When driving between Rockhampton and Mackay, it can be tough to find good camping spots for an overnight stay. That’s why we always make a point to stop at St Lawrence Wetlands campground, located 190 km north of Rocky and just 6 km off Bruce Highway.
This campground is a great option whether you’re staying for one night or several. It offers showers and amenities, and best of all, it’s situated right by the St Lawrence Wetlands. If you’re a wildlife enthusiast, especially when it comes to birds, then a stop in St Lawrence is a must before you continue your drive north.
St Lawrence – former port
St Lawrence was established in the 1860s to serve as an access route to the mines in Clermont and Peak Downs. During this time, several important buildings were constructed, including a post office, customs office, school, telegraph office, court, wharf, pilot station, and three hotels. These buildings serve as a reminder of St Lawrence’s rich history.
However, in the early twentieth century, St Lawrence was cut off from the main route as the railway from Rockhampton was built inland, bypassing the town entirely.
These days, St Lawrence is a quiet Queensland town with a bowling club, post office, primary school, hotel, swimming pool, golf course, public hall and shire offices. The most popular places in St Lawrence are the wetlands and the campground which are located before you enter the town.
There is nothing left from the 1860s port (see above picture). On a low tide, the water from St Lawrence Creek disappears completely making big floodplains. In a distance, there is a railway bridge. The green patch is a small picnic area where you can park the car, read some information and have lunch.
St Lawrence Wetlands
St Lawrence Wetlands are home to a diverse range of wildlife, including freshwater fish, wallabies, kangaroos, and abundant birdlife. The area boasts an impressive 55 species of waterbirds, including royal spoonbills, glossy ibises, curlews, jacanas, and a variety of ducks. You can check out the full list of birds you can spot in St Lawrence on eBird.
The kangaroos in this area are known to be particularly large, so it’s important to be cautious when crossing the path from the gate to the main watch deck area.
Water levels in the wetlands can vary throughout the year. The best time to visit is between January and April, when there is typically higher rainfall and an abundance of waterbirds. However, even during the drier months of September through November, there are still opportunities to spot some of the waterbirds that frequent the area.
St Lawrence Campground
It’s worth noting that during the annual St Lawrence Wetlands Weekend held in June, the campground can get quite busy, so it’s advisable to book in advance during this time if you plan on staying there.
In addition to the campground, there are also picnic tables and a viewing platform that overlooks the wetlands, providing a great spot for bird watching or simply taking in the peaceful scenery. The wetlands are also a popular spot for fishing, with barramundi, mangrove jack, and grunter being commonly caught.
It’s important to note that as the wetlands are a protected area, fishing regulations apply, and you must have a valid fishing permit. These can be purchased online or from local bait and tackle shops.
St Lawrence Event
As I mentioned before St Lawrence campground is home to the annual St Lawrence Wetlands Weekend, which takes place every June. During this time, the campground is filled with wetland and bird enthusiasts. If you’re a nature lover, this is the perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in the stunning natural surroundings.
The event offers a range of activities, including wetlands tours, workshops on environmental conservation, and opportunities to sample delicious local food. It’s a great way to learn more about the area’s unique ecosystem and the many species of birds and other wildlife that call it home.
St Lawrence Wetlands – Summary
St. Lawrence is an ideal spot if you are looking for a few days away from civilisation. Usually, it is not heavily occupied, as people tend to stay for only one night and move on the next day.
However, if you want to watch birds, get closer to nature, try fishing at high tide, and sit by the fire in the evening, it is the perfect place to stay for a few days.
If you have visited St. Lawrence before, we would love to hear about your experiences and what else you may have seen in the area. Please share your thoughts below.
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Enjoy outdoors with Tentworld equipment
4WD Equipment Checklist
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