GOOD CATCH: Barramundi always a great catch around the local dams and lakes.
GOOD CATCH: Barramundi always a great catch around the local dams and lakes. Contributed

Head for the water

GETTING relief in the Central Highlands as the weather heats up is really a matter of choosing what you want to do to keep cool.

There are the many swimming pools around the region to choose from. Some with slides, some great for putting down a few lengths and others just to catch up with friends whilst the kids frolic in the water.

A trip up to Blackdown Tableland National Park or Minerva Hills National Park will give you that bit of altitude to reduce the temperature, as every 100m of height gained the air temperature drops about 1°C. The average daytime summer temperature is a very pleasant 24 -30°C. Both National Parks have some short walks and places to picnic and enjoy being outside. Rainbow Falls being an awesome place to cool off and escape the summer heat.

Obviously, Lake Maraboon is an awesome place to enjoy water activities near Emerald. Especially if you do not own your own boat or kayak as you can rent them there to try out and see if you like this activity before you invest in your own boat.

Red claw pizzas are also on the menu, along with a cool drink, a great way to enjoy the summer sunsets.

For those who do have your own boats, places like Bedford Weir, Theresa Creek Dam and Bundoora Dam offer awesome opportunities for boating and camping by the water.

Bedford Weir, a popular boating, camping and fishing spot on the Mackenzie River, 26km north of Blackwater on the Blackwater / Cooroorah Road. With free camping and stocked with a variety of fish, and a popular spot for water skiing, it makes a fantastic family venue for a weekend getaway.

Don't be put off by all the boating activity, it is also a great spot for bird life, wallabies, pot-a-roos, echidnas and bandicoots. Pack a picnic, relax and enjoy the area while the kids work up an appetite on the playground.

The Bedford Weir is also located near the site of the notorious "gold escort murders' of 1867. Gold escorts were police officers who travelled from place to place protecting vehicles containing gold or money against bushrangers.

In November 1867, two gold escorts were murdered near the Mackenzie River and Bedford Arms, a place of rest for many heading to the gold fields of Clermont, and, also a stop for the Cobb & Co service. The murders were big news at the time, especially as the murderer was the first person to be hung at Rockhampton Jail.

If all the drama of Bedford Weir is too much or you're looking for a change. Bundoora Dam, about 30km south of Middlemount, is another popular, canoeing / kayaking fishing, water skiing and camping area.

If it is more facilities you are after Theresa Creek Dam is located around 22km southwest of the historic township of Clermont. Make and adventure of it and travel via the Gemfields of Rubyvale and Sapphire and see if you can "spec” a sapphire and use the proceeds to spend at the kiosk at the dam. I guess you could always make some nice jewellery also.

Before heading off on any adventures check the weather and road reports etc, and make sure you book a space if camping, and check if you need a fishing a licence. Visiting the Visitor Information Centres will provide the most up to date information you will need.

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