Free Cairns Camping Spots

There are so many things to think about when planning a road trip through Cairns, and top of the list is where you’re planning to spend the night. You might think this would take up a large portion of your budget, but there are actually some fantastic spaces you can camp overnight without spending a single cent!

Below, you’ll find our carefully curated list of the best free camping spots Cairns has to offer. Whether you want to spend the night watching the sun setting over a beach or immerse yourself in the natural beauty of forests, we’ve got you covered.

Are you ready? Let’s start exploring!

Free Cairns Camping Spots

  1. Western Summit Campground
  2. Eureka Creek
  3. Sandy Tate River
  4. Gravel Pit
  5. Irvinebank Camp Area
  6. Walsh River
  7. Emu Creek Crossing
  8. McLeod Creek
  9. The Boulders Camp Site
  10. Greenpatch Campground
  11. Rocky Tate River Camp

For each of the campsites listed below, the best of accessing them and enjoying their amenities is by hiring a campervan. Contact the expert team at Travellers Autobarn today, and we’ll match you with a campervan that fits your needs.


Western Summit Campground

Western Summit Campground

Babinda, QLD

Located along the Bartle Frere and the western end of the Atherton Tablelands Trails, Western Summit Campground has eight sites and welcomes campervans, camper trailers, and 4WDs.

The entire site is surrounded by lush, green vegetation that provides a relaxing ambience along with excellent opportunities to explore nature. There is also a small creek by the campsite that is ideal for cooling off during a hot day, but you’ll need to be self sufficient to camp here as there are almost no facilities.

FEATURED AMENITIES

  • Access to Non Drinking Water

Eureka Creek

Eureka Creek

Dimbulah, QLD

Technically a rest area more than a campsite, Eureka Creek is a great spot if you need somewhere safe and free to pull up in your campervan overnight. However, your stay is time-limited, with hours changing from peak season to low season, and there will be signs indicating how long you can stay upon arrival.

As you might expect from a rest area, there are no amenities to use here, so you’ll need to be confident with self-sufficient camping. You will be, however, only 9km West of the Dimbulah Post Office, where you’ll also find many shops that are ideal for stocking up on supplies before you head back out on the road the following day.

FEATURED AMENITIES

  • Rest Area – No Amenities

Sandy Tate River

Sandy Tate River

Almaden, QLD

This dog friendly free campsite is perfect if you’re looking for a riverside spot to pull up in your campervan for the evening. Located alongside Sandy Tate River (a little South of Almaden), here you’ll be able to enjoy wild swimming, canoeing, kayaking, and fishing. There are some great walks to enjoy in the surrounding area, which are perfect for stretching your legs after a long day of driving.

Amenities here are extremely limited, and there are no toilets, hot showers, or drinking water. You are allowed to use the provided fire pits, though, so if you’re looking to get back to nature and enjoy stargazing by the warmth of a fire, this is the place to be.

FEATURED AMENITIES

  • Fire Pits

Gravel Pit

Gravel Pit

Mulligan Highway, QLD

An ideal place to spend the night for free as you head along the Mulligan Highway, Gravel Pit welcomes self-contained vehicles only, including campervans, RVs, big rigs, and camper trailers. Generators are also allowed, and the entire site is dog friendly.

In terms of amenities, like many free camping spots in Cairns, things are pretty basic. You’ll have access to picnic tables and fire pits, and firewood is available to use, but that’s about it, so you’ll need to be self sufficient for everything else.

Don’t let that put you off, though, as this is one of the very best places in Queensland to see the sun setting on a summer evening. There is also a privately owned lake, and while you aren’t able to access it, it does create a stunning backdrop to wake up to the following morning.

FEATURED AMENITIES

  • Picnic Areas
  • Fire Pits

Irvinebank Camp Area

Irvinebank Camp Area

Irvinebank, QLD

Located in Tropical North Queensland, Irvinebank Camp Area is home to some of the best free camping Cairns has to offer. It’s also ideal for anyone who isn’t comfortable with self sufficient camping, or who simply needs a break, and you’ll have access to toilets and hot showers here.

This is quite a large camping site, too, and if you get in early enough you’re quite likely to find a space. It is also dog friendly and there are great walking trails and wide open spaces for you and your pooch to enjoy, and when you’re ready to call it a day, grab a drink and relax at the pub across the road from the entrance.

FEATURED AMENITIES

  • Toilets
  • Hot Showers
  • Fire Pits
  • Non Drinking Water

Walsh River

Walsh River

Watsonville, QLD

A great place for any wildlife lover to spend the night camping, Walsh River offers free accommodation for campervans, RVS, and 4WDs. Tents are also welcome to pitch for the night here, but caravans may find access a bit difficult, depending on size.

You’ll have access to some fantastic amenities here, including toilets, hot showers, and BBQ facilities. You can also enjoy swimming, fishing, and kayaking on Walsh River itself, which runs alongside the campsite.

Or, if fishing and swimming aren’t really your thing, take some of the fantastic nearby walking trails and explore the local wildlife, which includes platypuses, wallabies, barking owls, and parrots.

FEATURED AMENITIES

  • Toilets
  • Showers
  • BBQ Facilities
  • Picnic Areas
  • Swimming
  • Fishing

Emu Creek Crossing

Emu Creek Crossing

Herberton, QLD

One of the very best spots for free camping Cairns has to offer, Emu Creek Crossing is suitable for campervans, RVs, camper trailers, and tent camping. You’ll also find loads of great amenities here, including toilets and cold showers, as well as private cubicles for camping showers.

There are large, open grassy areas that are ideal for picnicking, and while dogs aren’t allowed in the camping area, there is a designated dog friendly space adjacent.

You’ll find a tonne of activities to enjoy here, too, including mountain biking and walking trails, swimming holes, and canoeing or kayaking opportunities. When you’re ready to call it a day, use the wood-fired barbecues to cook a delicious meal before turning your eye to the skies and enjoying some of the best stargazing in all of Australia.

FEATURED AMENITIES

  • Toilets
  • Cold Showers
  • Picnic Areas
  • Swimming
  • Canoeing/Kayaking
  • Wood-Fired BBQs
  • Fire Pits

McLeod Creek

McLeod Creek

Mt Carbine, QLD

Perfect for off-road overnight camping, McLeod Creek is free of charge to use, and while there are no amenities, it’s perfect for budget-conscious campers who are happy being self sufficient.

Despite being a pretty basic stopover, McLeod Creek is situated in an area that is ideal for fishing and kayaking, or if you want to go for a swim to cool off, you can do that here, too. You’re also allowed to build fires here, but you’ll need to bring your own firewood and ensure everything is as you found it when you leave.

This rest area is big enough to accommodate camper trailers and campervans, but tent camping here isn’t advised due to the fluctuation in the creek’s water levels throughout the year.

FEATURED AMENITIES

  • Swimming
  • Fires

The Boulders Camp Site

The Boulders Camp Site

Babinda, QLD

The Boulders is a great place to pull up if you want to stay put for a couple of days, as you can stay here free of charge for up to 48 hours. There are some great amenities here, too, including flushing toilets, showers, changing rooms, picnic tables, and BBQs.

Another great thing about The Boulders Camp Site is that it is suitable for campervans, caravans, and big rigs, all of which can access the site easily using the asphalt-sealed road surface.

There are plenty of walks to enjoy in the surrounding area, and dogs are permitted here as well, so both you and your canine companion can stretch your legs and take in some fresh air! There are plenty of shady spots available, too, so there’s no need to worry about overheating in the scorching Australian summer.

FEATURED AMENITIES

  • Toilets
  • Showers
  • Changing Rooms
  • Picnic Tables
  • BBQs
  • Drinking Water

Green Patch Campground

Green Patch Campground

Gordonvale, QLD

Located close to Green Patch Beach, Green Patch Campground is set next to a picturesque lagoon and is suitable for both drive-in and walk-in camping, making it ideal for campervans and tents alike. There are also lots of fantastic amenities here, including fresh drinking water, toilets, hot showers, and sheltered barbecues.

Surrounded by natural beauty, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to explore walking trails and spot native wildlife, such as kangaroos and parrots. You can also cool off with a swim in the lagoon during the summer months, or if you’re feeling a little more adventurous, hop in your canoe and explore the waters.

It should be noted that this is a very popular free campsite and, as such, available spaces can fill up pretty quickly. Unlike many free campsites in Cairns, however, you can book ahead to guarantee yourself a pitch.

FEATURED AMENITIES

  • Drinking Water
  • Toilets
  • Showers
  • Sheltered Barbecues

Rocky Tate River Camp

Rocky Tate River Camp

Barwidgi, QLD

Known for being one of the quietest free camping spots in Cairns, Rocky Tate River Camp is the ideal place to relax after a day on the road in your campervan and listen to the sounds of nature. Dogs are not allowed here, and there are no amenities, so you’ll need to be self-sufficient to spend the night here.

This campsite is suitable for campervans, camper trailers, and caravans, as well as tents. While pretty basic compared to some other free campsites on offer, this really is a wonderful place to get away from it all for a night. You’re also allowed to create a campfire using your own firewood – just make sure to tidy up after yourself before you leave.

FEATURED AMENITIES

  • Fires

No matter how long you’re planning to spend camping in Cairns, visiting the free campsites we’ve detailed above is a great way of both saving money and getting the real back-to-nature experience. However, to access these sites, you’re going to need a campervan!

Talk to the expert team at your nearest Travellers Autobarn today, who will walk you through your options, help you hire the best campervan for your needs, and make it easier than ever to start bringing your camping dreams to life!

About the Author

Bastian Graf

Bastian is the Sales & Marketing Manager here at Travellers Autobarn. He holds a Master of Commerce in Marketing and International Business Management, and 20+ years experience in campervan hire, road trips and travel.

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