EASTER is easily one of the best times of the year to take the family camping in the Darling Downs.
The weather is usually clear, the temperatures are low but not freezing and people spend three nights away from work to enjoy the company of loved ones surrounded by nature.
Plenty of residents will have already booked their camping experience for the Easter long weekend, but in case you're still not sure here are seven of the best locations within about two hours' drive of Toowoomba.
- DO'S AND DON'TS OF CAMPING
While the obvious advice of our parents is always ringing in our ears, like pack warm clothes and bring a torch, here are some quick tips that could make things run a lot smoother
CHECK WEATHER: Sounds silly, but having a quick look to see if wet or cold weather could be an issue is always sound advice.
PRACTISE YOUR TENT: No one wants to try and build a tent for the first time from scratch after driving several hours to get to the campsite. Build it in your backyard the day before. If you're an experienced camper, it doesn't hurt to check that you have all the pieces and that it still works.
PACK WINTER CLOTHES: Thermals, beanies, gloves, you name it - nights in the Darling Downs wilderness can be freezing, so make sure you and your family have enough warm clothing. Sleeping bags with a -5ºC temperature rating are also recommended. Firm and closed-in shoes will keep your feet warm and provide support while walking.
MINIMISE WASTE: Rubbish bins are not always provided at campsites and even if they are they could be full. It pays to bring your own garbage bags and work on minimising waste.
BRING FUEL: The nearest fuel station could be further than you think, so consider bringing five litres of petrol in a secure canister.
PLAN YOUR DAYS: National parks are jam-packed with walks and activities and it can be easy to lose track of time. Plan your day in advance and calculate your approximate distances so you aren't walking in the dark. As a general rule, you walk 1km every 20-30 minutes.
CAMPING WITH YOUR DOG?
GOING camping with your dog or cat can be a lot of fun, assuming you plan ahead.
Most of the destinations on this list don't allow pets, most of them being national parks, but plenty of reserves and campgrounds will be okay with a furry friend.
Keeping your dog on a leash at all times is a necessity. Camping means being around native fauna and flora, which a dog could bark at or chase if not tied up.
Familiarising your dog with the campsite is essential, and make sure all droppings are picked up before you leave the area.