The Gold Coast Hinterland boasts a number of spectacular national parks full of rainforests, waterfalls, rocky plateaus, winding creeks and valleys, and abundant wildlife.
Pick any of the national parks, from Lamington, Tamborine to Springbrook, and you’re going to have an awesome time hiking and camping!
READ MORE: A Guide to Waterfall Hikes at Springbrook
CAMPING AT SPRINGBROOK NATIONAL PARK
There’s plenty of commercial camping around the Gold Coast Hinterland but I really like to stay in national parks.
Springbrook National Park is only about an hour from the Gold Coast, making it a very popular spot for escaping the urban sprawl. There’s only one spot where you can camp here, and that’s at the Settlement camping area.
SETTLEMENT CAMPING AREA
It’s a small campground with only 11 individual sites along a single access road that is sealed all the way, ideal for smaller cars. In late January, it was a little too popular for our liking but being so close to the Gold Coast, you can’t really expect to have it all to yourself.
The sites in the campground vary from grassy to compact dirt, and some sites are fairly slope-y (especially the first three as you enter the campground).
As with all national parks in Queensland, you need to pre-book your campsite at Springbrook.
You can no longer choose a specific site. I’m not sure why they’ve done that, I’m not really a fan. If I have to pre-book my camp spot, I’d prefer to book a specific one. That way I can rock up whenever I want instead of being stuck with the last one available.
What’s really nice about the Settlement camping area is that impressive Purling Brook Falls, including the 4km loop walk, is close by. It’s nice to not have to drive to do a hike.
There are a couple of other walks in Springbrook but you’ll need to hop into your car to access those.
There are no showers at Springbrook and only hybrid compost toilets but I found them very clean and not smelly – always a bonus!
The Springbrook campground also serves as the endpoint for the Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk so there were quite a few cars parked in the carpark, waiting for people to finish their 3-day hike. One of these days I’ll join them!
And since the campground is on the Springbrook plateau, it’s also a bit cooler here. We camped here in late January and the temperatures were really pleasant in the mid-20s, quite a few degrees cooler than in the valley.
Another positive was the lack of mozzies, especially given the amount of rain we had while we were there. It’s on a plateau but the rainforest isn’t exactly far away – still, no mozzies in the campground that we noticed (and believe me, we notice if they’re there).
One thing that’s a bit weird about camping at Springbrook though is how close the campground is to the surrounding residential areas and housing.
It’s situated right at the western edge of the national park. Since Springbrook has only been a national park for some 20 years, there’s “suburbia” just around the corner. So as you lie in your tent at night, you can hear dogs barking and cars coming home. It’s not a big deal, you just don’t feel very remote here.
SPRINGBROOK (SETTLEMENT) CAMPING AREA AT A GLANCE
PROS: Easily accessible (2WD); clean, hybrid compost toilets; small campground with individual sites (vehicle-based camping); most sites have shady areas; close to Purling Brook Falls and walking tracks; BBQ shelter with access to municipal water
CONS: Much busier than expected and on the backpacker trail (since it’s so close to the Gold Coast); no tables; first come first serve basis (can’t pre-book specific sites anymore); Sites 1-3 quite slope-y
COST: $6.75 pp/pn (2021); pre-bookings only
Not sure what the tents and mozzies mean? Check out my tents and mozzies guide.
Find more information about camping at Springbrook on the Queensland National Parks website. There is also commercial camping in the Numinbah Valley through Adventure Trails. No idea if it’s any fun but check it out if you want to be near the Nerang River in the valley.
No matter where you camp, remember to do it responsibly.
If you’re keen to see some waterfalls and do some hiking, here’s my overview of short waterfalls hikes at Springbrook.
MORE POSTS ON CAMPING IN SOUTHEAST QUEENSLAND
For a taste of bunya pines, summer cool and elevated views, Bunya Mountains National Park is a great spot for a long weekend camping. Hiking was one of my favourite things to do there but here are a couple of other ideas as well.
If granite boulders and plenty shorter hikes are your thing, camping at Girraween might be a good option. It can get busy and hot though!
For more ideas in the Southeast, have a look at my 13 camping spots near Brisbane.
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