When driving between Rockhampton and MacKay there are not many camping spots where you can stay overnight. St Lawrence Wetlands campground is located 190 km north of Rocky and 6 km off Bruce Highway and it is a great option to stay one or many nights.
St Lawrence is always our favourite stop before getting to Rocky or if we drive north to Cairns. The reason is simple – great campground with showers and St Lawrence Wetlands. If you like wildlife and especially birds, stop in St Lawrence before continuing your drive.
St Lawrence – former port
St Lawrence was established to serve as an access route to the mines in Clermont and Peak Downs in the 1860s. As part of this establishment, a few important buildings have been built: a post office, customs office, school, telegraph office, court, a wharf, pilot station and three hotels.
Later, at the beginning of the twenty century, St Lawrence was cut off from the main route as the railway from Rockhampton was going inland, completely bypassing St Lawrence.
These days, St Lawrence is a quiet 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 freshwater fish habitat and abundant birdlife. There are 55 waterbirds in the area including royal spoonbills, glossy ibises, curlews and a variety of ducks. Check eBird for the full list of birds you can spot in St Lawrence.
Also, there are wallabies and kangaroos that occupy the area. The kangaroos are really big, so be careful when you cross the path from the gate to the main watch deck area.
Water levels vary during the year. The best time to visit the place is between January and April as due to high rainfall in these months, there is more water and birds to see.
The wetlands get drier between September and November, but there are always some birds to look for.
St Lawrence Campground
The location of the campground is very convenient, as it seats next to the wetlands. It is huge and usually not occupied (except during the main event in June – below). There is plenty of space for any type of vehicle: bus, caravan, campervan, 4WD or tents.
If you come only with a tent you have to park the car on the gravel and set your tent on the other side of the wooden fence.
There is no potable water, so you have to bring your own. There are clean showers that you can access with $1 coins. Also, there are many fire pits located around. You can book your stay for up to 14 days online.
St Lawrence Event
St Lawrence campground is home to St Lawrence Wetlands Weekend every year in June. This is the time when the campground gets full of wetland and bird enthusiasts.
During the event, you can immerse yourself in nature, take a wetlands tour, taste some local food or participate in environmental workshops.
St Lawrence Wetlands – Summary
St Lawrence is a perfect spot when you look for a few days away from civilization. Usually, it is hardly occupied as people only stay there for one night and move on the next day. If you want to watch birds, get closed to nature, try fishing at a high tide and sit at the fire in the evening it is the perfect place for even a few days.
Have you been to St Lawrence? What else did you see? 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