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Whitsundays, Mackay and Townsville region

see also:

  • cyclone season is Dec-Apr may extend to May
  • marine stingers 1 Nov - 31 May
  • croc country is anywhere north of Gladstone
  • Tully is the WETTEST town in Australia - avg annual rainfall 4000mm, record 7,900mm in 1950, although nearby Babinda may actually be the wettest town, and most of the rain falls Jan-Apr but even in the “dry season”, it has at least twice as much rain as Melbourne in Winter!
  • cloudy and humid most of the time, least cloudy and humid, and driest in Sept-Oct when temperatures tend to range from 17deg overnight minimums to 27-28degC maximums making June-Oct a preferred time for camping or sailing.


  • this region is the “mid-tropics” and the wettest area due to being exposed to south-easterly trade winds and cyclones
  • it is the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef
  • the beautiful tropical Whitsunday Islands are popular for those wishing to explore them via sailing from one to the next
  • those exploring the mainland coastal areas should consider:
    • Eungella NP near Mackay - can camp beside the Broken River
    • Cape Hillsborough NP north of Mackay is very scenic
    • Platypus Bush Camp at Finch Hatton Gorge
    • camp on the beach at Mission Beach or Ball Bay
  • Mission Beach is the coastal town closest to the Family Islands including Dunk Island
  • Airlie Beach is the coastal town closest to the Whitsunday Islands including Molle Islands, Hook Island, Hamilton Island and the Lindeman Group
  • Ingham is the major town closest to Hinchinbrook Island
  • Townsville is the coastal town closest to Magnetic Island


  • in general, commercial caravan parks are NOT included below!
  • NONE of the following have showers unless indicated
  • Hot showers are at commercial caravan parks or at:
    • Cape Hillsborough Nature Tourist Park
    • Bingil Bay camp ground
    • Mission Beach camping ground - council-run; 40 sites incl. 28 powered; hot showers;
    • Platypus Bushcamp - commercial; hot showers;
    • Seaforth camping area - N of Mackay; coin hot showers;

Camping accessible by car or walking

Abergowrie State Forest

  • 45km W of Ingham; tropical rainforests and pine forest
  • Broadwater camping area cold showers

Bowling Green Bay NP

  • 28km S of Townsville
  • Alligator Falls and Creek; great scenery; rugged landscapes;
  • Alligator Creek camping area cold showers
  • other walk-in camps and bush camps

Byfield Conservation Park

  • coastal scenery, sand dunes, eucalypt woodlands; 4WD access only;
  • 2hr return walk to beach
  • Five Rocks camping area cold showers

Byfield NP

  • massive sand dunes stretch 6km inland; 70km NE of Rockhampton
  • bush camping only - Waterpark Point headland is accessible by walking at low tide from Corio Bay carpark

Byfield State Forest

  • rainforests; 34km N of Yeppoon;
  • Red Rock camping area
  • Upper Stony camping area - need the insect repellent here
  • Water Park Creek camping area - no swimming in creek as crocs;

Cape Hillsborough NP

  • beautiful beaches with volcanic boulders; rocky headlands;
  • Cape Hillsborough Nature Tourist Park - hot showers;
  • Smalleys Beach camping area - 50km NW Mackay; eucalypt trees for shade; 11 sites;

Cape Palmerston NP

  • 115km SE of Mackay; rocky headlands, sand dunes, rainforests
  • Cape Creek camping area
  • Windmill Bay camping area
  • bush camping areas

Cathu State Forest

  • 72km N of Mackay
  • Jaxut camping area

Charon Point Regional Park

  • 44km N of Marlborough; sth side of mouth of river Styx; 4WD access only;
  • bush camping

Conway NP

  • 7km SE of Airlie beach; views over Whitsunday Passage;
  • Swamp Bay camp area - walk-in only
  • Conway Circuit hike - 27km, 3 day one way hike with walk-in camps

Crediton State Forest

  • 80km W of Mackay; gold mining relics; rose gums;
  • Crediton Hall camping area
  • Denham Range camping area
  • The Diggings camping area
  • Mackay Highlands Great Walk - 56km 3-5 day walk

Dalrymple NP

  • 42km N of Charters Towers on the Burdekin River;
  • bush camping

Eungella NP

  • high, rugged Clarke Range; walk-in camping only;

Girramay NP

  • 14km S of Tully; lovely 10m Murray Falls;
  • Murray Falls camping area - can swim there; cold showers

Girringun NP

  • 300m Wallaman Falls;
  • Blencloe Falls camping area
  • Wallaman Falls camping area cold showers - 51km W of Ingham
  • Wet Tropics Great Walk also takes in walk-in camp sites

Homevale NP

  • 30mya volcanic dramatic peaks; Permian period fossils;
  • Moonlight Dam camping area

Mia Mia State Forest

  • 4WD access only; scenic drives, creek swimming and bush camping;

Paluma Range NP

  • mountain top views, nice waterfalls;
  • Big Crystal Creek camping area - cold showers
  • Jourama Falls camping area - cold showers

White Mountains NP

  • 140km SW of Charters Towers; white sandstone gorges; bush camping;

Other camp sites

  • Ball Bay camp ground on the beach, cold showers - 48km N of Mackay
  • Bingil Bay camp ground on the beach, hot showers; - 3km N of Mission Beach, 2hrs S of Cairns
  • Eungella Dam camping area cold showers; - 40km NW of Eungella
  • Fletcher Creek camping reserve cold showers;- 45km N of Charters Towers
  • Hull Heads camping area cold showers;- 21km from Tully
  • Lake Paluma camping area - nice for swimming, canoes; rainforests; gravel road not for caravans;
  • Mission Beach camping ground - council-run; 40 sites incl. 28 powered; hot showers;
  • Platypus Bushcamp - commercial; hot showers;
  • St Helens Beach camping area - 68km N of Mackay; cold showers;
  • Seaforth camping area - N of Mackay; coin hot showers;

Magnetic Island near Townsville

  • there is only 1 camping spot on Magnetic Island. It is called Bungalow Bay Koala Village at Horseshoe Bay which is Australia's only hostel that has a wildlife sanctuary on site
    • 20min car ferry from Townsville then bus or self-drive
    • hot showers, cheap unpowered sites, washing machine, dryer, free WiFi and camp kitchen, short walk to tropical rainforest with lots of butterflies
    • 25km of walking trails; lots of bays and beaches - no swimming on west side though as tiger shark breeding ground plus crocodiles
    • as usual for northern Australian waters, potentially fatal stingers in waters in summer months to May.
    • go in winter (May-Nov)- its still warm, but much less humidity, no stingers and you escape the cold of the southern states
    • avoid swimming at dawn and dusk as these are times sharks are most likely to feed
    • although unusual away from the west coast, crocodiles can visit most areas and even the creek in popular Horseshoe Bay!
    • only one species of snake to worry about - the venomous death adder but cases of snakebite are rare as they are reclusive and will only bite if provoked or stepped on as thenlie hidden under leaf litter
    • domestic animals are not permitted in Magnetic Island National Park
    • - note Rocky Bay at the far south of the island is a nudist beach

Boat based camping only

  • Whitsunday Ngaro Sea Trail

Broad Sound Islands NP

  • 48 islands across 116km, east of Flock Pigeon Island 129km SE of Mackay
  • boat-based camping

Cape Upstart NP

  • large granite headland north of Bowen
  • boat based camping

Family Islands NP

  • boat-based camping but you can catch a water taxi from Mission Beach and camp at Dunk Island Spit camp area (hot showers)

Dryander NP

  • accessible by boat from Aielie Beach or Dingo Beach
  • boat-based camping

Gloucester Island NP

  • E of Bowen and N of Airlie beach
  • boat-based camping

Goold Island NP

  • boat-based camping

Hinchinbrook Island NP

  • the largest of these islands
  • boat-based and walk-in camping
  • 32km 3-5 day Thorsborne Trail hike

Lindeman Islands NP

  • boat based camping

Molle Islands NP

  • 10km from Airlie Beach;
  • boat-based camping;
  • Sandy Bay, South Molle Island - 36 sites

Newry Islands NP

  • off the coast of Seaforth which is 45km N of Mackay;
  • boat based camping;

Northumberland Islands NP

  • 45-90km off the coast of Mackay; experienced boaters only;

Orpheus Island NP

  • 45km E of Ingham; boat-based camping;

Percy Isles NP

  • boat-based camping

Repulse Isles NP

  • boat-based camping

Shoalwater Bay Regional Park

  • boat-based camping

Smith Islands NP

  • boat-based camping

South Cumberland Islands NP

  • boat-based camping

Whitsunday Islands NP

australia/qld/whitsundays.txt · Last modified: 2023/06/05 21:27 by gary1

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