Queensland has some truly amazing coastal camp sites, but there are few that compete with Stanage Bay, north of Rockhampton. We were undecided whether to head out and check it our or not, having run out most of our food supplies and from reading comments about insane sand flies, but we did anyway.
As it turns out, the regions is amazing, but was hugely detracted by our Isuzu Dmax Inner Guard failing right at the end of the track, and putting a hold on our Big Lap of Australia for the better part of two months.
What is at Stanage Bay?
If you’ve seen photos of Stanage Bay, its likely of the incredible coastline and beaches. However, Stanage Bay is actually a small community, with a number of houses right around the coastline. There’s a number of holiday homes available to rent, and a small general store that also does fish and chips.
There aren’t too many places like this around anymore, and its got a pretty amazing vibe.
Where is Stanage Bay?
This amazing little town is located roughly 170km north of Rockhampton in Queensland, in a fairly isolated part of the world. It’s about 90km off the Bruce highway, making it pretty hard to visit for just a day (especially when you consider the road conditions).
This means you need to take in everything that you need; there’s limited supplies at the general store, and you want to make sure you have enough water, fuel, food and firewood, along with a chemical toilet to sustain your stay.
Stanage Bay Road conditions
If there’s one place around Rockhampton that has a reputation for being terrible in terms of road conditions, its Stanage Bay. Still, a huge number of people make it out there every year, so you’d think the effort is worth the reward.
Fortunately, the bitumen road out to Stanage is growing every year, with more and more of it being completed. When we went, about 60km of the 95km drive in off the Bruce Highway was bitumen, which was a huge relief.
The gravel is quite rough, and you absolutely need to stop and let air out of your tyres, and take it easy. There’s a number of big corners in the road as well, so take it easy and get there in one piece!
I’d compare it to the Gibb River Road after school holidays, with big, obvious corrugations that actually hurt bits of your body if you were at the wrong speed.
Do you need a 4WD to get to Stanage Bay?
No, you do not. We did see a number of SUV style vehicles coming in and out of Stanage Bay, but I imagine they are locals who go in and out to town. I would not recommend taking anything with limited clearance, or that you really cared about. The road can be really bad.
Can you take a caravan to Stanage Bay?
The road into Stanage Bay is certainly doable by quality semi and off road caravans. You’d want to take it slow, let your tyres down properly and know where you are going to camp (as some spots don’t suit caravans at all), but its certainly doable.
Where can you camp at Stanage Bay?
There are 4 acceptable places to camp at Stanage Bay. Two face North East, and the other two face North West. You’ve got the Stanage Bay Camping area right in front of the houses, then Flat Rock, Endeavour Park and Bream Bush.
We only checked out Stanage Bay, and thoroughly enjoyed our stay there with plenty of room, waterfront views, a good fire pit and some shade. I’d have liked to spend more time here and look at the other camp sites, but we had a broken Dmax to think about!
Some of the camp sites are fairly tight under the trees, and you’d be wise to walk into them before dragging anything too big through or you might live to regret it.
Mosquitos and Sandflies
One of our biggest concerns for visiting Stanage Bay was the comments that we’d read from others who’d stayed here. It was touted by many as absolutely horrific when it came to mosquito’s and sandflies, and we very nearly didn’t make the drive out because of this.
Sarah and the kids get absolutely hammered by both, and they leave nasty, itchy welts.
I was over the moon though, to find that there were virtually none of either when we visited. I’m sure they are bad at certain times of the year, and especially when there is no wind around, but we had absolutely zero issues with them (and they’d bite Sarah for sure if they were around!).
What does it cost?
Camping here is completely free, which is absolutely unreal given what you get access to. Please look after the place, and take your rubbish (and any laying around) out if you can; its so disappointing to find rubbish in beautiful, free camps like this.
Can you get water from anywhere?
In an emergency, you can get water from the general store, or the fire station, but it would not be to fill your caravan tanks up.
Is it worth the drive to Stanage Bay?
Yes, absolutely. This place is up there with the best coastal camping that we’ve done in Queensland, and that’s no small comment. We would have enjoyed it (and stayed a lot longer) if we didn’t have a broken Dmax, and had to put our Big Lap on hold, but it was still great for our short visit.