Archer River Bush Camp – perfect swimming and shady camping

Shallow waters of Archer River on PDR

When driving on Peninsula Developmental Road (PDR), there are many places to stay overnight. However, only a few where you can park your rig next to the creek and enjoy free camping. Archer River Bush Camp is one of them.

We mentioned already The Bend in Coen (in our opinion the best free camping on PDR), but staying at Archer River is another good option.

Archer River Bush Camp location

Archer River free camping is located only 300 meters north of the Archer River Roadhouse. If you prefer to be close to amenities and a restaurant, you can camp at the roadhouse too.

When you drive north, past the one-lane bridge and turn right behind the bridge. After the wet season, there are other side entries, but you have to look for the entries by yourself as it changes every year.

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Archer River Bush Camp - turn right after the bridge
Archer River Bush Camp – turn right after the bridge

Archer River – limited space

This free camping has limited space as it is only a narrow sandy bank along the Archer River. In some areas, the sand is pretty deep, so engaging low range would definitely help.

We don’t recommend driving there with a big caravan.

Archer River Bush Camp - narrow, sandy bank - arrive early to find the best spot
Archer River Bush Camp – narrow, sandy bank – arrive early to find the best spot

Crystal clear water – perfect for kids

The best thing about free camping in Cape York is that usually the spots are located in beautiful locations – and Archer River is one of them.

The water in Archer River is shallow and crystal clear making this a perfect splashing and swimming spot for kids, but to be honest, adults enjoy it too!

In some parts, however, you may find deeper areas to fully dip your body.

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The camping area is next to the bridge so watch your kids as there are many cars passing.

Archer River Roadhouse – your service hub

Archer River Roadhouse is always a good stop even if you don’t plan to stay overnight. There is a restaurant and store with basic supplies. Of course, there are amenities and coin-operated laundry.

You can also camp at the roadhouse. Their camping sites are spacious, green and shady. Stopping there with a caravan is not a problem.

Archer River Free Camping – Summary

Archer River free camping is a great option to stay even more than one night. Bear in mind though, that this camping spot has limited space, so if you plan to stay here, arrive before 3 pm, to get a good spot. Otherwise, it will be too crowded.

Have you stayed at Archer River? What was your experience like?

Please drop a comment below.

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4WD Equipment Checklist

GPS Navigator or compass

Maxtrax – if you get bogged, you can use it for additional traction

Tire Deflator – deflate tires quickly when going on dirt or 4WD

Air Compressor – inflate tires quickly after going back on bitumen (we use MM)

Tire Repair Kit – to fix the tire by yourself when you don’t have access to the tire shop (we use Oztrail)

UHF Radio – for communication with your mates and in emergency

Full Recovery Kit (with Dampener Blanket) – must-have if you are going on real off-road

High Lift Jack – useful if you do serious 4WD tracks

Shovel – useful if you get bogged, also good for campfire cooking

Fuel funnel with water filter – additional protection when fueling up in dodgy places

Additional fuel canisters

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  1. Rensina (Ann) van den Heuvel says:

    Hello I last camped up at the Archer was with the Cairns 51st Battalion Army Reserve Unit in 1991.
    Nine male soldiers and me (only female runner) ran from the tip of Cape York Peninsula to Cairns.
    Before then, my first visit was 67 years ago. I am just planning a journey now to go and take a look. Long time between visits. 🙂

    1. Wow! What an amazing story you have shared! It’s not every day we hear of such memorable and exciting adventures. I bet you’ve seen sights that most of us only dream about. Fast forward 67 years, and here you are planning another visit. That’s incredible! I bet the anticipation feels like reuniting with an old friend. The great thing about revisiting places from our past is that they always seem to carry a new lesson or a new story waiting to be discovered. Plus, there’s a certain charm in retracing our own footsteps, don’t you agree? Safe travels and remember, adventure is just a decision away!

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