One of the things that both visitors and locals love the most about Cairns is its laid-back, outdoors lifestyle. With its warm tropical weather, breathtaking beaches, tropical rainforest and rugged outback, it’s no wonder people from all over the world flock to this region of Far North Queensland every year.
One of the best ways to really discover the magic of Cairns and the surrounding area is to pack up the tent or swag and set up camp at one of the many camping grounds scattered throughout this unique piece of paradise.
Here we have shared with you some of the best camping spots near Cairns to help get you started on your camping adventure.
Granite Gorge is a privately owned nature park 12km outside of Mareeba, which is a little town just an hours’ drive from Cairns. The boulders at Granite Gorge were formed millions of years ago by volcanoes and are a breathtaking natural wonder waiting to be explored.
The park has walking trails that wind through the ancient boulders that make you feel as though you have stepped back in time, as well as being home to a variety of interesting animals. On top of the list has to be the resident Rock Wallabies that make their way to the designated feeding spot every morning and afternoon waiting to be fed. Visitors are welcome to feed the wallabies with wallaby food that can be bought from reception for $1 a bag.
Once you’ve built up a sweat exploring the boulders and walking tracks, you can cool off in Granite Creek Weir which provides crocodile-free swimming and is perfect for kayaking and canoeing.
The campground is spacious and shady and offers both powered and unpowered sites. The camp facilities are clean and well maintained including two toilet blocks with hot showers, laundry facilities, BBQs and wood for open fires.
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Fitzroy Island is a tropical island just a short 45-minute fast cat ride from Cairns Marlin Marina. It has a friendly laid-back vibe which is why it’s a favourite getaway destination even for the locals.
The island has a variety of types of resort accommodation, but if getting back to nature is more your thing, then there is a campground located right next to the beach. Imagine getting out of your tent in the morning, grabbing your mask and snorkel and having instant access to the World Heritage Listed Great Barrier Reef straight from the beach!
The island has a whole range of activities to keep you busy during the day, including kayaking tours, scuba dive trips, glass bottom boat tours, walking trails, the Turtle Rehabilitation Centre, stand up paddle boarding and the giant ocean trampoline.
The campground has approximately 20 tent sites as well as a very modern and stylish shower block, beachfront BBQs and pergola cover for eating areas. Fitzroy Island Resort manages the campgrounds on behalf of the Cairns Regional Council and campfires are not permitted in the campgrounds. Campers need to supply their own camping equipment.
Lake Tinaroo is located 15 minutes northeast of Atherton and has always been a very popular camping spot amongst the Cairns locals. The large body of water was created in 1959 courtesy of a large dam blocking the Barron River, and is a protected and safe place for sailing, windsurfing, water skiing, swimming, fishing and red clawing.
The wilderness surrounding the dam is diverse, including dense rainforest, pine tree plantations and Australian scrub. As a result, the birdlife is spectacular and platypuses and kangaroos are in abundance.
There are five camping areas located around the back of the dam in the Danbulla State Forest: Platypus Camping Area, Downfall Camping Area, Kauri Creek Camping Area, School Point Camping Area and Fong-On Bay Camping Area.
All campsites have flushing toilets, a shower room (bring your own shower) and allow campfires. All five campgrounds are unpowered and only Fong-On Bay allows you to bring your own generator. You must also bring your own drinking water to all sites.
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Bramston Beach is a quiet little town one hour south of Cairns. With a population of only 200 people, it’s a great place to go to completely relax and switch off from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
There is only one campground in Bramston Beach on Evans Road, which is run by the council. It is right on the beach with a large area of grass between the campsite and the sand, which is perfect for picnics, playing cricket, football or just letting the kids run free.
The campground has plenty of shade with both powered and unpowered sites, an amenities block, laundry, BBQ facilities and a playground.
As there isn’t much of a town in Bramston Beach you’ll spend most of your time on the beach swimming, fishing, collecting shells, building sandcastles or simply relaxing with a book, which is what camping is really all about.
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The camping spots we’ve mentioned here are just a handful of the amazing places waiting to be discovered in the Cairns region. You’ll soon realise that once you’ve started to explore this unique part of the world, that there is always another magical spot just down the road calling your name.