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:

Cyprus Day Use Area (Jackey Jackey Creek)

Cyprus Day Use Area offers great picnic areas and fresh water swimming.

Address:

Northern Peninsula Area, Cape York Queensland

Location Description:

Access to the track to Cyprus Day Use Area is off Bamaga Road. On the right approx 17.9 km from the Jardine River Crossing if you are heading north, or approx 25km on the left if you are heading south from Bamaga.

The track is an easy drive which is suitable for all drivers even those with limited 4wd experience. It also does not require any major modifications to your vechile. There is some wash outs to navigate when you first enter the track then it changes to a sandy base.

Important note: If you are using a Hema map it has the area listed as Jackey Jackey Creek with a camping icon. We were advised by locals that it is only day use.

Cost:

Free

Type:

Day Use Area

Website:

Features:

  • Bins
  • Swimming
  • Picnic area
  • Fires permitted

Description:

Cyprus is located on one of the fresh water tributaries of Jackey Jackey Creek in Cape York. The cool fresh water and shaded picnic areas makes Cyprus Day Use Area a cracker spot to spend a day in Cape York.

There is a nice beach area with varying depths of water located just in front of the picnic area which would be suitable for sitting in and enjoying a drink or for children under supervision.

If you walk upstream a little you will find a fallen tree over some deep water which is great fun to jump from. You can also float down the creek from here to the beach.

REMEMBER YOU ARE IN CAPE YORK AND BE CROC SAFE AT ALL TIMES.

When you drive in you will see that there is plenty of open space and provided that there is not alot of other people already there, there is enough space to turn around if you are towing.

Surrounding the large open area there are lots of areas that shaded areas to set up for a picnic lunch or even a BBQ. We would suggest that you bring in some chairs or a blanket to sit on as it is a sandy base and no real grass covering the area. There was evidence of previous fire pits in the area, so we assume that they are allowed.

There is a bin in the day use area but if it is full please take your rubbish with you as there is wild pigs in the area and they will make a real mess.

There are NO toilets so you will need to act responsibly. Remember that this is a waterway that others will want to enjoy. If you are digging a hole make sure it is well away from the water and picnic area, burn your paper and cover it properly. Feral animals will dig up waste and unburnt paper. For the ladies bag your toilet paper and take it with you or put it in the bin. Lets not risk losing an awesome place to spend your day.

What we liked:

Besides the awesome place to swim, the accessibility of the area.

What we didn’t like:

There was already rubbish in the area and we visited in February. Lets keep it clean and keep it open.

Photos:

Roonga Point Campground (Free Camp)

Address: The Esplanade, Punsand Bay
Location Description: Access to the track is on the left hand side of Punsand Bay Road if you are heading North.
Cost: Free
Type: Campground
Website:
Features:

  • Tents
  • Camper Trailers
  • Caravans
  • 4WD Access
  • Dog Friendly
  • Generators
  • Fires Permitted
  • Phone Reception
  • Crocodiles
  • Marine Stingers
  • Dingos
  • Alcohol Restrictions
  • Fishing
  • Bush Walking
  • Look Out
  • Motor Bikes
  • Horse Riding


Description:

This is a magical location with a view over the Torres Strait to islands like Roko Island and Possession Island. During the dry season the camp area is mostly protected from the prevailing winds making it a nice place to camp.

The campground is 4wd access only however you would be able to tow in a tinny, offroad camper trailer or small offroad caravan. The sand is quite soft in places.

Being bush camping there is no allocated camping areas, people have made campsites all along the waterfront on the road in however, at the end of the road there is a large area that has cleared for camping. When selecting a site ensure that you consider the high tide line and be aware that crocodiles are known to be in the area.

– Small campsites along the road are either sand or grass (depending on time of year), they vary in size, but a limited number of those are large enough for camper trailers or groups. The outlooks of most of these sites are straight over the ocean to the islands.

– Campsites in the main camping area are mostly sand based and they also vary in size but most are large enough to have a group or larger trailers. The area has sufficient shade from small trees, the area is adjacent to a creek which is lined with mangroves.

– Campsites on the hill are dirt based but with lots of little rocks. There are a number of sites that would only be suitable for a small tent, swag or rooftop tent etc but there is a larger area at the top that is open and overlooks the water. Definitely suitable for small groups or larger campers. Some of the tracks were not well maintained when we visited and one in particular required 4wd power to get up. The waterfront can still be accessed by walking a short distance down the hill. This would be my pick as it has the awesome views with the safety of being quite elevated.

There are no facilities, drinking water or rubbish disposal so; you will need to have the capacity to manage this yourself. Keep in mind that there are wild pigs that dig up toilet paper so make sure you burn it. 

The nearest town is Bamaga but ‘Cape York Camping – Punsand Bay’ is close by and has a very limited range of supplies from their campground shop.

If you are going to have a fire please keep to the existing firepits.

As for our little friends that like to bite we were there in the middle of the day and did not have any issues. In saying that the main camping area is surrounded by mangroves so they may be an issue and being on the water there is always the risk of midges and sandflies.

On the shoreline you can see a lot of marine debris that has washed ashore. Take a spare bag and some gloves and walk along the beach (be croc wise),  you can find some interesting ‘keepers’ and it doesn’t hurt to get another bag of debris off the beach. On our trip we found a wrecked carved out boat, a brand new boat fender and lots of odd shaped bottles that could be used as decorations once cleaned up.

The closest toilet dumpsite and water to fill your tanks is located in Bamaga.

For details on the alcohol restrictions in this area visit the Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Partnerships.

This is another one of the amazing bush camping areas that is covered by the Jardine River Ferry fee.


About The Area:

Much of the history of the area has not been documented in detail or has been lost over the years, but there are still the decaying relics of times gone by in the area. The area was used for mining tin and gold and abandoned mines can be found through the region. Roonga Point was once a tin scratchers (small time prospector) camp, supplies and mail were delivered by boat to the hardened people that worked in the harsh conditions of Cape York in search of fortunes.

Cape York played a significant part in WWII and there is evidence of the war scattered throughout the Cape. As you walk around near the actual point you will find the remains of a WWII workshop site. Defence forces in the area needed to be self-sufficient so it was used to service earth moving equipment and vehicles. The size of the engine block that can be found in the mangrove is possibly evidence that it was quite a substantial site.


Nearby Attractions:

Whilst you are staying at Roonga Point why not take some time to check out these local attractions:
- The most northern point of mainland Australia (just a reminder lol..)
- The site of the original Jardine Homestead at Somerset
- Jardine Family & Pearl Divers Graves at Somerset Beach
- The Abandon Pajinka Wilderness Lodge on your way out to the tip
- Take a drive along the magical 5 beaches run
- Some souvenir shopping at The Croc Tent on Pajinka Road
- Enjoy a woodfired pizza at Cape York Camping in Punsand Bay


Closest Town And Distance: Bamaga, Cape York – 28 km Cape York Camping & Punsand Bay – 4.5km


What We Liked: What we liked most about this campground was the location. It is a great spot to have as a base whilst you explore the most northern attractions.

It has a scenic view, close to the tip and supposedly good fishing. It is also close enough to duck over to Punsand Bay for a pizza.


What We Didn't Like: Having the most awesome water, but you cannot swim in it hurts.


Video Review:


Photos: