Calliope River Rest Area (free camping), River Ranch QLD

⛺️ FREE CAMPING: Calliope River Rest Area, River Ranch QLD

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If you’re looking for awesome Free Camping in the Gladstone region, the Calliope River Rest Area is just off the Bruce Highway at River Ranch.

There are two sides to the camping grounds called ‘North’ and ‘South.’ Campers are allowed to stay in each of the two camping areas for 48 hours each, allowing four days of free Calliope River camping.

The North side sits above the river on a hill, which is accessible from behind the Historical Village.

The South side is set down the bottom alongside the Calliope River and can be accessed via the exit (off the Bruce Highway) just south of the Historical Village.

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Calliope River Rest Area Camping

Calliope River Rest Area, River Ranch QLD
View from the North side camping area, looking down to the South side camp

Camp Features

💲 FREE (self-contained vehicles only)
⏰ 48 hours allowed at each camp (North side and South side)
⛺️ Tents, Camper Trailers, Caravans, RVs, Big Rigs
🐶 Dogs allowed
🗑 Bins
🚽 Toilets (South side only)
⚡️ Generators allowed
🔥 Fires allowed
🎣 Fishing
🛥 Boat ramp
🐊 Crocodiles
📶 Telstra reception

Calliope River Rest Area
There can be crocodiles in the Calliope River, swim at your own risk

There were crocodile signs around. You can find yellow signs painted on the old road (which is now closed off to vehicles) with a phone number to report any crocodile sightings in the river. We chose not to swim, but there were plenty of people splashing about in the water over the Australia Day weekend during our stay.

Calliope River Rest Area
The Ice Cream Truck paid us a visit!

Although it was busy with holiday makers, there was still plenty of room for everyone. The Ice Cream Truck even paid us a visit, giving the kids a chance to spend some of their Christmas money that’s been burning a hole in the their pockets.

The kids got the Red Claw pots into the water and managed to pull in a big Mud Crab! To be honest, we didn’t really know what to do with it, so we released it back into the river. Boiling the poor bugger alive just doesn’t appeal to our appetites.

Calliope River Rest Area
North side camping area, Calliope River Rest Area QLD

▶️VIDEO: Calliope River Free Camp Tour

Press play to take a quick virtual tour of the Calliope River Rest Area FREE CAMP. Featuring both the North Side and South Side camp grounds.


Calliope River Rest Area Location

ADDRESS: Bruce Highway, River Ranch QLD 4680

Calliope River Rest Area, River Ranch QLD

Always remember to pre download your maps before leaving areas of reception. Telstra coverage is the best you’re going to get around Australia, but there are still vast amounts of land that won’t be covered. It’s smart to always carry a paper map in your vehicle as well, just in case.

I can tell you from experience that being stuck somewhere unknown without coverage is highly stressful!

Hema have a great range of state and regional maps to help you on your way.

QLD Central Queensland Map
Central QLD Hema Map →
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Things to do in Gladstone

Gladstone is a city on the East Coast of Queensland housing the States largest multi-commodity port.

There wasn’t a whole lot in the city that jumped out at us, but we did really enjoy the waterfront Gladstone East Shores Precinct. It’s a lovely free parklands area, which follows the river front and has lots of maritime-inspired pieces spotted around.

Riverside Playground & Splash Park

East Shores Precinct Splash Park, Gladstone QLD

The park itself was really pretty with a trail of green grass, BBQ’s, exploration equipment for the kids and plenty of seating.  The Gladstone East Shores Precinct also boasts a free Splash Park was really cool.

With a wide variety of fountains and walkways that spurt you right when you least expect it, the kids had a great time just being silly and playing.  Even the big kids had fun!  We were particularly fascinated with the oversized mosaic flower that sporadically squirted water into the park.


HMAS Gladstone

HMAS Gladstone, QLD
HMAS Gladstone

Jump aboard the HMAS Gladstone II and take a guided tour around the old Navy ship. Guests are also welcome to check out just the museum without taking the boat tour. Prices and info below.

As they say, “if the flags are flying, we are open for business.”

GLADSTONE MARITIME MUSEUM
Museum EntryAdult – $10
Child (over 5 yrs) – $5
Boat TourAdult – $15
Family – $40
Pensioner – $10

• Bookings essential
• 4 people maximum
• Enclosed footwear
Opening Times10am – 3pm, Friday to Sunday
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