We love a good free camp, and after 6 nights on a Whitsunday Bareboat cruise, we unloaded our gear from the yacht, cleaned up and started heading north with the destination of Cairns. We’d arranged to stop mid way on the first day, to break the decent trip up for our two young kids (and lets be honest, us too!).
We’d decided to find some Townsville Camping, as it was mid way, and made sense for a stop. There’s a number of different places to camp, with a Mango farm topping the list, or Bluewater Park Rest Area, that Sarah had found further up.
This turned out to be the perfect choice, and we rolled in at 4PM, feeling very worn out and hoping for a spot to pull up before moving on the next day.
If you’re looking for a great, bookable, free camp then Bluewater Park Rest Area is a great option.
Where is Bluewater Park Rest Area?
Bluewater Park Rest Area is about 30 minutes north of Townsville, and its located right next to the main highway, with some sites within 50 metres of the road itself. This is good in terms of accessibility, but you will get some road noise (and even the sites further away cop a bit).
Do you need to book?
You are supposed to book online, despite it being a free camp, and it suggests that if you arrive and there are no spaces left, someone’s done the dodgy.
When we arrived, all of the main sites were taken, but after driving back and forth and discussing who we’d ask if we could squeeze onto their site, a man walked over and offered to move his car, so we could back right into the grassy area.
We just asked if we could camp in front (to the side) for the night, and he was more than obliging, which was fantastic. We did see a number of people come in after us, who squeezed in, but its worth booking and doing the right thing.
What amenities are at Bluewater Park?
This rest area has toilets, rubbish bins, a big grassy area (and an oval behind it), lots of shade, and a pretty good playground for the kids to run around on. It’s also got a dump point, and in essence, has everything you’d ever want at a rest area.
The shire’s done a fantastic job here, and from what I can see, they get zero benefit (except for visitors staying in the area), and we were very grateful for the spot.
Bluewater Park Free Camping Review
In terms of free camps, you don’t get too many camp sites that are as good as Bluewater Park. Yep, there’s a bit of road noise, but its really well maintained, is beautiful for an overnighter and has everything you need.
We were really glad of the playground for the kids to run around for while to wear some energy off, and would absolutely stay here again. It’s popular for obvious reasons, and a nice place to stay overnight, or just rest up during the day.