Yesterday, we drove through the cattle country southeast of the Brisbane metropolis to Maroon Dam, on the far side of Boonah. It’s dry out here, but the big lake provides a welcome respite from the yellowing countryside and acts as a magnet for a range of outdoor sports and activities.

Lake Maroon, Queensland, October 2012
Lake Maroon is surrounded by the low mountains of the McPherson Range, 140 kilometres southwest from Brisbane.

There are a number of camping grounds situated on the lake, and Camp Lake Fire was chosen as the venue for a relaxed homeschoolers camp. Its facilities and activity programs (under the name Sports Tuition) make it a good choice for groups that want a little bit of structure in their camping experience.

Camp Lake Fire, October 2012
Camp Lake Fire is one of numerous private properties that provide camping facilities with access to the lake.

Camping at Camp Lake Fire, October 2012
The entrance to Camp Lake Fire's camping ground gives us clear notice about what we need to know. A favourite is: "Caution, limbs may fall without warning." (The trees around here must be pretty slack!)

Camping at Camp Lake Fire, October 2012
We park on a bare spot of level land within sight of the water.

Camp Lake Fire, October 2012
Cabins are available for those who don't want to camp out.

A large shelter serves as a makeshift kitchen and dining area. It provide cover for large picnic tables, sinks, a fridge and a bbq.

Playground at Camp Lake Fire, October 2012
Nearby, the small playground keeps the younger children out of the way of the adults working in the camp kitchen.

The camping ground is dry and located far from the water's edge. However, the main facilities need to rest above the extremely-unlikely-high-water-mark of the lake. A large building at the entrance contains the office, a little shop, a catering kitchen and dining area. On the left, the toilet blocks are adequate but not well serviced.

Camp Lake Fire, October 2012
Groups are able to use the large kitchen and dining area for their meals and activities.

Accessing the lake at Camp Lake Fire, October 2012
A steep trail down the hillside leads us to the water.

Playing at Lake Maroon, Queensland, October 2012
Brioni's eager to get in the water, but Aisha is not so sure about all those lilypads.

Playing at Lake Maroon, Queensland, October 2012
Calista, too, takes a more cautious approach to the water.

Brioni at Lake Maroon, Queensland, October 2012
Brioni's in her element!

The water of Lake Maroon is not very deep, but very weedy. Even when swimming out fifty metres or so, I couldn’t tread water without getting my feet tangled in the weeds. This is quite an unpleasant sensation, although the girls are short enough that they could swim unencumbered.

Camping at Camp Lake Fire, October 2012
Other parties choose to camp down at the water's edge. They must be more self-contained as there aren't even water taps down here.

Ant trail and nest, Lake Maroon, October 2012
We find a well-trodden trail formed by ants — it leads to their nest. I have never seen such a well-defined ant path before!

Sunset at Lake Maroon, Camp Lake Fire, October 2012
It's good to be camping somewhere remote, where we can see the horizon and the sunset without any man-made structures to obstruct the view.

Aisha in front of the fire, Camp Lake Fire, October 2012
The girls love having fires again. Brioni has made this one very neatly, collecting the sticks and arranging the stones in a perfect circle.

Brioni making a fire, October 2012
In the morning, Brioni makes the fire again, and it heats up the water for our morning cuppas.

Although we’re enjoying our stay at Camp Lake Fire, it’s because we’re with a group and are participating in the group’s activities. After camping at the lush, green Hosanna Farmstay, I was disappointed by the grounds and the distance to the water. However, I believe the venue was selected because it offered competitive camping rates to our homeschooling group in conjunction with kids’ activities.

Camp Lake Fire is good for groups and those who have a boat and can camp on the water’s edge. It was too far for us to walk back and forth to the water during the day, and I ended up packing up our camp so we could drive down. I’ll give this venue a miss in the future.