Station Stays on the Atherton Tablelands


There’s been a new development in recent years with property owners opening their gates to travelers and campers. It’s been getting harder to find places to camp with more and more people getting bitten by the camping bug and wanting to get outdoors and experience the wonderful scenery North Queensland offers. Now fences and locked gates are appearing and choices are becoming limited. Some resourceful property owners in picturesque locations have been establishing campgrounds and are now taking formal bookings. Often with limited campsites available, at least upon booking you can be guaranteed a private site.

The Tablelands have a number of great locations for you to throw your swag, pop your tent or park your trailer/van. There are some provisions though.  Several places require that you bring a porta-loo or similar as toilets are often not provided. Busy campsites mean problems with where to “go”. Nothing worse than bits of toilet paper blowing around. Well, maybe there is! Other things to consider are whether pets are allowed, if payment is required in cash, site availability, personal rubbish removal, and wet season closures. Booking in advance is suggested because campsites are very popular, especially over school holidays and long weekends. As most are working cattle stations and you are there as a guest, abide by the rules, and keep gates as you find them. In these covid times, also be prepared to fill in forms prior to camping.

Here are a number of great places to consider:

Boonmoo (Larelle and Grant – 4094 4129)                                                                                                                                 
Just to the west of Dimbulah, Boonmoo Road heads south and stops at the gates of Boonmoo Station. The owners are very accommodating to campers and have established campsites around their property. Kingfisher Dam has a number of sites and is a good option in the drier months when Eureka Creek dries. Excellent for birding and canoeing. However, during and just after the wet season, camps along Eureka Creek are the places to be. Over 30 campsites have been assigned along over 15 km of creekbanks. Pools, cascades and shady banks abound. A highlight is driving along an old railway cutting with cliffs on either side. Not suitable for big vans. My favourites are Long Flat (3km), 2nd Cutting (5 km) and Sandy Camp (8.3km) – but all are good. No toilets are provided.

Emu Creek Holiday Park (Liz – 4094 8313)                                                                                                                                 
Beyond Boonmoo on the road to Chillagoe, the signposted entry to the station is just near the railway crossing before the road drops down to the Emu Creek valley just before Petford. Emu Creek is a treasure of a stream in this dry part of the world. There are sandy creek beds with rocky cascades and the creek flows until usually well into July with deep pools lingering longer. There are a number of nice camps along the creek. Toilets are provided and basic cabins are also available. Campsites are from $20 per night for a couple and $25 for a family.

Hurricane Station (Rose – 4094 8234)                                                                                                                                      
North of Mt Carbine you will find the turnoff to Kondaparinga and Hurricane Stations. 8 kms off the highway veer right before the Mitchell River crossing (signposted) and head toward Hurricane which is a further 28 kms down the road. Check in with the owners first for payment and to fill in forms before heading off to your campsite of which there are about 15 scattered along many kilometres of the always flowing Mitchell River. Each campsite has its own character – some have deep pools, some cascades and rapids, shady or sunny. My favourites are The Crossing (small groups) and Wombat (large groups). Some of the access roads are quite rough and not suitable for anything more than a small offroad van or trailer. No toilets so please be responsible.

Karma Waters (4094 8337)
Further downstream on the Mitchell is Karma Waters who have a limited number of sites available. Early booking is essential over school holidays and long weekends.

Woodleigh (Kate – 4097 0204)                                                                                                                                        
About 22km past Ravenshoe and just before Innot Hot Springs Woodleigh Rd heads south for 3.5 kms to the station situated on The Millstream. Neat as a pin, private campsites are scattered along the grassy banks. There are over 20 very scenic sites along the Millstream or the often dry Wild River. Suitable for small vans and open most of the year except peak wet season. Showers and toilets are provided if you don’t mind a bit of a walk or short drive. Cabins also available. Camping from $25 per vehicle per night. See:

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Goshen Station (4097 1428)                                                                                                                                            
The mighty Herbert River ranks with the Mitchell as one of the most impressive watercourses draining the high rainfall belt of the wet tropics, though flowing mostly through dry country. Goshen Station is situated along its northern banks and incorporates the Herbert River Falls. Accessible from Mt Garnet in the west or Kennedy in the east it is not far from the popular Blencoe Falls. There are a limited number of sites, and access is via a gate key from the homestead. Cost is $50 for access then $10 per night. My favourite site is the Sandbar. There’s no camping at the falls, but spectacular views. Closed during the wet season.

This is not a complete list of farm/station stays in the north and some new ones are currently in development and others temporarily closed, but it’s a start and a really good alternative to the often over-run national park and roadside “freebie” camps. With these locations you can generally be guaranteed some space and privacy.


Article & Photo by Paul Curtis, local tour guide and photographer. Call anytime to book a tour: 4093 0379 or 0408 835 160,,

(Printed in the November 2020 issue of What’s On & Where to Go Magazine)


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