Be social

If you’re doing the big road trip along the east coast of Australia, you will inevitably find yourself needing to stop somewhere near Townsville at some stage. And if you’re camping there are a few good options for an overnight stay.

Most of the best camping options near Townsville are on the north side of the city so you will need to take this into account, particularly if you’re arriving in the area later on in the day.

We have broken down our recommended campgrounds into short stay free camping, national park camping (permits required for a small fee) and commercial caravan parks with all the trimmings (ie. camp kitchens, hot showers, swimming pools etc).

free camping near townsville

Townsville Council has a few campgrounds that provide free camping for short stopovers ie. 24-48 hour camping.

1. Saunders Beach

Saunders Beach is about 30kms to the north of Townsville.

Turn off the Bruce Highway, follow Saunders Beach Road and then turn left at the end on Reef Street.

The park at the end provides 24 hour camping for campervans (no tents) right by the beach.

There are limited facilities but there’s toilets and BBQ’s.

2. Bluewater Creek

About 40kms north of Townsville, turn left into Forestry Road, then left again into the park and follow the road round until you come to a big shady area for camping. It’s right beside the creek (great for swimming after rain).

There are toilets, showers, BBQ’s and a playground.

3. Rollingstone

rollingstone campingRollingstone is about 60kms north of Townsville so its a good place to stop if you’re travelling south and want to stop somewhere quiet overnight before heading into the city.

Turn off the Bruce Highway, then turn left at the fork and follow the road along the bridge until you come to Bushy Parker Park.

It is a nice spacious shaded area right next to a beautiful creek, which is a great place to swim if there’s been rain.


National park campgrounds require a camping permit that you must display in your vehicle. Park rangers do come round and check. You can buy permits online.

1. Big Crystal Creek

sunrise at big crystal creek palumaThis is one of our favourite camping areas near Townsville.

Located within Paluma National Park (about 60 kms north of Townsville), it is actually only a short drive off the main highway (about 4 kms) but feels like its a million miles away from anywhere.

It’s a really beautiful park area but it can get pretty busy at weekends because its a popular swimming hole and picnic area for Townsville locals.

There are basic facilities – flushing toilets, cold showers, barbecues, picnic tables and fire rings (you can have a campfire as long as there’s not a ban).

Top tip: watch the sunrise come up over the swimhole.

2. Alligator Creek

This campground is the only one within the Bowling Green Bay National Park, about 30kms south of Townsville.

It’s only suitable for tents or small campervans and it has basic facilities including cold showers and toilets.

This is another popular spot for daytrippers from Townsville looking for a freshwater swim in the beautiful creek area.

This is probably your best option if you’re travelling up from the south and want to stop before Townsville.

caravan parks

If you like to stop somewhere with a few more facilities, these our our favourite caravan parks to stay in the Townsville area.

1. Rowes Bay Caravan Park

rowes bay townsvilleRowes Bay Caravan Park is actually in the city but it really doesn’t feel like it.

It’s a popular place to stay in Townsville because of the location and convenience.

Across from the beach on the road to Cape Pallarenda, it’s walking distance to the northern end of the Strand, where you’ll find the Rockpool and Jezzine Barracks.

There’s a pool, camp kitchen and dining area with TV.

2. Rollingstone Caravan Park

rollingstone beachIf you’re travelling with kids or a dog, this is a really good option for a camping stopover near Townsville.

It’s right on the beachfront with lots of great facilities including a huge pool, camp kitchen and barbecues.




travel nq fast facts:

  • Be croc-wise: Avoid swimming on beaches around Townsville. This is saltwater croc territory so swim in pools or freshwater creeks well away from estuaries.
  • Don’t leave rubbish around your campsites – in National Parks this usually means taking your rubbish with you to dispose of elsewhere.
  • Townsville is often very dry – observe fire bans.
  • Find out more about Townsville’s beaches