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Free camping in Brisbane: 8 places you don’t want to miss

Jessica Pilon-Summons

Are you looking for an unforgettable camping adventure in and around this vibrant city? Pack your swag, find a car share, and read on.

We've curated a guide to the best free camping Brisbane has to offer.

Brisbane has it all if you’re seeking spectacular landscapes, thrilling experiences, or simply need an overnight rest stop.

From tranquil coastal escapes to lush forest hideaways, free camping near Brisbane makes for the kind of trip you’ll remember forever.

So get ready to pitch your tent and toast marshmallows by the fire – here are eight of our favourite free camping spots in or near Brisbane.

Free camping near Brisbane

When it comes to free camping near Brisbane, you’re spoilt for choice.

The region enjoys a spectacular variety of camping options that cater to all needs and preferences. Whether you like to nestle in serene forests, take in the sounds of sparkling waterways, or surround yourself with rolling hills, there's a perfect free camping spot for you.

Lost in translation
Photo by Jamie McGlinchey / Unsplash

The proximity to Brisbane makes these campsites easily accessible. You’ll escape the city's hustle faster than you can say “toasted marshmallows for dessert”.

One of the advantages of free camping near Brisbane is the variety of landscapes available. The options are endless, from coastal hideaways to mountain retreats and lush national parks.

However, when something is this well-loved, you need to be mindful of seasonality and peak times. Brisbane’s best camping spots can fill up quickly during holidays and peak times, so plan ahead and arrive early.

Now let’s get to the good stuff – where exactly should you go?

Best free camping spots: Brisbane

While many of our top picks lie just outside of Brisbane, there’s an excellent place to escape the buzz of the city – while still in city limits. It’s our top pick for a quick free camping spot in Brisbane.

Pooh Corner Reserve

The sun rises over a swag campsite in the Australian outback
Photo by Chris Gresham-Britt / Unsplash

Only about 25 minutes from Brisbane CBD, Pooh Corner Reserve is a picturesque camping spot nestled within the tranquil D'Aguilar Range.

Pitch your tent here, and you’ll sleep to the sounds of a lush and thriving rainforest. This hidden gem offers a peaceful retreat for nature enthusiasts. You’d never guess the free camping spot is in Brisbane city limits.

What we love: its scenic walking trails, abundant wildlife, and the refreshing dip you can take in the nearby rock pools. We don’t like to play favourites, but this is our top pick of the free camping spots in Brisbane.

Be careful of: uneven terrain and slippery rocks, particularly after rainfall.

Now let’s cast the net a little further out of the city.

Best free camping near Brisbane

If you want to venture a little further from Brisbane, there are several free camping spots within a short drive.

Take a short trip to discover unique experiences and stunning natural landscapes, and excite your senses by exploring the surrounding regions. Pack your camping gear and embark on an adventure to discover the hidden treasures near Brisbane.

Poverty Creek, Bribie Island

Morning, Sunshine! | Camping - Inskip Point, Queensland Australia
Photo by Melissa Walker Horn / Unsplash

About an hour's drive from Brisbane, Bribie Island is a coastal paradise with free camping options at Poverty Creek.

Surrounded by sandy beaches, rolling waves and pristine forests, this camping spot is ideal for beach lovers and fishing enthusiasts.

What we love: the peaceful atmosphere and the opportunity to spot local wildlife.

Be careful of: high tides – plan your camping trip accordingly. Bribie Island is well-loved by locals and can get busy during school holidays and long weekends, so arrive early to secure a spot.

Central Station, K’gari (Fraser Island)

Photo by Frankie Dixon / Unsplash

If you're up for a true adventure, head to K’gari (Fraser Island), the largest sand island in the world. Central Station offers free camping. Pack your swag and marvel at ancient rainforests and crystal-clear freshwater streams.

What we love: the unique blend of rainforest and beach environments, allowing you to explore diverse ecosystems.

Be careful of: dingoes in the area – always follow guidelines for dingo safety. Remember to obtain the necessary permits for camping on Fraser Island and check ferry schedules for access.

Little Yabba Creek, Montville

It was a cold winter’s night in Australia’s Blue Mountains region of New South Wales and we were told there was a meteor shower for the ages inbound. Set this shot up and while i’m not convinced the meteor shower was real, was more than happy to settle for a shooting star and a dwarf galaxy.
Photo by Jonathan Forage / Unsplash

Nestled in the picturesque Sunshine Coast hinterland, Little Yabba Creek offers a serene camping experience surrounded by natural beauty.

Located about one and a half hours from Brisbane, this free camping spot packs a punch – tranquil creek views, shaded camping areas, and the chance to enjoy water activities such as swimming and canoeing.

What we love: the peaceful atmosphere and the opportunity to explore the charming town of Montville nearby. For a walk to remember, try Little Yabba Circuit.

Be careful of: leeches in the creek. Come prepared with some high-quality insect repellent.

The Settlement, Springbrook National Park

Venture into the lush rainforests of Springbrook National Park, located about an hour and a half from Brisbane, and you’ll discover The Settlement camping area.

Surrounded by ancient trees, cascading waterfalls, and stunning walking trails, this spot is truly a nature lover's paradise.

What we love: its proximity to iconic attractions such as Natural Bridge and Purling Brook Falls.

Be careful of: limited facilities. Make sure you bring your own drinking water and camping supplies.

Frog Buttress camping area, Mt French

Danger in the bush
Photo by Christopher Burns / Unsplash

Do you like the sound of free camping amidst towering cliffs and rugged landscapes? Frog Buttress Camping Area in Mt French is a must-visit.

Located about an hour from Brisbane, this spot is a pristine haven for rock climbers and nature enthusiasts.

What we love: its breath-taking scenery and the opportunity to witness climbers scaling the cliffs.

Be careful of: steep and uneven terrain. Make sure you bring appropriate safety equipment if you’re engaging in rock climbing activities.

Albert Theaker Park rest area

Albert Theaker Park is a great option if you need free camping near Brisbane for an overnight stay on a road trip.

Located in the Scenic Rim region, just over an hour from Brisbane, this rest area provides basic amenities such as toilets and picnic tables.

What we love: its peaceful surroundings and the chance to enjoy a relaxing break during your journey.

Be careful of: limited facilities and noise from passing traffic.

Archer camping area, Mt Mee State Forest

For a free camping experience immersed in the beauty of the Mt Mee State Forest, head to Archer camping area.

Located approximately an hour from Brisbane, you’ll find plenty of shaded areas amongst the tranquil surroundings. If you have time, take the opportunity to explore nearby walking trails.

What we love: the abundance of birdlife and the sense of seclusion within the forest.

Be careful of: limited facilities. Make sure you come prepared with your camping essentials.

Now that you know where to go, let’s go over what you can do to prepare. Many free camping spots near Brisbane are in national parks and ancient forests.

There are six things you need to know or do so that you stay safe and look after the environment you’re visiting.

Free camps for overnight rest stops

Here’s a quick list of some good overnight rest stops on your road trip.

  • Hugh Muntz Park and Tully Memorial Park in Brisbane.
  • Boulders rest Area, near Babinda.
  • Babinda Rotary Park campground (a $5 donation is requested but not essential).
  • Northbrook Creek camping reserve in the D’Aguilar National Park.
  • Wuruma Dam, northwest of Eidsvold, makes for an enjoyable longer rest.

How to free camp in Brisbane

You probably know, but we need to say this anyway – free camps still need to be looked after and respected. Here’s how to stay safe, avoid surprise park closures, and maintain these pristine natural environments.

  1. Plan ahead: Research your chosen free camp in Brisbane to understand its facilities, restrictions, and any permits required. Make sure you have the necessary equipment and supplies.

Tip: Check those links we provided for each place. They’re the official Queensland government sites and will tell you everything you need to know.

  1. Respect the environment: Leave no trace. Dispose of your rubbish correctly and respect the ancient surroundings, whether at your campsite or while exploring.

Always follow any fire restrictions and campfire guidelines in place to minimise the risk of bushfires.

  1. Be self-sufficient: Bring ample water, food, and cooking equipment. Depending on the camping spot, you may need to bring your own firewood and camping essentials. Consider portable toilets or portable showers if necessary.
  2. Follow the rules: Observe any camping regulations and guidelines provided by local councils or park authorities. They’re there for your safety and to maintain the spectacular environment we all enjoy.

Be aware of any specific rules regarding noise, camping duration, and pet restrictions.

  1. Leave it as you found it: Keep your camping area clean and respect other campers' privacy. Minimise your impact on the environment – try your best not to damage the vegetation or natural features.
  2. Stay informed: Check weather conditions, road closures, and park alerts before embarking on your camping trip. Stay updated on any changes or restrictions affecting your chosen camping spot.

It’s pretty simple. Follow these guidelines when you find a free camp in Brisbane, and it’ll be there for you to enjoy for years to come.

Recap: Brisbane free camping

From coastal escapes to forest retreats, Brisbane’s free camping offerings are ones to remember. Grab a cheap car share*, pack your camping gear and embrace the spirit of adventure. You’re about to embark on an unforgettable journey.

Our eight favourites, in no particular order:

  • Pooh Corner Reserve
  • Poverty Creek, Bribie Island
  • Central Station, K’gari (Fraser Island)
  • Little Yabba Creek, Montville
  • The Settlement, Springbrook National Park
  • Frog Buttress Camping Area, Mt French
  • Arthur Theaker Park Rest Area
  • Archer camping area, Mt Mee State Park

Still need to know more? Discover Brisbane’s hidden camping spots or the best free camping spots near Sydney, Melbourne or Canberra.

*Be sure to check the roads in and out of your chosen camping spot if you’re grabbing your ride with Uber Carshare. Our cars can’t go on unsealed roads.


Where are the best free camping spots in Brisbane?

Brisbane city’s best free camping spot is Pooh Corner Reserve. Just out of Brisbane city, try Poverty Creek on Bribie Island, Central Station on K’gari (Fraser Island), or Little Yabba Creek in Montville. Also, try Springbrook National Park, Mt French, and Mt Mee State Forest.

What are the rules and regulations for free camping in Brisbane?

Rules for free camping in Brisbane vary depending on the location and local council or park authorities. Do your research and follow any guidelines regarding camping duration, noise restrictions, fire regulations, waste disposal, and pet policies. Respect the environment and follow any signage or instructions at the camping area.

What are the best times of year to free camp in Brisbane?

Free camping in Brisbane is best during the mild seasons of spring (September to November) and autumn (March to May). These seasons offer pleasant temperatures and fewer crowds compared to the hot summer months and school holiday periods. However, check specific camping spots for any season-specific considerations or weather-related restrictions.

What amenities are available at free camping spots in Brisbane?

Available amenities at free camping spots in Brisbane vary. Some camping spots offer basic facilities (toilets, picnic tables, and barbecues). However, many don’t, and campers need to be self-sufficient. Bring ample water, food, cooking equipment, and other necessary supplies for a comfortable and safe camping experience.

What are some of the challenges of free camping in Brisbane?

One challenge of free camping in Brisbane is certain camping spots’ limited amenities and facilities. Depending on your location, there may also be restrictions on campfires, noise and camping duration. Weather conditions, such as hot summers or heavy rainfall, can also pose challenges. Be prepared, follow guidelines, and practice responsible camping.

Before you go

If NSW is more your thing, check out some unique camping experiences around Sydney and the most inspiring campsites in NSW.