Burke River Campground, Boulia (Free Camp)

Address: Selwyn Road, Boulia Qld.
Location Description: Head out of town along Burke Street, towards the Boulia Showground. You will see a camel farm on your left. Once you get to the showground you will notice a camping area, this is NOT the freecamp but camping only open during showground events. Follow the road all the way around where it turns into a track, continue along the track till you reach a large open area on the river. This is the beginning of the camping areas.
Cost: Free
Type: Campground
Website:
Features:
  • Tents
  • Camper Trailers
  • Caravans
  • 2WD Access
  • 4WD Access
  • Dog Friendly
  • Bins
  • Generators
  • Fires Permitted
  • Phone Reception
  • Fishing
  • Swimming

Description:

This is a great outback free camp located right on the banks of the Burke River. Depending on the time of year after travelling through kilometers of dry landscape it is a great change to see a river with water. Located near the cross roads of the Plenty Hwy, NT to the West, Diamantia Devlopment Road to Mount Isa, Qld to the North or Birdsville, Qld to the South and Kennedy Development Road to Winton to the East it is the perfect location to stop off for a few hours, overnight or an extended stay and recharge the batteries before you hit the road again.

Once you get off the sealed road at the showgrounds it is only a short easy drive into the camping areas. Whilst it is a dirt track there is nothing to present a huge issue for 2WD or larger rigs (the grass can get a little high) you may want to just take it slower for your own comfort.

The campsites are freerange and people have set up various camps right along the river bed. However the big open space that you drive into on entry to the campground is best suited to larger set ups. The remaining sites that people have made up range in size from a single to group set ups. The base of the campgrounds when we where there was mostly squashed down high grasses but it is dirt underneath so at other times of year it would be dirt. The sites are either flat or have a gentle slope and are surrounded by shurbs offering some level of privacy between sites. They are also mainly shaded by gumtrees which may cause an issue for solar.

There are no toilets, showers or access to drinking water within the campground. There are some toilets at the showground but we cannot confirm whether they are open for use by the public at anytime. There are a couple of bins for rubbish disposal which appear to be emptied regularly. If the bins are full take your rubbish with you to avoid feral animals spreading it and ruining a great campground. The local waste transfer station is only a short drive from the site.

Fire are permitted, it is best to use the existing fire spots within the campsites. Ensure that you check the current fire restriction status for the area before you go to the campground.

The water level of the Burke River varies considerably with the volume of rain from within the catchment. But when the water level is suitable it is a great location for a swim and the locals also pop down. Depending on the time of year there are also redclaw and fishing within the river.

We visited the campground in September and were warned by a couple of locals that some brown snakes had been spotted in the campground. We personally did not see any but it is important to keep in mind that they may be around.

Closest Services:
Petrol Station: Herbert Street, Boulia Qld.
Water: Herbert Street, Boulia Qld. (beside council building or in the park up the road)
Chemical Toilet Dump Point: Hamilton Road, Boulia Qld.
Waste Transfer Station: Bedourie Road, Boulia Qld.
Container Exchange Point: Mount Isa, Qld. & Winton, Qld.


About The Area:

Boulia is part of channel country that passes through outback queensland. Given enough range the dry creek beds fill and water flows across state boards into places like Lake Eyre, Goyders Lagoon, and Coongie Lakes. These channels play a vital part in the cattle industry.

Once a year the sleepy town comes to life when it host the Melbourne Cup of Camel Races, the Great Australian Camel Race. The event draws people from all over the country to come take part in the event. But it is not just racing camels, it is racing lawn mowers & yabbies too. There is facinators, live music, fireworks and fun for the kids. And if that hasn't sold the event you camp onsite and enjoy a drink next to the campfire.

The more mysterious side of Boulia is the famous Min Min Lights. It is said that back in in 1918 a stockman was chased down by some mysterious floating lights near the site of the Min Min Hotel but by the time he got to the town of Boulia they had simply vanished. There are more recent accounts of the lights being seen but they aren't something everyone can go out to see, the Min Min Lights look for you.


Nearby Attractions:

Closest Tourist Information Centre: Herbert Street, Boulia Qld.
There is lots of things to have a look at and do in the Boulia area including:
- Min Min Lights Encounter
- Boulia Camel Races
- Boulia Hertitage Centre
- Min Min Hotel Site
- Old Police Barracks
- Corroboree Tree


Closest Town And Distance: Boulia, Qld. - 4.5km

What We Liked: It was great to be able to camp at a convient location on a river (with water) in the middle of the outback. Going for a swim and catching some redclaw was a great bonus.

What We Didn't Like: It is very common in places that you can have fires but there was so many existing fire sites, meaning that you had to set up on or nearly on some ashes. This could easily be fixed by people using existing firespots.

Photos:

Batavia Goldfield Ruins Campground (Free Camp)

Address: Portland Road, Lockhart Qld
Location Description: Turn off is approximately 18km east of the intersection of Portland Rd and Peninsula Development Road. It is approximately 1km drive along the track till you get to the first campsite.
Cost: Free
Type: Campground
Website:
Features:
  • Tents
  • Camper Trailers
  • 4WD Access
  • Dog Friendly
  • Generators
  • Fires Permitted
  • No Phone Reception
  • Dingos
  • Bush Walking
  • Motor Bikes

Description:

Batavia Goldfield Ruins Camping Area is on the road out to Portland Roads, Chilli Beach and Lockhart River.

The area is Queensland State Heritage Listed so it is essential that the area is treated with respect and looked after as it played a significant role in the development of the area.

The drive in is relatively easy with no serious obstacles, there are however a number of washouts and fallen trees to navigate through the by passes that have been made by other visitors. Some of the bypasses can be a tight squeeze. Whilst the track is wide enough for a camper trailer I would only suggest it if you are super keen on seeing the actual ruins. Caravans would be out due to the tight turns. This is 4wd only primarily due to clearance.

There are no designated spots for camping so you will see a number of little ‘driveways’ off the track to little sites, suitable for a maximum of 2 cars with rooftops, swags or small tents. Most of these have partial shade and existing fire pits.

If you head past these and toward the ruins (about 1 km) you will come to the first lot of old machinery and ruins. This has a large open area with a firepit in the middle and would be suitable for a group. Whilst this area has heaps of cool stuff to go look at there is no shade available.

The area ranges from sand to hard fine dirt which would require alot of work to get pegs into.

This is a free camp so there are no amenities, water or rubbish disposal facilities. So please ensure that you camp responsibly.


About The Area:

Batavia Goldfield (now known as Wenlock Goldfield) was officially proclaimed in 1892 following the discovery of gold by William Baird at Retreat Creek, a tributary of the Wenlock River. Later three camps were establish, Top Camp (Plutoville), Bairdsville and Lower Camp (Wenlock)

The significance of the area to Queensland history and heritage has seen it become heritage listed. This is some interesting information on the area:
- Historically the most productive area in Cape York in the Depression years of the early 1930's.
- Aborigines (Pluto, Kitty Pluto, Friday Wilson) played significant roles in discovering and working the mining claims.
- Kitty Pluto is the only woman recorded as discovering a goldfield in Queensland.
- The remains of the Huntington mill is rare and the most intact of the two recorded in North Queensland.
- All portable mining equipment was removed by Australian Armed Forces during WWII. In an tactical effort to deny the enemy of resources that could be used to advance them.


Nearby Attractions:

Batavia Goldfield is on the road to a few iconic attractions of Cape York.

It is on the main road out to Lockhart River, Portland Roads and Chilli beach.

Portland Road marks the eastern end of the famous Frenchmans track.


Closest Town And Distance: Archer River Roadhouse - Approx 52km

What We Liked: The history of the area and all the remaining machinery that was left around to go discover.

What We Didn't Like: The limited shade in the main camping area.

Photos:

Mulgildie Pub (Free Camp)

Address: Mulgildie Hotel, Monal Street, Mulgildie QLD, Australia
Location Description: The camp area is right next to the pub in the vacant block, and can be accessed directly from the Burnett Highway.
Cost: Free
Type: Campground | Hotel/Motel
Features:
  • Tents
  • Camper Trailers
  • Caravans
  • Cabins/Rooms/On-site
  • 2WD Access
  • 4WD Access
  • Toilets
  • Phone Reception
  • Public Phone
  • Bar
  • Restaurant/Cafe
  • Fishing
  • Bush Walking

Description:

It is run by the pub, so it is nice to contribute to the local businesses by either buying a meal or a cold drink. We had dinner there and the food was nice and generous servings. The place had that authentic Aussie pub feel about it.

The campground is a vacant block located next to the pub with clear signs marking the free camping on the main road. The area is clean, grassed (there were bindies when we were there) and had a gentle slope. It is on the main road but there is very little traffic, so noise is minimal.

There are no dedicated facilities for the camping area. But if you purchase something from the pub you are more than welcome to use theirs during business hours. Outside of business hours there are public toilets a short walk away at the local hall. There are no bins, so rubbish must be taken with you.

The local hall also has a kid’s play area, free gas BBQs (which were all very clean) and picnic tables.


About The Area:

Mulgildie is a quirky small town that unfortunately has seen most of the shops in the town close over the past few years. The general store on the main road had closed and was up for sale. However, there is a few businesses still standing including the local pub, a book shop, Granny’s Treasures and a fabricator.

The area is predominately pastoral land originally used for sheep the area moved over to beef herds. The area has experienced a decline in dairy farming and is primarily now for beef cattle. However, the 2016 census shows that the most predominate industry of employment is pig farming.


Nearby Attractions:

As you drive into town you will notice a life size statue of a bunyip with a street sign for The Bunyip Hole. Of course, you must go check it out otherwise curiosity will get the better of you. It is just a short drive out of town where you will find the legendary Bunyip Hole, a place of mystery and intrigue.

Aboriginals tell the story of fearsome booming monsters that inhabit the local swaps and waterholes. Local stories tell of strange noises, bubbling and churning water in the hole and of cattle just disappearing into the depths as they drink from the water. Aboriginals knew the area as ‘Devil Devil’ country and like Drovers wouldn’t camp near the Bunyip Hole.

Or is it something more scientific? Others believe that the Bunyip Hole is somehow connected through a vast network of caverns to the extinct volcano Tellebang Mountain. It is said that when Tellebang Mountain rumbles the water in the Bunyip Hole boils.

At the Bunyip Hole, you can relax by the water, go hunting for bunyips (if you dare) or throw in a line. Just beware do not stand to close to the water’s edge you never know what is lurking beneath.


Closest Town And Distance: Mulgildie 0km

What We Liked: Who doesn't like a free camp and a beer!

What We Didn't Like: No onsite after hours facilities for campers.

Photos: