Camping trips to take from Airlie Beach
If you have a car and some time up your sleeve, you should go camping! The Whitsunday coast and hinterland, and the surrounding areas have some amazing campsites you will simply LOVE.
There are a number of camping trips near Airlie Beach you can check out, but our beach favourites are:
Cape Hillsborough – 1 ½ hours south from Airlie Beach
Beautiful beaches, kangaroos, nature camping on the beach, accommodation, café
Cape Hillsborough is known as one of the best spots in Queensland to see wallabies and kangaroos in the wild. In fact, at sunrise and sunset, they regularly hop right onto the beach making for some stunning photographs! They beach at Cape Hillsborough is very shallow, so at low tide the sand flats go out for what seems like miles. There’s plenty of room for the kangaroos and wallabies to come out and play.
You can book a room or camp here, and it’s beautiful. Worth at least 1 night’s stay to see the wallabies.
Hydeaway Bay – 45 minutes north from Airlie Beach
Beautiful beaches, a couple of beachfront restaurants, relaxation time
Hydeaway Bay is a favourite destination of Whitsunday locals. Less then an hour away, all on a sealed road, there are 3 restaurants/pubs up here (one at Dingo Beach), as well as mile and miles of secluded beaches with beautiful island views. Book a campsite at Hydeaway Bay or grab a cheap room at the Dingo Pub. Enjoy some food and drinks in paradise, the way it was in Airlie 30 years ago. You could easily stay 3 nights or longer and just relax and soak up the sun.
Alva Beach – 2 ½ hours north from Airlie Beach
The only access to the Yongala dive wreck is from Alva Beach near Ayr. Known as one of the best wreck dives in Queensland and it’s well worth a visit for scuba divers.
Alva Beach is off the beaten track, about an hour south of Townsville. The most famous reason to visit Alva is to dive the Yongala shipwreck. Sunk over 100 years ago, the wreck provides a remarkable marine habitat for all manner of fish and corals. As a 5 star PADI dive facility, you can do all your dive courses here, from Open Water to advanced specialties, centred around the wreck. They also offer dorm or private accommodation for a limited number of people. Alternatively, you can camp at the Alva Beach Caravan Park right on the water.
Magnetic Island – 3 hours + ferry ride north from Airlie Beach
Island beaches, bushwalks, beach horse riding, bars and restaurants, rock wallabies, snorkeling, sailing
What’s not to love about Magnetic Island, or ‘Maggie’ as locals call it! Maggie is a super laid back island with a permanent resident population, several camp sites, backpacker hostels, holiday homes and 5 star resorts. The best way to get around is with your own car and there are lots of beaches and bushwalks to explore, snorkeling to do, sailing, koalas, restaurants and more to keep you busy on Maggie. Take the car ferry over from Townsville any day of the week. Maggie is definitely worth several days stay.
Our hinterland favourites are:
Cathu State Forest – 1 ½ hours southwest from Airlie Beach
Free camping, bushwalks, freshwater creeks, swimming holes, campfires allowed
A little known spot between Airlie Beach and Mackay, Cathu State Forest offers free camping sites surrounded by national park like features. There are a few sites set up for camping, where you can have a campfire, and swim in crystal clear creeks and water holes. Great for getting away from it all for just 1 night or more.
Eungella National Park / Finch Hatton – 2 ½ hours southwest from Airlie Beach
Rainforest, bushwalks, freshwater creeks, swimming holes, waterfalls, platypus, cafes, accommodation
Pronounced nothing like it’s spelt, ‘YOUNG-ge-lah’ is a beautiful rainforest habitat with lots of bushwalking trails, and everything from secluded freshwater swimming holes and waterfalls, to epic valley views. There are several camping sites, and various levels of accommodation, from semi-open bush glamping at Platypus Bush Camp to high quality cabins with fireplaces. The elusive platypus lives in the creeks up here, and there are a few posts marked out as the best place to see platypus in the wild. The best times to see them are sunrise and sunset, so staying overnight is a must. There are numerous cafes in the valley leading up to the top of the range. To properly explore Eungella and Finch Hatton requires several days.
Crystal Creek – 4 hours north from Airlie Beach
Rainforest, bushwalks, freshwater creeks, swimming holes, waterfalls,
An hour north of Townsville, Crystal Creek is actually two beautiful freshwater swimming hole sites that can only be accessed by private car. Little Crystal Creek has a cascading waterfall that fills many little swimming holes under a beautiful historical stone bridge. Big Crystal Creek is where the National Parks camp site is and there are a series of natural rock slides here plunging into Crystal Creek and Paradise Waterhole. Cabin accommodation is also available nearby. You could easily spend a couple of nights in this area.