Downfall Creek Camping Lake Tinaroo

Lake Tinaroo on the Atherton Tablelands is beloved by locals for many reasons, including the vast array of water activities you can enjoy here all year round. We’re talking kayaking, jet boating, water skiing, tubing, sailing, swimming, fishing and stand-up paddle boarding. When you choose to camp at Lake Tinaroo it allows you to have maximum lake time during the day, as well as the chance to enjoy the early morning and late afternoon stillness. There’s six sites to choose from and this time, we camped at Downfall Creek.

Things to do at Downfall Creek Tinaroo

Downfall Creek camping area offers absolute waterfront sites, with basic facilities.

Camping at Downfall Creek, Where Is It?

Downfall Creek is one of six camping areas in the Danbulla National Park and State Forest, which borders and includes parts of Lake Tinaroo. The Downfall Creek camp ground is spread along the lakeshore, offering several absolute waterfront camp sites. It is accessible by conventional vehicle and you can camp in tents, bring your camper trailer (which we did) or your caravan; when we stayed in November, all three of these were in use. Downfall Creek has toilets and allows campfires, but there are no showers, picnic tables or BBQ facilities.

“Camping at Lake Tinaroo in November. Not going to lie, I was quite concerned it would be too hot. It was about 32 degrees in Cairns when we left and up there, it was 4-5 degrees cooler, making it pleasant on the water and in the camper trailer. The camp ground was fully booked when we went, but there was still room for everyone to spread out across the various camp sites at Downfall Creek.” – Julie Johnston

Things To Do At Downfall Creek Camping Area

You can enjoy all of the water activities Lake Tinaroo is well known for at Downfall Creek camping area, including boating, jet skiing, water skiing and tubing, sailing, kayaking, fishing and stand up paddle boarding. Our group of 3 adults and 3 children took kayaks and an inflatable stand up paddleboard. Water entry was easy at the lakeside and conditions were calm and comfortable. As we stayed just the one night, the water activities and camping kept us busy, but if you stayed longer there are also some walking trails, which connect Downfall Creek camping area with the nearby Kauri Creek camping area.

The camp site we chose was on the far side, providing waterfront views while also being sheltered by large established trees. It was a short walk to the amenities and had a fire ring. We think Downfall Creek camping area is particularly scenic with uninterrupted water views showcasing the lake and some of its semi-submerged trees, with a backdrop of native forests and tall pine plantations. In the late afternoon and early morning, we enjoyed watching ducks and cormorants on the water, while someone else at a nearby camp caught a large barramundi. At night we dined under a million star sky.

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Questions About At Downfall Creek

How much does it cost to camp at Tinaroo?

At Downfall Creek camping area at Lake Tinaroo when we stayed – November 2022 – it was $7 per person, per night.

Are you allowed dogs at Tinaroo?

Yes and No – sadly, at Downfall Creek camping area you are not allowed dogs, because it is a part of the Danbulla National Park and State Forest. However, there are camping areas around Lake Tinaroo where dogs are allowed and we will review these in coming months, because we love to share our adventures with our Border Collie Stormy.

Can you have a fire at Tinaroo?

Yes – you can have a fire at Tinaroo – the nature and position of which all depends on where you stay. You can have a fire at the Downfall Creek camping area in the supplied fire pits. You must BYO wood though.

How do you not make a fool of yourself at Tinaroo?

Don’t pretend you are some kind of stand up paddle boarding guru and fall backwards off the board, whilst giving a masterclass to your wife – the entire campground enjoyed that one 🙂 Coffee and a show.

Downfall Creek Stand Up Paddle Boarding

The semi-submerged trees created an attractive, almost ‘artistic' landscape to explore.

Camping at Downfall Creek, Lake Tinaroo What You Need To Know

The Downfall Creek camping area on Lake Tinaroo is within the Danbulla National Park and State Forest and as such, dogs are not permitted. All camp sites must be pre-booked online. Open fires are allowed in fire rings provided, but you must bring your own wood in; it is prohibited to collect firewood in the park. The Downfall Creek camping area is 7km from the western entrance and 21km from the eastern entrance of Danbulla Road. It is accessible by conventional vehicle, although we had a 4WD. There are no cafes on site or in the immediate vicinity, so take your own food and beverages.

  • Suitable for most people
  • Toilets on site (no showers)
  • All camp sites must be pre-booked
  • Tents, camper trailers and caravans welcome
  • Surface is grass and gravel
  • BYO food and drink
  • Sunblock and insect repellent recommended
  • Mobile coverage available
  • Drones allowed

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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