Camping at Cobbold Gorge

Camping at Cobbold Gorge. We give it 5 stars. Explore this ancient landscape up high by heli, down low by boat, clamber up quartz blows, explore escarpments, fossick for precious stones, cocktails in the pool and campfires at night. From sun up to sun down, there’s adventures to be had at every turn out here, where you can do as much, or as little as you like.

Cobbold Gorge is an oasis in the Gulf Savannah. Natural attractions. Country hospitality. Glass bridge and helicopter rides.

Load Up The Camper, Pack Up Your Tent, We're Going Camping at Cobbold Gorge

Cobbold Gorge is a long way from Cairns, about a 6.5 hour drive in fact; a drive that takes you from the rainforest covered hills of the coast, out to the red roads, cattle trains and savannah plains of the gulf country. You can do it in a day – we did – or you can break the trip up with an overnight stop at the Tablelands. For us, it was an early start and eye on the prize kind of day to reach our destination. We pulled into Cobbold Gorge around 2pm and set up camp. Our travelling group – 3 adults, 3 kids, 2 dogs, 1 camper trailer, 2 tents and gazebo for 6 – and we stayed 4 nights and spent 3 days living it large in the country.

“This is our second visit to Cobbold Gorge, but the first-time camping and both stays have been amazing, for memory making. The facilities at the Cobbold Gorge property are excellent and very well maintained, from the cabins and rooms to caravan sites, camping grounds, horizon pool, bar, bistro and amenities. The tours are a must do, we’re talking the Gorge Tour and scenic Helicopter Flights (I’m sure Stand-Up Paddle Boarding is too – we just haven’t done that yet – maybe next time), with lots of opportunity and locations to explore at your own pace. If you’ve never been, add it to your list and make some plans.” – Julie Johnston

Looking For Treasures, Fossicking for Agates At The Agate Creek Gemfields

We started our first full day at Cobbold Gorge looking for treasures and fossicking for agates, at the nearby Agate Creek Gemfields. This might seem strange, but after a big day in the car the day before, we thought we’d save the tours for when we were settled in. The Agate Creek Gemfields are a 53km drive south-east(ish) from Cobbold Gorge, on graded dirt roads; make sure you stop into reception on the way out to grab a map and get some top tips on what agates look like and where to find them. You do probably need a 4WD for this excursion and make sure you bring buckets and drinking water with you. Also, please note you need to purchase a Fossicking Licence through the Queensland Government to do this: it only costs $13 for a Family licence for 1 month and this can be ordered online – fossicking licence

The Agate Creek Gemfields are quite big, with lots of different places to look for agates – there are also Thunder Eggs here. Must add – we are not serious fossickers, we just wanted to give the kids a good time and find some ‘cool rocks’, and this more than exceeded our expectations. From the dry creek beds to the random places we stopped, there were agates everywhere. They may not be first class examples, but they were more than enough to put smiles on the dials of the young ones.

Having ticked that box, we returned to camp and made our way to the horizon pool. This was the place to be! A beautiful, cool swimming pool with a pool bar, delicious cocktails and views over the lagoon and savannah country beyond. Refreshed we returned to camp, prepared our meal and enjoyed the million-star view overhead.

Quartz Blow Sunrise, Cobbold Gorge Tour, Doggy Day Care

Sunrise at the Quartz Blow, yes this is worth getting up for – and I’m not an early bird kind of person. Watching the sun light-up the landscape and hearing the birds greet the day, perched high on the Quartz Blow, is amazing! The Quartz Blow look out is a short drive from Cobbold Gorge camp, taking around 10 minutes. You can drive right up to the quartz and it’s an easy clamber up to the top, even our border collie managed the climb with ease. These are special moments to share with family and friends and we loved it, with the sun now up we headed back to camp to cook up some bacon for breakfast.

Cobbold Gorge we are coming for you [on the 10am tour]. After assembling at the reception area, we boarded the bus and made our way over to the Gorge. The guided commentary on the way was excellent, covering history and geology. The Cobbold Gorge Tour includes four main elements: the bus ride to and from the gorge, an electric boat ride through the gorge, guided walk along the escarpment and of course, the new glass bridge. All of this is 5 stars. The boat ride was beautiful and peaceful, gliding along the waters with red walls reaching to the sky above us, some freshwater crocodiles sunning on the banks beside us and a true sense of serenity. During the guided walk we learned about bush tucker, early settlers and the formation of the gorge; it ended with a walk over the glass bridge, it’s the first of its kind in the country and it delivers on views and experience.

Doggy side note. As our group camped with 2 dogs we split up for the tours. We did the morning tour and our mates did the afternoon tour, while we tag teamed the doggy day care. There are many places that do not allow dogs, for many reasons. At Cobbold Gorge they welcome your furry friends and in turn ask that you clean up after them (of course), keep them restrained and ensure they do not disturb other guests. Too easy. That’s why we split up for the tours, to ensure there was no barking or stress during our tour times.

Guided tours at Cobbold Gorge a hidden oasis in the Gulf Savannah, with Australia's first fully glass bridge.

from $160.00

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Tropical Trailblazers - Austrack Tanami 15B

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Tropical Trailblazers - Austrack Telegraph-lt Lite

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Questions About Camping At Cobbold Gorge

Is Cobbold Gorge worth it?

YES! Cobbold Gorge is an amazing place to visit and it’s most definitely worth it! Cobbold Village has a range of accommodation, campground facilities, camp kitchen and amenities block, swimming pool, bar and bistro. Then there is the Gorge Tour, scenic helicopter flights or you can SUP. Everything is great value for money and it’s an amazing way to experience one of Australia’s youngest gorges.

Do you need 4WD for Cobbold Gorge?

No, you do not need a 4WD for Cobbold Gorge. Our group had 2 vehicles, 1 4WD and 1 All Wheel Drive SUV, but in the Cobbold Gorge car park there were a range of vehicles including 2WD Commodores and other vehicles. Apparently past guests have rolled into the Village in a Lamborghini (!). The road is dirt but is graded and you should drive to the conditions (which is true of driving anywhere really).

Can you visit Cobbold Gorge without a tour?

No. Cobbold Gorge is located on a private property and to visit it, you must book a tour. There are a range of tours – from the full gorge tour (which includes coach transfers from Cobbold Village to the Gorge and back again, boat ride through the Gorge and guided walk along the top of the Gorge and across the glass bridge) to SUP and scenic helicopter flights. We strongly suggest pre-booking the tours, as it does get busy, particularly during school holidays.

Can you swim at Cobbold Gorge?

No and yes. In regards to swimming at Cobbold Gorge itself, it’s a no – unless you fall off your SUP, in which case you would need to swim to it and climb back up. However, Cobbold Village does have an amazing, horizon-style swimming pool and guests are more than welcome to swim here at their leisure. There’s even a swim-up bar!

Can you take a caravan to Cobbold Gorge?

Yes, you can take a caravan to Cobbold Gorge. You can also take camper trailers and tents or choose one of their accommodated options. For caravan guests you can choose a powered or unpowered sites, there is even the option to have a powered site with private ensuite.

Are there crocodiles at Cobbold Gorge?

Yes, there are crocodiles at Cobbold Gorge. They are freshwater crocodiles and not aggressive (unlike saltwater crocodiles). The freshwater crocodiles can be seen on most tours.

Can you fly a drone at Cobbold Gorge?

No, you cannot fly a drone at Cobbold Gorge. This is due to the operation of the scenic helicopter flights and cattle station activities. You can take lots of photos though and phones and Go Pros are good to go.

Scenic Helicopter Flights, More Fossicking and Wood Fired Pizzas

It’s our last full day at Cobbold Gorge, time to go big before we go home; it doesn’t get much bigger or better than a scenic helicopter flight. Buckle up, doors are off – time to fly high and low – to see more of this amazing Gulf Savannah country. If you think Cobbold Gorge is impressive on land, you must see it from above. The sandstone escarpments are fissured with ridges and valleys, where trees and vines add veins of green to the bare stone tops. The expanse of country is truly impressive and you can only imagine what life was like out here, before electricity and the comforts of the modern day. There are a range of scenic helicopter flight options, we booked the 15-minute Sandstone Discovery package, and it was awesome. If you can, you simply must do a scenic helicopter ride at Cobbold Gorge.

Having ticked almost all the boxes, we asked the kids what they wanted to do on the last day. No surprises here, it was back to the gemfields for some more agate action, before we spent the afternoon in the pool, while the kids kayaked on the lagoon. As our camping at Cobbold Gorge trip was nearing its end, we pre-booked for the wood fired pizza night and man, it was so good! This was far and away a popular choice for all guests and each of the pizzas were made fresh to order, cooked in front of the fire in an outback style pizza oven and served hot. Bloody great way to end the Cobbold Gorge camping trip!

Camping At Cobbold Gorge What You Need To Know

Firstly, you do not need a 4WD to get to Cobbold Gorge. There are some dirt roads, between Forsayth and Cobbold Gorge, but they are graded. You can choose powered or unpowered sites and there’s even drive-through ensuite sites for camper trailers and caravans. We stayed in an unpowered site, which was shaded and level. The nearby amenities block and camp kitchen were very well maintained and cleaned frequently during our stay. Cobbold Gorge does get busy, particularly during school holidays, so book ahead and make sure you pre-book your Gorge tours and helicopter flights. Cobbold Gorge ‘village’ has a small shop which sells some essentials and ice, but you should bring in your groceries and supplies. There is also the bar and bistro which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner – they do recommend pre-booking meals, so they can plan accordingly. There’s lots to do out here, but you can be as busy or relaxed as you like. Guided tours, self-guided tours, bike paths, walking tracks, the nearby gemfields, swimming pool and lagoon.

  • Suitable for People of Reasonable Fitness
  • All accommodation and camp sites must be pre-booked
  • Tours should be pre-booked
  • Bring your own supplies
  • Bar and bistro onsite
  • Gorge tours
  • Scenic helicopter flights
  • Agate fossicking
  • Kayaking and exploring

About the Author

Julie was born in Cairns and grew up running around in the cane fields south of the city. She has explored, breathed and loved everything about our amazing Cairns region her whole life. Excited to be able share this wonderful place with our son and see it all again through ‘new’ eyes. Watch this space for more info on the people, places, destinations and things you can do up here.

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