I’ve already shared with you my favourite Victorian and Tassie places to camp with the family, now let’s head further North into the ACT, New South Wales and Queensland.
Unless I’ve mentioned otherwise, you will need to camp in a caravan park.
Birdsville, Outback Queensland
Birdsville is a very small town on the edge of the Simpson Desert, and apart from the legendary races that are held there very September, the place is quiet and peaceful. The pub is iconic, with its large white verandah, and it makes some welcome pub meals for weary travellers. There is a large oval for kids to play on (the only green thing in sight!), and a good caravan park.
This place is a mecca for adventure, and suits the whole family. Eli Creek is a shallow creek that runs out to the beach from the wetlands behind the dunes, and has fresh-ish warm water for everyone to swim in. Lake McKenzie is a large, deep lake, where kids and adults alike will love to swim. Many of the inland lakes have resident turtles for you to see, and if you are quiet and slow, they may even surround your feet! The kids (and some adults) will love that experience. If you are camping on the island, you can camp in designated campgrounds, which are fenced off to keep the dingoes out. Use the steel lockers provided for your food, too, otherwise the native wildlife may just help themselves when you are not looking. It’s not recommended that you swim in the ocean though, as it’s known for its large shark population.
I just love this place for big and small kids alike. It has beaches, rainforest in the nearby hinterland, and it’s a great stepping-stone to Fraser Island (you can hire a 4wd from Noosa to visit the island, or catch a tourist bus for a day trip there too). There is a lovely walk to the Noosa Headland from the town, which takes about an hour each way with kids in tow.
Mossman Gorge and Cape Tribulation
This is where the Daintree Rainforest really starts to take shape. Such pretty, secluded places to camp and visit, but make sure you have everything you need before setting up camp. The gorge has some amazing places to swim (but be careful on the rocks with children), and massive waterfalls for you to photograph (or sit under). Cape Tribulation has lovely beaches, but sharks and crocodiles also find this area nice, so beware…
I would love to visit Hinchinbrook Island in far North-Queensland, too, but again I’m waiting almost-patiently for my kids to grow so that we can explore the area together (it is known for its wonderful multi-day bushwalks!)
New South Wales
In the Southern Corner of NSW is Merimbula, a thriving coastal town which is known for its fishing and surfing industries. It is a wonderful place for children to visit, with its quiet estuary for swimming, and its long beaches for surfing, walking and fishing. Take a short drive to Pambula, where the river heads to the ocean and the water is calmer for swimming with smaller kids. Merimbula is a known whale-watching site, too.
Ben Boyd National Park
There are some beautiful, out-of-the-way campsites in the park, including Saltwater Creek where there are drop toilets for your use. Please note this is a sensitive area, which needs to be respected. Pristine beach views are abundant, but there are limited facilities and no electricity. Just a great place to camp with kids!
Pebbly Beach in Murramarang National Park is stunning, and is known for its resident kangaroos which kids may be able to view at sunset just chilling on the beach!
Although we didn’t camp there, Byron Bay has many caravan parks and holiday accommodation available to rent throughout the year. Byron is a wonderful place for kids, as there are many safe beaches for them to enjoy - and with Surfers Paradise only an hour’s drive away, the bigger kids will love the theme parks there, too.
One thing I really want to experience in NSW is the Tamworth Music Festival in late January. I’m not really into country music, but I reckon the experience would last with our family for years to come.
Australian Capital Territory
There are some amazing places to see in the ACT, and we have found some great campsites just out of Canberra. One of these is Mount Clear Camping ground, which has pit toilets and fireplaces, and we have had this place to ourselves before. That is, apart from about 100 kangaroos who use this area for their private buffet...having an outdoor shower with 200 eyes on you is a little unnerving! The kids loved it though, and were able to run and play in the vast open grassy areas all afternoon.
When in Canberra, we stayed in a caravan park so that we could be close to facilities as we had a very young child with us and the temperatures outside were in the 40s. We found a great outdoor pool complex with waterslides and a toddler play area (with baby waterslides) which kept our kids happy. Questacon, which is a science discovery centre aimed at kids of all levels, was awesome for those days where it was too hot to do anything else. I don’t suggest Parliament House for young kids, as it’s a bit too neat and tidy (read: boring) for them, but the war memorial, with its interactive displays and kid's zone, is fantastic for them to experience. Just keep them close, as it’s a maze in there!
Make sure you check out Cristie's favourite places to camp in WA, SA and NT!