Rolling green farmland, babbling creeks and wildlife spotting bring campers to the Sunshine Coast hinterland.
The Sunshine Coast hinterland has a scattering of small towns that provide good bases for camping trips, and Kenilworth is one of the cutest. Only 50km from the coast, this is dairy farm country (you can even camp on some farms) and you’ll find plenty of local cheese to stash in your backpack. The Mary River flows through this country, also providing great opportunities for riverside camping, and there are eight National Parks and State Forests that allow camping, along with plenty of privately-owned camping grounds throughout the Mary Valley.
There are two creek-side camping areas in Amamoor State Forest, which adjoins Amamoor National Park, including some along the creek. Amamoor Creek is a wonderful place to spot platypus swimming, if you are patient, quiet and lucky! There’s also good bird-watching here, and at night you’ll hear plenty of frogs. Cedar Grove has a waterhole for swimming and good access to mountain biking tracks.
This 58.8km four-day walk through parts of the Blackall Range traverses subtropical rainforest and open eucalypt forest, with stunning waterfalls and plenty of wildlife. It has three remote bush camp sites at around 13km intervals, suitable for self-sufficient, experienced campers. There are four access points, and it is also possible to do half-day and full-day walks on the trail.
Imbil State Forest’s camping area is set in beautiful open eucalyptus forest along the banks of Little Yabba Creek, only 12km from Kenilworth. This is a popular spot with families and mountain-bikers, who can ride or hike up the trail to Mount Allan, where horse-riding is also allowed. Less active campers and caravanners might just relax by the creek, take a dip, or at night go ‘spotlighting’ with a flashlight to spot wildlife including possums, yellow-bellied gliders and red-necked pademelons.
Book well ahead at any time of year, especially for major public holidays in Australia such as Easter, Christmas, long weekends and other special events. The Gympie Music Muster, in the last week of August) attracts thousands of campers and from late July to early September, camping bookings at Amamoor Creek and Gympie Muster camping areas must be booked through the Gympie Muster website.
- A camping permit is required for all Queensland National Parks, forests and reserves and must be booked online and paid for before arrival. - You will need a 4WD vehicle to access the campsite at Amamoor State Forest. - There is limited or no mobile phone reception at most National Parks in this region, but there is a pay phone at Cedar Grove in Amamoor State Forest. - Mapleton National Park should not be confused with Mapleton Falls National Park, where camping is not allowed. - Book camping spots on the Sunshine Coast Hinterland Great Walk well ahead, up to 12 months in advance.