Lake Tinaroo Camping; Queensland’s best camp sites?

The diversity of camping in Queensland is nothing short of phenomenal, and the Lake Tinaroo camping options are the perfect example of this. We’d just come out from Chillagoe, which is a completely different world and rolled into Lake Tinaroo, unsure of what to expect.

This place blew my mind; it changes so much as you drive around it, is stunning beyond any words and has a heap of things to keep you occupied whilst you stay here. If you’re looking for magic camping in Queensland, you won’t go wrong with Lake Tinaroo.

Amazing camping on Lake Tinaroo
Lake Tinaroo is such a sensational location
Amazing views from our camp site
Waking up to this each morning was magic

Where is Lake Tinaroo?

Lake Tinaroo is directly north of Yungaburra, and North East of Atherton. It’s huge, and can be accessed from a couple of different sides, with the Danbulla Road going right around the top of the dam, to the dam wall.

Water flowing out of Lake Tinaroo
Water spraying out of the dam, which is about 20 minutes from Atherton

What are the camping options?

There’s a number of different camping options at Lake Tinaroo. They are all different, and we’ve got our preference that we go into below, but here’s your choices

Lake Tinaroo Holiday Park

As you drive into the Lake Tinaroo area, you’ll pass this caravan park, which is opposite a nice grassy area and playground, and backs onto a nice part of water. 

Barrabadeen Scout Camp

If you continue heading in further, you’ll drive past the Barrabadeen Scout Camp, which is well priced and has hot showers. We opted to continue on to the National Park sites as they looked better, but this place is an option.

National Park Camp sites

There’s a heap of different National Park camping at Lake Tinaroo. You’ve got Platypus camping area, then Downfall Camping area, then Kauri Creek, then School Point, Fong on and lastly Curri Curri, which is boat accessible only. We drive into most of these, and thought they were all decent, with some standing out above the others.

Water front views at Kauri Creek
We scored water front views at Kauri Creek, which was unbelievable
Amazing camping at Lake Tinaroo
There’s a stack of great camp sites on Lake Tinaroo

Do you need a 4WD?

All of the camp sites are 2WD accessible, and that means you don’t need a 4WD. That said, expect to have to avoid a number of pot holes in the gravel roads, and it can actually be quite slippery in the wet, so take it easy.

I have no doubt that a 4WD is advantageous in some of the camping spots, especially if you wanted to camp on the grass with any sort of slope on it, as its incredibly slippery and you can see people have struggled in the past.

If you are going to visit with a 2WD, just be smart with where you camp, and you’ll be OK!

Lake Tinaroo camp sites
A number of camp sites are on grass, and where it slopes, and you could get into trouble really quickly in a 4WD, let alone a 2WD

What can you do around Lake Tinaroo?

We were quite surprised at the number of great attractions around Lake Tinaroo. Asides from fishing, stand up paddle boarding, swimming, kayaking and boating, you can hop in your car and do a number of different attractions.


There’s quite a few walks you can do around Lake Tinaroo, leaving at the different camp sites, and on pull overs off the main road around it. We did quite a few, and loved how things changed so much as you drove around the lake.

Mount Edith

On a whim, we turned up Mount Edith Road, and headed up to the lookout. This is a 4WD track which is a bit slippery but fairly easy, and we stopped at the lookout ‘car park’. We walked about 15 minutes to get to the lookout, and roughly half way realised we were all covered in small leaches, which was pretty average. 

We pushed on and got to a big rock with a very rustic ladder that would give you amazing views when its clear. We were in the clouds on this day and it felt like you were standing on the edge of the world. This walk was a heap of fun, but the leaches were not nice at all, and we all ended up with a number of suck marks and blood!

Hiking to the Mt Edith Lookout
Hiking to the Mt Edith Lookout
Arriving at a dodgy ladder
The ladder at the lookout is super sketchy
Views on the lookout
It feels like you’re standing on the edge of the world
Insane views from Mt Edith
This is amazing, but the leaches were horrible

Gillies Lookout

If you’re keen on a short, but fun 4WD track you can turn up Gillies Lookout, and do a couple of slippery sections with holes in them. You need to open and close a couple of gates, but you arrive at a lookout with fantastic views which would be even better if there was no cloud or fog around!

Driving to Gillies Lookout
Heading up to Gillies Lookout in the 4WD’s
Slippery 4WD track to Gillies Lookout
The track is easy enough, but is slippery and has some holes to navigate
Gillies Lookout views
Gillies Lookout was pretty incredible too
Looking down on Gillies Lookout
Looking down on the lookout

Cathedral Fig Tree

Much like the Clohesy Fig Tree, there’s another big, beautiful fig right next to Lake Tinaroo, and its truly incredible. We stopped for a quick look, and once again found it to be staggering!

Cathedral Fig Tree
Another beautiful fig tree in the tablelands

Platypus viewing

Just out of Yungaburra is a well known platypus viewing area, off the side of the road. We didn’t see any here, but they are common, and its worth trying your luck.

Watch the vlog

Want to see more? Here’s our vlog from this stunning part of the world:

YouTube video

Where did we camp?

We booked 3 nights at Kauri Creek, and completely and utterly fell in love with it. When we arrived we thought we wouldn’t be able to camp near the water, but a friendly fellow camper invited us down right onto the point, and we ended up with the entire space to ourselves the next night, which was truly amazing.

Amazing water front views
We ended up with a truly amazing camp site, and loved every minute of it

We had a good look at the other camp sites, and whilst some are further away and potentially quieter (although maybe not over the weekend), we thought that Kauri Creek had the best options for camping close to the water, the best protection from the wind and was still close enough to drive into town or visit other attractions as you wanted.

I found it very fascinating that the lake changes hugely from one side to the other, with the dam wall area looking very much like the dams in Western Australia. However, travel 15 minutes around the dam towards Kauri Creek and it changes to rainforest, with green grass right up to the water level of the dam, which is nothing short of spectacular.

Kayaks on Lake Tinaroo
One side of the Lake is rainforest, green grass and is so different to the other side

Fishing around Lake Tinaroo

This Lake (and some others) are stocked with fish, and if you buy a fishing license, you can fish to your hearts content. Some big Barramundi and Sooty Grunter come out of here, but unless you are under 18, you need to get a license.

The exception to this is if you are fishing for red claw, which are not to be returned to the water if caught. We picked up a net to try our luck, and failed miserably, but it was still a bit of fun.

The cooler months are much quieter for fishing, with the barramundi coming out in force when its warmer. Either way, a bad days fishing is still better than a day at work, eh?!

Would we recommend Lake Tinaroo Camping?

There are few places that are more scenic, and worth while camping at than Lake Tinaroo. I was actually shocked on so many occasions to see it glass off, with perfect glass, amazing views and water no more than a few steps away from our camper.

This place is absolutely magic, and if you are looking for somewhere nice to take a break, you won’t go wrong with the Lake Tinaroo Camping options.

Lake Tinaroo is epic
We loved our stay at Lake Tinaroo, and can’t speak more highly of it

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