In Victoria camping is permitted in 25 of the state’s 35 national parks, and while some sites are free, the majority are very affordable. There is a camping experience for all levels of explorers, from remote spots in secluded national reserves to the comfortable surrounds of holiday parks.
We’ve put together a round-up of some of the best camping sites Victoria has to offer.
1 – Nagambie Lakes Leisure Park, Nagambie
Looking for a haven close to Melbourne where you can just kick back and recharge the batteries? Maybe a getaway for the entire family with an abundance of activities: jumping pillow, playgrounds, large pool, games room, something for everyone in, on or out of the water. The thing that strikes you most about the Nagambie Lakes region is its accessibility to Melbourne – just 80 minutes from go to whoa. Hardly time for a single “Are we there yet?” Facilities include cabins, ensuite powered sites, Waterview powered sites and regular powered sites. The Nagambie region also boasts one of the most temperate climates in Victoria: not too hot, not too cold …just right!
2 – Neds Gully, Cathedral Range
Take a short walk along Little River, cross a swing bridge, and you’ll find this sweet camping spot nestled in a woodland clearing in the Cathedral Range. It’s a two-hour drive from Melbourne, but with its stunning scenery, abundant wildlife and secluded location, it’s worlds away from the bustling city.
The family-friendly camping area features unmarked sites; pitch your tent in the grassy meadow and take a walk along the Little River Trail for your chance to spot koalas, tackle the rocky ridge of Neds Peak for unbelievable panoramas across the Cathedral Range.
Basic facilities include pit toilets and communal fire pits. Pets are prohibited.
3 – Tooronga River/Toorongo Falls, Noojee
If you are looking for a campground tucked in and surrounded by a serene environment this is the one for you.
Two waterfalls within walking distance, in a beautiful and peaceful environment surrounded by tall native forest trees. Easy/medium walk of just over one hour.
Other attractions within a short driver include the Trestle Bridge and the Ada tree (Australia’s largest living tree)
Basic toilet facilities, very accessible free camping spots. Only some 10 mins from Noojee where you will find the Noojee pub, which is a classic country pub with generous meals and a very friendly family atmosphere.
4 – Big4 Phillip Island Caravan Park, Phillip Island
Phillip Island is famous for the local fairy penguins who visit their beaches each night, charming visitors from around Australia and the world as they waddle up the sand. But it’s also a beautiful spot for walking trails, beach days, wildlife cruises and more. Situated on a nature reserve right next to Newhaven Beach, and just a 500m walk away from shops and restaurants, this campground offers everything from deluxe and budget cabins to powered, drive-thru and non-powered camping sites.
There’s a modern camp kitchen, kiosk, clean amenities block with disabled facilities and laundry (washing machines and dryers) – not to mention plenty to occupy the kids. Think an outdoor cinema, buggy hire, an adventure playground, a giant jumping pillow, basketball ring, volleyball net, TV room and games room with electronic games!
5 – Lake Catani Campground, Mount Buffalo
Lovers of adventure and nature cannot go past a stay on the beautiful banks of Lake Catani. Around four hours out of the Melbourne CBD, this family-friendly camping spot offers 49 sites all set high in the Alps in the beautiful Mount Buffalo National Park. Go for a walk to take in wildlife and waterfalls, swim or kayak in the peaceful waters, or just hang out with the local wombats.
The campground is basic but has everything visitors need for a comfortable stay. Toilets and hot showers (including accessible options), dishwashing facilities, a basic laundry, along with a mess hall with shared-use tables and fireplaces all feature. At the nearby day visitor centre, a picnic shelter overlooking the lake, free gas barbecues and tables provide a serene setting to watch the world go by. There are 49 sites, some suitable for camper vans and caravans and others only suite to car and tent camping. Several walk-in sites offer a more private experience.
6 – Marengo Holiday Park, Great Ocean Road
This is one for the whole family – literally – with pets welcome at the holiday spot. There are even plenty of dog-friendly beaches around the area so your fur baby can take in all the best bits of your camping holiday, too.
It’s around an hour and a half’s drive from Melbourne if you take the inland route – but for a scenic drive along the Great Ocean Road, add an hour’s travel time and take in the natural beauty of the area.
Accommodation options include both unpowered and powered sites, some with ocean views, as well as cosy cabins if you don’t feel like roughing it. Plus you’ll find all the usual creature comforts you’d want from a campground: an amenities block with laundry, family and accessible bathrooms, enclosed kitchen, adventure playground, an outdoor BBQ area, and WIFI internet access (free for cabin guests).
The Next Steps
When travelling the Queensland outback, often there isn’t much to break up the long drives between towns, and there isn’t usually much in the cities themselves except a pub. These watering holes have become much more than local social hubs. They are where travellers refuel, cool off with a Goldie, meet the locals and share road condition advice.
According to some people in South Australia and Victoria, Queensland is known for its beauty, plentiful natural resources, and a somehow questionable taste for beers.
Another interesting Queensland trivia is that sometimes there isn’t much to break up the long drives between towns, and there isn’t usually much in the cities themselves except a pub.
There are 9 camping zones behind the foredunes and close to the beach that spread along the eastern coast from Dilli Village north to the gorgeous Sandy Cape. Each zone has 2-3 designated and clearly signposted camp areas.
*The following Fraser Island camping zones breakdown are as shown on the QLD Government NPSR website.