Denyse and I have travelled extensively across North Queensland, and have stayed in caravan parks in this region since 1972. Over the years, our van park preferences have changed but to become one of our favourites, the park must have a certain X-factor. Peacefulness and natural beauty, quiet nights and attractive, well-maintained amenities are certainly part of it, but lots of flashy bells and whistles are not. While other caravanners will have different priorities, here are our three favourite parks in north Queensland…
PINNACLE VILLAGE HOLIDAY PARK
This caravan park occupies about 45 acres of absolute beach frontage at Wonga Beach in the Daintree area of Far North Queensland. The park is set among rainforest trees and is protected from strong ocean breezes by she-oaks, coconut trees and tropical growth.
Pinnacle Village is a quiet park, with a variety of wild animals and birds, such as bush turkeys, scrub fowls, peacocks, wallabies and goannas calling it home. Consequently, no dogs or cats are permitted. You can walk many kilometres along the excellent beach north to the Daintree River if you wish. Interesting shells and other flotsam and jetsam wash ashore; one year we found a hip flask with a hammer and sickle emblem on it.
Almost all the powered sites have a concrete slab and shade from tropical trees and shrubs. There is a huge grassy camping area near the beach, protected from the trade winds, and cabins can be found here too.
The van park has two swimming pools, one catering mainly for children while the other has a spa and rock waterfall. There is a children’s play area beside the pool, and a large stainless steel camp kitchen, complete with a full oven. Barbecues are also a feature.
The games and TV room is popular in wet weather, although the rain is warm.
A kiosk supplies the essentials, plus a surprising array of other goodies. Two amenities blocks mean one is always open when the other is being cleaned and there is a dump point. Caravan storage is available for those travelling up to Cape York.
The park is central to all points of interest. It’s only a five-minute drive to the Daintree River vehicle ferry, and a bit further to Daintree Village. Mossman Gorge and township is a 15-minute drive south, and Port Douglas is a short drive south of Mossman. TV reception is fine provided you have a booster, and Telstra broadband and mobile phone coverage is also good.
The owners and managers, Darryl and Kerri Tenni, live on site and will make you feel very welcome.
Contact: Pinnacle Village Holiday Park, Vixies Road, North Wonga Beach via Mossman, 1800 222 728,
FLYING FISH POINT TOURIST PARK
This park is located at Flying Fish Point, 7km from Innisfail. It is just over the road from the beach, which can provide excellent fishing at certain times of the year. The boat ramp at the river mouth is a short distance away, and the park attracts many caravanners with tinnies during the mackeral season. The reef is close to the coast and is accessible to trailer boats in favourable weather. We have seen some very impressive catches of reef fish when staying at this park.
Owners Andre and Nita Nurzenski are a very welcoming couple who live on site. It is a small park with a big heart: returning guests are welcomed as old friends. Andre is a great host and puts on a free fish barbecue night on Wednesdays, and if he has not caught any reef fish he cooks up chicken wings and other delights. Saturday night is roast night, and almost everyone in the van park turns up to these events.
Powered sites with concrete slabs are separated by tropical shrubbery. There is a swimming pool, mini golf, and camp kitchen with free wifi. There are disabled facilities and a dump point. Various cabins are available. Each powered site is supplied with a cable for TV and Telstra reception for mobile and broadband is good. Pets are allowed on application. Andre grows a variety of fruit trees in the park, and shares the fruit with his guests. Ask to be shown Andre’s impressive tropical orchid collection.
The park is a short drive to Eubenangee Swamp, where you can see many varieties of water birds and salt water crocs, and the 6km drive to Ella Bay National Park takes you through some wonderful rainforest.
This is an older, quiet park in an excellent position. It does not have all the bells and whistles, but the hosts will make you feel very welcome.
Contact: Flying Fish Point Tourist Park , Elizabeth Street, Flying Fish Point via Innisfail, (07) 4061 3131
KURRIMINE BEACH HOLIDAY PARK
This park is about 20 minutes north of Mission Beach and only a 30-minute drive south of Innisfail. Owners Marcus and Kay Kitchen have had years of experience in caravan parks and, together with on-site managers Tracey and Corey Patterson, set a high standard in looking after their guests.
They provide various evenings of entertainment for guests, and Corey cooks up a great barbecue night. Tracey’s happy hours feature platters of gourmet delights. These enjoyable events bring travellers together, creating a very friendly ambience, and are a big plus for a van park. It is inadvisable to swim in the sea in the tropical north, with marine stingers being prevalent in the summer months and crocodiles throughout the year.
The park has a huge, inviting swimming pool, water park, gym, jumping pillow and play room. These facilities are away from the van sites and are particularly popular in the school holidays. Despite the costs of maintaining these facilities, site fees are reasonable right through the tourist season. The van park is one street back from the long expanse of a great walking beach, and is opposite King Reef, good for fishing. We have seen good catches of mackeral and reef fish as well as painted crayfish from King Reef.
If you visit at a zero tide, it is possible to walk right out to King Reef. Maria Creek flows into the sea at the southern end of the beach, and allows for boat launching close to the park and a quiet expanse of water to fish or crab.
Kurrimine Beach Conservation Park (a rainforest reserve with a walking track) is just across the road, and the pub is a short walk away if you would like a dinner out. Kurrimine Beach Holiday Park is a small park with powered sites with concrete slabs, a camping area, plus various levels of cabin accommodation, including disabled facilities. A camp kitchen, barbecues, and a kiosk are available for guests.
Pets are allowed, and there is even a hydro-bath for dogs and a special washing machine for their blankets.
Contact: Kurrimine Beach Holiday Park , Jacobs Road and Coyle Street, Kurrimine Beach, 1300 725 525,
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