Boulder Creek Campsite

A free campsite which can be used as a base to explore the Mackay Region in Queensland

When travelling north or south during the winter months on the “grey nomad stimulus package” my wife and I are always on the lookout for a free campsite. Around Mackay these campsites are few and far between but Boulder Creek in this area is a little gem.

It is a little out of the way and inland from the coast but this makes it attractive and we always spend a couple of nights here. From the south take the Marani – Mt Ossa Road and drive 28km to Mt Charlton. Turn onto a good dirt road to Calen for 5km or turn off the Bruce Highway just north of Mt Ossa and drive 20km to the Mt Charlton turnoff. If travelling from the north turn off the Bruce Highway at Calen and travel for 18km via Cameron Pocket, 7km of this road is good gravel.

The campsite is on private land and is relatively small accommodating twelve to fifteen vehicles so arrive early to get a spot. The campground is surrounded by sugarcane fields and rainforest covered mountains. If the weather is overcast the mist hangs around the mountains and is quite a sight to behold. The campground is on the banks of Boulder Creek and is skirted by rainforest. The Creek is boulder by name and boulder by nature. It is strewn with brown and green mossy rocks. It is quite picturesque and very relaxing. The campsite is flattest near the creek and slopes gently below the cane fields.

Across the narrow sealed road is a day use area which is a very popular spot of a weekend. The “Windyloo” toilet is here as is a number of picnic tables and playing equipment for the kids. There is also a wood barbecue here for your use. There is a couple of decent sized holes in the creek which make for good swimming in the warmer months.

The community built the day use area in 1995 and is well used by the locals. The Mackay Council erected the “Windyloo” and local cane farmer, Eric Jackson, comes down each morning and replenishes the supply of toilet paper. Council also erected the playing equipment but Eric mows and maintains the area. Council also supplied the trees which make the picnic area quite colourful. Eric’s son, Warren, died in 1997 aged 22 and a memorial plaque is on one of the picnic tables near the creek. Have a look for it on the campground side of the road.

Many campers use this delightful little campground as a base to explore the Mackay region. Apart from the northern seaside towns of St Helens and Seaforth, Cape Hillsborough National Park is worth visiting. You can also head up the Pioneer Valley through the towns of Marian and Marani before venturing onto Finch Hatton. From here you can visit Finch Hatton Gorge and do the scenic rainforest walk. The steep drive up the range to Eungella is worthwhile and here you can visit Eungella National Park and view platypus at Broken River.

The campsite is quiet apart from the gurgling creek and it is a great spot to relax and check out all Mackay has to offer. If you are into photography then this is the place for you. Early morning and in the evenings the photo opportunities in the creek are amazing. The Photographic Club from Mackay runs regular field trips here and also to Finch Hatton Gorge.

If you are looking for a free camp spot near Mackay where all you will hear is the bubbling creek, the birds and the rustle of sugarcane, then check out Boulder Creek Campground. You will not be disappointed. It is one of our favourite campsites.

Fact Files

Location: Take the Marani-Mt Ossa Road and drive through Mt Charlton for 33 kms.

Turn off the Bruce Highway at Calen and drive 18 kms.

Facilities: Flat campsites beside Boulder Creek accommodating approx.15 vehicles. Picnic Tables,Wood Barbecue and Toilet.

Wheelchair: The area is relatively flat.

Rates: Free

Pets: Yes

Contact: For more information, visit

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