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Camping with Koalas at Chateau Baudin Farm

Home > Melbourne > Animals and Wildlife | Camping | Escape the City | Father's Day | Long Weekend
by Su-May Tan (subscribe)
I am a copywriter based in Melbourne. I write here on kids or travel. You can also check out my blog: keepcalm-asd.com
Published March 21st 2018
See koalas in the wild

These days it's hard to spot a koala in the wild, though my friends who live near the Brisbane Ranges would disagree, claiming these furry marsupials are practically permanent fixtures in the trees.

My own koala sightings, however, - a suburban mom whose days revolve around the school and work circuit - have been confined to zoos and the Healesville sanctuary, and one spotting in the Macedon Ranges, though the size of the animal at that distance was no bigger than my hand.

As such, French Island, which claims to have the highest concentration of koalas in the world, was somewhat appealing.

For those who haven't heard of it, French Island is a mere 15-minute ferry ride from Stony Point jetty on the Mornington Peninsula, which is about an hour's drive from Melbourne's South Eastern suburbs. Despite being Victoria's biggest island, it has a population of only 120 people, one-fifth the number at my children's school.

Camping at Chateau Baudin

For the uninitiated, the facilities offered by the Chateau Baudin farm are a perfect introduction to camping. For $50 extra, they will even set up the tent for you, so you can just arrive and slip into your new 'home.'
 
It's not quite glamping, but it is convenient. Situated on the farm's 300-acre land, you will enjoy spectacular views of the sea in the distance, and a couple of koalas in the trees if you're lucky.

There is a little shelter for hanging out, equipped with picnic table, benches, a very clean dunny, drinking water, and a billycan, so you can make yourself a cuppa and soak up the peace - because that's what you're going to get on island, that's two thirds national park.

We're going on a koala hunt

One of the most wonderful things about Chateau Baudin is the outstanding hospitality of its owner Anya, who will do anything within her means to make your stay as pleasant as possible.
I've never met a more gracious host, who even let my city kids follow her to feed the cows.

 
The highlight of the trip was Anya's koala safari - a tour of her farm she doesn't charge for - where you'll get to see koalas in their natural habitat.

Anya has an impeccable knowledge about the koalas and we learnt lots of interesting koala facts, such as the types of leaves they like to eat and the noises they make.

A true getaway

It doesn't get more peaceful than an island filled with natural wonders and no electricity. The locals have to generate their own power using solar panels or wind turbines, the local primary school has a whopping 15 students and there is a total of one shop in the town the French Island General Store.
 


Besides the koalas, visitors can explore the island's many walks and beaches such as the Pinnacles Track from Tankerton jetty.

You may be pleased to know that the island has perfectly good phone and internet reception so you can Snapchat, Facebook or Internet all you want, but I reckon it is the perfect opportunity to switch off from the world, enjoy the cows and the kookaburras and the sound of the ocean swishing through the gum trees.

 

There is a sense of peace on the island, attracting celebrities the likes of Kylie Minogue who choose to stay here to recuperate and escape the paparazzi.

The island is proudly unincorporated, which means there is no municipal council, no real rules, and no one to tell you what to do. There is hardly any crime as everyone knows everyone and it would not be uncommon for strangers to stop and smile, and offer you a hand.

Getting there:
To book a stay at Chateau Baudin, visit their Camping with Koalas Airbnb page. Ferry tickets are available for purchase on the ferry at Stony Point or for bookings visit www.westernportferries.com.au. Check Western Port Ferries for the ferry timetable and weather conditions - ferry services can be cancelled at very short notice.
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Why? See koalas in the wild
When: Anytime
Where: French Island
Cost: $50 a night
Your Comment
Thank you Amy and your beautiful family for visiting and staying with us!
I am so glad to hear you enjoyed your stay with us!
It was an absolute pleasure to host for you All !
Despite on a windy Sunday day and a possible Ferry cancellation it is amazing to see your positive feedback!
Thank you, Amy, for writing about us !

Kindl wishes
The Simms Family
by chate (score: 0|3) 263 days ago
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