The Great Outdoors
Camping at Hardings Paddock
If you love camping as much as we do, then you will know that feeling of excitement when you find an awesome new campground. And that’s certainly the feeling that we got when we discovered Hardings Paddock Campground.
Hardings Paddock Campground is situated within the Flinders – Goolman Conservation Estate, just a short 20 minute drive south of Ipswich along the Ipswich-Boonah Road and then Carmichaels Rd. It is also ideally located for a weekend escape from either Brisbane or the Gold Coast.
The campground consists of eight designated numbered campsites, spaced out around a circular driveway. Each site has a gravel pad, a grass area and its own picnic table. All eight sites are a decent size, so there is plenty of room for a caravan or camper trailer to set up, plus parking for a vehicle. There are an abundance of trees and shrubs which provide plenty of shade and also some privacy between each camp site.
Behind the camp sites there is a huge grassy area, with the central feature being a purpose built fire pit. The evening cooled off just enough for us to be able to enjoy a small fire. You will need to bring your own wood, but you won’t have to walk far to gather some kindling to get it going!it’s worth it if you like to cook in your camp oven, boil the billy and roast some marshmallows.
The area is extremely quiet and peaceful, with plenty of birdlife around. We saw a few kangaroos and also had a large goanna climb up the tree right next to our camp site. Goannas are generally inquisitive creatures and will not hesitate to walk into your tent or camper trailer if they can, so make sure you keep it closed up at all times.
The only noise that you may hear whilst camped at Hardings Paddock is that of the occasional plane taking off and landing at the nearby Amberley RAAF base. The camp ground has no lighting and is nicely secluded, so the night skies are dark and at night time you will be able to enjoy a spectacular star show.
The Milky Way, Southern Cross and ‘The Saucepan’ were clearly visible in the night sky. Try laying out in the open on a blanket for a while and you might even be lucky enough to see a shooting star.
For a bush style camp ground, the facilities at Hardings Paddock are fantastic. There is a huge covered camp kitchen that has a really rustic feel to it and is well set up with picnic benches, two gas barbeques and a sink. Everything was extremely clean and well maintained and the barbeques were excellent to cook on.
If you need a freshen up and have your own shower bag, there are three shower cubicles available. There are also three long drop toilets, one of which is suitable for disabled use.
These were clean and well-stocked with toilet paper. They are also equipped with a push button light which stays on for about three minutes. There is a water tank which you can use to obtain water to wash up with but you will need to bring your own drinking water with you.
Aside from relaxing and enjoying the peace and quiet, Hardings Paddock is the ideal spot to set up camp for a couple of days if you love bush walking, mountain biking or horse riding. There are numerous trails throughout the Flinders-Goolman Estate suitable for bushwalking, mountain biking or horse riding. Most of these are shared trails.
The shortest trail is the Chalk Circuit which encircles the Hardings Paddock Day Use Area. It also includes a Bush Tucker Garden where you can learn about native plants that were eaten and used by the area’s Traditional Owners. The longest trail is the Flinders Goolman Trail which is 19 kilometres long and runs between Hardings Paddock and Flinders Plum Picnic Area.
If you are a horse rider, then Hardings Paddock is the perfect spot for you. It is one of the few spots where you can enjoy a trail ride and then camp for the night with your horse. There is a designated area for horse float parking just outside the campground. There are also holding yards and a water trough. Horses are not permitted in the Campground area.
Harding’s Paddock costs just $12.00 per site, per night with a maximum of 6 people allowed on each site. Stays are capped at three consecutive nights. The Campground has a locked gate at the entrance, and you will be given a code for the lock when you book. The entrance to Goolman Conservation area is locked between 6pm and 6am each day.
If you want to explore the area a little further, I can highly recommend the Flinders Plum Picnic Area. A further five kilometres down the Ipswich-Boonah Road, from the turn off to Hardings Paddock, you will turn onto Mt Flinders Road. The first part of this road is sealed but after that you will find yourself on a narrow and windy gravel road. I would suggest that this road is not suitable for small vehicles.
Care should be taken on this road and it could be challenging in wet weather as it crosses a creek several times. But at the end you will find a beautiful picnic area with large shady trees, a barbeque, picnic shelter and toilets. There are also three more walking tracks that can be accessed from Flinders Plum including the highly regarded hike to the summit of Flinders Peak.