We arrived at the Bill Newburn Park Irvinebank Free camp area with the intentions of using it as just a few days to catch up on chores. This is far from what happened. Yes, we managed to get a load of washing done and catch up on some work, however, we found this free camp in Irvinebank to be a really lovely site. Great amenities and some beautiful walks.
Irvinebank is a very small town located in the Atherton Tablelands a local told us the population is around 150 people and 300 dogs! It’s true, when you’re walking around there is almost a dog everywhere you turn. All very friendly and well looked after.
There are corrugations from Herberton to Irvinebank, we have an offroad car and caravan so we were fine and not worried at all. I’m not sure I would take a road van in however, a semi offroad might be ok.
Irvinebank Free Camp Area
Lots of trees and a lovely creek surround the Irvinebank free camp area. The first night we were there, there were around 4 other campers there with us, after the first night a couple others joined us all, however, the camp area was big enough to accommodate quite a few more!
The max stay is 48hrs. Which is a bit of a shame because we really enjoyed our time there. As usual, Ava made some friends, who were more than happy to play a game of ‘catch’ with her. The Free camp in Irvinebank is also just off the road. This did concern us at first, however, the road is extremely quiet and the cars that do come by drive very slowly. There is a bridge on that same road and I think this is what slows people down a little more.
Now and again, a few people come by on their quad bikes. There are a couple tracks just off the camp area which seem to be a bit of a hot spot for them. They were all very courteous and respectful. They rode very slowly and sensibly through the camp area and waved to say hi on their way past too. No complaints from us at all.
Amenities at Bill Newburn Park Irvinebank Free Camp Area
The amenities at the Bill Newburn Park were particularly good. There are taps around the Free Camp area with non-potable water. This makes a huge difference to us as we use it for clothes washing as well as washing dishes etc which usually consumes a lot of our tank water. We managed to get through a few loads of washing whilst we were there as the weather was splendid too!
Next to the taps you’ll find the big bins. These are emptied regularly so were never noticeably full. The toilets were tidy and cleaned on a regular basis. There is a shower there in the same block as the toilets which offers a hot shower! There is a donation box there and generally speaking it’s a gold coin donation which we thought was good. Perfect for those campers with no shower facilities in their camp set up.
Things to do whilst free camping in Irvinebank
Every second Friday there is a BBQ which brings some of the locals together as well as a few of the campers. It’s located in the Irvine School of Arts Hall (next to the old national bank). It’s beautiful inside so definitely worth a look. Ava spent all evening dancing away to the 80’s music they had playing. It started around 5.30 and we left just after 7pm. Drinks and food very reasonable and the food was great! The burgers were handmade and had some very good feedback!
It is such a friendly small town. It had good vibes and everyone there we spoke to were so welcoming and keen to give us as much advice and information as they could about the local area, camping etc.
There is a pub across the road from the Free Camp area which says open every afternoon, however, we never saw it open.
The museum looked lovely too, but we ran out of time to go inside and have a look around. It’s located just at the top of the hill next to the School of Arts hall. If we go back we will likely check it out. It came highly recommended.
Brian’s Shed in Irvinebank is almost exactly as it sounds. Brian seems to have acquired so much stuff dating right back. From tools, old record players, to Large vehicles etc. He has something interesting for literally everyone. If it exists, he has it!
Brian was very friendly and keen to show us around his shed. He gave Ava a few rocks that had been found. Some with little designs and others with beautiful colourings. Ava was super chuffed. We have since had to hide them until she is a little older as we found one of them stuck inside her 12v socket on her bunk!
Around the same little area the houses are so unique and interesting. One was just covered in spades! It almost looked as though Brian had decorated the little area, He said he hadn’t! But it was so cool. Made the place look different from any other town. There was also another house decorated with windchimes and plant pots and the last one had tennis rackets!
Walk to the Dam
After speaking to a local, he suggested heading up to the dam for a walk. He did explain that there are gates saying no access and they are locked so you’d not be able to drive all the way. But he said it’s a lovely walk and fine to do despite the signs all the way!
He was right, it was a lovely walk! The return walk is just over 5km and it is very hilly as you’re heading up a mountain. There are lots of rocks and sticks along the way. Ava’s favourite thing to do when we go anywhere is find rocks and sticks to carry and trip you up with. She is not however, allowed to bring them back to camp anymore after scratching “pictures” into the side of our new car with a rock. She was very proud of what she had done until she was told off and realised it was not a good thing to do!
Cliff edges on the mountain
You do need to be careful, especially if you have children with you. There are quite a few cliff edges which meant we made sure Ava stayed the other side of us, so she was kept away from them. There are also small rocks in the road, so I gather they’ve fallen. Richard moved one large one off the road to make sure no one drove over it and to avoid anyone tripping. Once he did this Ava insisted on moving almost every rock and stone off the road to avoid a car getting a puncture!
This did slow us down of course! So we did have to rush back a little quicker as we did not want to be stuck up there when the sun went down. There are no lights and we didn’t take any torches etc. Recipe for disaster!
Views at the Dam
The views at the Dam were beautiful. If you walk to the top you’ll see the whole dam, surrounded by trees. It really is pretty and picturesque. If you head down the side of the dam which is just a short turn off, you’ll see the water cascading down from the Dam.
We had a lovely time walking up to the Irvinebank Dam. It was nice to be able to show and explain to Ava where the town water comes from.
Thank you so much for reading my blog on Bill Newburn Park Irvinebank Free Camp Area. It is definitely a place we would visit again. Such a lovely, chilled atmosphere. The town is also so small that we didn’t even need to move the car! If you get the chance to visit you really should!
’til next time…
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