Where to camp on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast

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Explore the nature-based vibes of the Sunshine Coast with these camping experiences and outdoor adventures in one of Queensland’s favourite holiday destinations.


Starry Nights luxury glamping experience

Starry Nights luxury glamping experience

 Blessed with year-round sunshine and a balmy climate made for outdoor adventures, Queensland’s Sunshine Coast has camping and glamping options aplenty. From secluded camp spots, wilderness glamping retreats and scenic road trips that wind through highlands and coastal lowlands, the Sunshine Coast is all about nature. Take a deep breath and savour the serenity of nature, Sunshine Coast style.

1.    Be at one with nature in these secluded camp spots

The Sunshine Coast Hinterland is known for its wide-open spaces, picturesque scenery and air so sweet you can taste it. Hike the trails of Conondale National Park to saok it all in. So too at Kookaburra Park in Cambroon on the banks of the Mary River , where platypus are known to swim at dawn and where the park is home to a menagerie of adopted and rescued animals, including a deer sanctuary, pigs, chickens and guinea pigs. Camping, glamping and cabin-style accommodation are available. While you’ll feel a world away, the park is located just outside of Kenilworth, home to the famous Kenilworth Bakery and Kenilworth Dairies – don’t forget to stock up on delicious snacks.

If waking up to the sound of waves gently lapping the shoreline is your idea of paradise, Rainbow Beach Ultimate Camping is for you. Here they offer fully equipped and completely private beach campsites overlooking the Heritage listed Fraser Island from Inskip Point. All you have to do is bring your clothes, with everything you need from your tent to cooking facilities and even a toilet and shower set up for your private use. Located just 10 minutes from Rainbow Beach township, it is the perfect base to explore the coloured sands of Great Beach Drive or journey north on a day trip to Fraser Island.


Take a hike in Conondale National Park. Image Tourism and Events Queensland

Take a hike in Conondale National Park. Image Tourism and Events Queensland

2.    Wilderness glamping, with all the creature comforts

If you’re looking to reconnect with nature but are not quite ready to give up life’s little luxuries, why not escape with a glamping retreat. Ingenia Holidays Rivershore – located on the tranquil banks of the Maroochy River – offer glamping options you would be forgiven for mistaking for luxury cabins. Think a plush king-sized bed, claw foot bath and private balcony for barbecuing.

Further north, Habitat Noosa Everglades Ecocamp on the banks of Lake Cootharaba has everything you want in a nature-based experience – without skimping on the finer things in life. Here you can spend the days exploring the world-renowned Noosa Everglades – whether by kayak with Kanu Kapers or by boat with Everglades Eco Safaris – before retiring for dinner and a beer at their onsite micro-brewery – CootharaBAR. Their Paperbark Tents offer a true glamping experience, just make sure to sit outside of an evening to watch the kangaroos hop down for a nibble in the grass!


Habitat Noosa Everglades Eco Camp

Habitat Noosa Everglades Eco Camp

3.    Take in a breath of forest-filtered fresh air

There’s something about reconnecting with nature that is good for the soul, in fact, studies show that people who spend more time embracing the great outdoors are less stressed. Next time you’re in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, get off the beaten track in Conondale National Park. Here, accessible by 4WD, is the blissfully remote – and extremely Insta-worthy – Booloumba Creek whose turquoise waters are perfect for cooling off on those warm sunny days and whose banks are perfect for camping. Venture deeper in the National Park and you’ll find the Strangler Cairn; a granite structure created by renowned artist Andy Goldsworthy.

The Sunshine Coast is home to some of Australia’s best coastal walks and mountain climbs. The Glass House Mountains are must-visit, but lesser known is Mount Ninderry. Located just outside of Yandina, Mount Ninderry offers spectacular views over Mount Coolum and the Maroochy River to the east and the Blackall Range to the west – you are even permitted to bring your dog along!

For other hidden gems, check out the Maroochy Wetlands Sanctuary which is home to more than 200 different species of birds, crabs and butterflies, Robinson Falls in Nambour or Baxter Falls in Flaxton.  


Discover the Glasshouse Mountains on the Blackall Range Tourist Drive

Discover the Glasshouse Mountains on the Blackall Range Tourist Drive

4.    Take a road trip you’ll never forget

It’s not hard to see why the Blackall Range Tourist Drive has been voted one of the best in Queensland. The journey takes you through the picturesque Sunshine Coast Hinterland villages of Maleny, Montville and Mapleton, offering views of the ancient volcanic peaks of the Glass House Mountains on one side and the sparkling coastline on the other. Along the way, make sure to stop in at Maleny Botanic Gardens and Bird World, stock up on cheese at Maleny Food Co and meet local artisans in the galleries at Montville.

For an awe-inspiring off-road adventure, you can’t go past the Great Beach Drive. The journey is one of the longest beach drives in the world and takes you along the sand from Noosa North Shore through the Great Sandy Biosphere to the coloured sands of Rainbow Beach. To one side you have the sparkling Pacific Ocean, where you can spot dolphins, turtles, and humpback whales during migration season, with natural Australian bushland to the other. A great way to experience the Great Beach Drive is on a guided tour with Epic Ocean Adventures or Great Beach Drive 4WD Tours, if you go solo, make sure you get a permit in advance.


The Great Beach Drive. Image Tourism and Events Queensland

The Great Beach Drive. Image Tourism and Events Queensland

5. Glamorous camping beneath starry nights

Starry Nights Luxury Camping is a new luxury camping experience, known as glamping, at Woombye, in the foothills of the Sunshine Coast Hinterland.

Claiming centre stage on 17ha of native bushland are two safari-style suites. Each is equipped with a king-size bed, lounge area, kitchenette and a toasty warm fireplace. But the most impressive feature of the tents are their ensuite bathrooms with rainhead showers and a freestanding bathtub positioned to take in views of nature.

Focused on sustainability, the earthy-style glamping tents and all the interior furnishings have been designed by owners Shane and Nicole Nelson, whose belief in sustainable development can be seen throughout. The couple made the tents using natural building materials, floors are finished with a natural hard bees’ wax oil, the kitchenette is made from solid wood (no plastics), and bed linen is organic linen and natural wool fibre.

The Nelsons take an equally sustainable attitude towards the food they serve. A breakfast hamper is delivered each morning, comprising produce from Starry Nights’ own gardens, complemented by the best local produce, including milk and yoghurt from nearby dairies in Maleny, organic coffee from Clandestino in Noosa, and meats from farmers markets.

About the author: Fiona Harper is a Queensland-based travel writer – follow Fiona at Travel Boating Lifestyle


Bathtub with a view at Starry Nights Luxury Camping

Bathtub with a view at Starry Nights Luxury Camping

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