Big Bend, near Charters Towers
Ever been to Big Bend? Its approx 5km before Fletchers Creek Reserve (Dalrymple National Park) and has better places to camp and fish than Fletchers and isn't packed full with grey nomads in the middle of the year. Nothing wrong with that except there will be limited camping spots between all of the vans and we prefer remote bush camp as much as possible.
Big Bend is a popular 4WD full bush camping location right on the banks of the Burdekin River. There are numerous tracks around the area worth exploring. Some lead to other areas that would be great to camp as well. It's well worth a quick poke around before setting up camp.
There are great fishing opportunities here as well whereas Fletcher doesn't. Big Bend also offers some nice 4WDing and great scenery if you go in a bit further along the tracks.
How to get there
Hardly "off the beaten track", making a weekend out of this location as difficult as you want to make it. From Charters Towers, follow the Gregory Development Road along the Burdekin River 30km North. You will see a small road sign on the right, when heading north. Hopefully you can read it through the bullet holes. Don't worry, that is as menacing as Big Bend gets.
Although you don't need to use 4WD to get there, you do require a high clearance vehicle. A standard height ute will suffice without any issues although you will have to choose your line wisely.
What to do
Camping spots along Fletchers Creek are frequented by large family groups. Camping is permitted, however there are no designated camping spots and no facilities. However, there are numerous opportunities for camping right on the water's edge. This bush campground is a magic spot if you are into self sufficient camping, have a high clearance vehicle or a 4WD and like to fish or relax reading a book. There are also a few tracks around to explore on your dirt bikes. It's not recommended to swim there as the Burdekin River is know to be infested with crocodiles, although most locals do go for a dip.
There is a small creek crossing which can turn into a raging torrent after heavy rain. So take care after rain, as the road in can become blocked where you normally cross a small creek. There are some sandy sections and it can be a bit windy at times so 4WD is recommended. You could get a camper trailer in, however there are some tight bends and boggy sandy sections so use your discretion.
Echo Hole, just south of Big Bend, is also worth checking out. These areas are known for their extensive basalt formations as part of the Great Basalt Wall, a geological formation of the Toomba basalt flow from the last major volcanic activity in northern Australia and is part of a 120km lava flow.
Be sure to stay up late to watch the beautiful night sky with virtually zero light pollution. If you are a keen astronomer or photographer, this is your dream! Catch some shooting stars, do some night sky photography, make a night sky timelapse video or just sit by the fire taking it all in!
Photo © Rasmus Jonsson