Campsite Review: Imbil Camping Retreat

Campsite Review: Imbil Camping Retreat

Imbil Camping Retreat formerly known as Island Reach Camping Resort is located right in the township of Imbil on the banks of Yabba Creek. View their website here:

It’s the first time we’d been to this campgrounds and it is now an absolute favourite.


Getting There:

It takes just under 1 hour to get to Imbil Camping Retreat from Maroochydore. Best to head North on the Bruce and take exit 224, follow the signs to Imbil. Just as you hit Imbil you will see the signs for Imbil Camping Retreat.

Accommodation Options:

These guys keep it simple with camping sites currently they have these options available:

  • Powered
  • Un-Powered
  • Premium Waterfront Unpowered

We were there for an event (Adventure Bash) that had hired out the entire place – we were waterfront above the day use area – so assuming this would be premium, but in my opinion well worth the extra money as I got to sit in my comfy chair and watch Andrew & the kids kayak up and down the creek.

What we loved:

  • Imbil Camping Retreat offers free camping but with a few perks – toilets, hot showers, close to town, coffee shop and power if you need.
  • Location Location Location. Right on the banks of Yabba Creek – you can camp literally 5metres from the creek.
  • We had a mulberry tree between our site and the creek. Taking me on a trip down memory lane, the kids faces and hands were always stained red, I was tempted to head home and plant one in our backyard.
  • Open fires allowed – it’s not camping if there is no fire!!
  • In the middle of Yabba Creek there is a mud island, not a favourite of mine personally but the kids spent hours climbing up it and sliding right back down
  • Kayaks for hire
  • Close to town – it was about a 5min walk into town if you needed supplies
  • Bike Tracks for the kids to ride on

Room for improvement:

  • It is a basic campgrounds the camp kitchen and toilet blocks were basic – but honestly all you need

Things To Do:

  • Hire a kayak and paddle up and down the creek
  • Climb mud island
  • Jump off the cliffs – if you dare
  • Imbil markets are on 8am – 2pm Sunday
  • Drive into Kenilworth and explore the town
  • Visit Kenilworth Bakery for the 1kg donut challenge
  • Take a walk or 4WD in Imbil State Forest

Final Thoughts:

We loved it.  This is our new favourite campground on Yabba Creek, and believe me, we have been to a few.  Great for a weekend away but within an hour of the Sunshine Coast.

Have you stayed at Imbil Camping Retreat? If so, let us know what you thought.

View our Top 10 Places to Camp Within 1hr of the Sunshine Coast

Farm Style Camping on the Sunshine Coast

Farm Style Camping on the Sunshine Coast

1. Cobb & Co Nine Mile Camping Grounds

Cobb and Co Nile Mile Camping Grounds is the perfect family getaway. The 50 lush acres is situated on the Six Mile Creek just south of Gympie. Set on the site of the old Cobb and Co Horse Change Stables at Six Mile Creek, this campground offers luxury tents.

Check out our review here.


  • Kitchen area with barbeque and dining tables
  • Kiosk
  • Campfires are permitted in all sites (BYO wood or buy from kiosk)

Click here for information and to book


  • Playgrounds
  • Walking tracks
  • Kids’ activities

2. Kenilworth Camping 

A working dairy farm located 2 km from Kenilworth, the campground has lots of shallow sandy swimming holes and big shady camp areas.

Check out our review here.


  • Toilets
  • Campfires
  • Dogs
  • No showers
  • No Powered Sites

    Click here for more information and to book

    campgrounds within 1 hour of sunshine coast


    • Swimming
    • Canoeing
    • Bicycle riding
    • Dairy farm tours

    3. Imbil Camping Retreat

    Formerly the Island Reach Camping Resort, this beautiful property is now under new management. This family friendly retreat boasts 12 acres of stunning camping spots including some great creek-side spots.


    • Hot Showers
    • Toilets
    • Campfires
    • Pet Friendly
    • Camp Kitchen
    • Powered and Unpowered Sites

    Click here for more information and to book

    campgrounds within 1 hour of sunshine coast


    • Swimming
    • Kayaking/Canoeing
    • Stand Up Paddle Board
    • Bicycle riding

    4. Bluff Creek Camping Kenilworth 

    Another hinterland favourite, the privately owned Bluff Creek Campgrounds in Kenilworth are a fantastic spot for a long weekend escape. There are campsites suitable for couples, families and larger groups with each being located nearby the beautiful clear creek with swimming holes and plenty of fish.


    • Hot Showers
    • Laundry
    • Camp Kitchen
    • Free Bbq’s

    Click here for more information and to book 

    campgrounds within 1 hour of sunshine coast


    • Swimming
    • Canoeing
    • Fishing

    5. Nerum Creek Bush Retreat

    Bordering the Mt Mee State Forest, Nerum Creek Bush Retreat is a privately owned dog-friendly campground. The grounds are spacious with bike riding, canoeing and hiking available. In addition to the standard amenities such as hot water and toilets, there is also tent and camping equipment hire.


    • Hot water
    • Toilets
    • Tent and camping equipment hire

    Click here for more information and to book 

    campgrounds within 1 hour of sunshine coast


    • Bike riding
    • Canoeing
    • Hiking

    Honourable Mentions: 

    Hangar O –

    We haven’t stayed here ourselves, but have heard great things about this new location. 

    Borumba Deer Park –

    Always a favourite with locals for a family friendly camping trip. 

    Kenilworth Homestead – 

    An absolutely stunning property with plenty of options for a wide variety of campers. 

    Looking for more places to camp on the Sunshine Coast?

    Check out our downloadable camping guide for all things Sunshine Coast!
    8 Must-See Natural Attractions on the Sunshine Coast

    8 Must-See Natural Attractions on the Sunshine Coast

    The Sunshine Coast is home to a huge range of natural attractions. From waterfalls, mountain ranges, rainforests, waterways and beaches, there is something for everyone to appreciate during their visit to the area.
    We‘ve put together our top 8 natural attractions on the Sunshine Coast that we think are a must see for anyone spending a bit of time here in our little slice of paradise. 


    It’s hard to believe this little pocket of natural wonder exists so close to town but tucked away behind the township of Buderim you’ll find this spectacular spot. A short 20-minute walk through the winding rainforest takes you down to the stunning waterfalls and multiple swimming holes. If you’re short on time, this spot is perfect for a quick visit.


    A popular recreation destination, Ewan Maddock Dam is worth checking out on your way up the coast. Whether you enjoy swimming, boating, fishing, canoeing, hiking, mountain bike riding or horse riding, there are heaps of tracks and facilities to enjoy.


    Just a few minutes drive from Maleny township, Gardners Falls is a local favourite for cooling off on a hot summer’s day. A short 800m walk from the carpark on Obi Lane, this gem of a spot is well worth the detour on your journey through the hinterland.


    As one of our local icons, no trip to the Sunshine Coast is complete without checking out the Glass House Mountains. Admire from afar on your journey up to Maleny or take a closer look by exploring the surrounding areas and national parks in Beerwah and Beerburrum. If you’re feeling adventurous you can even climb/hike sections of Mount Ngungun, Mount Beerwah & Mount Tibrogargan.


    Another must see in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland. Just a few minutes outside of Montville this spot is a well-known favourite among locals. It’s a 4.7km round trip to get to the based of the falls and back (with 300 stairs). If you can‘t make the full circuit its worth the hike to the Rock Pools (2.4km). Your hard work is greatly rewarded with a picturesque swimming hole and stunning views out through the valley waiting for you at the pools.


    If you’re feeling fit and looking for spectacular views of the coast you definitely want to tackle the hike up to the summit of Mount Coolum. The steep 1.6km track is not for everyone but if you are up to it, the view at the top is worth it. It is a very popular place for locals , so it can get pretty busy at peak times.


    In the centre of the Noosa region lies this stunning National Park. Featuring spectacular coastal views from various lookouts and five walks to choose from, this park is worth spending a bit of time exploring. This park is also a wildlife sanctuary so keep your eyes peeled for snoozing koalas and plenty of native birdlife.


    Located between Noosa North Shore and Rainbow Beach this little-known spot is one for the nature lovers. The 60km stretch of river and lake system is one of only two Everglade environments identified on the planet making it especially unique. Best experienced by kayak or private tour, the Noosa Everglades is worth slowing down to take your time through this pristine natural environment.

    How to Stay Safe When Camping in a Storm

    How to Stay Safe When Camping in a Storm

    Summer is the perfect time to get out and about exploring this great state of ours. But as glorious as the long sunny days are, with the warmer weather comes those wild Summer storms.

    Do Your Research

    If there are storms predicted you may want to cancel or postpone your trip. Now, this isn’t always possible or necessary. Some extended camping holidays are planned months in advance and it may not be worth it to cancel just for a day or two of bad weather.

    However, if you are planning a quick weekend away and the weather is predicted to be less than favourable, it would be a good idea to postpone your trip for another time. No one is going to enjoy a camping trip stuck in a tent or caravan the whole time. Wait for some better weather and try again.

    A reliable weather app (or two) on your phone is a must-have when you are getting ready for your camping trip. The weather can change so quickly so it is important to stay up to date. There are a few that we highly recommend:

    If there has been recent rain in the area you are travelling to it is also a good idea to check for any park or road closures. This information is updated regularly on the Queensland National Parks website.

    Before You Leave

    If a storm or rain is predicted for your trip (or if you’re camping in Summer storm season) it is essential you take extra precautions before you leave. This will ensure you are ready for whatever the weather throws at you.

    Pack additional equipment like heavy duty tarps, ropes, strong tent pegs, towels, plastic bags and dry bags. A shovel will also come in handy if you have to dig any trenches for draining water away. Make sure you also pack your weatherproof gear, most importantly, a good jacket and shoes. A rain poncho and gumboots would suffice at the very least, but investing in some quality waterproof clothing/footwear is a great idea if you plan on doing quite a bit of camping. Also, always pack extra socks, cold wet feet are not fun!

    Make sure you also have some food options that do not require a campfire for cooking. If you end up getting stuck in the rain for a few days, a campfire is not really going to be an option. A good camping stove is essential in this situation. But remember, NEVER cook in your tent. This is where the extra tarp comes in handy providing a sheltered area to cook with sufficient room and ventilation. Just make sure there is a decent amount of space between your stove and the overhead shelter.

    Preparing Your Site

    Before setting up your tent, camper or caravan, think about what will happen if it does rain/storm during your stay.

    • Where will the water run? Is there a slope to the site?
    • Can you direct the water away from your site (preferably not into someone else’s site either)?
    • Are you at risk of falling branches if there are severe winds?

    If you are putting a tarp under your tent, make sure the edges are not sticking out from under the tarp. This will cause the water to pool on the tarp and run under your tent. Make sure the edges of your tent fully cover the tarp underneath.

    If you are setting up in the rain, where possible, set up a large, high, tarp or gazebo first, this will give you a dry place to store your gear and set up underneath. If you don’t have room to set up under the gazebo or tarp, it looks you will be getting wet. In this case, pop on your weatherproof gear and move through setting up your gear quickly and purposefully. Familiarity and confidence with your camping gear will come in handy in this situation. If you can, set up part of your tent or camper under shelter to make your time in the rain as brief as possible.

    Have plenty of towels and plastic bags on hand to keep your gear as dry as you can. Get all your outside tasks completed before moving to inside tasks, you don’t want to be taking your wet gear on and off repeatedly. Once inside its now just about waiting out the weather.

    When the weather gets wild

    As we know all too well, those Summer rainstorms usually come with spectacular lighting shows. As impressive as these are from the safety of your own home, they can be a little more intimidating when you are slightly more exposed to the elements.

    If you do get caught in a lightning storm, the safest place is in a building or established structure (not in your tent or under a gazebo). The next best place is your vehicle. Remember to keep your hands off the car doors and turn off all equipment.

    If you don’t have access to your car, find a low place and get into a crouch position, head low and balance on your heels. Avoid too much contact with the ground. Do not seek shelter under trees or small caves, the risk of a lightning strike is greater in these areas.

    For more tips on what to do when caught outside in a lightning storm check out this blog post from Go Camping Australia. 

    Relax and Wait It Out

    In most cases, Summer storms do not last long. Most are over and done with after a couple of hours. Once you have a safe place established, stay there until the storm is over. Remember to wait at least 30 mins after the last lightning strike before going out in the open.

    Rain doesn’t have to ruin your trip if you are well prepared. It all just becomes part of the Summer camping experience.

    What’s your go-to tip for being prepared and staying safe when camping in a storm? Let us know in the comments below.

    Dog Friendly Campgrounds Sunshine Coast (UPDATED 2018)

    What can be better than camping with the WHOLE family, the furry ones included. Camping with the family dog can be a fun and enjoyable experience for pet owners and pooches alike. Fortunately, dog-friendly campgrounds are becoming more common as park owners recognise that more people want to travel with their dogs.

    To ensure the safety and enjoyment for you, your dog and other campers there are some important things to consider.

    Plan Ahead: 

    There is a little more involved in a camping trip when taking your pet. Planning ahead can prevent unnecessary stress and inconvenience.

    • Call ahead and double check with the camping ground about bringing your pooch as some have restrictions on size and numbers.
    • Scout out the dog-friendly and/or off-leash parks and beaches in the area.
    • Find and save the phone numbers of the 24-hour vets in the area.
    • Ensure your dog has a secure collar with current phone numbers.
    • Pack a dog specific first aid kit, which includes their medications (if any) and latest vaccination certificate.

    What To Take: 

    • Leash & Collar.
    • 20-foot-long lead and tether, as well as stake for ground.
    • Harness or dog carrier for the car.
    • Poop bags.
    • Food, water and dishes. Always take more food and water than you think you need.
    • Bed and/or blanket and a tarp for underneath. The tarp will prevent water and cold air from getting through.
    • Toys and treats.
    • Brush for combing out leaves and dirt etc.
    • Glow stick – great for attaching to your dog’s collar at night.

    We’ve compiled a list of Dog-friendly campgrounds on the Sunshine Coast and surrounding areas to help you plan your next adventure… 


    Sunshine Coast Dog-Friendly Camping and Caravan Parks.

    Cooloola Coast Camping and Caravan Parks

    Inskip Peninsula Recreation Area, Rainbow Beach

    Amamoor State Forest, near Gympie

    Tin Can Bay Tourist Park, Tin Can Bay

    We hope this information helps you and your four-legged friends have a safe and fun camping trip!

    Need some further advice on caravanning or camping? Give us a call at 1300 227 353 or contact us online!