Queensland has some fantastic coastal locations and along with the generally great weather, this makes for the ideal camping experience. There are plenty of great places to choose from – on this trip we will head to the Burrum Coast which is south of Bundaberg.
The Burrum Coast National Park is spread over four sections – Kinkuna, Woodgate, Burrum River and Buxton sections. The main camping areas are at Kinkuna Beach and Burrum Point. The park covers an area over 26,000 hectares consisting of coastal plains and wetlands. A wide diversity of plant and animal communities occur here including mangrove-lined riverbanks, wallum heath with spectacular wildflowers and tea tree dominated wetlands where huge cabbage palms reach through the canopy. In the Woodgate section there are extensive eucalypt forests as well.
Check out Burrum Coast National Park website for more details.
The Bundaberg region is around 350km north of Brisbane and is an easy drive along the Bruce Highway.
It is even closer from the Trayon factory on the Sunshine Coast and the perfect place to perhaps try a Trayon Camper for the first time. Trayon can supply you with a hire Camper and even a vehicle to carry it as well (see Trayon slide on camper hire for more details) So you could pick up a complete camping setup, get used to the vehicle with a drive north up the highway before a short 4WD stint to a pristine coastal campsite right on the beach.
Bundaberg is great place to stock up with supplies, and perhaps even take a tour of the Bundaberg Rum factory. The Bundy factory runs regular tours and has a range of merchandise for sale including plenty of the famous rum. I believe it would be a sin not to visit the rum factory when in the area!
From the main centre of Bundaberg head 14km south out of town on the Bundaberg-Goodwood-Childers road, turn into Coonarr Road just before the railway overpass and follow for 8km. Turn right into Palm Beach Road for 1km to the Park boundary and then follow the signs to the Kinkuna camping areas. Note that Kinkuna is accessible by 4WD vehicles only, and some sand-driving experience would be an advantage. If unsure about the sand driving and lack of facilities you can always skip the Kinkuna section and head straight for Woodgate Beach – see the later section/s of this article.
Kinkuna Camping Area
The Kinkuna Camping area consists of 40 campsites which sit on top of the sand dunes shaded by magnificent Casuarina trees, scattered along 10km of pristine beach ensuring plenty of space. Each campsite is accessible via individual tracks leading off the main track. Note that the sand tracks into each campsites varies from soft to very soft to very, very soft so make sure you drop your tyre pressures down accordingly.
There are established ‘beach access’ ramps onto the beach to minimize damage to the fragile dune areas, and the beach is easy going as long as you are travelling at the right time – it is best to travel a few hours either side of low tide.
Now there are no facilities here so you need to be totally self-sufficient so bring in your own food and water, and take out all of your rubbish. There are no toilets either so make sure you have this covered as well.
Booking for the Kinkuna Campsites is via the online booking system.
A big advantage of the Kinkuna Campsites is that you are allowed to have a fire as long as you bring your own wood in. Many areas in Queensland do not allow campfires.
Once you have chosen your own piece of paradise and set up camp, perhaps throw in a line to catch a meal or head for a stroll along the pristine beach. Maybe just relax at camp with a cold beverage by the fire – it doesn’t get much better! With a Trayon Camper you could utilise the external shower for a wash, and later in the evening look out across the ocean from your vantage point up in the camper on the comfortable bed with the sea breeze flowing through.
Heading south from the Kinkuna Camping Area the tracks are wider and meander through tea-coloured swamp areas. In springtime this area bursts into life where it seems every bush and tree is covered in a white, pink or yellow blossom. If recent rains have fallen this track and the Kinkuna Camping area can be closed so check the website or ring the rangers to check beforehand. The main track winds for around 14km before terminating on the main Woodgate Road. Turn left and head into Woodgate Beach.
Woodgate Beach is a lovely seaside town surrounded by the national park and fronting onto a 16km stretch of white sandy beach. The town has a range of facilities including a hotel, general store, Caravan Park, bowls club, and great sheltered picnic ground with gas BBQ’s. The general store can help you with any questions about the area including campground bookings, and also has great coffee and takeaway food.
A great way to explore the bushland around Woodgate Beach is to follow the Banksia Track walking track. This track wanders through tea tree swamp, open forest and huge palms before opening out to a wide heath plain. This track is especially worthwhile between August and October when the wildflowers are blooming.
The main camping area in the Woodgate section of the Burrum Coast National Park is the Burrum Point campground. To get there are two options – a run up the beach or a soft sandy track through the bushland. Both options require a 4WD. A good suggestion is to head in one way and out the other to experience both, so on this trip we’ll head in via the track and out via the beach. Make sure you book your campsite (via the online system or through the Woodgate Store) before heading to Burrum Point!
From Woodgate Beach Township take Acacia Street for 3.5km. At the side street turn-off to Twelfth Avenue, follow Walkers Point Road for another 1km to the park entrance. Once into the park it’s only another 4km to the turnoff to the camping area, however if you have some time continue along the main road to Walkers Point and beyond.
Walkers point is a small community at the end of the bitumen. There is a sheltered boat ramp and picnic facilities. A 4WD track (Heidkes Road) continues to the west from Walkers Point to another picnic area at Hoppy Larks Creek which has a walking track to a viewing platform with a picnic table and fishing platform on the banks of the Gregory River. From the picnic area it’s just 4km further west to the main Woodgate Road.
The main track to the Burrum Point campground is a 5km long sandy track. There are rubbish bins at the track entrance to dispose of your rubbish on the way in or out (no rubbish bins at the campground). The scenic track meanders through the lovely eucalypt and banksia forest areas with plenty of soft sections that require care to negotiate, but nothing that is too difficult. Just before the campground entrance you will see a track to the right that leads down to the beach – this is the other route to Burrum Point which we’ll take on the way out.
The Burrum Point Camping area has 13 sites with facilities which includes flush toilets, cold water showers (and a rope pulley for your own warm water), sinks and mirrors. There are taps throughout the camping area, and there is an outside shower for a rinse when coming back from the beach. The campsites are all shady and sheltered, and the beach is only a short stroll away. Sites 3 to 5, or 7 & 8 are best for groups, with all the other sites fine for couples or small families. We stayed on site 9 which was great for us. With our Trayon Camper with 100litre fridge for food and beverages, and comfortable bed as well as all the other Trayon features we were set for several days at Burrum Point.
Wildlife in the campground include grey kangaroos and inquisitive bush turkeys that will sort through and spread any foodstuff or rubbish if allowed. Make sure you keep all food well out of sight.
The Burrum Point Campground is great for families with plenty of room for the kids to roam around and a safe swimming beach. The river and beach is a great spot to fish, and it is right close to the camp. If you have a canoe or boat it can be easily launched from the beach and you can explore the Bay or the rivers. Keep an eye out for sea turtles, dugongs and other marine life. In the Burrum or Gregory Rivers watch for shorebirds and migratory waders that are found there. The rivers are also a great place to perhaps land a Mangrove Jack for dinner. With the great facilities it is fantastic place to spend a few days, just make sure you have plenty of insect repellant as the mossies and sandflies can be bad at times.
There are a range of walking tracks many which leave right from the campground. The Russell’s Rest track is a short stroll through the dunes past cypress pines and a large fig tree before coming to an open picnic area with views across the water. This area is named after the local ranger Russell Standen who spent most weekends relaxing and fishing with his family from this spot. Another longer walking track is the Melaleuca track which passes through open forest, heath plains and around saltpans, swamps and mangroves. The Melaleuca track is best tackled in the morning where you are sure to see plenty of the amazing birdlife that the area is renown for.
After a few pleasant days at Burrum Point it’s time to check out the beach run back to Woodgate Beach. The beach is accessible provided it’s not high tide and the sand is generally quite firm. It’s a fun drive with the waves crashing onto the beach and great coastal scenery – just love a beach run! From the campground head up to the point and then along the beach for around 8km to the Woodgate Beach exit which joins into Twelfth Avenue.
While heading along the beach keep watch as you never know what you may see. We spotted a few sea eagles that are impressive in their own right, and actually saw one with a snake in its talons! In winter you’re likely to see humpback whales breaching and playing on their way along the coast.
What to Take
There is plenty of opportunities to collect supplies both a Bundaberg before you start this trip and at middle & end at Woodgate Beach. This is a great place to wet a line so bring along your fishing gear if you enjoy a fish. The area has good mobile phone coverage so your communications needs are covered. There are areas of soft sand to negotiate particularly in the Kinkuna beach area so carry some recovery gear such as a set of Maxtrax’s (or equivalent), particularly if you are travelling solo. Definitely bring your camera as the scenery is spectacular!
Best Time to Visit
The Burrum coast is a year round destination but is more pleasant in the warmer months such as summer and spring/autumn. Perhaps avoid the summer holidays as the area can get very busy at this time, and make sure you book your campsite or camping permit well ahead of time if you can.
The Burrum Coast has some fantastic camping, great scenery, diverse range of wildlife, and awesome walking tracks. It is a region worthy of a few days or more to explore and camp, and with a Trayon Camper you can certainly make the most of this great region. Plan a visit to the Burrum Coast and you will certainly not be disappointed!
Author Geoff Martin is a passionate photographer and keen 4WDriver who loves camping in the Australian Bush. He has traveled extensively both in Australia and Overseas, recently on photography tours to Africa and Alaska. He is a regular contributor to a range of publications including 4WD Action and Unsealed 4×4.