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camping in Queensland

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  • the BEST time to visit northern parts of Australia is generally May-Oct UNLESS you want to see the tropical lightning storms and the waterfalls of the north - although access to these may be difficult due to flooded rivers
  • HOWEVER, this is also peak time for retirees (“grey nomads”) who are likely to book out most caravan holiday parks and is also extremely popular with families during the school holidays
    • MOST caravan holiday parks prioritise caravans rather than tents and are not generally a great tent camping experience given the cramped nature of the parks
    • MOST roadside overnight stops are designed for caravans and are not designed for tent camping
  • You should think twice before considering swimming in rivers or beaches in the tropics, especially in jellyfish season or in crocodile areas


  • one of the lovely benefits of camping in Queensland is that most of the time throughout the year it is at least mild if not warm to hot with generally mild-warm nights unless you go inland when nights can be very cold.
  • HOWEVER, it is subject to high humidity levels (your tent, towels and clothes may not dry and you risk chaffing, tinea cruris, etc if you hike long distances in this hot humid climate) especially the further you go north along the coast and the wet season from Oct-May can be VERY UNPLEASANT and even dangerous in the tropics if you are not prepared.

Mean climate in January ("wet season")

locale Max Temp Min Temp RainDays CloudDays rainfall near beach 3pm RH 3pm wind kph
Darwin 32degC 25degC 19 24 432mm yes, crocs, stingers 70% 18
Alice Springs 36degC 22degC 3 7 40mm no 22% 16
Broome 33degC 26degC 9 15 191mm yes, stingers, rarely crocs 65% 20
Port Douglas 30degC 24degC 11 400mm yes, crocs, stingers 73%
Cairns 32degC 24degC 16 17 400mm yes, crocs, stingers 66% 16
Townsville 31degC 24degC 12 14 269mm yes, crocs, stingers 65% 20
Hervey Bay 30degC 23degC 8 126mm yes 61% 22
Sunshine coast 29degC 21degC 10 145mm yes 70% 24
northern NSW beaches 28degC 21degC 11 12 165mm yes 74% 25

Mean climate in April (eg. for Easter)

locale Max Temp Min Temp RainDays CloudDays rainfall near beach 3pm RH 3pm wind kph
Darwin 33degC 24degC 7 12 102mm yes, crocs 52% 17
Alice Springs 28degC 13degC 2 5 16mm no 26% 14
Broome 34degC 23degC 2 6 25mm yes 45% 15
Port Douglas 28degC 22degC 11 200mm yes, crocs 72%
Cairns 29degC 22degC 15 14 191mm yes, crocs 65% 19
Townsville 30degC 21degC 5 10 64mm yes, crocs 60% 21
Hervey Bay 27degC 18degC 10 66mm yes 62% 20
Sunshine coast 26degC 17degC 11 149mm yes 68% 21
northern NSW beaches 25degC 17degC 13 10 189mm yes 73% 22

Mean climate in June (eg. for Queen's Birthday weekend)

locale Max Temp Min Temp RainDays CloudDays rainfall near beach
Darwin 31degC 21degC 0.4 4 2mm yes, crocs
Alice Springs 20degC 5degC 2 6 13mm no
Broome 29degC 15degC 1 4 18mm yes
Port Douglas 25degC 18degC 6 47mm yes, crocs
Cairns 26degC 18degC 7 10 47mm yes, crocs
Townsville 26degC 15degC 2 7 21mm yes, crocs
Hervey Bay 22degC 12degC 8 77mm yes
Sunshine coast 21degC 12degC 9 119mm yes
northern NSW beaches 20degC 13degC 10 10 165mm yes

Be aware of possible additional dangers in the tropics and sub-tropics

  • there are increasing dangers to be considered the further you go north along the coast:
    • tropical cyclones
      • these may occur between Sept to May but you would normally have a number of days pre-warning to evacuate the area
      • camping is NOT a great idea in a cyclone - the very heavy rains combined with extremely strong winds will likely destroy whatever you are living in, and if you survive that you will still have to contend with the floods, roads being cut by flooded rivers or falling trees!
    • lightning storms and flash flooding in the wet season particularly
    • potentially fatal jellyfish marine stingers in the coastal waters which you probably not be able to see before you are stung
      • in general, do not swim in these northern waters in Nov-May
    • potentially lethal crocodiles in tropical rivers and coastal areas
      • crocodiles are ambush predators which can hide under the water only a few feet from you without being visible, and they can get closer each evening to human activity near the water's edge which is repetitive and thus predictable
      • croc country is anywhere north of Gladstone but may occasional come further south
      • tent camping is usually fine as long as you camp at least 50m from the water’s edge and at least 2m above the high water mark
      • limit your time at the water’s edge when collecting water and don’t use the same spot repeatedly
      • keep camp site clear of food scraps etc
    • the most venomous snakes in the world
      • fortunately these will generally be wanting to escape from your presence but you may accidentally get too close to them that they strike you.
      • these include taipan, death adder, king browns and others
      • most of the venomous ones tend to be on the ground, while most of the ones in trees are non-venomous species such as pythons but you can't trust this - to be safe don't get too close to them!
    • other venomous sea creatures
      • cone snails, sea snakes, etc
    • other potentially dangerous animals
      • packs of dingoes (native wild dogs) and cross-breeds can be a real danger especially to children
        • these are particularly problematic on Fraser Island and in the Gold Coast hinterland's Scenic Rim (Canungra and Lamington Nat. Park) 1)
        • dingoes - breed season March-May and there are some 100-200 on Fraser Island in around 20 packs - see Being dingo safe on Fraser Island
          • don't walk alone especially to a rubbish bin - if need to toilet have someone stand guard
          • don't go to rubbish bins at night
          • don't jog or run it excites them and if a dingo approaches don't run, but face it and preferably carry a stick and keep yourself between the dingo and a child
          • don't play with them
          • don't keep food or backpacks in tents - use food stores at camp ground or keep in a car
          • dingoes may tear a backpack from you
          • if kids under 14yrs use fenced camp grounds only
          • there are on the spot fines up to $10,000 for getting too close or interacting with dingoes!
      • cassowary birds
        • these large birds generally keep away from humans if you don't leave food scraps around - don't invade their space or they can cause significant injury
      • sharks, especially in canals and in waters known to have very high numbers of them such as on the ocean side of Fraser Island
    • annoying pests
      • see pests in Australia such as cane toads, ticks, "sand flies" / biting midges and mosquitoes - the latter may transmit serious viruses such as Dengue Fever around Cairns and other arboviruses, especially in the wet season Oct-May
      • in addition, even walking on sand or in mud in mangroves bare foot in the sub-tropics or tropics could allow an annoying parasitic species to enter the skin of your foot and very slowly move under the skin in a serpiginous pattern for days, months or even years, such as cutaneous creeping larva migrans, a dog hookworm Ancylostoma caninum.
    • skin infections can be more problematic due to the humid conditions compromising skin integrity
australia/qld/campgrounds.txt · Last modified: 2024/06/02 15:44 by gary1

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