot showers, gas and wood BBQs, covered picnic tables, tap water, boat ramp, playground nearby, managers on site.

Activities at Lake Dyer Camping and Caravan Park

Kayak or canoe (BYO), fishing, boating, swimming, lawn games.

Are pets welcome at Lake Dyer Camping and Caravan Park?

Yes, but restrictions apply.

You can find out more about camping at Lake Dyer here.

Gordon Country

Gordon Country is a privately owned 4000 acre working cattle farm that just happens to welcome holidaymakers–and their pets–too! If you want to give your children a real-life country experience you can’t find better than the Gordon Country property. Gordon Country offers a choice of 13 different camping areas over 100 acres, suitable for tents and caravans, plus cabin accommodation and themed safari tent “glamping” experiences too!

Phone reception is poor, and the property is big enough to camp well away from anyone else, so you can really immerse yourself in a totally off-the-grid holiday if that’s your thing. Pitch your tent by the creek, in the paddocks, or by the eucalypt wood, or choose a different spot each night. They even have accommodation for your horse!

Note: As this is a working cattle farm you will be camping alongside free-roaming cattle.

Facilities at Gordon Country Campsites

Facilities can vary between the sites so do take a look online to be sure you choose a site with the facilities you require. Most sites have toilets and shower blocks, and you’re welcome to collect and chop wood for your campfire, or buy a bag of pre-cut wood from the small onsite wood store.

Activities at Gordon Country Campsites

4WD “playpen”, swimming in the creek, walking, mountain biking, exploring, ball games, fishing, scavenger hunt (pick up the list from the office); in fact, the good people at Gordon Country have heaps of ideas for kids, with printed “cloud spotting bingo” sheets, kids’ camp Olympics, campfire story telling competitions, constellation discovery – they’re full of ideas to keep the kids busy and learning!

Is Gordon Country pet friendly?

At Gordon Country you’re welcome to bring along your dog and horse (conditions apply), but please let them know in advance and check the requirements.

Find out more at the Gordon Country website.

Big4 Toowoomba Garden City

Big4 Holiday Parks know all about fun family holidays, and have created an ideal holiday park environment suited to experienced campers and caravaners, and those new to the game who are just dipping their toes into the outdoor holiday experience. They even have a number of cabins and villas available for those who enjoy more comfort, including accommodation suited to those with less mobility or disabilities.

At Big4 Toowoomba the focus is on making friends and enjoying a relaxing escape. As camping goes, Big4 Holiday Parks like to make is slightly less challenging and so all sites are powered and well facilitated. You can even hire an en-suite campsite with the convenience of your own flushing toilet and hot shower!

There’s plenty for the kids to do here too. Big 4 Toowoomba Garden City has a heated swimming pool, water slide and wading pool, a jumping pillow, and a TV room, and you’re so close to all the local attractions like the Cobb & Co Museum and Toowoomba town centre. There’s a holiday to suit all budgets just waiting for you here!

Facilities at Big4 Toowoomba Garden City

Toilets, hot showers, en-suites, coin-operated laundry, swimming pools, spa, jumping pillow, herb garden, camp kitchen with vending machine, covered BBQ area, TV room, children’s bathroom, facilities for those with disabilities, close to shops and public playground, free Wi-Fi, sewerage dump point.

Activities at Big4 Toowoomba Garden City

Swimming, jumping pillow, local attractions.

Is Big4 Toowoomba Garden City pet friendly?

No, please don’t bring pets with you.

You can find more information at the Big4 Toowoomba website.

The Woolshed at Jondaryan – currently open to organised bookings only.

The Woolshed at Jondaryan is a heritage listed historic museum with camping and caravanning accommodation in its grounds. It’s the perfect location for a rustic family getaway with 80 powered sites available, and unlimited unpowered sites for a more natural camping experience.

You have all the facilities you need on site and the kids will love visiting the working museum with its horsemanship and sheep shearing shows, 30+ themed buildings including schools and a jail, and all the farmyard animals big and small! There’s even a mini railway to ride on every second and fourth Sunday of each month.

If you like a more solid roof over your head, there are a number of quaint little cabins and cottages for hire too.

Facilities and Jondaryan Woolshed Campsite

Amenities block with toilets and hot showers, rustic camp kitchen with fridge, seating, BBQ and cooking fire pit, coin-operated laundry, café-restaurant.

Activities at Jondaryan Woolshed

There’s lots to see and do at the Jondaryan Historic Museum, and many other local attractions nearby. See here for our list of 50 things to do in Toowoomba ideas.

Are pets welcome at Jondaryan Woolshed Camping?

Yes, pets are welcome on the powered and unpowered sites. Please contact Jondaryan Woolshed for further details.

You can find out more about camping at Historic Jondaryan Woolshed here.

Bowenville Reserve Campsite

Bowenville Reserve has 30 unpowered tent camping sites in a large grassy area. It’s a free camping area for which you don’t need to book – just turn up and pitch your tent! As a free site, please do the right thing and leave it clean and tidy when you go.

The campsite is close to a creek with swimming holes and has basic facilities. You can even bring your well-behaved dog!

Facilities at Bowenville Reserve Campsite

Flushing toilets, wood BBQs (BYO wood), picnic tables, playground.

Activities at Bowenville Reserve Campsite

Swimming in the creek, kayaking and canoeing (BYO watercraft), fishing, walking.

Is Bowenville Reserve Campsite pet friendly?

Yes, dogs are welcome but conditions apply.

Are there any restrictions to camping at Bowenville Reserve Campsite?

Yes. As a free campsite, stays are limited to seven nights maximum. Fires are only to be built in the constructed fire pits and with awareness of local fire restrictions.

Find out more about Bowenville Reserve camping here.

Fordsdale Farmstay Camping

Fordsdale is a horse farm offering bush camping amongst its 1000 acres of bush and grazing land. There are no powered sites but you’re welcome to pitch your tent or park your campervan almost anywhere, and there is a basic amenities block for your use.

If you’re a horse lover and outdoorsy type you will fall in love with Fordsdale. The site is home to a large number of light horses and you can add a variety of horse riding experiences to your camping package, or bring your own horse for a holiday too! If riding is not your thing you can try bouldering on site or simply enjoy the landscape and other local attractions.

Facilities at Fordsdale Farmstay Campsite

Toilets and shower, horse agistment, free firewood, drinking water.

Activities at Fordsdale Farmstay Campsite

Horse riding, bouldering, walking, swimming (seasonal, depending on rainfall and creek level).

Is Fordsdale Farmstay pet friendly?

Yes. Well-behaved dogs are welcome (be aware of roaming farm animals!) and you can bring your own horse too!

You can find out more about camping and activities at Fordsdale Farmstay here.

You can find dog friendly camping across 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!

Families Magazine are strong supporters of a safe camping philosophy. Please make sure you follow all precautions in terms of water and fire safety and that you check what’s appropriate, and what’s not appropriate, at your campground of choice.

Camping Toowoomba style! Any others?

Happy travels! If you have had a great experience camping near Toowoomba please let us know and we’ll happily pack it in our swag and add it to our list.


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Janine Mergler

Janine Mergler is a veteran Queensland teacher, graduating from QUT with a BEd majoring in Social Sciences. After many years in the classroom, Janine moved on to academia. She has proudly trained new generations of teachers in her role as a lecturer at Queensland University of Technology Faculty of Education. She has also worked in the Queensland Government as an education specialist, developing education resources and delivering community awareness programs to help families conserve water. Currently she is the owner and editor of Families Magazine, a publication specifically targeted at parents who value a quality education for children.  Janine leads a team of professionals who write about family lifestyle, early childhood, schools and education information and family-friendly events.

2 thoughts on “Camping Toowoomba: Perfect Spots for Families”

  1. Love the recommendation for the Toowomba showgrounds! My family and I are planning a camping trip soon and this will be perfect for us. Thanks for sharing!


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