Girraween National Park in Queensland’s granite belt had been on my list of places to explore for some time. We finally made it out there in April this year.
While it’s a bit of a drive from the Sunshine Coast (~350km), the scenery and walking opportunities at Girraween make it a fabulous camping destination for a few days.
There are two developed campgrounds at Girraween. Both cater to similar numbers of campers but Castle Rock is more of an open space camping area while Bald Rock Creek has more secluded sites in a forest setting.
[Note: Both campgrounds are currently closed (July 2018) due to water restrictions and lack of rainfall. Check the Parks Alerts for more details.]
Camping at Girraween National Park: Castle Rock Campground
We camped at the Castle Rock campground for a couple of nights just after Easter but during school holidays, and it wasn’t anywhere near as packed as I had expected. Nice!
It’s not a bad campground but it’s also not the most fantastic spot you’ll ever camp at.
What makes Castle Rock campground – or Bald Rock Creek for that matter – a good spot is that you’re really close to most of the hiking trails at Girraween. If you want to explore the northern and southern trails in the park, you won’t have to get in your car at all. They’re all right there just outside your tent.
The national park and the campgrounds are also packed with wildlife, and a bunch of kangaroos seems to be living right next to the amenities block. The grass did look rather juicy…
Whilst you have to pre-book your site (as everywhere in Queensland’s national parks now), there are no designated sites. It’s pretty much on a first come/first serve basis that you’ll score a good site.
There are 25 designated camper trailer / caravan sites so if you’re tent campers like us, you’ll need to find an area that’s specifically for tents. Some sites make access to your car easier than others where carparks are relatively close but there’s no direct vehicle access on campsites as such.
I’m usually not a fan of setups where you have to park your car away from the actual campsite as we run our light directly off the car and access to the fridge is a bit harder. We did score a fairly good site at Castle Rock though where we ended up parking the car right next to our spot.
Even during school holidays, we found the campground relatively quiet (though not empty by any means), which was nice as I’m a little bit over noisy campgrounds at this point. Unlike campgrounds like Central Station on Fraser Island, which are really echo-y, the noise at Castle Rock sort of dissipates into the bush, keeping things a bit more subdued.
PROS: Easily accessible (2WD); clean, flush toilets (!); hot showers without timer (!! Is that why there are now water restrictions??); close to the southern walking tracks and not far from the northern trails; lots of wildlife; most sites are relatively flat and/or have tent platforms
CONS: First come first serve basis (can’t pre-book specific sites); open space area that can feel packed if busy; no tables at individual sites (only in communal areas with BBQs); some semi-shaded areas but very hot during summer without much shade; more suited to groups who want little privacy; no vehicle-based camping
Not sure what the tents and mozzies mean? Check out my tents and mozzies guide.
Alternative: Camping at Bald Rock Creek Campground
If you’re after a little more privacy, Bald Rock Creek Campground may be the better alternative.
Whilst Castle Rock provides somewhat grassy sites, at Bald Rock Creek they all seemed gravel or dirt-based and surrounded by trees. It definitely looked like the more popular campground of the two, especially for tent-based camping as there are plenty of sites where you can actually get your car onto your site.
You’ll have access to the same type of amenities at Bald Rock Creek (hot showers, flush toilets, etc.) as you do at Castle Rock. As with almost every national park in Queensland, take your rubbish home. No bins are provided.
Girraween is such a fabulous spot and if we ever decided to explore again, I’d definitely book in at Bald Rock Creek Campground and hope to score a secluded site. Obviously, that’d be a lot easier outside of school holidays.
Find more information about camping at Girraween National Park, including facilities, directions and how to book online, check out Queensland’s National Parks.
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