From her garret somewhere on the Bass Coast, Emma writes for WeekendNotes, travel publications, and plumbing websites of note. Read more at, www.clippings.me/emmawoodward or follow me on Instagram, @wordsfromawoodward
Tucked between tall eucalypts, the Buttercup Creek Camping Area is a tranquil escape from the everyday. Just out of Merrijig, off the road between Mansfield and Mount Buller, this 'middle of nowhere' spot in the foothills of Victoria's High Country is well worth a detour.
From the Buttercup Creek Camping Area, you could go bushwalking, four-wheel driving, mountain biking or horseriding. Or you could just take everything that you need and escape off the grid for a while with some good friends.
There are a number of beautiful walks within the area.
Prepare to be off the grid in these low-lying campsites surrounded by mountains. Your phone might work, but mine certainly didn't. There are patches of reception along the road in, but the only way to get a clear signal is to take the road back out.
Speaking of the road in and out, you will have two choices. The campsites are off Buttercup Road, and you can take this road… if you have a four-wheel drive. This road has a couple of creek crossings, so only take it if you're confident. The other option is to ignore the Buttercup Road turn-off and to drive all the way around and back in via Carter's Road. This road is dirt as well, with some steep sections and varying conditions depending on the time of year, although when we camped there last we drove in in a Toyota Yaris. It might not be wise (or comfortable with all the camping gear) but it is doable.
Travelling in via Carter's Road means you will pass the Carter's Mill Picnic and Camping Area as well. Being a lot closer to the Mt Buller Road, you may prefer to camp here if you'd like a spot that doesn't feel so cut off from civilisation.
The five Buttercup Creek camping areas, each with room for two to six campsites, are located at the back of farmland within the fringe of the State Forest. As our group looked for a place to set up camp, we were greeted by one of the property owners from across the road, who drove up on his ride-on-mower to, 'Check that you're all right.'
I suspect this ambiguous greeting was both intended to check whether the poor out-of-towners in the Yaris actually were all right, but also to let the out-of-towners in the Yaris know that there was a clear divide between the State Forest and the private properties across the road.
These are State Forest campsites, so it should be fine to bring the four-legged family members along as well. I would advise you to bring your own drinking water (and always take more than you think you will need). I was happy to use the creek water for washing up, but I believe the creek is part of the water supply system for the Mansfield region, so maybe don't wash anything (and definitely don't dump any waste) in the creek itself.
With a fire pit in each camping area, surprisingly clean drop toilets in three of them, and a babbling creek running behind, there's not much more you could ask for. Campsite set up, all that's left to do is to settle in and enjoy the serenity.
Hi Emma, Thank you again for a really useful and detailed review. And, on behalf of the 38% Aussie families who have at least one dog family member, Thank You so much for letting us know that dogs may visit as well! Much appreciated! It encourages us to visit areas when we know that dogs are permitted also - though as it is a State Forest, I think dogs have to be on leads. But that is okay - nicer for us who have trained dogs when it is off leash but I do understand rules for all) Thanks again, Emma! :)