By Unsealed 4X4 11 Min Read


It is tough living in Brisbane where we are blessed with an almost embarrassing number of beach camping options. Double Island Point, Fraser Island, Moreton Island and Straddie are all only a decent cooee up, down or off the coast. What only the real locals know though is the best beach camping of the lot is a little-known gem called Kinkuna.


Of course it depends on what you enjoy. If it is campgrounds with neat pine logs separating sites, shower and toilet blocks neatly in a row with night lights… then it might be best to leave the T-bar in ‘D’ and truck straight on past Kinkuna.

But if it is bush camping at the beach with only the sea breeze to keep you company that gets the juices flowing, then work your way down through the gears, drop the tyre pressures when the gravel starts smacking the insides of the guards and rock on in to a world of no-numbered campsites, no toilets, no showers, no rubbish bins, no water and no rice burners with thumping subs.


The Burrum Coast National Park is an easy 3.5-to-4 hour drive north of Brisbane. Hang a right at Childers and the Kinkuna turnoff is just before Woodgate. Don’t forget to book online, as the old Self Registration huts are only markers for the start of the Park these days…

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From the northern or Bundaberg end, sand tracks lead through flat sandy areas dense with vegetation waiting to welcome you with some new bush pin-striping to your truck. From the southern, or Woodgate end, the tracks are wider and meander through tea-coloured swamp areas. When we visited there was just enough water for a bit of fun on the track – but after heavy rain it pays to check. The route sometimes gets closed as it is prone to flooding.


Getting around is a lot simpler these days with a relatively new track running the full length of the camping area, north-south and parallel to the beach – which saves winding past other campers who might be sharing the sea breeze.

The Park is limited to 40 campsites which sit on top of the sand dunes shaded by magnificent Casuarina trees, scattered along 10km of pristine beach ensuring plenty of space.


Once you’re out of city clobber and looking like a local in singlet and shorts, yesterday seems an eon away as the big city tension begins to drain out of your big toe and slowly disappear into the sand. But now it is important decision time. Grab a stubbie or the fishing rod first? Actually it is a no brainer as any Queenslander will know: You grab them both and head for the water. Your mate will have the winch ready to pull in the big one as anything under 20kg gets thrown back in this neck of the woods… well that was what happened in my dreams, although expectations were lowered to filleting anything bigger than the bait.


For the less-dedicated fishermen who only fish all night and half the day, a walk along the shoreline with the better half is a must. Seemingly endless white sand stretching as far as you can see in either direction with the biggest decision being which way to go… up or down the beach.


There are some local rules. You need to be totally self-sufficient so bring in your own food, water, medical kit; and take out all of your rubbish. The nearest sit-down toilets are a minimum 16km away, which is a LONG walk with your legs crossed – so you need to have those events covered as well. Always use the established ‘beach access’ ramps when driving onto the beach as these are boarded which helps minimise the considerable damage being done to the dunes by those who insist on making new tracks. Also don’t forget to bring your own firewood, as the rangers here are particularly vigorous in this department. On a previous trip one grey-shirt picked through our fire pit looking for unburnt ends of local wood, so be warned.



Having said that, it is great to be able to have a campfire as this is no longer permitted in a lot of Parks.  Nothing beats cooking up a storm on an open fire and then settling back and just watching the flames whilst having a good chinwag with family and friends.

August to October sees the Park explode with springtime wildflowers when it seems like every bush and tree is covered in white, pink or yellow blossom. There are no specific walking paths but a drive around the maze of tracks is a must. Although predominantly Suzuki Sierra friendly, once a Patrol has cleared the path and some of the low branches remind you that the roof rack is still there, you find there are numerous ways to everywhere. The sand into campsites varies from soft to very soft to very, very soft whilst the beach is generally good except if you are tight up on the dunes at higher tides. Always best to travel a couple of hours either side of high tide, with lowered tyre pressures.


Two creeks bound the Park: Coonarr Creek to the north and Theodolite Creek to the south. Both present great opportunities for anyone with a tinnie or kayak and a couple of crab pots to bag some muddies. Access into Coonarr Creek will leave the duco looking like it has lost a fight with an angle grinder. The way in is off the 4WD Dry Weather Access road to Coonarr – but be warned, this is not for the faint-hearted.


On a sobering note, the dune top memorial to best mates Hayden Goode and Josh Nixon, who were tragically killed in 2008 when their motorbikes collided head on, is a serious reminder to play things safely. The boys were passionate about the outdoors and were avid four-wheel drivers, bike riders and surfers. The memorial is beautifully placed overlooking one of their favourite playgrounds and stands to remind us to all to be just that little bit careful whilst indulging our passions.

Being our personal favourite beach camping spot, this was not our first visit to Kinkuna. And it certainly will not be our last. When it is tent peg sharing time elsewhere, we will head back for some peace, quiet and fish.





From Brisbane, hit the left-hand indicator at the Woodgate turning off just before Childers. The park entrance is on the left, 3km before Woodgate Beach township.

From Bundaberg head 14km south out of town on the Bundaberg-Goodwood-Childers road, turn into Coonarr Road just before the railway overpass and follow for 8km. Turn right into Palm Beach Road for 1km to the Park boundary and then follow the signs to the camping areas.

After wet weather, check with the Woodgate Ranger Station as access may be restricted due to local flooding.

Kinkuna is accessible by 4WD vehicles only and sand-driving experience would be an advantage.



Beach camping is available behind the dunes overlooking the beach. You need to be self-sufficient as there are no facilities provided. Nearest toilets are at Woodgate, which is a long way to hold on over bumpy tracks!

Permits are compulsory and can be booked online:

Follow the links to Queensland Parks and Forests, Find a Park, Search by Alphabet (hit the ‘B’) and select Burrum Coast National Park. Click on Campsite Booking and then at the Campground tab, select Kinkuna Section from the drop-down menu.

Alternatively you can phone 13 13 04, or call in at the Woodgate General Store. When booking by phone or online, you will receive a booking number which you are supposed to record on a camping tag. Because there are no longer Self Registration huts from which to get camping tags, I keep one from previous trips and change the booking number on it.



Be totally self-sufficient for food, water, medical supplies and firewood. Nearest fuel and supplies are at Woodgate and Bundaberg.

Domestic animals are prohibited in National Parks.



Sections of very soft sand on tracks; and the beach can be loose as a goose as well. Carry a snatch strap and shackles and someone will always help if you get into strife. Don’t forget a tyre gauge for deflating tyres, or a set of Stauns.



Beach conditions are updated on the EPA/Parks and Wildlife website.


Words and Photography by Wayne ‘Nugget’ Nielsen


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