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Bushy Parker Rest Area, Qld
This wonderful campsite is easily accessible by any vehicle. Some call it the Rollingstone campsite as it’s so close to Rollingstone in Qld.
The beauty about this site is the many options that it has for shade or sunny spots.
The campsite is extremely well maintained, with picnic tables and push button BBQs being nice and level, and plenty of turning room for rigs of any size.
With a large open campground just off the Bruce highway and a beautiful shallow creek, it’s a sweet spot to stop off and go for a mid-summer swim; the only thing to note is that if there hasn’t been any rain for a while it can be a bit slimy! The little rapids, and by little I mean little, and shallow stretches are perfect for a knee-deep wade and for little kids to get a soaking. This campsite is popular so get in early as it fills up fast!
Big Hill Track, Vic
This bush camping spot is the only free campsite that we found along the Great Ocean Road. A little bit out of Lorne, it’s an open, easily accessible grassy area surrounded by tall forest trees. The site is not that easy to find so make sure you arrive in daylight or you will miss the turnoff.
There are only 12 allocated campsites available and all are unpowered. This campsite can be filled with backpackers as it is along the tourist route, but if you get in early and secure your site you can pick one that is away from the tent spots where the backpackers tend to congregate. It can be a bit noisy if the site is filled but once the sun sets and the moon is high in the sky everyone seems to be respectful and tone down the noise. It’s a beautiful spot set amongst tall eucalyptus and surrounded by ferns, but after a dash of rain can become a bit soggy. Apparently there’s a resident koala that walks through the camp; sadly, we didn’t see him when we were there. Also worth noting: there is no rubbish collection at this campground, so take all rubbish with you.
Aysons Reserve Campground, Vic
A nice open camp area not too far from Bendigo/Axedale, Aysons Reserve is set on the banks of the Campaspe River near Rochester and Elmore in Victoria. Not having the usual 48-hour stopover on many free camp sites, this is a great spot to get away for one or two nights – or even a week!
This is a very open area with some large mature eucalypts, and with a river that is easily accessible from the campsite, it makes it a haven for those who want to do some kayaking and some fishing. Added bonus: as of mid-2015, this campsite has a dump point.
The Murrundindi Reserve, Vic
This campsite is in Toolangi State Forest. Access to the forest is a bit of a bumpy ride as the road is very corrugated and dusty. We camped here in the heat of the 2016 summer with temps exceeding 410 C so we did wallow in the nearby stream to cool off.
This campsite has many secluded spots to set up camp and even though it’s busy, you don’t feel like you’re in a crowded campsite. There are seven designated camping areas extending over 5km within the Murrindindi Reserve – all well forested and shady – but the limited facilities tend to decrease the further upstream, so pick your site early on if you are not self-sufficient.
There are plenty of bush walks of all gradients, waterfalls to explore and some saw-milling relics scattered around. When the fire bans are on the rangers patrol at least twice a day. This is one of our favourite sites, though don’t expect to find any signal while you are camping here!
Lake Tinaroo, Qld
So much space and so much to do… This campground is amazing, and with large open grassy sites you feel like a pioneer choosing your own land!
There are no defined areas so you just arrive, find a spot and set up camp! Access to the dam is via the grassy bank from your campsite. This campground is perfect for water sports fans as you can fish, swim, kayak and water ski. If you have something that floats, take it – you will use it. But it’s not all about water: there are some good walks around the dam that will give you a break from getting wet. With an abundance of birdlife there is so much to see and do.
Open fires are allowed in fire rings and you have to bring your own firewood; generators are not permitted. Word of warning: take your insect repellent, if you don’t you will almost get eaten alive!