Labour day couldn’t have come at a better time. We’re well and truly back into the swing of things, but as summer hangs around for a little bit longer, a long weekend full of sun, the beach and some cold ones sound absolutely ideal. In Victoria, the long weekend runs from the Friday the 8th of March to Monday the 11th, so there’s a whole extra day to head away with the camper, the family, your comfiest camping clothes and soak up the best of the state.
Your camper trailer has everything you need, so in this time of year where everyone seems to be chasing their tails after Christmas and paying off the kids trampoline, it’s the perfect way to get away. This way, you can cook all your own meals, have a nice and warm and comfy place to sleep if the weather gets cool (or because everyone likes a little bit of comfort sometimes) and a travel companion that will go anywhere you want to go. Up hills, through streams, around the sand or in the mud, your Mars Camper can get you where you need to go.
This labour day, don’t get stuck at home, left with no choice but taking everyone out for entertainment that’s going to set you back— take them camping.
To help make things a little easier, we’ve got for you our best bets for where you should be spending t the last long weekend till June (try not to shed a tear)especially and if you’re feeling like simply chilling out.
One of the best-known campsites inside Wilsons Prom, but it’s for a bloody good reason. On the one side you’ve got the clear waters of Tidal River, and on the other, there’s Norman Beach, one of the best in the national park. Tidal River gets busy, but you can book ahead and have plenty of space to lounge around for the weekend.
Wilsons Prom has so much to see and do, so even though there will be a definite vibe of relaxation in the air, you and your family or friends, whoever it is you love to take camping, won’t be short of entertainment. If you weren’t convinced yet, this camping ground also has its own pop-up cinema. There’s also additional staples here like your barbeques (which you won’t need if you have your camper kitchen fired up), hot showers and lots of space to wash all your dishes.
Phillip Island is unique and one of the best places in Victoria, if you ask us. Between the wildlife (we’re talking no shortage of penguins and seals, the awesome local food and the close distance from Melbourne. There are a few camping options on the island, but the BIG4 Phillip Island Caravan Park is always a grouse bet. The campground itself sits on a nature reserve near Newhaven Beach, and it’s got great facilities. Toilets, showers, laundry service, a kiosk for basic supplies, plus volleyball and basketball for the kids.
Yes, Apollo Bay is far down the Great Ocean Road, but it’s well worth the journey if you ask us. One of the best campsites in our humble opinion is Marengo. Book last minute for the long weekend and see what we’re talking about.
This Holiday Park is on the comfier side of the camping spectrum. You’re 50m back from the beach; there’s good WIFI coverage throughout the site, plus all your good stuff like BBQ’s, adventure playgrounds and a massive camp kitchen. A good one for camping newbies, or families with a pooch in tow.
Another classic spot along the Great Ocean Rd. Johanna Beach is actually used as a back-up for the World Surf League championships if the waves at Belles Beach suck (which happens about once every billion years). It’s a quiet little spot among the dunes, perfect if you like a spot of surfing with your camp. It’s free too, which is a bonus, although that does mean you’ll have to go without power.
Another classic in the Great Otway National Park. Head to Blanket Bay if you’re a lover of all things well and good. We’re talking hiking, walking, tramping, bushwalking, trees, nature, koalas and panoramic views of the Southern Ocean. It’s really popular here, but if you’re lucky, you might be able to call ahead and nab one of the remaining spots. You can get your camper trailer in there easy; there is plenty of room and 22 equally picturesque campsites. There’s also some fireplaces for swapping stories and roasting marshmallows (yeah, cliché we know), just BYO wood.
You’ll find Killarney Beach Camp Ground just past Warrnambool. Killarney itself is a tiny 800-person village surrounded by dairy cows and green grass and ringed with shallow, sandy bays. Relaxation at its finest. There’s 20 powered and 50 unpowered campsites in the area, plus a kids playground and a sporting oval (camp cricket anyone?) The real draw here though are the wild western beaches, and the local produce. Definitely leave some time for a road trip to some of the farmer’s market in nearby Port Fairy.
Wye River has a special vibe about it. If you can’t make it down to Apollo Bay, this is the next best thing. It’s one of the best campsites in Victoria for koala spotting, and the beach is seriously awesome. The camp has power, toilets and showers, but if you want to splash out on a good meal, check out the Wye River pub and the general store, just off the main highway. Call ahead and check bookings to avoid disappointment; this is a hot spot!
Cooks Mill is one of the most popular campsites in Victoria’s Cathedral Ranges (and if you haven’t checked out Cathedral yet, get cracking—it’s amazing). Thirty shady campsites, tucked among the tall gum trees. It’s so close to Little River you can hear the water burbling., which makes it nice and close to Melbourne. Facility-wise you’ve got non-flush toilets, picnic tables and fireplaces (BYO cooking plates). You’ll also need to BYO drinking water—Parks Victoria doesn’t recommend drinking from Little River.
Camping at Sheepyard is free, and it’s a first-come-first-served sort of deal. Pro tip: spend a day hiking out to Fry’s Flat, one of the areas’ original crofter’s huts.
The Fraser Camping Area comprises three individual campsites: Lakeside, Candlebark and Devil Core. It’s a beautiful, sprawling spot, surrounded by 27,000 hectares of dense forests and wooded hills, not to mention Lake Eildon right on your doorstep. You can grab supplies from either Alexandra or Eildon (both about 15 mins away). Most of the stuff is BYO, but all three campsites have hot showers, flushing toilets and gas BBQs. Who’s up for some wakeboarding?
There is a swag of good campsites from which to explore The Grampians, but Halls Gap Lakeside is one of the winners every time. You get fantastic views of the surrounding mountains, powered campsites, night-time campfires and even a woodfire-heated outdoor pool. Spend your days soaking up some serenity, kayaking on the nearby Lake Bellfield, go fishing for brown trout, ride horses along the trails and get mugged by the thousand sulphur-crested cockatoos that call the place home.
Alpine camping isn’t as popular with Melbournians as the Great Ocean Rd, Otways or the Grampians—but that’s probably just down to the drive. Yeah, Lake Catani takes a little while to get to (4h from the inner ‘burbs), but it’s the only real spot you can stay if you want to have a serious crack at Mt Buffalo’s Horn. You can grab unpowered sites for tents or campers at Lake Catani from November through to April. Go walking in the Snow Gum woodlands, hike, bike or rock climb, or BYO kayak and paddle your way across Lake Catani.