Free camping at Gordonvale, near Cairns

We have stayed here for a few days and could stay for many more. Beautiful scene with a river beside us.

NOTICE: Camp here at your own risk. Police have been known to patrol the area, and locals have reported crocodiles in the river.

Mulgrave River at dawn
HRD photo of the Mulgrave River at dawn. Click the image above for a large version.

29km south of Cairns is the Gordonvale rest area, where there are toilets and tables. Around that is some larger spaces for caravans and campers to park. Looking off to the edges you will notice dirt vehicle tracks that lead down to the river, down here you can setup camp also. Beyond that we drove under both bridges and found a few nice spots. Although I don’t think technically this is part of the rest area, this is one of the best inland camp spots this convoy has discovered. There are plenty of shaded and private sites, rarely do you hear other people.

Walsh's Pyramid Mountain
Great landmark for our camp spot, the view of Walsh’s Pyramid Mountain when driving back from Cairns. Click the image above for a large version.

The river meets the base of Walsh’s Pyramid Mountain which is the largest in the area, definitely the most unique. Have had a good time relaxing here, sleeping a glutinous amount and thoroughly enjoying it.

Related article:Free accommodation near Cairns

14 thoughts on “Free camping at Gordonvale, near Cairns”

  1. Thank you very much for this great article and information. It is very useful to me, please provide information or a good article like this again.

  2. You are no longer allowed to camp at this stop. It is patrolled regularly by police. Your best bet for Cairns is to park at a Hostel which you can get for $5 a night per person.

  3. Police patrolled it all the time I was there, many times we would stop and chat to them. They did nothing, are they patrolling AND making people leave?

    Either way, you can still camp for FREE at the rest area as described which is just off the highway. And if you don’t stop at the rest area, it’s only $5 to camp at the national parks which are far better than parking at a hostel.

  4. Just to clear things up. It seems your unable to set up a tent but sleeping in a camper or car is allowed.
    The police check the site daily but say they just like to know who is in the area.

  5. Camping here on my way south. Note it is just south of Gordonville. Interesting people in the area – all friendly though, currently about 6 tents that I noticed; some secluded areas I haven’t explored that might have campers. Saw at least one trailer camper. Will update if I notice anybody chasing off the tent campers. A few trash spots from obvious drinkers, but the site is great. The river is wonderful; clean and clear. A bit of road noise, but still very nice.

  6. I’m a local in Gordonvale and spoke to police patrolling the grounds. They say they are happy for campers with or without a tent to say for a couple of nights at a time or longer if they need to organize vehical parts, supplies etc.

  7. That’s good to hear Angie. When I camped out there I encountered the police many times (often in awkward situations) and they didn’t have a problem with us camping, even down by the river outside the specified camp area. They said they are really looking for people who are riding motorbikes down there, as that is prohibited.

  8. i think the police are just thinking off public safety by knowing who is in the area,thats what they get paid for.i think locals and visiters should be gratefull that these good police are keeping our community safer.their is alot off these camping areas within the state and most police do routine patrols as prt of their job..they have my total support.i think tourists would sleep better at night knowing they are safe,does anyone agree:)

  9. This sounds so lovely.
    A bunch of my friends and I want to camp somewhere and I think we just found our spot!
    just wondering- are fires permitted? We are really wanting to roast some marshmallows hahaha.
    also, this will be a big group. Are groups of perhaps 10 + allowed?

Leave a comment