Crystal Creek Beach Camping; free, beautiful and easy to get to

In the northern parts of Queensland, beach camping is fairly few and far between, and when you do find a spot, its paid, or blowing a gale from the south east. After leaving Townsville though, we stumbled across Crystal Creek Beach Camping area, which is both free, and looked like the winds would be suitable so we headed in.

Camping at Crystal Creek Beach Camping
Looking down on our camp site at Crystal Creek Beach
Camped at Crystal Creek Beach
Beach front camping is rare in North Queensland, and greatly appreciated

Where is the Crystal Creek Beach Camping area?

This camping area is not too far away from the main, well known Crystal Creek camping area with the waterslides.

You take the turn off at the Crystal Creek caravan park, and follow the road for some time, until you hit where the creek meets the ocean, and then start looking for a site beyond the permanent shacks, or huts as they’re often called.

Crystal Creek near the huts
The beach camping is just north of Crystal Creek

What’s the road like?

It’s a reasonable drive in here. It’s certainly suitable for a base to do day trips from, but its not a 5 minute drive back to the highway; you’re looking at around 15 – 20 minutes of gravel, and then narrow bitumen before you arrive.

There were many full size vans that had visited here, but the road is also corrugated and narrow in sections, and you want to take it easy.

There’s also a 3.3 metre bridge that you absolutely must be able to fit under, or you’re going to give your setup a haircut.

Driving into Crystal Creek Beach Camp
The track in is reasonable, but a little rough and tight

Where are you allowed to camp?

There’s a couple of camp sites along Crystal creek itself, and we saw a few people setting up here to fish and get different views.

If you keep following the road though, you’ll see a heap of private property chains blocking access to various houses and shacks. Beyond this, the camp sites open up and there’s a lot of places either right on the beach, near the track along the front of the beach, or tucked into the trees.

Camping at Crystal Creek Beach
You can camp as close to the beach as you’d like, or back in the trees

You can pick where you want to go; there’s lots of choice. If you want the least chance of getting bogged, stick to the camp sites in the trees, and access them from the main track.

If you’ve had a look, and are confident in your rig you can head through some of these camp sites and onto the main beach track, but know that there are only a handful of turning around options, and if you’re a big, heavy rig you may have to let tyres down substantially to do this.

Beach camping at Crystal Creek
Watch where you drive, as there’s a few soft spots

We managed to drive in and out without deflating at all, but chose to go where it looked solid, and avoid the softer sections. As it was, we did sink down a fair bit coming around one corner, so it’d be easy to get stuck.

There was one big, full size off road van camped close to the beach with a Dodge Ram towing it, so its doable, but stick within your own limitations.

What amenities are there?

There’s no amenities here, which means you must bring in what you need, and leave zero trace.

What’s its really like?

We love beach camping, and coming from Western Australia are well and truly spoilt. When we arrived, it was blowing a constant 40km/h and although it wasn’t unpleasant, it wasn’t exactly amazing either.

Fortunately the sand was mostly wet, and big granules so there was none blowing around (except when the kids flicked it!) and we spent a mostly enjoyable afternoon here.

Blowing in hard at Crystal Creek
We arrived to a fairly windy afternoon, but it wasn’t unpleasant

The next morning was much calmer, and it was pretty amazing to wake up and look out of the window to spectacular views.

Amazing views from the camper
It’s hard to not be over the moon waking up to this

The beach here is nice for the kids; at low tide there’s small pools around that they can play and splash in, as long as you are aware of crocodiles being a possibility; as the creek is just around the corner. I wouldn’t be going anywhere that a crocodile could sneak up on you!

Watch the vlog

If you want to see us on YouTube, you’ll find our vlog from Crystal Creek Beach here:

YouTube video
Beautiful views out of the camper
We had a magic morning here before departing

Overall, it’s a great place. The beaches further south (and in WA) are certainly much nicer, but for no charge each night, easy access and pretty spectacular views, you have absolutely nothing to complain about.

We’d stay here again, if we were confident that the wind was going to be nice and calm.

Camping near the water at Crystal Creek
It’s a great place to be when the wind is favourable
Beach camping at Crystal Creek
We’d be happy to return for a few nights!

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