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Camping | Flanagan’s Reserve Camping Ground | Review

My family of 5 (including 2 children, 6 years and 18 months plus our miniature schnauzer dog) and 2 friends decided to head off to Flanagan’s Reserve Camping, near Mt Barney National Park, to round out the Queensland school holidays over summer.

Written by Gail Holding

How to Get to Flanagan’s Reserve Camping

Directions to Flanagan’s Reserve Camping Ground

Flanagan’s Reserve Camping Ground is a dog friendly, family friendly 12 hectare camping ground.  Flanagan’s Reserve is located approximately 11 km past Rathdowney (44 km from Beaudesert) and is easily accessed by gravel road (4WD not required) off the main road.  A relatively comfortable two hour drive from the northern suburbs of Brisbane saw us arrive early on Saturday morning.

What to expect when camping

Check in was easily done at the park office and we were then free to select our own camping site.  The ground at Flanagan’s Reserve is relatively flat, with heaps of beautiful gum trees and therefore plenty of shade.  The property borders the upper reaches of the Logan River.  A word of warning – think carefully where you setup camp as the toilets can be quite a walk from some parts of the park.  Also, there are quite a few ants in some places so prepare for that (we didn’t have any problem with ant bites though – mainly just had to watch the dog food and also not leave any scraps lying around).

The Australia Day weekend was quite full, however it still felt we had heaps of space around our campsite.  Open campfires are allowed (subject to firebans) and fire drums are provided.  Firewood can be purchased in wheel barrows from the onsite kiosk.

Flanagan’s Reserve Camping

Facilities at Flanagan’s Reserve – bush camping

The amenities are minimalist at Flanagan’s Reserve Camping.  There are 3 showers (costing 20c per minute) which can get quite busy at peak times.  This can be avoided if you shower outside of these times.  Toilets are also minimal (eg 2 female toilets) however, management bring in port-a-loos in the busy times.

There are no powered camp sites at Flanagan’s.  Generators are permitted at set times.

What to do and where to go

After set up, we spent a leisurely afternoon down by the river.  The river has a shallow section (perfect for my young son to paddle around in), which then flows into a beautiful big swimming hole.  It is a lovely fresh water swim.  We took a couple of pool noodles as the swimming hole is very deep in some places.  The area along the river is a pleasant grassy area, perfect to sit and enjoy the surroundings.  The children had a wonderful time.  We also took their bikes.  It was an excellent opportunity for my daughter to practice her new found skill of bike riding without training wheels.

Mt Barney is near Flanagan’s

Flanagan’s Reserve Camping is very close to the Mt Barney National Park and as such, close to some beautiful bush walks.  On Sunday, my friend and I decided to do the Lower Portals bush walk (children stayed at the campsite with Dad).  The start of the walk is about a 10 minute drive from Flanagan’s.  The walk is approximately 7.4 km return.  It is classed as moderate to steep gradients. 

My friend and I are of average fitness and we completed the walk in about 3 hours, including a lovely swim in the rock pools of Mt Barney Creek.  We both were overawed by the rock pools at the end of the walk.  The crisp, clear water and surrounding rocks were simply stunning.  I’m 6 foot tall and I could see down to my feet whilst floating upright – it was crystal clear!  Whilst we did pass several groups with children of multiple ages doing the walk, I would recommend allowing significantly longer than 3 hours if you do take children.  The hills are quite steep and felt especially so on the return trip.

Night time at the campsite was quite peaceful.  The camp fire was wonderful and the stars of course shone brightly.

Monday arrived all too quickly and after a yummy breakfast of bacon and eggs on the bbq, we sadly packed up our camp and bid farewell to Flanagan’s Reserve.  We all had a wonderful time and really felt we had escaped the “rat-race” for a short while.  We actually loved it so much, we are going back at Easter time.  I recommend Flanagan’s Reserve to all families and their pets (who aren’t too fussy about amenities).

Top 10 tips for camping at Flanagan’s Reserve

1. Practise reversing your caravan or trailer and setting up (and packing away) your tent to ensure a quick set-up or getaway.

2. Test your gear, including camping stoves and lights, to identify missing equipment or faults at home rather than on your adventure.

3. Prepare a comprehensive checklist of what you will need to bring with you.

4. Never store a gas bottle indoors and opting for a shady, well ventilated position outside which is away from ignition sources.

5. Carry a fire extinguisher on board your caravan or car.

6. Wear a life vest when rock fishing, boating or engaging in water sport activities.

7. Leave a rubber doormat at the entrance of your tent or caravan to minimise dirt or sand from entering your camp area.

8. Store food in containers or coolers outside your tent to prevent attracting nocturnal wildlife to your campsite and always keep your tent zipper closed to keep bugs out.

9. Put glow sticks in water bottles for fun night time bowling or give your kids glow sticks at night to ensure you know where they are, especially when you’re near water.

10. Find a rock every time you go camping and write a memory on it.

What do you really need in a first aid kit?

Commonly when out free camping, bush camping or caravanning children will get bites and stings, grazes, sore eyes, sprains and vomit. Your first aid kit should also be prepared for more serious injuries like snake bite and scalds. Some items can be purchased at the supermarket and you can also buy online from St John Ambulance. Keep one in the car and, if possible, keep another at home. In any first aid kit there will be a range of items that are choking hazards and/or sharp and unsuitable for children to access. So keep your first aid kit away from little children. We asked the CEO of Kidsafe QLD to give us her list of must have items – click here.

Photo of author

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.

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