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Top Camping Spot Review – Badgers Creek, Healesville, Victoria (Healesville camping!)

The Yarra Valley has always been a favourite for this Achtung Camping pair pre-baby.  Now with child, things have changed slightly.  Undoubtedly one of the best attractions of the Yarra Valley are the wineries – from which we were only able to visit one this time with toddler in toe and spend the rest of our time in Healesville camping.  But we chose well, TarraWarra Estate had the most beautiful grounds and architectural buildings we have ever seen.  It doesn’t matter if you are a beer drinker, the grounds here and amazing restaurant plus modern art gallery have more than something for everyone.

Healesville itself has become a bit of a foodies hotspot and we were impressed when walking into the Healesville Hotel or Giant Steps however the high price tags that accompanied the not so impressive meals left us with a bit of a bad taste in our mouth at the end.  All in all we think $7.50 as the going rate for a pot of beer in all places we visited to be a bit stiff.  Yes the amazing beer garden and décor at the Healesville Hotel made up for the stiff drink prices but we still couldn’t stomach a second night eating here after paying $35 for average mains the night before.

The campground – Big 4 Badgers Creek is about 5 minutes drive out of Healesville and unfortunately the 45 minute walk with no footpath along a busy dark road was too much for us to brave on foot.  As per the majority of Big 4 Campgrounds, the facilities were abundant and so was the price tag – we paid $55 a night in an off peak period, for a non powered site.  I do not want to know what a powered site costs over Christmas.  If you are going to make use of the tennis courts, games room, small pool, brand new showers and toilet block, kitchen with massive flat screen TV and playground then maybe it’s worth it.  We cook in our around our van and didn’t make sure of anything other than the toilets and playground so it wasn’t worth money for us.  Please note also that there was an outdoor WEDDING hosted IN the campground the Saturday night we stayed, complete with MC and 50 odd drunk guests.  When I complained about the noise the next day and the ridiculousness of hosting a wedding next to people with kids sleeping in tents the staff member said the owners were trialing it as it was something they wanted to do ongoing in future.  This was enough for us to say, never again Big 4 Badgers Creek!

Location – As most know, the Yarra Vally is amazingly close to Melbourne and even from Geelong the 2 hour drive was worth it.  We’ll be back, but next time we’ll be checking out some bush camping!

Badger's Creek campground

Badger’s Creek campground

Badger's Creek campground

Badger’s Creek campground

Badger's Creek campground

Badger’s Creek campground

Badger's Creek campground

Badger’s Creek campground

TarraWarra Estate

TarraWarra Estate

TarraWarra Estate

TarraWarra Estate

TarraWarra Estate

TarraWarra Estate

Top Camping Spot Review – Cumberland River

This is undoubtedly one of the most breathtaking spots to camp in Victoria, with shear cliffs framing a river upon which you can camp on it’s bank.  The perfect beach is only a minute walk away (although you need to cross the busy Great Ocean Road so take care with children!).

There are a number of walks starting from the campground, ranging from 30 minutes return to full day walks.  We loved the walk to Jebb’s pool which was close by and a great place for a cool, shady swim.

The campground – although the setting is world class, the campground leaves a little to be desired – showers are 20cents for 5 minutes, which we woudn’t mind, however without knowing this before arriving you have to be lucky to have enough 20 cent pieces with you for showers each night.  Worse still the reception was also ‘out’ of 20 cent pieces for the 3 days we camped here.   A problem as the closest place to change money is Lorne.

There is VERY limited power and running water at this campground, which didn’t bother us however it might if you are not ready for a self sufficient stay.  All in all, our biggest issue with the campground was the lack of shade/trees and that the camp spots were mostly just dirt and not grass covered – making it hard to keep things clean.

Location – Cumberland River is about 10 minutes drive past Lorne, and 2 hours and 10minutes from Melbourne.  The distance and amenities make it great for a long weekend.

CAMPING REVIEW – FORREST, VICTORIA

We recently had the pleasure of camping in Forrest for a long weekend. We stayed one night in each camping spot to check them both out.

The Town – Forrest has enough attractions for a weekend away:

  • Lake Elizabeth, a nice easy walk around the majestic lake.
  • Lots of hiking trails.
  • Mountain biking rails. This is why we were there and from the looks of things why 99% of other people camping were there too. Apparently Forrest is a mountain biking mecca.
  • The Brewery: has GREAT beers and nice food and coffees too. Lovely comfy couches and lots of magazines help if the weather’s bad and you need to kill some time.
  • The ‘general store’ or café across the road from the Brewery had some nice home made pies, cakes and gifts.

The Campgrounds – From our research we ascertained 3 camping options in/around Forrest.

  • One was a very isolated bush camping area called ‘goat track road camping area’. After asking locals and trying to work out if we could make it to check the campground out we decided it was most likely a 4Wheel drive track so not suitable for our campervan.
  • The first night (a Thursday night in April, school holidays and very nice weather) we decided to check out Stephenson’s falls, which is a beautiful waterfall but also National Park camping. They say 50 spots on the website but it was more like 20, and FULL. We were extremely surprised by how busy it was as we arrived at midday so were lucky to get a spot but many many cars rolled in later in the day and missed out. This spot we would rate as O.K. The spots were not that private or amazing and there wasn’t much to do there besides the short walk to Stephenson’s Falls. We also had some rowdy teenagers playing loud music which always ruins things!

Forrest Stevensons Falls

  • The second night (the Friday night) we stayed at The Wonky Stable’s campground which is in the centre of Forrest. We didn’t even know a campground in Forrest existed and ALWAYS favour national park camping over paid campgrounds but in this instance the campground was better! It was fairly empty and had a lovely view over rolling hills. Fire pits for each campsite and good hot showers plus a new camp kitchen were handy, as was the 2 minute walk to the local pub (average) or a 5 minute walk to the Brewery.

IMG_4210  IMG_4215 IMG_4216 IMG_4233

The Location – Only about an hour from Geelong or Torquay and 2 hours from Melbourne.