Disconnect. Reconnect. Stargaze. There’s something about camping that brings out the Bear Grylls in all of us. Lighting a campfire with your bare hands? No worries. Finding NNW with just your finger, the wind and razor-sharp senses? Game on. Hunting and gathering those epic cheese plates straight from the esky? Now you’re talking.
Camping is about sunsets and s’mores, the crickets chirping and the distinct lack of notification tings. It’s exploring the backyards and unbeaten tracks and learning to slow down in an increasingly busy outside world. It’s appreciating Mother Nature at her most intimate and beautiful. Whether you’re pitching a tent, hanging in your beachfront cabin or finding the perfect spot to park the caravan, slowing down to take in the natural beauty of Port Douglas and Daintree region, letting the day unfold without the constant buzz of technology is pure bliss. Want to know where to set up camp? We’ve rounded up our favourites in the region.
Experience the freedom of beachfront camping where the rainforest meets the reef at Cape Tribulation. Cape Trib Camping is located within minutes of the Bloomfield Track to Cooktown (weather dependent road) and just a short boat ride to the Great Barrier Reef. Communal fire pits and permitted beach fires give the place a true wilderness camping vibe. For those who don’t want to rough it entirely, amenity blocks feature hot showers, toilets, laundry facilities and power points – don’t forget to pack your electric shaver and hairdryer! The onsite Sandbar Café offers coffee, cocktails and renowned woodfired pizzas.
Facilities: Cape Trib Camping has camping options for families, couples and groups with powered or unpowered sites available for caravans, camper trailers, tents, motor homes and even hammocks. Caravan storage, water, rubbish & dump points available onsite and the campground office provides tourist info, maps, travel tips and popular camping items such as ice, bait, washing powder, mozzie spray, milk and bread.
Cost: From $25 per night
Noah Creek Rainforest Reserve is the perfect place to “get your glamp on”. This private world heritage rainforest reserve, neighbouring Cape Tribulation, provides graded walking and hiking trail through the Noah Valley along with an eco-friendly lodge and glamping huts. Visitor numbers and access is limited to ensure minimal impact to the precious environment and to maintain a private, exclusive experience to all. The isolation, together with the area’s outstanding qualities give you the opportunity to fully appreciate the remarkable rainforest ecosystem (without distraction), as well as enhancing the feeling of having enjoyed a true wilderness experience…in style.
Facilities: Noah Creek “Glamping Eco Huts” - fully screened, front veranda, private ensuite garden with open air hot shower/bath. “The Lodge” and “The Ridge House” - sleep 8 and perfect for families or groups. Linen packs provided. Full access to communal camp kitchen inclusive of a BBQ, stove (with oven), fridge and kitchen amenities including tea, coffee and sugar.
Cost: From $195 per night
Far away from the stresses of big city life, with no mobile phones or television, the Ocean Safari Lodge sits happily in the middle of Cape Tribulation village. Sleep soundly enjoying the sounds of the rainforest at night, or rise early to experience the sunrise over beautiful Myall Beach only minutes away. Natural beauty spots Mason’s Waterhole, Emmagen Waterhole and the majestic Mount Sorrow are all close by for your adventuring pleasure.
Facilities: Safari Lodge offers both Safari Huts and campsites, as well as a swimming pool, fully equipped camp kitchen, laundry, and clean amenities and is also the office for Ocean Safari reef trips and the Turtle Rock Café.
Cost: From $28 per night
Relax and immerse yourself in the amazing UNESCO listed World Heritage Daintree Rainforest. Daintree Siesta is a space where you and your family can unwind and connect with each other, and nature, while treading lightly in a peaceful, awe-inspiring environment. The rustic Daintree Rainforest campground has powered and unpowered sites – some with slabs – suitable for tents, cars, campervans, motorhomes and caravans. The sites are located on a small rainforest loop where you can stroll and breathe easy, amidst the sounds and sights of the oldest rainforest in the world. Be sure to visit the onsite restaurant, which offers a good cuppa and delicious meals.
Facilities: Daintree Siesta offer campsites and motel-style rooms with facilities that include sheltered camp kitchen, hot showers, guest laundry (featuring “the best dryers north of the river”!) and a fire pit.
Cost: From $28 per night
Like all Big 4 Holiday Parks, this is a great one for families. Sporting a well-maintained waterpark, excellent poolside BBQ facilities and free Wi-Fi, Glengarry Holiday Park is camping for those just dipping their toes into the camping experience. With cabins, villas, powered caravan sites and camp spots all available, there’s certainly something for everyone. The park itself is located a short 5-minute drive from Port Douglas village in the luscious Mowbray Valley.
Facilities: BBQ facilities, free WI-Fi, waterpark, jumping pillow, swimming pool, two fully stocked camp kitchens, laundry, convenience store, entertainment program
Cost: From $43 per night
Just a short walk from Port Douglas’ Macrossan Street, this is a caravan park that offers the best of camping when you’re not really camping. With a full range of cafes, bars and restaurants on one side and the glorious Four Mile Beach on the other, Tropic Breeze Van Village is a camping location with the lot. As well as the full range of all facilities, the park is also pet-friendly (ring ahead to chat about your family fur baby).
Facilities: Showers and toilets within easy access of all sites, swimming pool, camp kitchen with lots of cooking facilities, coin-operated laundry and dryers, tourist information available from the office
Cost: From $35 per night
Mossman Pool and Caravan Park, with its manicured lawns and rainforest vegetation, overlooks the surrounding mountain scenery in this tropical northern town. A short skip away from the Mossman River and walking distance to the shops and restaurants of Mossman, this is a lovely spot to set up camp, stay in a cabin or park the caravan for a while. The park comes with all amenities, including a 50m pool right next door, free of charge for all registered guests. If you’re here on a weekend, don’t miss the Saturday farmer’s markets.
Facilities: Beer garden, disabled bathrooms, laundry, camp kitchen, free entry to 50m swimming pool next door
Cost: From $30 per night
Ever dreamt of that breathtaking spot in all the pictures, right where the reef and rainforest meet? Welcome to Noah’s Beach. Located just 50m from the beach beneath the rainforest canopy, waking to the sound of the ocean is guaranteed. Noah’s Beach is only accessible by conventional car, so no caravans, buses or campervans. Heads up though, all booking must be made in advance through Queensland National Parks.
Facilities: Tap water and composting toilets are the only facilities available, however it’s only 8KM to Cape Tribulation Village.
Cost: From $6.65 per adult per night
This is a great spot for an overnight stop on the way north to Cooktown or west to the Atherton Tablelands. Located close by the intersection to either destination, Rifle Creek at Mt Molloy has plenty of space here if you happen to have to tow a caravan and some nice shady spots for tent sites. Most of the area is hard-packed dirt, and level with plenty of room for large rigs. If you are in a tent, you will be able to find a few areas with a bit of grass and shade.
Facilities: There are public toilets, showers and covered picnic tables
Daintree Beach Resort (formerly Pinnacle Village Holiday Park) based at beautiful Wonga Beach is a beach frontage caravan park nestled amongst well-established tropical gardens and peaceful surrounds. With powered sites for caravans, motor homes and campers, many have concrete slabs and all have access to water. Cabins are perfectly appointed and suitable for couples and small families alike. Check out the BBQ area, resort style pool or take a leisurely stroll along Wonga Beach. Daintree Beach Resort is your gateway to the Daintree.
Facilities: Full facilities including a convenience store, information centre, games room, linen hire service and car and boat wash area.
Cost: From $20 per night
Newell Beach is only 15 minutes away from the crystal clear rock pools of Mossman Gorge National Park, and on route to the Daintree Village and Cape Tribulation. A quick walk across the road from the park will have you on the beach at Newell looking out to the Coral Sea, Low Isles to the south and Snapper Island to the north. Full-service park with powered camping, caravans and cabins all available.
Facilities: Free WiFi, salt-water swimming pool, communal BBQ area with TV and fully equipped camp kitchen, full bathroom amenities
Cost: From $29 per night
Located at the northern end of the famous Bloomfield track an hour south of Cooktown, the Bloomfield Beach Camp is set over 10 acres including 5 acres of spectacular rainforest and is home to a variety of local wildlife. The campgrounds are truly a remote tropical paradise and offer shady powered and unpowered sites suitable for tents, camper trailers and caravans. There are also cabins, raised safari tents and a self-contained family cottage. Campfire pits are also available although in some spots you can enjoy your own little campfire. Self-drive boats for fishing, croc spotting or sight-seeing are available for hire (no licence required) and the glorious Roaring Meg Falls is only a short drive down the road.
Facilities: Toilet and shower facilities, laundry and a large, well-appointed kitchen.
Cost: From $32 for two adults each night
Right in the heart of Cape Tribulation village, PK’s Jungle Village welcomes adventure travellers, backpackers, families and locals. Air-conditioned private ensuite cabins and dorm accommodation are available in addition to campgrounds in a pristine tropical setting, just a short 2-minute walk to the spectacular Myall Beach. The Jungle Bar and Bistro serves a variety of great food all day. Take advantage of Happy Hour in the Jungle Bar or soak up the sun around their large tropical pool.
Facilities: Full facilities, including the Jungle Bar for food and refreshments
Cost: From $15 for first adult per night, $10 for each additional adult
Everyone knows someone who's got a wild tale to tell from the historic Lion's Den Hotel. This epic spot is the last bastion of rest before Cooktown, and has been an important stop for weary roadtrippers for decades as a resting and refuelling point (cars and people) from the gruelling travel throughout the Cape York Peninsula. A great place to pitch a tent, sleep in the safari huts in the trees, bunker down in the cabins or park up the RV, it's most famous for raucously good fun bar and restaurant, live music on the weekends and has one of the most beautiful (and safe) swimming holes around. Make sure you add your name to the wall along with all those who've travelled before you.
Facilities: Full laundry, shower and toilet facilities, BBQ areas, children’s playground, and they are pet friendly.
Cost: Varied - call them direct for booking enquiries
One of the best things about camping is switching off and being at one with nature rather than technology. Most places north of the Daintree River have limited mobile telephone reception and almost no internet coverage, so keep that in mind when adventuring. If you’re going for long periods, make sure you have a satellite phone or make yourself friendly with campsite owners and managers if you need to make calls from their landlines.
The most (not) fun part of going on a road trip in a caravan is having to regularly empty your waste into a public dump point station. Dump points offer a place for caravans and RVs to dispose of grey and black water, as well as sewage waste. Some Dump Points will have a hose provided for the rinsing of your holding tanks. Be mindful that these hoses may have been used to clean waste, and in no circumstances should be used to fill your drinking water tanks.
Big 4 Port Douglas Glengarry Holiday Park: 70 Mowbray River Road, Craiglie
Port Douglas Dump Point: Willie Pye Memorial Park (Teamsters Park), Craiglie
Mossman Riverside Leisure Park: 1 Park Street, Mossman
Wonga Beach Pinnacle Village Holiday Park: 1 Esplanade, Wonga Beach
All prices in this article are correct at time of publication.