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Discover the best camping near Emerald, Queensland

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Camping near Emerald

Lakes, gemfields, and volcanic peaks surround this Central Highlands town.

Outdoor stays for every style

Find your new favorite spot.

Emerald takes its name from its lush green hills, but it’s a different gemstone that takes center stage—this Central Highlands town is the gateway to Australia’s largest sapphire field. Emerald’s handful of attractions can easily be explored in a day. Admire the Van Gogh Sunflower painting in Morton Park, take a stroll along the Mosaic Pathway, then head to the Emerald Botanic Gardens to fish along the Nogoa River or picnic amid the flower gardens. Campers can stay in town or at neighboring Lake Maraboon, where you can swim, fish, and enjoy water sports from the lakeside beaches.

Where to Go

Central Highlands  Just west of town, the Sapphire Gemfields stretch over a 900-square-kilometre plot, where you can discover 19th-century mines or even try your hand at gem hunting. Further north, sprawling farmlands and state forests lead the way into the Peak Downs. Stop in Capella to visit the Capella Pioneer Village, then drive up the mountain road to take in the views from the Peak Range Lookout.  Rockhampton and Gladstone East of Emerald, the riverside city of Rockhampton is the gateway to the Southern Great Barrier Reef. Set sail from Yeppoon to Great Keppel Island or Pumpkin Island to snorkel amid colorful corals, lounge on white-sand beaches, and spot wildlife from humpback whales to sea turtles. To the south, campers can escape the crowds and pitch their tent along near-deserted beaches in the Curtis Island National Park.  Springsure South of the Emerald, the verdant agricultural lands give way to arid bushlands, marking the route to Springsure. Dive into Australian history as you visit sites such as the Old Rainworth Fort Complex and the Wills Memorial Site, then admire views of Virgin Rock. The region’s star attraction is the Minerva Hills National Park, where you can hike beneath the jagged peaks of ancient volcanoes. 

When to Go

With sunny days year-round, camping and outdoor activities are enjoyable at any time in Emerald. Temperatures average around 30°C in summer (December through February) and rarely dip below 11°C even on winter nights, so prepare for warm weather. The biggest crowds arrive for the region’s two major events—the Festival of Gems (August) and the Easter Sunflower Festival—so book your campsite well in advance if visiting at this time. 

Know Before You Go

- Having your own transport is preferable for exploring Emerald and the Central Highlands.  - Emerald has a good selection of shops where you can pick up camping gear and stock up on supplies. - Fire bans are common in Queensland during dry periods, so check local recommendations in advance.

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