Koombaloomba Dam Camping
The place where I wanted to camping and experience the real taste of Bush Camping.
Koombaloomba Dam, Ravenshoe
Escaping for a weekend away camping is always a fun time, but with winter chill setting in, my flimsy one-man tent and Kathmandu puffer jacke just won’t cut it in the cold Tablelands countryside. Never had the courage to upgrade but time to taste the roughness of camping and enjoy the added comfort of double-size blown-up soft bed hasn’t used for a while. This gave me the opportunity to camp out in the sticks and get back to nature. Camping this was a great way to experience the bush and see wildlife and fun way to discover the beauty of National Park. I wanted to explore the natural splendour of this area on a bush camping adventure over two days. Knowing that this camping area has no camping facilities may discourage many enthusiastic campers. It was a great way to escape to a secluded bush camping spot, right on waters edge and just relaxing alone in the middle of no-where, just pure quietness and a great way to disconnect from technology and reconnect with nature.
Right after Queens Birthday, I spent a few nights camping at Koombaloomba Dam Campground – a spot 30 kilometres south from the township of Ravenshoe. My friends and family will tell you that I am not a camping boy. On my first camping trip with no toilets, I actually built myself a little toilet out of rocks! So suffice to say I’ve come a long way to not only being the one to suggest I’ll go camping but also enjoying it so much!
Koombooloomba Dam is an amazing spot to go camping. It is only 45 minutes drive from Ravenshoe township, located in Atherton Tablelands Region, which makes it super accessible. But this place, it totally feels like I was out in the middle of nowhere! Plus, the views are incredible! In the few drives I’ve done, up to this place over the years, I’ve practically had my head hanging out the window as I drive through the national park surrounded by flora and fauna. So when I had the idea of me doing a little getaway on my rare midweek days off, I immediately thought of Koombooloomba Dam (Since, it was a mid-week camping, I ignore the camp fees – naughty rule). Koombaloomba Dam is popular with water skiers and anglers and is not part of the Koombaloomba National Park and Conservation Park. The camping area has no facilities nor ammenities, just bush camping. Most of the basic campgrounds are on waters edge. The roads to the dam are accessible by conventional vehicles with high clearance although 4WD vehicles are recommended.
Booking a site was not a priority as it was during the week and hardly anyone camp during winter-months nor rangers patrol the campsite. You can know by now that I am not a huge camper because I wasn’t on the Queensland National Parks website searching for campground reservations. I must admit, this was definitely a last minute random decision. Luckily, this area is open all year round without any restrictions.
With poor decision making, I had to put up with cold weather, complaining and not being all that thoughtful as I packed up the car and unpacked at the campsite. Despite Ravenshoe township being so close and only me going camping for two nights, I still managed to fill an entire car with stuff. One thing I hate about camping is how much gear I have to bring. I can be going for one night and I still have to make three trips to the car to carry all of my stuff. And with a drive-in site, I had the added pleasure of walking in all of my gear from the car. Thankfully, everything was in the car but it still wasn’t the most fun because it was too cold for me.
Without any hiccup, I made it! I brought everything in to the very tiny campsite I selected. It was barely big enough for one-man tent. After I got my tent pitched, I headed over to the waters edge area infront of me. Depending on where you pitch your tent, Koombaloomba Dam is lousy with beautiful water views so I had a choice for where I wanted to settle. I took a book, bags of chips and a chair down to the waters edge to watch the sunset.
For dinner, I pulled out my favourite pre-cooked chunky beef stew I prepared earlier at home as the traditional camping meal. I heated it up on the campfire and within minutes I was enjoying the hot stew on a chilly evening as the sunset lights begin to disappear. Hot chunky beef stew are just so good on a chilly night. Soon after, it was pitch black, except the fire, just enough to keep me warm. After dark, there isn’t a ton to do at Koombaloomba. But honestly, that suited me pretty well. It was nice to be away from my usual nightly routine of watching TV on the couch or getting my fingers working on the laptop keyboard.
Before tucking away myself on the double mattress, I headed out to brush my teeth. I looked up and was absolutely blown away by the stars. They were so insanely bright and you could even see parts of the milky way! It reminded me of seeing the stars back in the village in Papua New Guinea. I haven’t seen stars like that in so long. It was pitch black and the stars look even brighter. I tried to avoid walking at night as I might bump into unexpected noctural creatures. Looking up at the stars was definitely one of my favourite moments!
The next morning, I got up early and sat by the waters edge. It was so quiet and peaceful. I didn’t plan to do anything, except relaxing as I had the whole campsite to myself. Most of the day, I spend my day alternating reading, listening to music and splashing madly in the water. It was just so nice to do things without social media. I love reading when am away from home and find it therapeutical. For dinner on my final night was chicken wings cooked on the fire with corn and rice. A peaceful night spent alone and in the morning, it was time to pack up and get going to Innot Hot Springs (Natural hot spas), half drive west of Ravenshoe. On the way, I had a quick stop at Tully Gorge picnic area. What a great place and the views are spectacular.
Though, it was chilly and cold at night but I absolutely my little camping trip to Koombaloomba Dam. I would love to do it again but during summer time. For those who are looking for a real bush camping style, away from bustle and hustle, I highly recommend this place. Koombaloomba is a great camping spot. It’s quiet, beautiful, close by to Ravenshoe township and even better views (depending where you camp). Just to be aware that it does not have a great deal of ammenities and be prepared and well equipt with camping gears. I’m so glad I had the chance to camp there and I hope to do it again. I am so lucky to live in one of the most beautiful regions in the world and it’s about time I take advantage of it and enjoy the great outdoors!