Free camping Townsville

Free Camping Townsville

Free camping close to Townsville city is limited to 24 hours at the BP Service Station. There is however two other Townsville camping grounds 30 minute drive north of the city, each allowing 48 hour stays. Bluewater Park Campground and Saunders Beach Campground are the best free camping Townsville has. 

Townsville on the traditional lands of the Bindal and Wulgurukaba People is Queensland’s largest rural city north of the Sunshine Coast. Approximately 1350 kilometres north of Brisbane, Townsville is on the shores of Cleveland Bay. The Ross River flows through it and the rocky mountains of Castle Hill and Mount Stuart are dominant features of the landscape. Also across the bay less than 10 kilometres over the water lies Magnetic Island.

A popular destination for enjoying water activities including the Great Barrier Reef as well as visiting Magnetic Island we recommend taking advantage of 2 – 4 nights free Townsville camping sites. For our stay we camped for two nights at the Bluewater Campground and for the third and last night stayed at the BP Overnight Area after we returned from a day trip to Magnetic Island with our dog Chika.

Free Camping Townsville

BP Service Station Free Rest Stop

BP Service Station 

BP Service Station provides an overnight stop (not a campground) in a designated asphalt car park area between the truck stop bays and Bunnings. The service station has toilets, showers, food and fuel 24/7.

General information: 

⏳24 hour limit

🐕 Dog friendly

🚻 Toilets

🚿 Hot showers $5

🚰 Portable water taps 

🚮 Bins

📱 Mobile phone reception

📺 Television reception

⛽ Fuel and gas available

🍝 Food available

❎ No tents

❎ No power

❎ No cooking allowed (must leave and cook elsewhere)

Things to know:

  • It is noisy with trucks coming, stopping and going throughout the night as well as Bunnings forklifts operating until midnight.
  • Due to this being a fuel stop there are no cooking and no pilot light rules.

If you just need somewhere to sleep in your rig overnight, need to use a shower and or would like to buy food then this stop could suit you. For us this was simply somewhere to sleep and we stayed hitched on for night.

Address: D’Arcy Drive, Idalla (Townsville)

Distance to city centre: 7 kilometres or 10 minute drive

Bluewater Park Free Campground

Bluewater Park Campground

Bluewater Park free camping area is both a day use area and a campground. Located just off the Bruce Highway at Bluewater, the designated camping area has shady, grassy spots for about 15 caravans, motorhomes and camper trailers. There is also room to fit in more campervans and tent set ups. 

It’s the big shady trees, the lush grass in the day use area, the sports field and the freshwater creek down a short path behind the playground and toilets that in our opinion makes this place special. For an added bonus the Bluewater Community Centre, located on the far side of the sports field, sells $5 frozen meals from 4 to 7pm each day. The meals are cooked by volunteers to help raise funds for the centre. We had the tortellini (vegetarian for me) and the meatballs with mash potato and vegetables. Both were delicious.

Bluewater Day Use Area, Playground and Toilets

General information:

⏳48 hour limit

✅ Suitable for all size and types of rigs

🐕 Dog friendly

🌳 Shade

🚻 Toilets

⏬ Dump point

🚰 Portable water 

🚮 Bins

📱 Mobile phone reception

📺 Television reception

🚸 Playground

💦 Freshwater Creek 

🍝 Takeaway meals available at the community centre

❎ No power

Bluewater Rest Area Freshwater Creek

Things to know:

  • Bluewater Campground spots fill up quickly. It is best from our observations to arrive by 9.30am in the peak winter season. 
  • There are bush-stone curlews here. So? If you’re from the south like us turns out curlews make a lot of noise at night something like we imagine a pterodactyl would. Their call is high-pitched, loud and can go on for hours throughout the night. It is a little unnerving when you’ve never heard it before!
  • Rangers patrol the area. A number of campers set up outside the designated area during our stay and we didn’t see any get fined however its a risk you take if you do the same.

Bluewater Rest Stop is a very nice campground. The trees, the green grass and facilities make it a lovely and practical place to stay for a couple of days.

Address: 41790 Bruce Highway, Bluewater

Distance to city centre: 32 kilometres or 30 minute drive

Saunders Beach

Saunders Beach Park Rest Area

Saunders Beach Park Rest Area is a small campground right on the shores of Saunders Beach. Wander down on to the beach and listen to the waves from your set up. Bliss. 

The beach has no waves and at low tide its a long walk out to reach the water. It’s a great place for dogs to run and for kids to have a splash in the shallows. Coconut palms line the sandy edge giving it a bit of a tropical feel and if you’re lucky you could even score yourself a coconut you can eat.

General information:

⏳48 hour limit

🐕 Dog friendly

🚻 Toilets

🚿 Outdoor cold shower

🚰 Portable water 

🚮 Bins

⛱️ Beach

📱 Mobile phone reception

📺 Television reception

⚗️ Barbecues and picnic tables

🚸 Playground

❎ No tents

❎ No power 

Things to know:

Spots fill up quickly and generally it is best to arrive by early afternoon. Obviously this will vary depending on the season (peak or low) and what size rig you have 

  • This is the home of a bat colony and collectively they make a fair bit of noise and more mess. 
  • Mosquitoes, flies and midges frequent the area.
  • Rangers regularly patrol the rest area.

Saunders Beach Rest Area is a free camp on a beach. It’s rustic and simple.

Address: 2 Reef St, Saunders Beach

Distance to city centre: 33 kilometres or 30 minute drive

Free camping in Townsville is also available further north at Toomulla, Rollingstone Park and Balgal Beach. These campgrounds are 45 to 50 minutes from the city centre of Townsville, and we think a little far for exploring Townsville. Wherever you choose to stay enjoy your travels.

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