The Gold Coast Hinterland boasts a number of spectacular national parks full of rainforests, waterfalls, rocky plateaus, winding creeks and valleys, and abundant wildlife. Pick any of the national parks, from Lamington, Tamborine to Springbrook, and you’re going to have an awesome time hiking and camping!
Springbrook National Park: Camping at Settlement Campground
Springbrook National Park is only about an hour from the Gold Coast, making it a pretty popular spot for escaping the urban sprawl. There’s only one spot where you can camp here, and that’s at the Settlement camping area.
It’s a small campground with only 11 individual sites along a single access road that is sealed all the way, making it ideal for smaller cars. It was a little too popular for our liking but being so close to the Gold Coast, you can’t really expect to have it all to yourself.
The sites in the campground vary from grassy to compact dirt, and some sites are fairly slope-y (the first three as you enter the campground).
As with all Queensland national parks, you need to pre-book your site at Springbrook but as of February this year, you can no longer choose a specific site. I’m not sure why they’ve done that but I’m not really a fan. If I have to pre-book my camp spot, I’d prefer to book a specific one. That way I can rock up whenever I want instead of being stuck with the last one available.
What’s really nice about the Settlement camping area is that impressive Purling Brook Falls, including the 4 km loop walk, is close by and you don’t need to drive anywhere to do the walk.
Whilst there are no showers at Springbrook and only hybrid compost toilets, I found them very clean and not smelly – always a bonus!
The campground also serves as the endpoint for the Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk so there were quite a few cars parked in the carpark, waiting for people to finish their 3-day hike.
And since the Settlement campground is on the Springbrook plateau, it’s also a bit cooler here. We camped here in late January and the temperatures were really pleasant in the mid-20s, quite a few degrees cooler than in the valley.
Another positive was the lack of mozzies, especially given the amount of rain we had while we were there. It’s on a plateau but the rainforest isn’t exactly far away – but still, no mozzies in the campground that we noticed (and believe me, we notice if they’re there).
One thing that’s a bit weird about camping at Springbrook though is how close the campground is to housing. It’s situated right at the western edge of the national park, and since Springbrook has only been a national park for some 20 years, there’s “suburbia” just around the corner. So as you lie in your tent at night, you can hear dogs barking and cars coming home. It’s not a big deal, you just don’t feel very remote here.
PROS: Easily accessible (2WD); clean, hybrid compost toilets; small campground with individual sites (vehicle-based camping); most sites have shady areas; close to Purling Brook Falls and walking tracks; BBQ shelter with access to municipal water
CONS: Much busier than expected and on the backpacker trail (since it’s so close to the Gold Coast); no tables; first come first serve basis (can’t pre-book specific sites anymore); Sites 1-3 quite slope-y
Not sure what the tents and mozzies mean? Check out my tents and mozzies guide.
Find more information about camping at Springbrook on the Springbrook National Park website. There is also commercial camping in the Numinbah Valley through Adventure Trails. No idea if it’s any fun but check it out if you want to be near Nerang River in the valley.
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