Camping with Kids at Bunya Mountains

Bunya Mountains National Park was declared a National Park in 1908, making it the second oldest in Queensland. It is located approximately three hours North-West of Brisbane, or 1.5 hours North of Toowoomba. At around 1000 metres above sea level, it is famous for its Bunya Pines – known to have the largest population in the world!

It is estimated that some of the Bunya Pines are up to 600 years old. They grow cone-shaped nuts, which can grow bigger than coconuts. Inside the Bunya cone are smaller, edible nuts which taste similar to pine nuts. Bunya cones do fall (just like coconuts, but bigger) – so be careful when you are walking through the rainforest! They are known to fall mainly between December and March.

A woman and her daughter standing near a sign that directs to the 'Westcliff Look Out' and the 'Wescott Picnic Area'

Follow Sabrina on her family-friendly adventure to Bunya Mountains! Pictured: the beginning of the Westcliff Lookout

Bunya Mountain also has an abundance of wildlife. During our four-day visit we ended up seeing lots of wallabies, a satin bowerbird and its nest (where it collected lots of blue objects), male and female king parrots, crimson rosellas, kookaburras and sulphur-crested cockatoos, two pythons, lots of blue fairy wrens, and even a bandicoot at night! We also saw (and heard!) a green catbird, which has a very distinctive sound – like a screeching cat! People have also seen koalas and echidnas here too.

A lawned area with trees and dark clouds overhead.

Bunya trees near the cafe at Dandabah

A bright blue sky padded with clouds with trees and a bitumen road.

Dandabah. Left to right: the tavern, walking tacks, and the cafe

It can get quite chilly during the evenings – and in October, the temperature dropped to single digits at night (around 8-9 degrees). During the day, it was fairly hot (up to 25-30 degrees). For this reason, I would recommend checking the temperature when you plan to go, so you are well equipped!

A man and his young child in the carrier on his back.

Walking with the carrier

Blue Fairy Wren on the lawn.

A Blue Fairy Wren

A cockatoo in the trees.

A cockatoo

Carpet python by the side of the road.

This carpet python was 4 metres long!

Our favourite activity at Bunya Mountain was exploring the rainforest and heading off on many walks. This is a great place for walking, as it’s well-shaded – especially the tracks starting a Dandabah, e.g. Barker Creek circuit, and those going to Festoon Falls, Paradise Falls, and Little Falls. Some of the walks we completed (with two kids!) were:

  1. Dandabah campground to Paradise parking area, and back: approx. 6km
  2. Dandabah to Festoon Falls, and back: approx. 1.5km
    If you want to do a longer walk, you can do the Scenic circuit. This is a 4km loop track, starting and ending at Dandabah. The Scenic circuit includes Festoon Falls, as well as Pine Gorge Lookout.
  3. Paradise carpark to Little Falls via Paradise Falls, and back: approx. 1.8km
    This is a beautiful walk with some elevation. The track can become narrow (single-file) at some points.
  4. Paradise carpark to Westcliff Lookout: approx. 3km return
    This is a nice walk, recommended when the sun isn’t out in full force as it can become quite sunny at some points. Along the way, you will find many prickly pear cacti and other plants – a contrast to the lush, green rainforest found around Dandabah. The Westcliff Lookout is beautiful; you can see the surrounding farm area. There’s a bench where you can sit and enjoy the view too.
A man walking into the forest with a child on his shoulders, and another two walkers up ahead.

Exploring the walking tracks

A green, foresty scene with dense flora and sunlight streaming in from above.

The beautiful flora

A foresty trail with green trees and bushes.

Exploring the walking tracks

A shot taken from below up through the foresty greenery.

The lush, green rainforest

For the more adventurous, I would recommend the circuit track: Barker Creek circuit, which is 10km return from Dandabah. By doing the circuit track, you will go via Barker Creek lookout, Big Falls Lookout, Big Falls, Little Falls, and Paradise Falls. Another option (if you have two cars) is to park one car at Burtons Well and the other car at Paradise car park.
From Paradise car park to Burstons, it is approximately 14km. You’ll go via Westcliff Lookout, Koondaii Lookout, Cherry Plain Lookout, Bottle Tree Bluff, and Ghinghion Lookout!

Another highlight of Bunya Mountain is the affordability of camping. As it is managed by the Queensland Government, camping prices are subsided and made affordable, compared to many other campgrounds. Currently, at the time of writing this article, the price of an adult per night is $7.25, while family rates can be found on the Queensland Parks website. I would recommend booking well in advance (we booked approximately 6 months ahead).

A camper trailer, gazebo, and tent set up in a caravan park.

Our camp setup at the Dandabah campground

A camper trailer, gazebo, and tent set up in a caravan park. A pink scooter sits on the lawn in the foreground.

Our camp setup, with Bunya trees nearby

You can choose from three camping areas, namely: Dandabah, Burtons Well, and Westcot campground. These are non-powered, as are all campgrounds managed by the Queensland Parks. We chose to stay at Dandabah, as it is in a more established area with a nearby Tavern and café, a small visitor information centre, other accommodation options, and activities such as novelty horse-drawn tours. There were hot showers and flush toilets available too. There is water, but untreated – so we brought our own from home.

Finally, last but not least – another favourite moment was seeing the beautiful night sky. Living in Brisbane, it is rare to see hundreds of stars at night! We had a lot of fun trying to work out the star constellations and spotting satellites.

Two young children with a tree branch on a walking path.

On our way to Festoon Falls!

A young girl sitting and watching water run from the rocks.

Watching the water at Little Falls

Two women and a young girl stand in front of a rock face next to a small pool of water.

Little Falls

Two women and a young girl stand in front of a rock face behind a sign reading 'Little Falls'.

Little Falls

The Bunya Mountains National Park is a must-do trip! It is family-friendly, and both walking and camping is very achievable with kids!

If you have any questions around camping with young children (two under 4 years old) please leave a comment!