Camping Sunshine Coast: Your Guide to the Best Sites & Activities

camping sunshine coast


If you want to experience some of Australia’s most exciting outdoor escapes, camping on the Sunshine Coast offers the perfect adventure.

From beachfront sites and secluded bushland havens to family-friendly grounds and dog-friendly areas, the region has campgrounds and campsites for every taste.

This guide will provide all the necessary information to plan your ultimate Sunshine Coast getaway. Discover the top destinations to pitch your tent or park your campervan. Learn tips for first-time nature lovers. Understand the necessary safety considerations for responsible outdoor fun.

Top Campgrounds on the Sunshine Coast

The allure of the Sunshine Coast reaches far beyond its pristine beaches; its vast hinterland, ripe with lush vegetation and awe-inspiring mountain ranges, is another treasure teeming with opportunities for camping enthusiasts. 

It hosts a myriad of campgrounds, each unique in composition yet united in the impeccable experience they offer. 

So, here are a few of our favourites to fill up your bucket list!

Noosa North Shore, The Epitome of Coastal Camping 

Noosa proves to be a perennial favourite among campers who covet a waterfront experience, and for good reasons. Its principal campground, the Noosa River Holiday Park, offers idyllic riverside plots only a stone’s throw from bustling Hastings Street. With amenities like powered sites, BBQ facilities, and a boat ramp, it caters to a diverse audience. Visit the nearby Noosa National Park, renowned for its coastal hikes and picturesque beaches. 

Cotton Tree Holiday Park, A Beachfront Haven 

Located on the Maroochydore Beach, Cotton Tree Holiday Park offers both fantastic beachfront views and the tranquil sight of the Maroochy River. The campground features powered and unpowered sites, and amenities include BBQ facilities, a playground, and Wi-Fi. Prices vary depending on the season and site type. You’ll find local dining, shopping, and recreational fishing opportunities near the park. 

Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve, A Rainforest Paradise 

For those yearning for a more secluded getaway, retreat to the tranquillity of the Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve

Here, camping-evergreen Maleny Showgrounds presents campers with generously sized sites amid a serene rainforest. It’s a peaceful oasis brimming with native fauna and a paradise for birdwatchers. 

The reserve offers an immersive rainforest walk, captivating views of the Glass House Mountains, and an informative Rainforest Discovery Centre. 

Mooloolaba Beach Holiday Park, Coastal Cool 

This oceanfront campground provides direct access to one of the most beautiful beaches on the Sunshine Coast. Mooloolaba Beach Holiday Park, known for its clean facilities and friendly staff, boasts powered sites with modern amenities. 

After a long day at the beach, find various dining and shopping options within walking distance. 

Glass House Mountains National Park, A Geologic Marvel 

Equally remarkable is the Glass House Mountains National Park. Camping here introduces you to unique geological landscapes and panoramic views of impressive volcanic peaks. Choose from nearby campgrounds like Beerwah State Forest, with its unpowered sites perfect for a truly ‘back to nature’ camping experience. Be sure to immerse yourself in the park’s popular walking tracks, mountain climbing opportunities, and photo-perfect lookouts. 

Great Sandy National Park, Bountiful and Surreal 

The Great Sandy National Park is a multifaceted marvel for campers with its combination of extensive beaches, towering sand dunes, and freshwater lakes. Teewah Beach camping area provides beachfront camping, while Freshwater campground provides shady, sheltered sites within verdant vegetation. Ensure to explore the World Heritage-listed Fraser Island with its iconic shipwreck, dingo sightings, and crystal-clear Lake McKenzie. 

Kenilworth Camping, The Rustic Retreat 

Set on the bank of Mary River in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, Kenilworth Camping offers expansive open grasslands for a true bush camping experience. Pet-friendly and open to tents and caravans, this site provides hot showers, a kids’ play area, and fire pits for that classic campfire experience. Nearby, you can explore Kenilworth township, the Cheese Factory, and various bushwalking trails. 

Mapleton National Park, The Nature Enthusiast’s Choice 

Mapleton National Park campground is a bush camper’s delight with its undisturbed natural setting, dense forest, and myriad birdlife. The unpowered sites offer picnic tables, fire rings, and clean restrooms. From the campground, various walking tracks provide the opportunity for wildlife viewing and exploration of subtropical rainforests.

How to Prepare for Your First Camping Trip on the Sunshine Coast

Embarking on your first camping trip can be an exhilarating experience, and the captivating landscapes of the Sunshine Coast serve as the perfect backdrop for your outdoor adventure. Here’s how to prepare for an unforgettable camping expedition in this quintessentially Australian region. 

Familiarise Yourself with the Environment 

The Sunshine Coast spans various environments, from picturesque beachfront locales to rugged mountain terrains. Understanding the terrain and weather patterns of the region can help you plan appropriately. The region sees a sub-tropical climate, with hot and humid summer months, while winters are mild with cool nights. 

Procure Necessary Camping Permits 

Some camping sites on the Sunshine Coast require a permit. For instance, national parks like Noosa and Great Sandy National Park require campers to obtain a camping permit. Ensure that you apply for these permits ahead of time through the Queensland Government’s Department of Environment and Science website. A small fee is usually required to contribute towards the maintenance of these public facilities. 

Pack Essential Camping Gear 

Pack a tent appropriate for the local climate and the size of your camping party. Other essential gear for any camping Sunshine Coast trip includes a camping stove, sleeping bags suitable for Australia’s weather, cooking utensils, and a durable cooler. 

Planning your Meals 

Planning and packing your meals can save you significant time and stress. Consider meals that are easy to cook over a camping stove or an open fire. Classic Aussie camping foods like damper bread, bush tomatoes, and billy tea are simple and satisfying options. 

Importance of a Camping Checklist 

A carefully compiled camping checklist is priceless, ensuring you don’t overlook any essentials. Apart from camping gear and food supplies, this list should include items like sunblock, personal medicines, maps, spare batteries, binoculars for bird watching, and items for recreational activities.

Safety Considerations for Sunshine Coast Campers

Camping in the Sunshine Coast’s breathtaking landscapes is an adventure. However, this adventure requires its own set of safety measures to ensure you make fond memories and not disastrous ones. 

The outdoors can be entrancing, but they carry inherent risks every camper should prepare for. The following pointers highlight the safety considerations you should heed while camping.

Check Weather Forecasts 

Always check the weather forecast before embarking on your camping expedition. While the climate is typically favourably warm, sudden weather changes such as thunderstorms or heat waves could upset your camping plans. So, we advise you to plan and pack accordingly. Staying at a campsite with good weather ensures a pleasant outdoor experience. 

Know Your Wildlife 

No camping trip is complete without an encounter with the local fauna. The Sunshine Coast is home to many wildlife, some of which could pose potential hazards. If you encounter a wild animal, keep your distance. Remember that you are in their home and should respect their space. 

Adhere to Campfire Safety 

Campfires are a staple of the camping experience but come with their share of risks. Never leave a campfire unattended, and ensure it is fully extinguished before retiring for the night or leaving the campsite. Also, follow the campfire regulations set by the campgrounds, as some may prohibit fires during specific periods. 

Stay Hydrated 

Dehydration can quickly turn any outdoor adventure into a dire situation. The Sunshine Coast can often experience balmy temperatures, and you’ll likely exert energy through various outdoor activities. Ensure that you have a consistent supply of water and rehydrate regularly. Being well-hydrated helps you stay healthy, energetic, and alert during your camping trip. 

Equip Yourself With a First-Aid Kit 

Despite taking all safety precautions, accidents can happen. A well-stocked first aid kit is a camper’s best friend in case of minor injuries or ailments. Your kit should contain items like bandages, antiseptic wipes, tweezers, and medications for common health issues like headaches, allergies, or upset stomachs. 

Stick to Designated Trails 

Sunshine Coast offers a myriad of exciting trails to explore. While it may be tempting to forge your own path, doing so can lead to unnecessary risks and potential environmental damage. Stick to designated paths and trails, not just for personal safety but to preserve the beautiful landscapes for future explorers. 

Unforgettable & Unique Camping Sunshine Coast Experiences 

Beach Camping Amidst the Coastal Grandeur 

Camping on Australia’s Sunshine Coast offers a special experience – waking up in your tent to the soft sands and ocean views of a beautiful, untouched beach. These beachside camping spots allow you to pitch your tent close enough to the water to see and hear the waves, combining the adventure of camping outdoors with the relaxing feeling of a beach vacation.

Dog-friendly Camping Sunshine Coast  

Why leave your four-legged friends at home when they can share your camping enthusiasm? Several superb dog-friendly campsites are available on the Sunshine Coast, allowing your pet pooch to accompany you on your outdoor adventure. Check with individual campsite regulations regarding leashing and clean-up policies to ensure a harmonious stay for all campers. 

Secluded Bushland Escapes 

For those desiring considerable seclusion, retreat to the heart of the ‘great bush’ at one of the many secluded campsites scattered across the Sunshine Coast hinterland. With only the sounds of local wildlife to break the silence, these sites exude an untamed charm and serenity that make for a deeply peaceful camping experience.

Glamping – Comfort Meets Raw Nature 

If roughing it isn’t quite to your liking, why not consider one of the Sunshine Coast’s glamping options? 

Spacious canvas tents, fully furnished with comfortable beds and tasteful decor, combine the joys of camping with the convenience and comfort of a hotel stay. Nestled amidst lush greenery and boasting unbeatable panoramic vistas, these sites take ‘luxurious camping’ to an entirely new level. 

Family-Friendly Sunshine Coast Camping 

The Sunshine Coast is an ideal location for a family camping adventure. Numerous family-friendly campgrounds come fully equipped with amenities like children’s play areas, BBQ spots, clean restrooms, and even on-site convenience stores, providing a comfortable stay for all. 

Its proximity to numerous attractions like Australia Zoo, SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast Aquarium, and the Eumundi Markets makes the region perfect for a family holiday with a camping twist.

Key Takeaways 

  • The Sunshine Coast boasts a plethora of campgrounds and holiday parks, each offering unique experiences. Notable campgrounds include Noosa North Shore, Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve, Glass House Mountains National Park, and Great Sandy National Park. Each site provides specific amenities, site types, and activities.
  • First-time campers on the Sunshine Coast need to effectively prepare for the trip. This involves understanding the environment, getting camping permits, packing essential camping gear, and planning meals.
  • Safety should be a top priority when camping. Campers should be wary of weather changes and indigenous wildlife, adhere to campfire safety, stay hydrated, equip themselves with a first-aid kit, and stick to designated trails.
  • The Sunshine Coast offers unforgettable and unique camping experiences. These range from beach camping, secluded bushland escapes, glamping, and dog-friendly and family-friendly camping options.
  • When planning a camping trip on the Sunshine Coast, consider the optimal times to visit based on the weather, peak seasons, and special events in the region.
  • The Sunshine Coast is a hub for outdoor activities such as day hikes, swimming, fishing, mountain biking, and beach activities, making it a perfect destination for camping enthusiasts.

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