If you’re travelling through Rockhampton and looking for cheap and convenient camping right in town, Kershaw Gardens Free Campground is the best option.
The Kershaw Gardens Free Campground is for self-contained vehicles only as there are no amenities on site. There is a 48-hour limit, which helps to ensure visitors don’t overstay their welcome and others are able to use the camping area.
Right across the road from the campground is a shopping centre, making it easy to restock your supplies.
Kershaw Gardens itself is a lovely place to explore with walking tracks, an epic playground and splash park for the kids, plus beautiful gardens. The 50 hectare parkland has been built on top of an old landfill site in the suburb of Park Avenue. Some people call it Rockhampton’s Big Backyard!
Other things to check out while passing through Rockhampton include Mount Archer National Park, the free Rockhampton Zoo (if you don’t mind looking at caged Chimpanzees) and the Botanical Gardens.
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Kershaw Gardens Free Campground
Kershaw Gardens Free Campground FEATURES
💲 FREE (48 hours)
⛺️ Caravans, RVs, Big Rigs
🐶 Dogs allowed
🏃♂️ Walking trails
📶 Telstra reception
📺 TV reception
⚡️ Generators allowed (8 am – 7 pm)
⛺️ 35 self-contained vehicles only
🚙 2WD access & Big Rig friendly
❌ NO: showers, toilets or water
Kershaw Gardens Free Campground RULES
- A maximum of 35 self-contained vehicles at any given time
- A maximum of 2 nights or 48 hours
- Do not block roads or paths
- Do not discharge waste water onto grounds
- Pets must be supervised and on a leash at all times
- Generator use 8.00 am to 7.00 pm only
Self-contained Vehicles Only
The CMCA (Caravan and Motorhome Club of Australia) defines self-contained vehicles as:
Each vehicle must have installed and/ or carry the necessary fit for purpose specifically manufactured equipment.
Self-contained Vehicle Inclusions:
- Water supply
- Grey water storage
- Black water storage
- Rubbish storage
Closure of Kershaw Gardens Free Campground in 2019
We were lucky to get in and make full use of the Kershaw Garden Free Campground two weeks prior to its permanent closure as of 15 February 2019.
The Rockhampton Regional Council was forced to close the Kershaw Gardens Free Camp in February 2019. The Caravan Parks Association of Queensland (CPAQ) fought against the council claiming that the camping area breached the council’s planning scheme.
Rumour has it that the local Caravan Parks weren’t supportive of the free Rest Area as they felt it negatively impacted their businesses.
Kershaw Gardens Free Camp Reopening
According to the Rockhampton Morning Bulletin (November 2019), the council were looking to adopt an amendment for another planning scheme. This would effectively change the zoning codes and overrule the court outcome.
Fast forward to 2023 and the Kershaw Gardens Free Campground is well and truly open and back to being a popular and fully-functioning free camp.
Things to do in Rockhampton
Explore the Kershaw Gardens Day Use Area
I reckon the Kershaw Gardens playground is one of the BEST we’ve come across yet! With swings, a monorail, a flying fox, a massive spider web with slides and heaps more.
The kids had a ball, but it was super hot. Luckily there is also was a splash park where we could get a little wet, although it is more designed for toddlers.
Kershaw Gardens Facilities:
- One kilometre of peaceful gardens
- Walking tracks (People’s Forest, Grevillia Hill and the Wetlands)
- Playground (‘Wyatt’s Wonder Web,’ monorail, flying fox, timber play towers)
- Splash Park (called the ‘Fitzroy River’ water play area)
- FREE BBQ’s
- FREE Wi-fi
- Shaded picnic tables
- Amenities block
You can download the full Kershaw Gardens map to help plan your visit.
Visit the FREE Rockhampton Zoo
You’ll also find a free Zoo in Rockhampton, which was awesome. But… I couldn’t help but feel sad looking into the eyes of the caged Chimps. The enclosures were big, but they need to be free!!!
There was a huge walk-in aviary with a variety of different birds, with a Cassowary in the enclosure next door. We didn’t see it though, either it wasn’t in there or he was hiding very well. Again, I feel that the world’s biggest bird shouldn’t be caged for people to goggle at.
They also had a big salt water crocodile and two fresh water crocs. It was so interesting watching the big salty. As a family walked past with a toddler on Dad’s shoulders, we could see the croc spin around in the water (without a ripple) and lifted his eyes an inch above the water to watch (stalk) the kids.
It was fascinating to see his behaviours and remind us of their wild instincts. These tiny pools did no justice for the massive creatures.
Some species found at the Rockhampton Zoo:
- Asian Small-clawed Otters
- Variety of native & exotic birds
- Freshwater & Saltwater Crocodiles
- Lion-tailed Macaques
- Reptiles & Snakes
Get a Selfie with a Big Bull
Of course, you can’t visit Rockhampton, the beef capital of Australia, without checking out the 6 Big Bulls spotted around the city. We actually found more than that, but only six qualify as official Big Things.
To see how many Bigs you can tick off as you travel, download the QLD Big Things Checklist below, or get the complete Australian BIG Things checklist.
QLD Big Things Checklist
See if you can find all 150+ Big Things around Queensland as you travel!
- 17-page checklist
- Pre-filled with 150+ items
- Categorised into 6 regions
- QLD Regional Map
- Full street addresses
- Record finds & dates
- DIGITAL & PRINTABLE
Day Trip to Yeppoon
Take a drive out to the nearby coastal town of Yeppoon, just 35 minutes northeast of Rockhampton.
Along the Yeppoon Esplanade you’ll find the most amazing FREE Lagoon complete with infinity pool, palm trees and kiosk. What more could you ask for on a hot day! Lifeguards patrol the waters all year round, so you can relax, knowing that you’re in safe hands.
Just a little further up the Esplanade is where you can find Keppel Kraken. It’s a zero depth splash park with a really cool sea creature wonderland theme. With spurting fountains, splashing objects and flowing creeks and stepping stones, even the big kids will have heaps of fun.
For even more things to do while visiting Yeppoon, click on the article below.