There is no shortage of free camping in Victoria. Amazing beachside, riverside and forest campgrounds are available, some with all the fruit when it comes to facilities and others have none.
There are plenty close to Melbourne, making them perfect getaways for the weekend camper. You could spend every weekend of the year driving no more than a couple of hours to visit an exciting new location. The landscape varies from the rugged coastline along the Great Ocean Road, the densely forested ranges of The Dandenongs to the dusty goldfields inland.
If you are looking to save some money while touring around, try swapping out the odd night in a caravan park for a free campsite. Free sites are often closer to nature with walking trails at your doorstep and more social campers.
Here are a few free campsites in Victoria – some are within a stone’s throw of Melbourne while others are dotted around the state.
Location: Narrawong Forest, Mount Clay MTB Trail, off Boyers Rd,Narrawong
Access: Dirt roads are wide and well maintained but can be boggy after rain
Suitable for: Tents, caravans, camper trailers, big rigs
Facilities: Drop toilets, BBQ, firepits, table and chairs, shaded sites
Cost: Free, 7 day limit,
Tips: Pet friendly, BYO toilet paper, short drive to Portland to buy supplies
What to Do/See: Mockup of a sawpit similar to those used during the pioneering days when timber was cut with a crosscut saw, bushwalks, cycling tracks, discover wildlife including kangaroos, wallabies and birds, walk to Whalers Point Lookout for views over Portland Bay.
Willis Camping Area
Location: Snowy River Road, Suggan Buggan
Access: Very tight road in so passing another vehicle is difficult
Access: One of the few places a 2WD vehicle can get access to the river
Suitable for: Tents, caravans, camper trailers,
Facilities: Toilets, picnic tables, fire places, on-site information
Tips: Check river levels and weather conditions with BOM, if tackling an extended river trip consult a guide book or speak to theCanoeing Victoria. Sloping grounds, little rainfall here due to being in the shadow of a mountain, bring everything you will need as shops are a drive away, no potable water
What to Do/See:McKillop’s Bridge, canoe and white water rafting through rapids and flat water, rugged gorges to investigate, fish, sandy river beaches ideal for summer swims, hiking and self guided walks for views of beautiful scenery.
Andersons Beach Campground
Location: Mooroopna-Murchison Rd, Murchison
Access: By 4WD only, slippery when wet
Suitable for: Tents, caravans, camper trailers
Facilities: Toilets, fire pits, BBQ, picnic tables
Tips: Rugged ground with pot holes and steep access, pet friendly
What to Do/See: Located onGoulburn River there’s swimming, water skiing, canoeing, fishing, plus hiking, mountain biking, horse riding, four-wheel driving. Enjoy the local produce including olives, trout, dairy, cheese and wines.
Beauchamp Falls Reserve
Location: Beauchamp Walking Track, Beech Forest
Access: Beauchamp Falls Road accessed via the Beech Forest – Mount Sabine Road, Aire Valley Road and Flannagans Road. About 4.5km of narrow, windy dirt road but suitable for most vehicles.
Suitable for: Tents, camper trailers
Facilities: Toilets, picnic tables, BBQ, fire pits, shaded sites
Cost: Free, no limit on stay
Tips: Pet friendly, ground uneven and rocky in parts, heavy rainfall area.
What to Do/See: Check out the towering Canadian redwoods, walk trails beneath mountain ash tress, spot the forest birds, crayfish and even a platypus close to the banks, 3km hike to the spectacularBeauchamp Falls.
Blue Pool Campground
Location: Freestone Creek Road, Briagolong
Access: Close to road, plenty of room to turn around but road in is narrow so passing other cars with a large caravan may be difficult
Suitable for: Tents, caravans, camper trailers
Facilities: Toilets, picnic tables, BBQ, fire pits
Tips: No rubbish bins, pet friendly, arrive early during peak times, sloping site towards creek so may be difficult for large caravans
What to Do/See: Swimming hole is clear and refreshing on a summer’s day, rope swing into pool, walking trails, lookout, exploreBriagolong State Forest.
Most free camps are hidden away either in the bush or the back of town. There is no neon sign or even road sign in many cases so unless you do your research, you’re unlikely to come across free camp grounds.
TheCamps 9 book has large scale maps for planning where you will spend the night and your day activities. The book lists more than 4,500+ free or low cost camp sites in caravan parks, national parks, state parks and stations. The GPS position for each site is handy as some sites can be a long way off the beaten track. If you are travelling with a pet it’s even more important you do your research. The book lists more than 3,200 sites that welcome your pet.
TheGuide to Free Campsites 2018/19 features free and low cost campsites around Australia in magazine style with articles on individual campsites, vehicle setup, communications, fishing and bush cooking.
Investing in a book that lists free campsites can save you a small fortune. You only need to spend one or two nights at a free camp instead of a paid caravan park and you will be ahead.
If you need any assistance with maps or guides for travelling around Victoria, call The Chart & Map Shop staff on (08) 9335 8665 orcontact us online.