Notch Point; the ultimate QLD Free Camping

When it comes to QLD Free Camping, there’s a few places that have massive reputations, and Notch Point is one of them.

We like to see things for ourselves, and whilst the reputation had built up a certain level of expectancy, I’ve been bitten many times by places that don’t live up to the hype and was a little apprehensive when we rolled in.

Suffice to say, my apprehension was quashed almost immediately, with Notch Point comfortably taking out the best Queensland Free Camping that we’ve been to so far.

It is beyond amazing on so many levels, and we ended up staying for 4 nights, which is unheard of for us. We’re normally on the move after 2 or 3 nights at the most, but this place is truly epic.

Notch Point is beyond stunning
Notch Point is beyond beautiful
Notch Point is beyond beautiful
The views at Notch Point are to die for

Where is Notch Point?

You’ll find this beautiful place on your way out to Cape Palmerston, roughly 30 minutes away from the beautiful town of Sarina. It’s located right next to a cattle farm, and you’ll regularly have cows roaming through the camp site, and within metres of your camp.

Cape Palmerston is stunning
Notch Point is off the same road that takes you to the stunning Cape Palmerston

How do you get to Notch Point?

To get to Notch Point, turn off Bruce Highway onto Cape Palmerston Road, and continue until you see Notch Point Road on the right. This takes you on a narrow, bitumen road out past the prawn farm, and to the gate where three big bins are located. Beyond the gate is Notch Point, but stick to the main track, and stay off the private property.

Bins at the gate to Notch Point
You’ll eventually arrive at these bins, and a gate (close it when you go through)
The gate to Notch Point
The main gate to Notch Point
Yarrawonga Park Reserve
The Yarrawonga Park Reserve camping information at the gate
Notch Point private property signs
Follow the main track, and stay off the private property

Do you need a 4WD to get to Notch Point?

The track to get into Notch Point is no ordinary road. Whilst its nothing extreme for anyone who’s been off road, it is bumpy, and has a substantial number of ups and downs. I did see a small handful of high clearance two wheel drive vehicles at Notch Point, but to be honest, I was very surprised.

I’m going to say yes, you absolutely need a 4WD to get to Notch Point, and taking a 2WD (or even AWD) is likely going to end badly.

Driving into Notch Point
The track in is fairly easy in the dry, but its tight for larger rigs

Can you take a Caravan to Notch Point?

I was also surprised to see an extensive number of caravans at Notch Point, some of which either had very limited clearance, or were massive. The track in is relatively narrow, and only has a few sections which are dual lane, so if you meet someone going the other way it will result in a fair bit of reversing.

There are a huge number of trees close to the track, and several tree stumps and rocks that stick out, waiting to catch the unsuspecting person out.

So, the answer is simple; yes, you can take a caravan to notch point, but it needs some clearance, a good driver with a 4WD, and due care. If you aren’t sure, leave it before the locked gate and go for a drive in.

We saw some very big off road vans, and even trucks with camper bodies on them at Notch Point, so its clearly doable with care.

Big truck at Notch Point
There were some big caravans, and this massive truck, so its entirely possible
Notch Point is busy
There were plenty of 20 foot plus vans at Notch Point, and even on the other side of the hill

Tides and salt water entering and exiting

Before you rush to head out to Notch Point, you should know that the track in goes through an area that is subject to tidal movement, and if you time it wrong, you will arrive in sections where the track is substantially wet.

As it was, when we visited there were two puddles that didn’t disappear for our entire stay, and despite the brown colour, I did have a tentative taste, and can confirm its absolutely salt water.

The first puddle on the way in was about 200 – 300mm deep in the ruts, but I discovered you could hang to the side and then it was only about 150mm deep, which is far more suitable.

The second puddle is huge, and if you had a big rig you’d have no choice but to drive through it. I didn’t see how deep it was, and instead manoeuvred our small setup to the side, where you can go through a much smaller puddle that is very shallow.

If you want to avoid driving through any salt water, don’t visit Notch Point. I was a bit surprised to see the salt water, and hesitant to go through it, as I know it does major damage, but we took it very slowly, and washed the vehicle and camper very thoroughly over the small amount that did get wet.

Notch Point tides are massive
There’s big tides around Notch Point, and if you arrive on high tide you’ll be in trouble

Camping areas at Notch Point

Notch Point has a heap of options for camping. When you first arrive, you’ll see areas to the right, and left, which are quite scenic, and have good access to the boat ramp.

Camping on the West side of Notch Point
There’s camping on the West side of Notch Point, where you first arrive

If you continue around the hill (following the coast) which much less suitable for caravans, you’ll see a number of spots that you can camp on the edge of the hill, with amazing views. There’s even a spot that you can camp at on the northern side partly up the hill with an old concrete pad.

Camping on the south side of Notch Point
There’s a number of places to camp on the South side of the point too

Alternatively, you can get down onto the north eastern side of Notch Point and camp there, but go over the centre of the hill if you are towing anything with limited clearance, as the descent from the coast side is very, very steep.

Coming around the southern part of Notch Point
If you follow the coastline, you end up on the Eastern side of Notch Point, but there’s a steep descent (so go over the middle if you have a van!)

The north eastern side has camping on green grass up against the beach or rocks, and then more sites in the middle, and set back further.

Notch Point camping
Looking at Notch Point from the East

No matter where you go, its incredibly beautiful, so pick something you’re happy with.

Our amazing camp at Notch Point
We camped right on the point, and really rated the area

It is very popular, and busy

I was quite shocked at how many people were at Notch Point during the middle of the week. It is a big area, but it’s a very popular camp ground, and you are going to be disappointed if you arrive expecting no neighbours.

If I had to guess, I’d say there were around 30 – 50 setups every night that we stayed, and I can only imagine that it gets busier on the weekend.

That said, for a place that was quite busy, it was incredibly quiet, and a lot of people just chill in their vans and do a walk or two (or head out for a fish).

Incredible views of Notch Point
It’s not hard to see why its such a popular place

Can you have dogs at Notch Point?

Camping with dogs creates huge restrictions for where you can, and can’t go. Places like Notch Point are very popular as you’re allowed dogs.

However, you need to keep them under control, clean up after them and make sure you know where they are.

There are signs on the fences to the cattle station that state dogs found on private property will be shot, and that’s not what you want to happen.

Sunset at Notch Point
You can have dogs here, just clean up and keep them under control

Can you have a fire at Notch Point?

The sign at the entry says no ‘open fires’. I don’t know exactly what that refers to, as virtually every fire is open, but everyone had them in fire pits, or the makeshift rock pits that had been built. Be smart about how you have the fires, and you should be just fine.

Sitting around the fire at Notch Point
We camped next to a big fire pit, and had a couple of great meals on it

Maximum stay limitations

You’re only allowed to stay at Notch Point for 7 days in every 21 days (1 week in every 3), and it looked like a lot of people were making use of this, and staying for longer periods rather than the normal turn over every day or two.

Notch Point looking in
A lot of people who head out to Notch Point hang around for more than a night or two

Sand flies and mosquitos

Queensland can be awfully cruel when it comes to little bugs that bite. Sand flies are a big problem in places, and mosquitos too. We were expecting to see a number of both, but had a really good run at Notch Point.

There were a very small number of sand flies around, and a couple of mosquitoes, but Sarah barely got touched, and she normally gets absolutely hammered.

Cape Palmerston was far worse out of the wind, and Carmila Beach was much worse, and they’re both not that far away from Notch Point, which is interesting. Admittedly, we didn’t camp on the mangrove side, and made sure we had a bit of wind (and were camped on grass), and maybe that makes all the difference.

Sand fly bite on Cooper
We were lucky with minimal sand flies and mosquito’s, but I bet that isn’t always the case here

Telstra Reception

The reception out at Notch Point is not amazing, but you will get reliable, but slow Telstra reception if you can see the Eastern part of the mainland. We were getting it right on the point of Notch Point, but the moment you go around it to the western side you’d lose it.

Driving around Notch Point
As soon as you drive around the southern end of Notch Point the reception gets patchy

You want good weather

Like coastal camping anywhere in Australia, you really want good weather if you’re going to Notch Point. We were keeping an eye on the wind (which is the major concern), and saw we had a great window, so headed in.

The mornings are usually very calm, and then the wind picks up in the afternoon through to about 5PM, and then it dies off again, but if you have huge winds coming in from the North or South, its going to be unpleasant in places.

Fortunately, there’s a fair bit of variety in where you can camp, and there are a number of protected places that you can tuck into, but certainly look the weather up before you go, and if its going to be high winds, consider delaying!

Camped at Notch Point
We did have some windy afternoons, but overall the weather was incredible

What amenities are at Notch Point?

On your way into Notch Point, you’ll see three big bins, and asides from these, and a few firepits that have been made over the years, there are no other amenities at Notch Point.

You won’t find a dump point, fresh water, a shop or anything; its complete bush camping, and you need to take in everything you need in, and everything you used out.

Notch Point camping area sign
Asides from the bins at the gate and fire pits that have been built, there are no amenities

Where can you find a dump point and water?

A lot of people won’t last 7 days without topping up with water or emptying the toilets, and that means you’ve either got to leave, or head into town for a drive.

The best place to head in to empty your toilet and fill up with water is Sarina, which is about an hours drive. Alternatively, you can empty your toilet at Carmila Beach in the dump point, and there are taps in Koumala, but you’d better ask before you use them!

Alternatively, you could probably stay at the Cape Palmerston Caravan Park and top up there, as needed.

Sarina Beach is spectacular
Sarina is a great place to check out, and stock up with fuel, food, water and empty the toilet

What does it cost?

Notch Point is completely free, which is amazing. I was surprised to see that they don’t even have a recycling crate for people to put their 10c refundables in, or a donation point, as its absolutely worthy of a small cost.

Notch Point Camping
All this for the grand cost of…nothing

What is there to do at Notch Point?

There’s really nothing at Notch Point, except for beauty beyond words and a truly incredible coastline to soak up. A lot of people (including us) seemed to just visit to kick back and enjoy the area. We spent a fair bit of time enjoying the views, and went on a heap of walks around the place.

The fishing and boating here is amazing, but realistically, its just a magic part of coastline that you absolutely should check out.

Kicking back at Notch Point
We spent most of our time just soaking up the insane views and great weather

Whales, dolphins and turtles

If it could get any better, you’ve got a pretty good chance of seeing whales, dolphins and turtles here. We saw whales breaching a number of times, and whilst I struggled badly to get a decent photo, they’re amazing to watch.

Dolphins cruise by and are easy to spot when its calm, and if you’re lucky you might even see a turtle too.

Whales off Notch Point
We saw whales on several days at Notch Point

Fishing at Notch Point

Notch Point is touted as one of the best fishing locations in Queensland, and I can see it has huge potential. There were a few boats out, but the reef running towards the point makes a channel that would be great for fishing, and we even saw some big fish jumping at one point.

We don’t do much fishing these days with the kids taking most of our time, but its still a great spot and would be a fisho’s paradise.

Notch Point fishing options
There’s some ripper fishing spots off Notch Point, and its well known as a great fishing area

Are there Crocodiles at Notch Point?

Notch Point is still in the crocodile region, and whilst they are probably reasonably rare, they can be about. A man disappeared a few years back off the boat ramp and its presumed he was taken by a crocodile, so take due precautions and don’t risk it.

Crocodiles can be anywhere
This is still Crocodile country, so take care

Can you swim at Notch Point?

We did see a few people having a quick dip at Notch Point, and there would be areas that are safer than others, with very clear water. That said, its still crocodile country and I’m going to suggest you don’t swim here. It’s just not worth the risk.

The only safe option, is to splash about in the rock pools at low tide, which our kids absolutely loved. You’re well away from the water edge and it would be virtually impossible for a crocodile to get near you.

Kids splashing in the rock pools
Our kids loved the Notch Point Rock Pools

Check out Cape Palmerston

We debated heavily whether to leave Notch Point and take the camper to Cape Palmerston (first world problems, eh?!). In the end we decided to just head in for the day and have a look, and it completely blew my mind.

Cape Palmerston is stunning
I thought Notch Point couldn’t be beaten, but Cape Palmerston gives it a good run for its money

We had nothing to complain about at Notch Point, with great views, no bugs, limited wind and issues, and of course its free, but Cape Palmerston comfortably gives it a run for its money.

Unbelievable views at Cape Palmerston
Incredible views off the Cape (see our 4WD?!)

You have to pay to camp here (about $22 a night for us, as a family), but the camp sites are beach front, and the coastline on the East side is nothing short of mind blowing.

Cape Palmerston beaches
Some of the beach camping at Cape Palmerston is next level

We didn’t rate Windmill Bay or the Creek too much, but Cape Palmerston, Clarke Beach and north of Windmill Bay is nothing short of spectacular, and up there with the most scenic coastal places we’ve ever been to in Queensland.

Beach camping at Cape Palmerston
One of the camp sites north of Windmill Bay, that was just incredible

Is Notch Point worthy of its reputation?

Yes, without a shadow of a doubt. This is one of the best camp sites that we’ve been to in Queensland, and that’s no small feat. Want to find more great Queensland Camp Sites? We’ve got you covered.

Yes, there’s a lot of people (because its so good), and you need good weather to really enjoy it, but there are very, very few camp sites around these days that are as awesome as Notch Point, and you’re missing out if you don’t visit.

Notch Point views
If you don’t go to Notch Point, you’re missing out

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  1. Hey Clayton,

    You’re very welcome, and thanks for your kind words

    All the best

  2. Clayton John Roxborough says:

    What a fabulous summary of this area of the Queensland coast.
    Very clear and informative. It’s an easy read too.
    Thank you for sharing your experience.

  3. Hey Lee,

    Good advice regarding sticking to the left. I don’t recall seeing a broken PVC pipe, but we did come in the other way and only exited over the hill.

    Interesting you mentioned the toilet paper and poo; I didn’t actually see much at all (not that I went looking much), but it was a LOT cleaner than Carmila Beach.

    Either way, its disgusting, and preventable, and as you say will result in the free camp becoming paid, or closed. People need to pull their fingers out and do better

    All the best!

  4. Hi Aaron.
    Thanks for another great campsite summary.
    We were at Notch Point in July and, like you, were blown away with how good it was especially for a free camp.
    My advice to new campers is to keep to the left-hand track as you approach the hill on your way in. Look for the broken PVC pipe crossing the track and you’ll know you’re on the right track. This will avoid the steep descent from the top of the hill to the beach front campsites..
    like we did!
    Another thing that needs mentioning is the amount of used toilet paper and human faeces clearly visible under a lot of bushes in the area. My concern is that this is the one thing that may see the area shut down to public access in the future which would be a real shame.