The top five camping spots in Queensland
HOW good is Queensland, where there are just too many choices for a family camping holiday.
It's a tough job, but someone's got to do it: Our reporters have done the hard yards and found the best camping spots in the state and in your region.
1 Carnarvon Gorge
How to get there: Carnarvon Gorge is between Roma and Emerald. From Roma, drive 90km north to Injune then a further 160km along the Carnarvon Highway. From Emerald, drive 65km south to Springsure then 70km east to Rolleston, and a further 61km to the Carnarvon turnoff.
No fuel is available after leaving Rolleston or Injune.
Why it's great: Carnarvon Gorge is an oasis in the semi-arid heart of Central Queensland. Towering white sandstone cliffs form a spectacular, steep-sided gorge with narrow, vibrantly coloured and lush side-gorges. Boulder-strewn Carnarvon Creek winds through the gorge.
A wealth of cultural and natural heritage lies within the gorge. It is home to a range of significant plant and animal species, many of them relics of cooler, wetter times.
Remnant rainforest flourishes in the sheltered side-gorges while Carnarvon fan palms Livistona nitida, ancient cycads, ferns, flowering shrubs and gum trees line the main gorge. Grassy open forest grows on the cliff tops. The park's creeks attract a wide variety of animals including more than 173 species of birds.
Tips: Camping is permitted only in the Carnarvon Gorge visitor area during the Easter, winter and spring Queensland school holidays. Big Bend camping area, reached by a 9.7km walk, is open all year. Before walking to Big Bend to camp, record your trip details in the registration book at the park's visitor centre, and log out of the book when you return. (Bookings for Big Bend camping area and camping at the Carnarvon Gorge visitor area cannot be made at the visitor centre.)
Carry plenty of water with you. Creek water isn't safe. The national park visitor area provides taps with treated drinking water. No treated drinking water is available on the walking tracks.
Have your fuel tank topped up at all times as no fuel is available after leaving Rolleston or Injune. The nearest vehicle and tyre repair facilities are at Roma and Springsure.
Wear insect repellent, clothing and sturdy footwear to protect you from stings, scratches and bites.
Watch out for: Shallow water and submerged objects. Never dive or jump into any creek or waterhole. You may be severely injured or killed.
2 Eurimbula National Park
How to get there: From the Bruce Hwy at Miriam Vale, follow the road signs towards Agnes Water and 1770. Look out for a left turn at the Eurimbula National Park sign, which is 10km before the town of Agnes Water. Then travel 4km to the park entrance. Two camping areas are accessible by 4WD only and another two camping areas are available for visitors arriving by boat.
Why it's great: It's close to Agnes Water and 1770, which are among the closest points to the outer Great Barrier Reef. The region is filled with excellent little parks, great fishing and surfing.
Camping grounds are well organised and clean in this region including Bustard Beach camping area on the eastern side of the park and Middle Creek camping area. The park has fantastic walking tracks including the short but steep walk to Ganoonga Noonga lookout.
The Joseph Banks Conservation Park is nearby on the 1770 coastline. Captain James Cook, with botanist Sir Joseph Banks, made his first landing in Queensland here.
The park office is at the edge of the park, 5km north of Agnes Water and 1.5km south of the rock monument.
Tips: Can get very crowded in holiday times so try to head there off-peak.
Watch out for: The roads into Eurimbula are very narrow with no turn-around areas. Do not take caravans - they will get stuck and damaged by the roadside vegetation.
3 Notch Point
How to get there: It's 12km from Ilbilbie, south of Sarina. Turn from the Greenhill Rd onto Notch Point Rd.
Why it's great: Notch Point's a sleeper for a short stay. It's got everything, 4WD, fishing and camping.
Tips: It's beachfront camping in an open area with no defined sites. It's free, but there are no facilities so take everything you need with you. It's also a 24-hour maximum stay.
Watch out for: Weather - it's exposed and can be windy, so check the forecast before you go.
4 Kroombit Tops National Park
How to get there: After leaving Calliope, continue west towards Biloela until turning left onto Gladstone-Monto Road. Look out for the national park entrance on the right after about 500m.
Why it's great: Visually breathtaking, Kroombit Tops is the undisputed gem of Gladstone for outdoor lovers in all domains: The adventure offered in Kroombit Tops is famous with travellers across Australia, with constant changes in landscape, breathtaking views and a WWII Liberator Bomber lying idle where it crashed 50 years ago.
Two great camping spots are available in the National Park.
Opposite the Barracks is suitable for those with a two wheel drive, however, if you are in a 4X4; head to The Wall on the designated off road track.
Tips: Fill your tank at Calliope, the last available stop. Pack ample amounts of drinking water and prepare to be self-sufficient. Check the National Parks website before leaving - conditions are variable in the wet.
Watch out for: Weather - avoid camping near dead or dying trees; check the website for updates as camping is not permitted during periods of high winds.
5 Lake Somerset / Somerset Dam
How to get there: From the Bruce Hwy take the D'Aguilar Hwy towards Kilcoy, then join the Esk-Kilcoy Rd to the Lake Somerset Holiday Park.
GPS: -27.019382, 152.560507
Why it's great: You'll find yourself in 45ha of lakeside beauty on the northern shores of Somerset Dam. Kids have access to mini-golf, sports equipment for loan, a sporting oval and a playground. The lake itself is the true playground for young and old. Swimming, boating and waterskiing are on offer in this mighty water expanse, and local experts say it is one of the best fishing spots in the region.
Tips: Secure a nice lake-front camping spot so you can enjoy the rich colours of sundown, then catch the sun-up over the water from your lakeside perch.
Watch out for: How busy this popular spot gets on weekends and school holidays, and be wary of the motorised watercraft that can travel at high speeds.