Around-Oz: Living the Dream!

Flanagan's Reserve
In the Hinterland Behind Brisbane

If bush style camping with a few amenities thrown in for good measure is your want, then Flanagan's Reserve, named after a local pioneering family in the district, certainly fills that criteria. The plus is that your four legged friend is welcome too.

Early morning is beautiful at Flanagans

This site has a table and TWO fireplaces!

Set in the shadow of Mt Maroon just near the border between Queensland and New South Wales, Flanagan's Reserve started life as a large well treed paddock of 28 acres surrounded by private pastoral properties, with an occasional resident caretaker in a caravan at weekends. It then cost $2 per night with no charge for dogs. It is about three years since our last visit and we found quite a few changes. The old tin shed drop toilets have been superceded by a small amenities block, with two toilets, one shower for each set plus a handicapped toilet and shower. Hot showers 2 minutes for 20 cents - cold free. The washing up area is under cover and surprise, surprise - a free washing machine. The building blends in beautifully with the surrounding bush and extensive landscaping has been started.


Plenty of room to spread out if you wish

Delightful backdrop of Mt Maroon

A cute touch is the hitching rail for our four legged little companions. Obviously dogs can't go into the amenities so there is a waiting area at each corner. The only improvement would be a water bowl for doggies because this is a hot area in summer. Juanita said this was an excellent idea but could be a problem as some people vaccinated their dogs and others didn't - the water could become contaminated - but they would think about a tap nearby.


Brand new amenities block

Doggie hitching rail!

The Logan River runs down one side of the camping area so you can, as we did, choose a spot overlooking the river. The river, which is fed by Barney Creek, starts in the hills not far away near Mount Barney, so it isn't the wide flowing river we see from our home, which is far nearer where the river meets Moreton Bay. Fire places and tables with bench seats are strategically placed around the Reserve and managers Juanita and Gerard Cahill sell wood by the wheel barrow full for only $4, so if you can't bring your own, you can still have a magic winter fire. There is lots of kindling on the road verge on the way in. This is better than scrounging around the park. Chain saws are banned from the park to protect all the beautiful logs scattered throughout the grounds.


Photos showing some of the holiday activities
run at the Reserve

"Samson" guarding a brand new Goldstream

Oh yes, by the way how do you get here? From Brisbane or the Gold Coast head towards Beaudesert. Take the Mount Lindsay Highway to Rathdowney. Drive through Rathdowney approximately 1 km and turn right into Boonah-Rathdowney Road. Follow this road for 7kms. Turn left into Upper Logan Road and approximately 4 kms follow it to the end - tee intersection. Turn right into Flanagan Reserve Road. The road so far has been bitumen and becomes an excellent gravel road - it is only 1 km to a cattle grid which is the border to the reserve. 1 km further in is the office and nearby amenities. You are requested to register on arrival.


Campsites high on the river bank

Tall trees abound so lots of shade

Since it has been a very dry summer, there is a decided lack of grass in some sections. The spring fed Logan River is flowing, but with water being drawn for amenities there isn't the luxury of watering the sites. Management is very environmentally friendly and aware in other areas as well. Ashes from the fireplaces are compressed to fill holes in the roads around the reserve and camping on the riverbanks is strictly discouraged.


Loads of BBQ's everywhere


The "old" pit toilets


Day use is free. Camp fees are an extremely reasonable $3.50 per night per person and $1.75 per child aged 5 to 15 years - under 5's are free. We believe that this is the cheapest campsite with hot showers in South East Queensland. Swimming, fishing, canoeing, birds and wild life are highlights of your stay in a natural bush land setting, only 90 minutes from Brisbane or the Gold Coast.

Self explanatory signs!

Very doggie friendly!

Gray water from the amenities is pumped to a holding tank and distributed to gardens at regular intervals. Gerard has a qualification in water management, which is why cutting edge technology is used in this camp.

Special activities are held at Christmas, New Year and Easter. Gerard explained the idea of having Santa and the Easter Bunny visit was for the children - their aim is to have a family orientated camp plus if they have the party, they can control the noise. Very clever we thought! Not everyone joins in, but most do. Last New Year, they had a sand castle building competition for children and later that night this became the beach volley ball court for the adults. They have a proper band and concert and make sure everyone who wants to participate is really welcome.


Washing up sink - very spic'n'span

Rare sight - a FREE washing machine

Near the river bank, there is a little grave. We asked Gerard, who is a fount of knowledge on local matters, and found that it dated back to the early 1800's when this whole area was a stop over for the drovers and cattle drives. In this instance, the young mother didn't survive the birth of a baby and the baby died as well. It is a very peaceful place where they are buried. Gerard has restored the gravesite and will be getting a plaque put there to tell the story.


Camps at the rear of the reserve

Sign at the entry

A couple of other items to look out for are the old survey tree, which Gerard believes dates back to the turn of last century, and the billy tree.  Visitors are invited to hang their old billies in one particular gum tree - it makes quite a talking point.


Excellent road into Flanagan's


"T" intersection on the way in


Fishing is mainly for bass and believe it or not, other than lures, local grasshoppers are excellent bait for bass. There are photos of catches in the office. Gerard assures me there are THREE platypuses (or is that platypii??) who live in the permanent deep swimming hole on the property. Other visitors include lots of birds including grey babblers, who were very busy gathering sticks for their nearby nest, apostle birds chortling away, yellow tail black cockatoos in the tall trees plus the usual assortment of lorikeets, kookaburras and magpies. Possum family members are very regular visitors every night - they do have some favourite trees so ask Gerard or Juanita when you are camping. Wallabies are on the adjoining cattle properties and very rarely come into the reserve itself.


Entrance to Flanagan's Reserve


Fantastic spot for "rubber" inner tubes


The road in and out to the Reserve would make a fantastic bike ride - you could go up to Mt Barney and the Lower Portals if you felt energetic.  We walked back to the T intersection each morning and returned, giving us a very easy 3.5 km walk.


Platypus and swimming hole

Lovely clear water all year

The kiosk stocks camping basics of tinned food, milk, bread, ice, lollies, icecreams etc. This is a relatively recent addition and is designed as a top-up service for campers. The nearest supermarket is back at Beaudesert, so this is a very welcome addition to the services provided by Gerard and Juanita.


Quite a few grey babblers

Collecting a barrow of wood


From time to time, they have a special schools program, especially designed for children with disruptive habits to teach them bush skills. Most of the best things we have ever done Juanita reckons. One punky looking boy recently reduced her to tears when, on leaving, he gave her a big hug and said thanks - that is the first time anyone has taken the time to do things with me!



A barrow of wood only costs $4.00

Disabled toilets - top job!

All water in use is properly treated and fit for human and doggy consumption - Gerard did a water and sewerage filtration and management course to make sure bacteria control is 100%, especially when he recycles the grey water back into the gardens. Futuristically, Gerard hopes to get an irrigation licence so the grounds can have that essential element called water during the dry summer periods, enabling the grass to be hopefully lush and green. When he gets that licence, he will be able to rest and rotate various camp sites to give the grass recovery time. Another area to be created when he can irrigate, is a doggy leash free area, where our four legged friends can play ball, socialise and make sure their parents give them play time.


New type of sink tap - brilliant!

During the 2-1/2 years of their managership, Gerard and Juanita have made enormous changes. The fact that the land is owned by the Department of Natural Resources ensures its continuity as a camping area. Beaudesert Shire council is the trustee and Gerard and Juanita, operating as Beaudesert Bush Camping and Travel, have a ten year lease. If their first couple of years are anything to go by, this camping reserve can only get better. The phone has recently gone in (there is no mobile coverage at present unless you have satellite, but a tower for Rathdowney is on the drawing board). They live on site and are available 24 hours a day in case of problems or emergency. A very genuine young couple who thoroughly enjoy and believe in what they are doing.


Gerard in the office/reception

Wonderful spot for canoeing and swimming

We found the campers here extremely friendly. Flanagan's Reserve is ideal for motorhomes, caravans and campers who are fairly self sufficient and very reasonably priced. In fact it is the best value camp in the area and the only one with hot showers that takes doggies. Gerard and Juanita work in with other camping areas nearby and have regular meetings. There is no lack of communication between the various owners/managers which is a nice change - they are all working together to make their district the most presentable they can to attract campers. There is a nice little site with reviews on other nearby camping areas to visit whilst in the area as well as a brief piece about Flanagan's. Click here.

Contact info:
Flanagan Reserve Camping Ground
Flanagan Reserve Road
Barney View 4287

Phone (no mobiles work)
(07) 5544 3128


But, be aware some people are not made for bush camping - like the wife who, when packing up, was heard complaining that the lack of grass meant too much dirt had come in their tent. The obviously patient husband immediately retorted, "Life's a compromise dear - look how I've compromised with you!" Silence was the reply.

Our Rating? Absolutely recommended

Rex rating? 4 out of 5.

Chrissy Eustace


UPDATE 21/4/08

This wonderful campsite has changed hands, but as we are in Victoria at present we have not been able to visit and update the above review. We have been advised by the new owners that prices have increased so we suggest you contact them direct for current fees and check out their new website at



Australia Road Atlas

Click on the compass for a map of the area

Map 7 J12


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