Gladstone region national park makes top 20

THE Capricornia Cays National Park just made it into the state's top 20 national park destinations for school holidays.

Almost 500 people pitched a tent in the Gladstone region's park during the September-October school holidays.

The State Government figures were up on the same period last year and showed the park was one of the most sought-after for families wanting to live on the wild side.

It scored last position on the Queensland-wide top 20 national park camping spots ladder but there are 305 national parks across the state.

The park's 495 campers spent about nine nights on average in the park.

Fraser Island with 9290 campers, Cooloola Recreation Area with 8373 and Inskip Peninsula Recreation Area with 7043 were the top Queensland destinations.

Gladstone Area Promotion and Development chief Glen Churchill said it was important for parks to offer well-managed recreational activities.

"What we see in recent times is more national parks are becoming open for controlled activities," he said.

"We welcome the decision by the Queensland Government and it's also been identified ... that we need to be able to have greater access but make greater use of the national parks.

"And why shouldn't we? The fact is that national parks are Mother Nature's gift to communities and we shouldn't be just closing them all up - but you've got to do it with good management and good control."

Recreation Minister Steve Dickson said upgrade and maintenance work helped attract more visitors to parks.

GREAT FUN: The Crighton family are avid campers – Sam, 17, Andrew and Jackie Crighton, Elizabeth, 16, and Tahlia Crighton, 14.
GREAT FUN: The Crighton family are avid campers – Sam, 17, Andrew and Jackie Crighton, Elizabeth, 16, and Tahlia Crighton, 14. Contributed

Camping holidays are the best

SPENDING balmy summer nights underneath a canvas canopy is what happiness is all about for the Crighton family.

As long as they haven't forgotten the mattress or sleeping bag.

Whether they have a night or a month to spare, this Gladstone family of four has only one holiday of choice, and that is camping.

Andrew Crighton said his memories were of a campfire and just the bare necessities.

"Camping has enabled us to travel and see places that we would not have been able to afford to visit otherwise," he said.

"There is something invigorating and renewing about being in beautiful places and you need to get off the beaten track to find them.

"Camping also develops an abundance of skills in children, and resilience."

Mr Crighton believed there was no better way to escape the pressures of home and work than getting back to nature.

"When I had long service leave in 2011, we hit the road for four months in our camper trailer.

"We travelled south admiring our beautiful country all the way to Victoria," he said.

Learning how to live in such close quarters for an extended period results in many memories, laughter and delight in each other."

HOW WE RANKED

National park camping visitors and nights spent for the September/ October holidays in 2013-14

20th - Capricornia Cays National Park

2014 - 495 campers, 4760 camper nights

2013 - 403 campers, 3521 camper nights

- Source: State Government



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