Lakes. Rivers. Beaches. Pitch your tent by any of these, and relax in nature.
Sealers Cove Hike-in Campsite, Wilson’s Promontory National Park
Wilson’s Prom is packed with campers every summer, but the golden sand and turquoise water of Sealers Cove offers some welcome respite – it’s only accessible by boat or by foot. The ten-kilometre hike in – considered one of the finest bushwalks in Victoria – peaks with stunning views of the idyllic cove from Windy Saddle, before the descent into the campsite by the beach at the southern end of the inlet. The ground includes toilet facilities, but be sure to bring your own drinking water. The cost is $13.40 per person, per night, and the maximum stay is two nights. Permits are required, which you can get from the Tidal River Visitor Centre or online.
Photo Credit: Fernando de Sousa
Sheepyard Flat, Howqua Hills
Sheepyard Flat is a pretty camping spot in open woodland by the Howqua River, just outside of Mansfield. The campsite is surrounded by forest and the scent of Peppermint and Manna Gum. It’s a hallowed ground for fly-fishing aficionados: trout, perch, redfin and Murray cod are all abundant. For non-anglers, there’s nearby swimming holes, and the gentle Howqua Hills Historic Walk starts at the campground, with plenty of longer walks nearby. The site offers waterless toilets and non-drinking water; dogs are allowed on leashes. You can light a fire, but you’ll have to bring your own firewood. Camping is free and on a first-come, first-served basis.
Blanket Bay, Great Otway National Park
Blanket Bay is one of the most popular coastal camping spots in the state, and it’s easy to see why. It’s right on the beach, with plenty of swimming and fishing, open fire-pits, a glut of hikes and walking tracks – keep your eyes peeled for koalas – and panoramic views of the Southern Ocean. Amenities are sparse; there’s no power or drinking water, and only non-flush toilets; packing appropriately is a must. The road in to the site is camper-trailer-friendly. The cost is $27.90 per person, per night.
Aire River, Great Otway National Park
There are campsites on both the east and west banks of the Aire River – the latter has a large open area that makes it great for larger groups. There are also more toilets, picnic tables, fireplaces and hot plates than a lot of campgrounds. Once there, there’s kayaking and fishing, and the beach is just a short walk from the campground. The cost is $27.90 per person, per night.
Parker Hill, Great Otway National Park
Sorry hatchback owners – the road into the Parker Hill campground is a difficult one. You better ask your friends who own four-wheel-drives if they like camping. The reward for that tricky drive is a small, rugged and beautiful campsite that’s completely secluded. The Parker Hill campsite overlooks the mouth of the Parker River, at the point where it flows into the ocean. The cost is $27.90 per person, per night.
Johanna Beach Hike-in Campsites, Great Ocean Road, Great Otway National Park
The regular campsites at Johanna Beach are a fine choice for camping, but for an added element of challenge and isolation, it’s worth considering the hike-in only section. Purpose-built for walkers undertaking the iconic Great Ocean Walk, there are only eight tent sites at the hike-in campground. The site is situated atop a ridge, with sweeping views of the Southern coastline. With just a single untreated rainwater tank, amenities are scarce, so preparation is important. The cost is $32.30 per person, per night.
Fraser Camping Area, Lake Eildon National Park
The Fraser Camping Area is a year-round favourite for families, with three campgrounds: Lakeside, Candlebark and Devil Cove. Although each site offers different views of Lake Eildon and its surrounding forests, they all have hot showers, flushing toilets and free gas barbeques. Lake Eildon is enormous – this is the place for people into water-sports and fishing. Swimmers, of course, will do fine too. The cost is $49.80 per person, per night.
Bear Gully Campground, Cape Liptrap Coastal Park
The Bear Gully Campground is so close to the water you’ll fall asleep to the sound of lapping waves. Pitch your tent near the tall banksias, and start exploring the rocky outcrops and beaches of Waratah Bay. Although swimming near the campground isn’t recommended, it’s just a ten-minute drive to the stunning nearby Walkerville South Beach. The cost is $27.90 per person, per night.
Photo Credit: Takver
Barmah Lakes Camping Area, Barmah National Park
Barmah National Park, right on the border of New South Wales, forms part of the world’s largest river red gum forest. The free campground sits at the convergence of Broken Creek, the Murray River and Lake Barmah – with lots of opportunity for swimming and fishing. On dry land, there are ample walking and cycling tracks around the lake. The campground has good phone reception throughout, and well-kept toilets.
Bookings are required at some of these campsites. For more information about camp site bookings, go to parks.vic.gov.au.