5 RIPPER BUSH CAMPS
Are we spoiled with the variety and number of outstanding bush camps that are often so far off the beaten track, you get to enjoy them on your own? Here are a few that we just love
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Long Plain Hut, Kosciuszko National Park, NSW
The Long Plain in the Kosciuszko National Park is stunningly beautiful, stretching beyond the horizon. Many of the crystal-clear creeks that trickle across it join the Murrumbidgee River that is born nearby. As damaging as they are, the wild horses are also iconic to this region. The Long Plain is popular with trail riders and many of the huts have areas separate from the main camping area for them to set up.
Long Plain Hut was built as a homestead 1916 by Dr Albert Campbell who owned a few thousand hectares of the Long Plain. Camping inside the hut is only allowed in emergency situations and there is a good-size camping site nearby with a clean drop toilet that is the only facility. Access is via an unsealed road and the track into the hut is tight,
but horse trailers get in, so most caravans will too.
Fires are allowed, bring your wood in, but gas stoves are preferred. The views along the plain from the campsite are breathtaking and there is a lot of exploring to be had with a number of huts, Blue Waterholes and Yarrangobilly Caves all within a short drive of the Long Plain Hut.
McKillops Bridge, VIC
McKillops Bridge sits high above the mighty Snowy River. Part of the rugged and remote section of the Snowy River National Park, this is a great place for experienced adventurers to launch canoes and explore the gorges downstream. It is also one of the few places within the park where you can reach the Snowy River by conventional vehicle.
McKillops Bridge is not for the faint hearted or those with large caravans! While it’s rewarding, access is extremely challenging – down one of Victoria’s most precarious roads that is steep, narrow and winding with limited passing areas. The campground is basic with drop toilets, picnic tables and fireplaces (although fuel stoves are preferred).
The campground is sloping. Some sections are worse than others and bollards prevent you from camping next to a picnic table or firepit. Falling asleep listening to the Snowy waters splash against the rocks on its way to the ocean makes this destination a real ripper.
Lake Crosby, Pink Lakes, VIC
Located in the southern section of the Murray Sunset National Park, Pink Lakes is an amazing place to explore and easy to get to via an unsealed all-weather road off the Mallee Highway, at Linga. The Lake Crosby campground offers designated campsites with firepits, picnic tables and clean drop toilets; one campsite also has a shelter shed. An added bonus are the showers at nearby Underbool.
The Pink Lakes obtain their striking colour when a single-celled algae called Dunaliella salina produces large quantities of Beta-carotene, a red colouring that also occurs in carrots and oranges. The algae are the only living things that can survive in the harsh salt lakes turning their pinkest after rains and under cloudy skies.
Follow the signs along Pioneer Drive where interpretive boards explain the geology, flora and fauna or historical facts on the 9km drive. Exploring this loop track using pedal power is also an option. If you have a 4WD, use Lake Crosby as a base to allow you to reduce your tyre pressures and explore the sandy tracks of Murray Sunset National Park.
Edward River, NSW
For superb bush camping, you can’t go past the Edward River campground in the Murray Valley Regional Park. Set on the banks of the picturesque river this free camp is suitable for all types of RV. Dogs are welcome too! There are no designated sites or facilities except for a drop toilet near the entrance to the camping area. Beware of camping under a river gum, they are renowned for dropping limbs.
Throw in a line, there are plenty of great spots to try your luck. Cool off with a refreshing swim or enjoy a relaxing paddle in a canoe there are a number of ways to enjoy the water and the nearby Reed Beds Bird Hide is the best place to view migratory birds. Mathoura is close by with Café 2170 the perfect place for a real coffee and hot breakfast and a couple of pubs to quench your thirst. The Edward River leaves the Murray River at Picnic Point, a popular spot to visit with a flat grassy area, barbecues and tables.
Kiata Campground, Little Desert National Park, VIC
Offering up some of the best sand tracks in Victoria, Little Desert National Park punches well above its weight. Once you leave the bitumen and enter the park, it is high-clearance 4WD only due to the deep sandy tracks. Reduce your tyre pressures, switch on your traction control, lock it into low-range and enjoy the fun of first-rate sand driving.
Kiata campground is set among yellow gum and blackbox woodland, and the perfect spot to set up base camp for exploring Little Desert. The turn-off to Kiata is 14km east of Nhill off the Western Highway onto Kiata South Road. It is a bitumen road until the signposted campground access road. Kiata is a welcome free bush camp with a drop toilet, communal fireplaces and picnic facilities. You will need to be self sufficient and take out what you bring in, generators are not permitted.