Free Camping Victoria – A Guide to Free Campsites in Victoria

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Image courtesy of wanderingchina via Wikimedia Commons

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.

 

Free Campsites

Here are a few free campsites in Victoria – some are within a stone’s throw of Melbourne while others are dotted around the state.

Sawpit Campground

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  

sawpit

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

Suitable for: Tents, camper trailers

Facilities: Toilets, picnic tables, fire pits

Cost: Free, located in national park but no fees to pay in Barry Way section of Kosciuszko National Park.

Tips: Located on the Victorian and NSW border       

willis

What to Do/See: River, swimming, 4WD tracks, spot wildlife including wallabies, kangaroos, brumbies, emus, birds.

 

McKillop’s Bridge Snowy River Campground

Location: Snowy River National Park

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

Cost: Free

Tips: Check river levels and weather conditions with BOM, if tackling an extended river trip consult a guide book or speak to the Canoeing 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

mckillop
Image courtesy of Peter Neaum via Wikimedia Commons

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

Cost: Free

Tips: Rugged ground with pot holes and steep access, pet friendly  

andersons

What to Do/See: Located on Goulburn 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.    

beauchamp
Image courtesy of By JJ Harrison (jjharrison89@facebook.com) from Wikimedia Commons 

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 spectacular Beauchamp 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

Cost: Free

Tips: No rubbish bins, pet friendly, arrive early during peak times, sloping site towards creek so may be difficult for large caravans   

blue-pool
Image courtesy of Rosemary Abetz-Rouse from Wikimedia Commons

What to Do/See: Swimming hole is clear and refreshing on a summer’s day, rope swing into pool, walking trails, lookout, explore Briagolong State Forest.

 

Lerderderg Campground

Location: Upper Chadwick Track, Lerderderg State Park

Access: 4WD only, seasonal road closures

Suitable for: Tents

Facilities: Toilets, picnic tables, fire pits, shaded sites

Cost: Free

Tips: Pet friendly      

lerderberg
Image courtesy of wanderingchina via Wikimedia Commons

What to Do/See: Walks, swimming in river or Grahams Dam, overnight hikes, a 300 metre gorge through sandstone and slate, plenty of wildlife to spot, gold mining relics to discover.

 

Genoa Rest Area

Location: 4 Park Road, Genoa, first town after the NSW border

Access: Road

Suitable for: Tents, caravans, camper trailers, big rigs

Facilities: Toilets, BBQ, picnic tables, fire pits

Cost: Free, Donation appreciated, 72 hour limit

Tips: Large grassy site with plenty of room, beware camping under poplar trees as fruit bats can make a mess of your awning.       

genoa

What to Do/See: Plenty of birdlife and some wildlife, walk over the historic timber truss/concrete bridge to Genoa, drive in to Mallacoota for surf beaches, lakes and rivers.

 

Sheepyard Flat

Location: Brocks Road, Howqua Hills

Access: Long gravel road drive in, slippery when wet

Suitable for: Tents, caravans, camper trailers

Facilities: Toilets, picnic tables, fire pits, shaded sites

Cost: Free

Tips: Plenty of space, camp away from entrance if worried about traffic noise  

sheepyard
Image courtesy of Takver from Australia via Wikimedia Commons

What to Do/See: Swimming, fishing in river, walking, horse riding, birdlife, 4WD tracks

 

Kurth Kiln Heritage Fence

Location: Soldiers Road, Gembrook, 60km from Melbourne

Access: Soldiers Road off Gembrook-Launching Place Road, slippery when wet

Suitable for: Tents, camper trailers

Facilities: Toilets, picnic tables, shaded sites

Cost: Free

Tips: Ideal weekend away close to Melbourne, plenty of space, pet friendly

kurth-kiln

What to Do/See: Swimming, fishing in river, walking, horse riding, bike riding, birdlife, 4WD tracks, travel on or view Puffing Billy steam train at Gembrook station, enjoy Bunyip State Park

 

Victorian Contacts

These phone number and websites may come in handy while planning your next visit or for information while you are camping:

Parks Victoria

T: 131 963

W: parkweb.vic.gov.au

Department of Sustainability & Environment

T: 136 186

W: dse.vic.gov.au

Vic Roads

T: 03 9854 2666

W: vicroads.vic.gov.au

Bureau of Meteorology

T: 1900 926 102

W: bom.gov.au

 

Free and Low-Cost Camping Books

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.

The Camps 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.

The Guide 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 or contact us online.