Ellis Beach Oceanfront Bungalows is a commercial campground which is well aware of the high demand location they are in. The unpowered camping section is unallocated and based around a simple camp kitchen. Whilst you do have access to the resort pool, you do not have access to any hot water in the kitchen or an electrical socket to charge your phone. Not great value for money, but still probably the best choice in the touristy and high-demand northern beaches of Cairns.
Address: Captain Cook Highway Ellis Beach, Cairns
Location: a 30 minute drive north of the Cairns CBD and right on the beachfront.
Cost for an unpowered campsite: $32 per night for 2 people. Additional persons are $10 each.
How to book: You cannot pre-book an unpowered site here. Just rock up to the campsite (I would recommend before midday) and see what is available. You can pre-book powered sites, which will cost you between $35 – $41 per night. You can pre-book bungalows here.
Nights we stayed for: 4 nights in early October.
About Ellis Beach
The furthest north of Cairns’ idyllic northern beaches, Ellis Beach is undeveloped and lush. Here, the rainforest literally meets the beach and it’s not hard to find space and time for yourself. The ‘town’ consists of the camping grounds/resort and a restaurant. That is all. Palm Cove, the popular tourist and wedding destination is only 5 minutes drive down the road and Clifton Beach is only 10 minutes away and has a supermarket and a small shopping mall. A trip to Ellis Beach is intended to be a getaway from life. You spend days sitting on the beach and staring out into the water, thinking about nothing and everything simultaneously.
However we found ourselves a little frustrated by the campsite, quite possibly the bad weather did not help either. It rained for a good majority of the time we were at Ellis Beach. It rained every night and most evenings. Maybe it was the weather that made the experience less than ideal, or maybe the fact that we were paying so much for so few facilities. I’m sure if the weather was nicer and it was pleasant to sit on the beach, I would have had a much better experience. With that in mind, read on to hear more about our experience at Ellis Beach.
Camping at Ellis Beach
Camping sites are as you would expect at any commercial caravan park, squished and overpriced. However there are very few choices in this part of town. For your money, you will get access to a small camp kitchen with 2 fridges, a two burner stove and BBQ (you have to pay $1 for the right to use this though – which we found a bit cheeky!). The camp kitchen does not have hot water for washing dishes, only cold. There are also no electrical sockets in the camp kitchen for using blenders, barmix or charging mobile phones. Unpowered here literally means unpowered.
The benefits are that you have access to the resort pool and the showers are hot and clean. The park is quiet and the beach is deserted. There is also a stinger net at Ellis Beach so swimming is possible all year round for the brave at heart.
Customer service is a little lacking, I originally booked in for 3 nights for 3 people and the girl at reception made a mistake and only booked us on for 2 nights. One of the groundskeepers came over to the tent after the second night and asked if we were going to be staying. I explained we had booked for 3 nights and he told me to “sort it out with Paul at the front desk”. Paul, the manager, saw the mistake the girl had made and only offered “she’s new to the job” as an apology. Would have been nice to actually hear the words, sorry come out of his mouth, but I guess that wasn’t to be.
All things considered, if we were paying a lower rate this park would have been quite good, but for the price, we just expected a little more. Being unable to pre-book also but a bit f pressure on us to arrive early and made the journey from Babinda Boulders a little more rushed than it should have been.