Cape Palmerston National Park Mackay

Camp at Windmill Bay camping area and enjoy beach activities like fishing and beach cricket! Photo credit: Querida Hutchinson © Queensland Government

Rocky headlands, mangroves, swamps and sand dunes are iconic features of Cape Palmerston National Park. Photo credit: Paul Curtis © North Queensland Wildscapes

Be inspired: Coastal camping adventures for intrepid families at Cape Palmerston

Intrepid: fearless, adventurous, audacious, daring… If that sounds like your family facing up to a few days’ camping in a scenic coastal ‘wilderness’, read on! Photo credit: John Atkinson © Queensland Government

Windmill Bay camping area

Base yourself at this centrally-placed camping area and spend your days exploring the park.

Accessible by

  • High clearance 4WD
  • Boat

Camping area facilities

  • Anchoring allowed
  • Toilets (non-flush)
  • Tent camping
  • Camper trailer camping
  • Tent camping beside car
  • Scenic drive
  • Boating
  • Fishing
Windmill Bay camping area

Windmill Bay camping area.

Photo credit: Photo courtesy of Marnie Augusteyn.

Campers and beach-lovers will score the best of both worlds! Nestled against 200m of sandy beach that fringes the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, this is your base for all beach, land and water activities in the park.

Stake a claim on the perfect, sheoak-shaded spot for you tent or high-clearance camper trailer in the open, grassy camping area. It can be windy so remember to put in extra pegs! Set out from here and enjoy the day four-wheel driving, boating, walking, fishing and playing.

At night, sit around your camp fire (bring your own off-ground container and milled timber) and listen to the waves gently rolling ashore.

Getting there and getting around

Windmill Bay camping area is in Cape Palmerston National Park, 115km south-east of Mackay on the Central Queensland coast. You need a high clearance 4WD to get to the camping area.

The camping area is 12km from the southern boundary on the Cape Palmerston drive.

  • Turn off the Bruce Highway at Ilbilbie (76km south of Mackay and 157km north of Marlborough) and drive east towards Greenhill.
  • Before Greenhill, turn left into Cape Palmerston Road.
  • The park boundary is about 6km along this road.
  • You will need to consult the map (PDF, 146.0KB) because the tracks and intersections aren't signposted.
  • Make sure you check the tide times before you drive on the beach as the tides vary up to 6m.
  • Read 4WD with care for important information on 4WD safety and minimal impact driving.

Before you visit

Opening hours

Windmill Bay camping area is open 24 hours a day. Check-in to your camp after 2pm and check-out by 11am on the day of departure.

Check park alerts for the latest information on access, closures and conditions.

Camping area features: shaded by she-oaks, Windmill Bay fronts a 200m sandy beach.

Location: 12km north from the park boundary.

Access: the camping area can be reached by high clearance 4WD only.

Number of sites: undefined. Maximum of 6 people per site.

Camp sites are suitable for: tent camping beside your car, camper trailers.

Camp site surface: sand.

Facilities: picnic tables, bush-style pit toilets. Visitors are encouraged to provide their own portable toilets.

Open fires: on-ground campfires prohibited. Above-ground fire containers permitted—bring your own clean, milled timber. Remove your fire container when you leave. Fuel stoves are recommended.

Generators: not allowed.

Essentials to bring: drinking water, food, rubbish bags, insect repellent, sun protection, first-aid kit and a reliable torch. Read more about before you visit.

Bookings: book online or learn about our camping booking options.

Mobile phone coverage: poor. Satellite phones, marine radios and Personal Locator Beacons (PLB’s) are recommended.

Visiting safely

For more safety information see Visiting Cape Palmerston safely and camp with care.

  • There are currently no park alerts for this park.