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Published November 5th 2013
A weekend in the bush
Fancy a getaway not too far from Melbourne? Want to explore nature and be a world away from the hustle and bustle of life in the city? Bush camping with a few basic facilities is the ultimate getaway where you are surrounded by nature, and can appreciate the simplicity of all it has to offer.
The Cathedral Range State Park is within a 2 hr drive from Melbourne and is situated north of Healsville between Buxton and Taggerty. The State Park and its camping facilities are managed by Parks Victoria.
Cathedral Range features a number of campgrounds including Cooks Mill, The Farmyard and Neds Gully. The campsites vary between walk-in/ hike in ones (The Farmyard and Neds Gully) to car based camp sites (Cooks Mill) where you pitch a tent near to your car therefore eliminating the need to lug all your camp gear to your campsite.
Once you have left the Maroondah Highway and have driven north of Buxton, you will see the signposted turn off to the Ranges. Upon making another right turn into Little River Road you will need to drive on a dirt road to reach the camp areas. Neds Gully is the first car park and camp site you will encounter. There is a car park to leave your car during your stay and you will need to carry your equipment 50m and over a bridge to reach the camp areas so this camp area is suited to tents only.
A further drive south through the park and you will come across Cooks Mill which has a variety of camp areas and parking close to your site.
The Farmyard is another camp area which is suitable for hikers and there are no pit toilets or other facilities at this camp area.
Cooks Mill and Neds Gully camp sites feature basic facilities such as pit toilets, and there are concrete fireplaces as well, although you will need to bring your own cooking plate to cook on. Campers need to bring in their own drinking water, or know how to treat water to enable it to be safe for consumption. Firewood collection is not permitted so you will need to bring your own in. Firewood can be purchased locally at Buxton.
The benefits of the Cathedral Range are that during peak periods the sites can be booked ahead. This can be particularly useful on long weekends or over the January or Easter periods when you may not be able to arrive on a Friday night to secure a site. It is advisable to book early though to ensure a site on long weekends.
Cooks Mill - this camp site features a number of different camp areas serviced by pit toilets. There is also a concrete fire pit for each campsite which can be used for cooking or toasting marshmallows.
The Little River is close and there are numerous walking tracks of various distances and grades to suit those after a stroll with the children or those after a greater challenge.
Bookings need to be made via the Parks Victoria online booking system prior to arriving.