Australia Travel Guides

Campsites in northwest Queensland: Best places to stay on a road trip

Julia Creek is a tiny town that leaves a big impression.

It feels like it’s a million miles from anywhere, as kilometre after kilometre of dusty roads blend together, broken up by occasional herds of cattle snacking beside the bitumen. The reality is it’s only 646km west of Townsville, 257km east of Mt Isa, and 273km northwest of dinosaur capital Winton.

The pub is excellent. The butcher serves the freshest steaks you’ll find. The locals are friendly. The history is fascinating. The epic outback sunsets are some of the most magnificent you’ll see. But there’s another big reason to visit this tiny town of 511 people: The Julia Creek Caravan Park , which is an absolute gem.

See also: 5 spectacularly beautiful free camping sites in Australia

See also: 5 ground rules for camping without breaking the bank

The camp ground at Julia Creek.

The caravan park now has six Artesian Bathhouses, where you can unwind in a stunning claw-foot tub while soaking in the mineral-rich waters of the Great Artesian Basin.

It’s a huge underground reservoir stretching along the east coast with waters ranging from 38-41 degrees Celsius. It’s one of the most relaxing things you’ll experience, especially if you BYO wine and order a cheese platter from reception.

Queensland has some of the country’s best caravan parks. So if you’re planning a trip through the state’s northwest, add Julia Creek to your list. Here are four others to enjoy while you’re in the area.

You must experience Talaroo Hot Springs.

You must experience Talaroo Hot Springs.

Located halfway between Cairns and Normanton, Talaroo Hot Springs is the newest attraction on the Savannah Way. Talaroo Station is a 31,500-acre property managed by Indigenous rangers, offering powered and unpowered sites with a modern camp kitchen and new amenities block.

Stroll the stunning boardwalk, dip into the geothermal soaking pool, and enjoy the hospitality of the Ewamian people. The landscape is delicate but stunning, with vivid reds and rusts contrasting with the brilliant blue sky in a combination you’ll never forget. It’s well worth signing up for a guided tour while you’re here. 

A cosy a campfire and tent at BarraCrab Caravan Park.

A cosy a campfire and tent at BarraCrab Caravan Park.

Just 56km down the road, this gem is tucked away in the township of Mount Surprise. It’s the perfect base to immerse yourself into everything else the Savannah Way has to offer.  

The prehistoric Undara Lava Tubes are a must, offering a glimpse into the mighty forces that created this incredible part of the world. However, you should also add the Savannahlander to your itinerary and experience the magic of a four-day tour on board a classic 1960s train. 

The caravan park offers plenty of fun for the whole family, with a nine-hole mini-golf course and saltwater pool, and regularly hosts impromptu concerts.

A delish breakfast in an outdoor bush kitchen at Bedrock.

A delish breakfast in an outdoor bush kitchen at Bedrock.

There’s something bewitching about this expanse of wilderness, 64km north of Hughenden on the unsealed Kennedy Developmental Road (it’s accessible to normal cars in good weather). There are towering sandstone cliffs, which contrasts with pockets of deep green forest and deep blue waterholes. 

It’s the kind of place you could easily spend a couple of days, marvelling at the beauty of the landscape, the intense solitude, and the velvet night sky that lights up with infinite twinkling stars. Stay at the scenic Pyramid camping area and book online to ensure you snag one of the 22 available sites.

Beers and seafood on the waterfront at Sunset Tavern.

Beers and seafood on the waterfront at Sunset Tavern.

There’s no two ways about it, this caravan park is really, really nice. The hosts have thought of everything you could possibly want or need, from a pizza oven to a mail service and even a car wash if you want to restore your vehicle to its original colour. 

However, the biggest reason to visit is the fishing. This spot, perched on the edge of the Gulf of Carpentaria, is home to some of the best barramundi fishing in the world. 

There’s a boat ramp on site and a large fish-cleaning area so you can prepare your catch for dinner. Add fun events like bingo nights and roast nights and you’re going to want to stay.

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