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Bamping: Boating + Camping

Bamping: Boating + Camping

What’s the first thing you think of when we say, Cars? Traffic!

People in cars literally follow the exact same path. They get congested beyond all belief in holiday season as everyone packs up and leaves at the same time all trying to maximise their holiday hours. Inevitably, you end up sitting in gridlocked M1 traffic watching the clock tick into your vacation time.

Do not despair, there is another way. It is possibly the last frontier in camping and creating your own path away from the herd. Instead of packing the car with your tents and camping gear, why not pack up the boat and head for “foreign” shores? (Nearby foreign shores, that is.)

On the Gold Coast, there is a way to get out of town that does not involve the bane of everyone’s existence – driving through the M1 traffic. We are surrounded by calm inshore waters, perfect for loading up the boat, and taking a different commute outta town.

Three places we found are perfect for such holiday jaunts are South Currigee on South Straddie, Amity Point on North Straddie, and Jacobs Well. All three places offer postcard moments and are teeming with things to do – and all of them are within reach on half a tank of boat fuel.


This natural reserve, surrounded by unspoilt beauty is located on the western side of South Stradbroke Island, across from Runaway Bay and Hollywell. South Currigee beachfront campsites sit in the middle of 22 kilometres of untouched beaches and offer the ultimate getaway. Just 15 minutes in a tinnie from Runaway Bay and you’re there! There’s ample space to pitch your tent, so you’re not elbow-to-elbow with other people. You can also hire the onsite Wallaby Tents. Onsite showers and toilets, BBQ’s, and play area for the kids are available.

The main draw card here is the premium fishing, on the calm waters of the Broadwater. If you are looking for some surf, a short walk to the eastern side of the island will serve you up the best surfing waves the Gold Coast has to offer.

Shower up after a day in the sun and just a short walk away is Tipplers Café, the award winning restaurant and café on South Stradbroke. The menu is stacked with quality, and it will give you a night off the campfire stove.

Because the area is a wildlife conservation park, you have to keep the dog and generator at home. That is but a small price to pay to see the natural wildlife thriving; birds, wallabies, and native lizards are in abundance here.

South Currigee Accommodation Rates: Onsite Wallaby Tent. (Off Peak): $68 per night for up to 2 persons. (Peak) : $77 per night for up to 2 persons. Unpowered Camp Site. (Off Peak): $26 per night for up to 2 persons. (Peak) : $30 per night for up to 2 persons.

South Stradbroke Coordinates: 27° 51′ 0″ S, 153° 25′ 0″ E


Further north past South Straddie, much more of an adventure awaits on Australia’s second largest sand island. Leaving from Southport at 25 knots, it will take you the best part of two hours to reach Amity Point, northwestern part of North Straddie. Moreton Bay can be choppy, so lift the bow, stick to the channels, watch the winds, and heed the weather forecasts. It is best to leave first thing in the morning while the winds are notoriously calmer.

The campgrounds at Amity Point is run by Minjerribah Camping (formerly Straddie Camping) and offer all the amenities you will find at South Currigee. Once you are at Amity Point, you can just hop on a bus from there to anywhere else on the island, visiting Point Lookout and Dunwich and anywhere else in between. There is a pub at Amity Point that offers great pizzas and there is also a rustic café that serve fresh oysters. You can simply hang at the campsite, wet a line, cook your fresh catch on the barbie. The campsite is the perfect spot to view spectacular sunsets over the bay islands.

For those with tinnies, be aware that the tide pull along the beachfront of the campsite is tricky to anchor overnight. At low tide, the boat will sit on the sand. You need to anchor well and run a rope from the back of your boat to the shore, or your boat will end up 100 metres out in the channel and if the anchor fails it will end up in the Pacific Ocean!

For bigger boats, the best anchorage is around the Amity Point jetty. Although the bottom is sandy, there are rocks around and it does get very shallow at low tide. Many boaters advise to use two anchors for peace of mind. The other option is to anchor near Dunwich, and use your tender to take you to Amity Point.

Rates: $35 for unpowered tent site and $45 for powered tent site . Cabins and houses are also available.

Coordinates: 27.3973° S, 153.4538° E


Bamping meets glamping at Jacobs Well! Gold Coast Tourist Parks recently unveiled new safari tents for hire. These are decked out with queen-size and bunk beds, flat screen TV, kitchenette, gas BBQ and linen. One of the tents is even wheelchair accessible! Everything you need for a family getaway is here.

The Jacobs Well tourist park is a waterfront park, located right at the Jacobs Well boat ramp. Leaving from Runaway Bay, stick to the boat channels past Coomera Island and Couran Cove resort (on South Straddie), go left at Kangaroo Island and work your way up the passage into Jacobs Well. Anchoring in the calm waters is a piece of cake.

Jacobs Well is a haven for boaties, with some of the best and most diverse fishing in southeast Queensland. Talk to the locals, and this can be one getaway your fishing family will not soon forget. (Oh, and pets are most welcome!)

Rates: Unpowered tent sites from $48, powered tent sites from $54, Glamping Safari Tents from $95.

Coordinates: 27°46’50.07″S, 153°21’43.11″E

Gold Coast bamping does not end here by any means, folks. Moreton Bay is dotted with islands to explore and to camp on. There are no traffic lights and no gridlock traffic out there – just the spirit of adventure guiding you as you explore the last frontiers of freedom in this country!


By Craig Braithwaite



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