Free Camping Queensland – Calliope River

It is peaceful relaxing and free, what more could you want when Free Camping Queensland. I have stayed in this lovely spot on many occasions now and have never said I didn’t like my vacation. 

It sits on the Bruce Hwy, approximately 105 Klms South of the regional city of Rockhampton, and approximately 30 Klms northwest of the port city of Gladstone. It has free camping on both sides of the river.

Access to the north bank camp area is at the old Calliope River Historical village. Access to the South bank camp area is via the old Bruce Hwy turnoff just north of the small town of Calliope.

The Northside.old bridge Calliope river

The Northside area is easily accessed by larger campers and caravans plenty of room to get a spot, it’s reasonably level in most places and clean toilets are situated close and handy.

There are vast areas to go walking down by the river bank near the old Bruce Hwy bridge. Dogs are allowed in the area so bring your fur baby with you. Good internet signal is in the area.

Along most of the length of the camp area, the riverbank is quite steep and access to the water is restricted, however, if you walk a little way towards the old bridge, access is easy.

There is slight noise from the Hwy but not that bad that it should be a problem unless you’re a really light sleeper. No drinking water is available on either side of this location so make sure your tanks are full before arriving. Water can be obtained at the historical village.

The Southside.camping on the river

The southside area is also a vast area alongside the river and always a spot available somewhere. The riverbank on this side is down low close to the water level which creates some wonderful waterfront spots.

And access to the water is much easier than the north side. Choice positions right on the river are sometimes all taken up but usually, you can find a spot to sit back and enjoy the peaceful surrounds.

I personally prefer the south bank and I try, and nearly always get a riverside spot with a 4×4 and camper trailer. The highway sounds are very minimal on this side. Quite a lot of bird life living along the river and different times throughout the day will find the sun at angles that provide some wonderful photo opportunities.

If your pastime is holding a camera you will get some quality pictures of the water, the bush and the wild inhabitants of the area.

I always take an opportunity to swim in the river when I camp. There are signs warning that you are in crocodile country however, I was born and raised in this part of the country and know the area well.

I am NOT saying there are no crocs in the area as there have been sightings, but they are usually more in the harbor area of Gladstone and along the coastal areas Northwards, but always be croc aware.

My birthplace is Rockhampton just 95 Klms to the north and it is situated right on the Tropic of Capricorn, it is a beautiful part of the world and if you ever get a chance to visit the area, there are some wonderful attractions in the Capricornian Region,

Activities.A river bank looking across the water

You are allowed a campfire, which is just great. It is a magical thing to gaze into the dancing flames of an open fire. I love the chance to cook over a campfire, the food tastes delicious, and to boil the billy for a cuppa, yum.

Make sure you bring your own firewood you will not find any onsite unless a previous camper has left some behind.

The Calliope River Historical village which is situated on the northern side of the river has quite a few activities and is a wonderful area to stop, and wander around and check out some of the many items from yesteryear. They have some terrific old buildings here, and also a great display of old railroad memorabilia.

There is a coffee shop which is open every day, and for a small fee, you can wander in through the railway display. Markets are held here every month or so, and certainly worth a look, if your timing is right, check out the market dates and times online.

small fishing boat on the river

If your the fishing enthusiast, fishing in the Calliope river can be extremely good at times, I have seen a 45cm mangrove jack that was caught in the river very close to the camp area. There are also good bream to be caught and barra are sometimes taken nearby.

Make sure you have your tackle box when your in the area and flick a lure or cast a bait. This is a healthy river system and the chances of fresh fish on the table are good odds.
I find sleeping here is easy, mostly there is little noise unless its made by people, you always have somebody in the area if you don’t like being alone, and on a clear night the sight of stars twinkling above, bright and breathtakingly beautiful, always make one wonder if we are the only ones here. The stars you are familiar with are easy to find as you are a little bit away from any city lights.

The Final Bit.the sandy riverbed of a running river

If your on the road and looking for a good spot to pull up for a day or so you will not be disappointed by this place. There is a 48-hour limit of stay however a lot of people stay longer, and from time to time the council ranger does his rounds, but I’m not sure if they are too strict with the time limitations.

The grass can sometimes get a little long, but this is free camping supplied by the region and we as campers and travelers have access to it for our own benefit, we should give the Gladstone Region a pat on the back in appreciation.

And for what it costs us, we can’t complain if it’s not presented like some well-manicured caravan parks. Read my article on camping near the beach it is always a great place

In the Australian bush, there are numerous things that can hurt you. In Northern Australia crocodiles are one of the most dangerous animals and in the rest of the country one animal that can put us in a dangerous situation are snakes, However, you can travel this country with ease and be at ease, with a little common sense and preparation.

If you have any more questions about Free Camping Queensland, I’ll be more than happy to answer them in the comments section below.

Remember! Leave it cleaner than you found it, only footprints not rubbish.

Thanks, Shane.

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