Top five Easter camping locations around Melbourne
Camping in the Grampians. Image courtesy: Visit Victoria – Mark Chew
Easter is one of the most popular camping times of the year. With its public holidays, school term break and relatively mild weather, this is a superb opportunity to get outdoors and explore the many beautiful regional and coastal towns that are on your doorstep, as opposed to having to jump on a jet.
If you're thinking of joining the many Melburnians who love Easter camping in Victoria, here are five of the most popular Easter camping locations for families within a three (and a bit) hour drive from the city.
Remember, wherever you decide to go, familiarise yourself with the COVID-19 restrictions in place at your destination before hitting the road.
Tidal River Campground, Wilsons Promontory National Park
This is, without a doubt, among the most popular camping sites in Victoria, and even more so when it comes to Easter camping.
'The Prom' offers campers the best of both worlds - you can load up your daypack and enjoy some invigorating daytime and overnight hikes through the unique coastal wilderness or, if you prefer, enjoy taking a dip in both ocean and freshwater options or maybe even some kayaking or stand-up paddle-boarding (SUP).
Motorised TrailRider and a range of beach-friendly wheelchairs are available for free hire from the visitor centre to ensure everyone in your group can enjoy the outdoor experience.
Grampians National Park
Much like Wilsons Promontory, The Grampians in Victoria's western district might be pushing the limits of our 'three-hour trek from Melbourne' cut-off point but seasoned campers will tell you that the travel time is worth it.
The Grampians boasts a number of different Easter camping experiences right across the park - locations such as the popular Boreang Campground, as well as Wannon Crossing, Stony Creek, Jimmy Creek Campgrounds and First Wannon Hike-In Camping Area. Stapylton Campground is accessible by both two and 4WD making it a sought-after destination.
Each one of these camping sites can act as a staging point for some breathtaking hikes, off-roading adventures or even just for relaxing and taking in the sights and (lack of) sounds.
The Gums, Kinglake National Park
Only 65 kilometres from Melbourne, The Gums is a great location for spending the Easter long weekend for both seasoned and rookie campers alike. Located among lush green ferns and centuries-old eucalypts, you will be treated to some exceptionally scenic walks and picnic spots, and the opportunity to test yourself on many mountain bike trails.
Sites at The Gums are non-powered so, given generators aren't permitted in the park, you'll need to be equipped with the right camping accessories to make your stay more civilised. Solar or rechargeable and heavy-duty batteries will be your best bet to power essentials like lights, cooking devices, mobile devices and camp fridges.
Cape Otway, The Great Otway National Park
Located two hours south-west of Melbourne, Cape Otway offers a wide array of camping experiences, similar to The Grampians.
Big Hill Campground is the ideal location to establish a base from which to enjoy mountain-biking, while other campgrounds - Jamieson Creek, Lake Elizabeth and Blanket Bay - are perfect for campers looking to enjoy some spectacular bushwalking experiences.
Lovers of kayaking, fishing, surfing and paddle-boarding need to venture no further than the Johanna Beach and Aire River (West and East) campgrounds for some choice waves, as well as fresh and saltwater fishing adventures.
Cathedral Ranges State Park
If you head approximately two hours northeast of Melbourne, you'll find the stunning Cathedral Ranges State Park with three popular Easter camping areas: Cooks Mill, Ned's Gully and Farmyard.
Cooks Mill has ample room for tents and caravans, Ned's Gully comfortably accommodates 15 tents and Farmyard is free of charge with accessibility for hikers completing the Razorback Ridge Track.
Offering a range of bushwalks, abseiling and mountain-climbing challenges that cater to all levels of experience and fitness, the grounds at Cathedral Range State Park feature non-flush toilets, communal fireplaces, picnic tables and an abundance of tranquillity that will make the hustle-bustle of the city seem a million miles away.
Make it an Easter camping experience to remember (for all the right reasons) with these camping essentials:
- An easy to set up and durable tent;
- Reliable sleeping bags, airbeds, stretchers and hiking mats to help you get a good night's sleep;
- Outdoor furniture like camp chairs and hammocks;
- Purpose-designed cooking facilities, cookware and utensils and premium cast iron cooking products;
- A portable energy source, if your campsite doesn't have access to mains power;
- Camp toilets and portable camp showers for staying fresh at campsites without water connectivity.