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Where is the Best Free Camping Spot in Victoria?

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by Michaelie Clark (subscribe)
Pun-loving freelance writer based in Victoria.
Published October 31st 2011
Victoria's virtues are many and varied, with some of the best weekend escapes in the country – but how do you get up close and personal with the wonders of this fair state without breaking the budget? Find yourself some free accommodation, of course.

Best Free Camping in Victoria
Bush BBQ


Camping is one of those activities that people either love or hate, and the divide is only widened when taken to the next level of 'rough' camping: ie, no shower block or state-of-the-art campervan. While facilities vary at free camping sites, usually they will be somewhere between rudimentary and non-existent. Let's take a look at the pros and cons of camping in secluded areas with just the bare essentials:

Drawbacks

- Digging holes and being particularly vulnerable to wildlife/ants/bush paparazzi during toilet time

- Drinking beer at room (bush) temperature because it won't fit in the esky, or losing it in a river when trying to chill it like they do in the movies

- Discovering toasted marshmallows aren't as fun as they are in the movies

- Wistful thoughts about the entertainment value of movies after trying to toast marshmallows and chill beer in a river

- Eating sausages that manage to be both burnt and raw

- Being constantly uncomfortable, itchy and dirty, and acquiring singed eyebrows at some point during the trip

- Not having enough reception to access Facebook

Benefits

- Not having enough reception to access Facebook

- Feeling 'as one' with nature, finding 'inner peace', and telling everyone about it, repeatedly

- Carrying out whole conversations in the style of David Attenborough, providing running commentary on fellow campers as though they were animals about to mate, maim or feed

- Carrying out routine camp tasks in the style of Crocodile Dundee, wildly wrestling netted fish and cooee-ing whenever outside the perimeter of the camp

- Lounging around outside all day in only a self-fashioned loincloth and boots without being arrested

- Escaping traffic, work, smog, alarm clocks, ironing and mascara

- Putting the picnic set to good use, since no-one ever actually goes for picnics

Still keen on the camping scene? Not one to pitch a fit over pitching a tent? Then take a look at these ideas for a Victorian vacation that's virtually free:

Rocklands Reservoir
A few boat ramps are about the most you can count on for 'facilities', but if you want a private getaway for some serious bush camping, this peaceful retreat on the edge of the Grampians National Park, about five hours from Melbourne, may well be the answer. While the area is known for its boating, fishing, yabbying and bird-watching opportunities, finding your own private place to pitch a tent is easy with over 400km of shoreline to choose from.

Lightening Creek
Make camp in mountain country at the Lightening Creek camp in Jarvis Creek Regional Park, a bit over four hours from Melbourne. There is a small BBQ area available in the middle of a secluded valley surrounded by lush vegetation and a forest of tall gums populated by native wildlife. The drawback is that the valley camp is small, making it hard to stake out your own turf if someone snags it first. Several other camps are nearby, including The Plateau, which are more established as rest-stops.

Johanna Beach
For a free holiday spot beside the seaside that's only about an hour from Melbourne, try Johanna Beach, just off the Great Ocean Rd. This large, grassy site has toilet facilities and is located just behind the dunes for easy access to the beach and several bush-walking tracks.

Meredith Park
With plenty of free facilities, including shower blocks (no drinking water) on the banks of freshwater fishing haven, Lake Colac, this is the place to go for those wanting to explore Corangamite with its Lakes and Craters region, volcanic plains and floating islands.

Christie's Beach
At the top end of the state, Christie's Beach, near Echuca, around three hours north of Melbourne, provides a shady bush camp on the Murray River, with basic facilities such as toilets and fireplaces. While the camp itself may not be anything special, its setting in the Echuca Regional Park means that it's a peaceful, though popular, place to enjoy the river.

Whether in the middle of the bush, in the mountains, by a river, lake or sea, Victoria has camping covered – often for free. Let us know your favourite place in the state to camp on a budget.
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O'Briens Crossing @ Lerderderg gorge
by sonya (score: 0|7) 1144 days ago
Johanna Beach but take your own water (to drink)
by judet (score: 1|13) 1142 days ago
We always enjoyed Jimmy's Creek. Approximately halfway from Hall's Gap to Dunkeld. Confluence of two creeks. Small toilet block. Tank water available. Good spot to explore the Grampians without being near the shops - with all that entails.

Ross
by ahrem (score: 0|7) 1140 days ago
Does anyone know of a free bush campsite within about 100 km from the Rosebud(Mornington Peninsula) area. No 4WD access.????
by donna (score: 0|2) 120 days ago
thanks, how far is this from the Port of Melbourne
by donna (score: 0|2) 336 days ago
thanks, I should have asked, For the closest Free Campsite to the Port of Melbourne
by donna (score: 0|2) 336 days ago
Dinner Plain, High Country of Victoria. Dinner Plain is a village located just 10km out of Mount Hotham on the Great Alpine Road - one of the greatest touring routes in Australia. Whilst you can't set up over winter, you can park and setup your RV or caravan over summer (November to May). There are clean toilets and a RV dump spot to empty out waste and fill again. Dinner Plain has somewhere for breakfast, lunch and dinner and a "real" bed if you want. There are heaps of picturesque walks to experience. visitdinnerplain.com for more information.
by elain (score: 0|2) 382 days ago
sawpit pinic area Portland gud collect tank water from narrawong beach near surry river
by hamil (score: 0|6) 517 days ago
Sheep yard flats approx 3 hours from melbourne central closer from the eastern suburbs. Very popular in the usual holiday times of Easter and Christmas and most weekends in summer. Basic toilet facilities throughout the park. The Howqua river runs through the area popular for trout fly fishing, motorbike riding or just sight seeing. Very good allweather road access so 4 wheel drives not required. If you can get there during the week it's as peaceful as.
by gmile (score: 0|2) 783 days ago
Noojee or Walhalla north of princess hwy gipsland
by hamis (score: 0|2) 76 days ago

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