Emu Creek Camping in the Benarkin State Forest

We’re big fans of camp spots that are off the beaten path, with good wildlife and nice scenery, and on our way out towards Toowoomba from the Sunshine Coast, we decided to stay a night at Emu Creek Camping area.

Camped at Emu Creek Camping area
We spent a night at Emu Creek Camping area

Where is Emu Creek Camping area?

You’ll find Emu Creek roughly half way between the Bunya Mountains National Park, and Kilcoy, just North West of Brisbane itself.

Walks in the Bunya Mountains
We were on the way to the beautiful Bunya Mountains

Do you have to book?

Yep, this is a national park camp site, and you need a booking to stay there. You should also know that there is zero reception at the camp site, so you’ll have to drive back out again to book if its not already done.

Bookings at Queensland National Parks
You need to book online, and fill one of these in when you arrive

Road condition to Emu Creek Camping Area

We’d read of some pretty average road conditions to the Emu Creek Camping area, and its 16 kilometres, so not a tiny little detour. I’d classify the first part of the gravel road as rough and rocky, and then it deteriorates a little until you get to camp, with some larger rocks and little holes.

It’s doable in a 2WD, but its quite rough, and I’m not sure what your chances of a puncture would be.

The other thing you should know is that its quite steep, and we actually ended up putting our Dmax into low range for the descents (and ascents), to reduce the usage of our brakes, and to keep our automatic transmission temperature cool.

It was borderline ‘let your tyres down’ for us, and we didn’t bother, but we also took it very easy on the way in and out.

Driving into Emu Creek
The road in is relatively rough, and not exactly short

How much is it to camp?

Camping here is the same as all National Parks in Queensland; just over $22 a night for our small family, until Cooper turns 5, and then it’ll go up again. That’s $7.25 per adult per night, or $29 for a family of 4.

What amenities are at Emu Creek Camping area?

There’s a day use, and camping toilet block here, along with fire pits, a few benches to sit on and a couple of water tanks with water that you need to boil before drinking.

The camping area also has cold showers in the toilet blocks, which is a nice touch.

Emu Creek Camping area
There’s decent amenities including cold showers

What’s it like at the campground?

Emu Creek Camping area is substantial in size, with water views in a number of places. A lot of the sites are shady and flat, but there’s plenty of sun (and slope) if that’s what you’re chasing.

It’s about a 50 metre walk from the camp down to the waters edge, and you can walk along the gorge for quite some time.

You need to stay on the camp site side of the water though, as the other side is private property, and there’s actually a house not that far away from the camping area.

Camped at Emu Creek
We thought the camping area was pretty good, although its dried out a lot

Animal life and Kookaburras

There’s a bucket load of bird life at Emu Creek Camping area. There must be some bigger animals about, as we saw cow poo, and heard some louder noises at night, including plenty of Koalas!

By far and away the most important thing you know about though, is the kookaburras. We’ve had a lot to do with these in our travels, but these ones are relentless, and to the point that its actually annoying.

During the day, when you’re doing nothing, they’re beautiful; they just sit on various branches, laugh at you and kick back. However, the fact that you can walk right up to most of them on a pole and virtually touch them tells you straight away, that these aren’t normal, wild kookaburras.

Beautiful Kookaburras
Expect to see a heap of these

This was confirmed the second we started to get food out, with a heap of them arriving, and getting ready to find themselves a feed. At dinner, no soon as the sausages came out, I had a couple swoop down into our undercover kitchen, and try to nick the meat.

At one stage we had 10 kookaburras sitting on the same tree branch, which I have never seen in my life. They’re clearly fed by people, and they’ve learnt to steal food. We had a number come down whilst we sat and ate our food, trying to take it off our plates.

Lots of Kookaburras at Emu Creek
I’ve never seen so many Kookaburras on the same branch

Any food scraps on the floor were heatedly fought over by the kookaburras, and when I threw a piece of pork chop fat into the fire one came down, landed inside the firepit and took off with it. I’m positive it would have been injured, which is pretty sad, but it seemed to be OK afterwards.

Either way, they’re a beautiful animal, but a real pain in the backside when you’re trying to make a meal for your family.

Clancys camping

On your way into Emu Creek, you’ll drive past Clancys campground. This is similar, only 2km away, and also popular. I couldn’t see much difference as we went past, but there might be more water here when it starts to dry up.

Can you swim at Emu Creek?

Yep, this is a popular place to swim, but you need to go when the water level is reasonably high. When we were there in mid October, there were a few pools left, some of which were reasonably deep, but the algae was building up, and it wasn’t that appealing for us to get wet. I have no doubt a few months earlier and it would have been brilliant, with its sandy beach and easy access.

Water at Emu Creek
This would be a magic place to swim when the water levels are suitable

Can you take caravans?

Yep, you can get caravans in here, but they need to be suitable for corrugations, and you need to take it nice and slow up and down the descents (use low range). The track is quite narrow in places and particularly between Clancys and Emu Creek you’d have fun if you had two towing setups that bumped into each other, but its certainly doable.

Would we go back to Emu Creek?

We had the entire campground to ourselves for most of our stay, before another couple rolled in for the night. It’s big, peaceful, has a heap of bird life and would be spectacular when the grass is green, and the water levels are high.

We liked the camp site, but there are certainly better spots in the warmer months. I’d certainly go back when things are greener though.

Emu Creek Camping Area
It doesn’t take long for the water to drop and things to dry out, but its a lovely, quiet camp ground

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