Somerset Dam is a mass concrete dam spanning the Stanley River in Queensland, Australia. In addition to being the primary source of potable water for Brisbane, Gold Coast, and Logan City, it’s an ideal getaway for outdoor adventures.
The calm river, scenic lake, and the vast D’Aguilar National Park around the dam’s vicinity make camping at Somerset Dam a great recreational activity. Best of all, there’s no need to go hardcore and bring specialised camping or mountaineering gear since there are various established camp parks nearby.
If you’re looking to add Somerset Dam to your bucket list of dream camping sites, we’re not surprised. But which of the many campsites will you choose to stay at? Read on to learn more about the campsites near Somerset Dam and which to choose.
How Do You Get to Somerset Dam?
There are several ways to reach Somerset Dam from major points in Australia. Somerset Dam is a short drive from most major cities in Queensland, making it a location that’s beautiful and convenient to get to.
How to Get to Somerset Dam From Brisbane
Somerset Dam is around 115 kilometres northwest of Brisbane, a 1 hour and 30-minute ride by car or taxi via Somerset Road. If you’re using public transportation, you can take a train to Morayfield Station in Caboolture. From there, you can then take a bus to the dam.
How to Get to Somerset Dam From the Gold Coast
Somerset Dam is 165 kilometres from Gold Coast city, which is a 2-hour drive to Somerset Dam. If you opt for public transportation, take a train from Cypress Avenue to Helensville Station. From there, take another train to Morayfield Station. You can then take a bus ride to Somerset Dam.
How to Get to Somerset Dam From Cairns
Cairns is 1,678 kilometres from Somerset Dam. The fastest way to get to Somerset Dam from Cairns is to take a direct flight from Cairns to Brisbane. From Brisbane, you can then rent a car or hail a taxi to take you directly to Somerset Dam.
You can also take public transportation in Brisbane as described above.
What are the Best Camping Spots at Somerset Dam?
Once you’re in Somerset Dam, your first order of business is to find an ideal site to set camp. The great thing is that there are several well-equipped camping parks around Somerset Dam.
1. Koala Grove Camp Somerset
Koala Grove is one of the campsites in Camp Somerset. It has three campsites, all of which are located near the waterfront. Each campsite accommodates a maximum of 20 campers, so the place doesn’t feel crowded.
There are several facilities and services in Koala Grove, such as:
- Boat ramps
- Composting toilets
- Hiking trails
To let campers reconnect with nature and escape the hustle-and-bustle life, electricity is not provided. Campers are not allowed to bring pets as stipulated in the rules and regulations of D’Aguilar National Park.
Koala Grove and neighbouring campsites in Camp Somerset have ablution blocks with showers, washbasins, and laundry areas. These blocks have running water.
2. Turtle Cove Camp Somerset
Turtle Cove is another great campsite in Camp Somerset. It has two campsites that can accommodate 20 people per campsite. The waterfront can be accessed from both campsites, and one has exclusive access to Shelter Shed.
Tall trees surround Turtle Cove 1, protecting the campsite from strong winds. You won’t have problems setting up camp during those less-than-ideal weather days.
Turtle Cove has the same facilities available in Koala Grove. There’s no electricity, but running water is available in the campsite’s ablution block. Pets are not allowed as per D’Aguilar National Park’s rules and regulations.
3. Pelican Point Camp Somerset
With six cosy campsites, Pelican Point is the largest campsite in Camp Somerset. Up to 20 individuals can set up camp at each campsite.
The P1 campsite has access to Shelter Shed, while P3 and P6 enjoy a direct waterfront location. The other campsites have communal access to the waterfront area.
Pelican Point has composting toilets and showers. Like the other campsites, electricity is unavailable. If you need running water, you can use the sinks or showers in Pelican Point’s ablution block. However, please don’t bring pets, as they are not allowed in the national park.
The Central Complex and The Lodge in Somerset Camp have several modern amenities. These facilities have air-conditioned cabins, a multi-purpose hall, a commercial kitchen, and a pool. Camp Somerset also has a football oval as well as volleyball, tennis, and basketball courts.
There are several outdoor activities for campers who want challenges and extra fun. These include canoeing, raft building, bushwalking, and more.
4. NRMA Lake Somerset Holiday Park
Fishing enthusiasts and water sports lovers would find the NRMA Lake Somerset Holiday Park an ideal camping venue, because it’s near the idyllic towns of Esk, Kilcoy, and Woodford, with modern conveniences just within reach.
The place has several camping grounds where you could pitch your tent and enjoy the tranquillity of nature. There are also areas reserved for RVs and small motorhomes.
Campers who want a little more luxury can rent comfortable cabins overlooking the lake. The camp provides a boat ramp for those who bring their small watercraft, where patrons can launch and retrieve their boats.
NRMA Lake Somerset Holiday Park has plenty of amenities such as barbecues, camp kitchens, basketball courts, a laundry section, a mini golf course, and more. For the convenience of other guests, pets are not allowed. However, patrons with special needs can bring registered guide dogs and assistance dogs.
5. Somerset Park Campground
Somerset Park Campground is an ideal getaway for friends, families, and individuals who want to be embraced by Mother Nature. The campground is located along the scenic Stanley River, making it great for boating, fishing, jet skiing, and other watersports. Somerset Park Campground is also near the towns of Kilcoy, Esk, and Toogoolawah, so modern conveniences are easily accessible.
You can pitch tents on their large and grassy campsites; you can choose between powered or unpowered campsites. Campsites have barbecue stations, designated fire rings, and rubbish disposal areas. For people with RVs or trailers, or if you want to camp near your car, drive-on-and-tent sites are available.
Somerset Park Ground has an amenities block with flushing toilets and hot showers. You can also eat meals at a picnic area, complete with tables and chairs, at the north end of the park. Campers can rent scooters and bikes and go around the park’s pathways and roads.
Somerset Dam Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some frequently asked questions about camping at Somerset Dam in general.
Do I Need a 4WD to get to Somerset Dam?
Four-wheel drive or off-trail vehicles are not required to get to Somerset Dam. However, if you want to go deeper into the D’Aguilar National Park via the Somerset Trail, you need a 4WD vehicle or a trail bike. For your safety, follow road rules when travelling on the Somerset Trail.
Do You Have to Pay to Camp at Somerset Dam?
In general, Somerset Dam camping prices range from $14 to $50, depending on factors such as camp location, available amenities, premium requests, and more. Usually, the rates are per person per night.
If you plan to stay in cabins and rooms, expect to pay around $50 to more than $100 per person per night. These fees are required for camp park maintenance, operations, and upgrades to ensure these places are safe, secure, and serene.
Are Fires Allowed at Somerset Dam?
In general, building campfires are prohibited due to the dangers of accidental fires and bushfires. This is especially true during hot months when the ground and vegetation are dry and can easily catch fire.
Most campsites have barbecue stations where you can safely grill your barbecue; there’s no need to build a fire. If you do need to build a fire, do it in established fire rings, provided that the camp park you booked has fire rings.
Can You Take a Caravan to Somerset Dam?
You can take RVs, caravans, and motor homes to camp parks in Somerset Dam. Some of the camp parks have drive-ins and sites specifically for these vehicles. These sites are equipped with amenities such as drinking water connections, grey water connections, WiFi hotspots, and more.
Can I Camp for Free at Somerset Dam?
Somerset Dam free camping is not available in most established camp parks. Campers need to pay fees to maintain the upkeep of these camp parks. However, you can camp for free if you wish to venture into the D’Aguilar National Park. There are established campsites and bush camps in various areas in the park.
While camping is free, you may have to pay other fees required by the park. Campsites in D’Aguilar National Park are “natural” campsites, which means there are hardly any amenities other than the ground for you to pitch your tent on, so come prepared if you plan to camp in the national park itself.
Do I Need a Permit to Camp at Somerset Dam?
Somerset dam glamping and camping in commercial camp parks do not require a permit. However, if you decide to camp in D’Aguilar National Park, you may need a permit as required by the park.
Also, if you decide to go boating in Somerset Lake, you would need a permit from Maritime Safety Queensland unless you pay for the activity offered by various camp establishments, experience providers and outdoor outfitters.
Here are some questions regarding activities that you can do at Somerset Dam.
What is There to Do at Somerset Dam?
There are plenty of recreational activities to do at Somerset Dam, such as camping, boating, and hiking are some of the most popular ones. You can also visit quaint towns to experience the local culture.
Can I Go Fishing at Somerset Dam?
Fishing is a popular activity in Somerset Dam. The lake’s species include Australian bass, bony bream, snub-nosed gar, and more. However, you need a stocked impoundment permit to fish in the dam.