Top 5 4WD & Camping Parks in South East Queensland
Beyond the many stunning beaches in SE QLD, there are only a few national parks and state forest locations to explore by 4WD. But thanks to a small bunch of friendly landholders, there are hundreds of kilometres of private 4WD trails to explore within a two-hour drive from downtown Brisbane.
These fabulous 4x4 and camping parks are all hosted, maintained, and managed by their owners and have well-priced entry and camping fees plus free maps of their graded tracks (from easy to extreme) to help you safely navigate around. Most don’t allow trail bikes leaving the properties quieter and safer for you and your 4WD.
All are pet friendly and allow open fireplaces (fire season permitting). For the best campsites, you’ll need to book ahead on most long weekends.
The Springs 4x4 Camping & Adventure Park
175km SW of Brisbane
The Springs 4x4 Park is an offroad enthusiast’s dream. The park’s owners Lucas and Michelle, and their son Tyler “love people and love wheeling” and it shows throughout their 727 acres of epic 4x4 park. The shady main campground is a hub of fun and community, especially when the famous ‘Beer O’clock’ hill climb is open daily from 4-5pm. Lucas & Tyler even cruise around in their mascot 4.2L GU Patrols (Battle Axe and Sledgehammer) keeping it safe and fun for all; and ready to help when you get stuck or break something.
There are quality bathroom facilities at the main campground and port-a-loos at the more secluded campsites. All are offroad trailer and caravan-friendly and dogs are very welcome. Love Hill, Bald Nob and Highway Hill are all easy to access and provide stunning views over the park and surrounding region. There’s even an air compressor as you exit so you can reinflate for the highway drive home.
The park holds several competition and charity events throughout the year, promoted via their Facebook page plus they’re working on an upgraded park map and installing 400 new track signs to guide you on their 80km of graded 4WD trails.
Janowen Hills 4WD Park
150km WSW of Brisbane
Janowen Hills is a long-established (since 2004) 4WD park set on 1,000 acres of the beautiful Goomburra Valley. It’s unique with night driving (on most tracks) permitted until 10pm. They also provide simple track notes on each trail so you can better prepare for the obstacles and there’s an old gravel scrape ‘playground’ including mud pits and steep hill climbs to practise on. One of my favourite tracks is the classic hill climb on track #68 to the Maryvale and Goomburra Valley lookouts with stunning views along the valley, to the north and west.
The main campground, just off the main Goomburra Road, is grassy, flat and perfect for vans and trailers, and there’s a newly upgraded camping area (with dump point) down behind the homestead, with several large and flat drive-through sites, adjacent to the creek. These are ideal for self-sufficient caravans, RVs and other large rigs. There are also three duplexes and two single cabins available (bookings essential) and an onsite kiosk.
The owners ensure the park is never overbooked so you’re guaranteed to ‘get away from it all’.
Scenic Rim Adventure Park
100km S of Brisbane
This near 700-acre back-to-basics 4WD and camping park has some of the best campsite vistas in the region and with visitor numbers closely managed your chances of scoring an epic sunrise view towards the Lamington Plateau are pretty good. The park is well managed by Wendy & Brian Harris, two long-time 4WD enthusiasts and offroad community members who have worked tirelessly to constantly upgrade this park.
There are around 20km of mostly standard to difficult trails which like most parks have become more eroded and challenging in recent years. They regularly offer single-day Driver Awareness Courses to help you gain confidence in your vehicle and competence in both driving and recovery skills.
There are 14 different camping areas to choose from, some with great views and many more in more secluded bush locations. As campsites, vehicle numbers and mobile coverage are all limited, it’s always best to book and pay before your visit.
Swan Gully Park
80km S of Brisbane
Formerly known as City View, Swan Gully Park has been managed by its current owners (Ben and Deb) for the past eight years. Along with many fun and challenging trails, Swan Gully has some fabulous remote campsites up the back of the park with views south and east towards the Border Ranges and others with a view back towards Brisbane City. The more accessible grassy campsites along the valley entrance road are perfect for offroad vans and camper trailers.
The 900-acre park is just over an hour from Brisbane, and ten minutes west of Beaudesert so is the quickest to access and is ideal for small group day trips. With mobile coverage in most areas, you’ll never feel far from help or home. Swan Gully hosts several events throughout the year, promoted via their Facebook page.
150km WSW of Brisbane
With over 4,000 pristine acres to enjoy and explore, adjacent to world heritage national parks Gordon Country is my go-to family camping getaway. There are hundreds of eucalypt-shaded, grassy, and creek-side campsites to choose from and some fun mid-level 4WD trails to explore along the forested ridgeline. It’s easily accessible for 2WDs and has mountains of room for large groups and caravans, and there are also quality cabins available.
The online booking system is clear and user-friendly with an excellent detailed map to download and use for your stay. NB There’s no phone coverage once you’re past the check-in shed but that’s part of the bush getaway experience.
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