It’s no wonder that year after year, visitors to Cairns fall in love with the region, when you consider its friendly, welcoming and laidback lifestyle, in addition to its incredible tropical weather and abundance of spectacular beaches, beautiful tropical rainforest vegetation and proximity to the awe-inspiring Great Barrier Reef.
One of the most enjoyable ways to experience the magic of Cairns and its surrounds is to hit up one of the region’s awesome camping grounds, located in numerous beautiful locations. Let us introduce to you four wonderful camping spots nearby to Cairns, so you can get planning on your next camping adventure!
Created sixty years ago in 1959 (due to a large dam which was blocking the flow of the Barron River), Lake Tinaroo is a very popular choice amongst camping enthusiasts, thanks to its diverse vegetation (including Australian scrub, pine trees and lush rainforest) and of course its amazing array of fun water activities.
When it comes to camping at Lake Tinaroo, you have five campground options to choose from (all located within Danbulla State Forest, at the rear of the dam): Downfall Camping Area, Fong-On Bay Camping Area, Kauri Creek Camping Area, Platypus Camping Area and School Point Camping Area. All sites are unpowered (generators are permitted at Fong-On Bay only) and have flushing toilets. Bring your own shower along if you wish to take advantage of one of the shower rooms (available at all five campgrounds). It is vital you supply your own drinking water for your stay and campfires are allowed.
The safe and protected water of Lake Tinaroo makes it the perfect location for swimming, windsurfing, water-skiing and sailing, in addition to fishing and red clawing. Thanks to its diverse vegetation, it is not uncommon to spot platypuses and kangaroos on a regular basis, in addition to a spectacular array of beautiful birdlife.
Image credit: queensland.com
Bramston Beach is a quaint, very small town located an hour south of the city of Cairns, and offers a wonderful, relaxed environment for camping away from the hustle and bustle. The town’s only campground is located right on the beach on Evans Road and is council-operated. You can choose between a powered or unpowered site and shall have access to an amenities block, laundry room, BBQs, a playground and lots of shade.
The large grass area that separates the campsite from the sand makes the perfect spot to let your kids run freely, play a game of cricket or simply kick back and relax with a picnic and a good book. With only 200 people calling Bramston Beach home, it is the perfect beachside camping area for doing a whole lot of not very much (such as swimming, fishing and relaxing on the sand) – this is what camping is about, after all!
Granite Gorge is a popular camping spot with Cairns locals as well as visitors to the region, thanks to its stunning natural beauty (think incredible giant boulders, formed by volcanoes millions of years ago, beautiful walking tracks, fun water activities and interesting Aussie animals). Granite Gorge is located 12km from the biggest town in the mountains behind Cairns (the Atherton Tablelands), called Mareeba.
Granite Gorge camping ground is privately owned and offers a choice between powered and unpowered sites. Facilities on offer include barbeques, wood for campfires, two toilet blocks (with hot showers), as well as laundry facilities.
Some of the best ways to explore Granite Gorge are: to take one/more of the park’s many walking trails, which wind their way through the enormous ancient volcanic boulders and beautiful vegetation; swimming in Granite Creek Weir (crocodile-free); as well as kayaking and canoeing on the Weir.
Granite Gorge is famous for its resident Rock Wallabies, which are a whole lot of fun to watch and feed using wallaby food (available for a mere $1.00 a bag from the campground reception). The resident Rock Wallabies venture to the designated feeding area twice a day.
Image credit: zoochat.com (William Bezodis)
Fitzroy Island is a stunning tropical island paradise loved by locals and tourists alike and is located just 45 minutes from Cairns Marina by Fast Cat. Fitzroy Island is undoubtedly one of the most spectacular locations in the Cairns region to pitch your swag or tent (right by the beach!) and explore the area’s incredible natural beauty. Picture yourself unzipping your tent in the morning, grabbing your snorkelling gear and paddling straight from the shore onto the Great Barrier Reef! (Fitzroy Island offers an array of accommodation options, including camping, to suit a variety of tastes and budgets.)
Fitzroy Island has a huge array of amazing activities to keep you entertained during your stay, from snorkelling and scuba diving to bouncing on the Giant Ocean Trampoline, walking/hiking the island’s many stunning trails, taking a Glass Bottom Boat/Turtle Rehabilitation Centre and/or Sea Kayaking Tour and trying your hand at stand-up paddle boarding.
Fitzroy Island’s camping area caters for approximately 20 sites and your stay includes access to a toilet and shower block, beachfront BBQs and a covered eating area. You shall need to bring with you your own camping equipment. (Fires are not permitted, as per Cairns Regional Council.)