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Camping Spot Review – Walhalla, Victoria.

Firstly and most importantly, wow what a strange place… I’m going to say it again, what a VERY STRANGE place Walhalla is.

We’d read about the pub, always a good solid reason to make a small town a destination for a weekend away – a good local pub.  And to be fair, the pub exceeded our very high destination.  A very very small (like someone’s living room!) and homely furnished place with different currencies all over the bar, this is a true local Australian pub with some of the best pub food we’ve ever had.  Had it been in any Australian major city and it would have been FULL.  The size and quality of each meal, the homely welcoming atmosphere, the beers on tap and the friendly staff (who also doubled as unpaying customers WHILE working) were worth the drive alone.

Now to the rest of the town:

Imagine an old movie set from a wild western, with beautiful natural bush surroundings and amazing old buildings, all restored.  Now imagine you arrive, and it’s like a CLOSED movie set.  Not a business or building open and not a sole in town.  It’s a Wednesday and we can’t even buy a milk, toilet paper or work out how to pay for the campground, let alone get a coffee or the paper in the morning.  Strange?  You bettcha!  So apparently if you arrive on a weekend the town is ‘open’ so to speak, but the locals don’t ‘bother’ week days, so a tip of advice – DO NOT visit Walhalla on a week day!  What we didn’t understand?  Why NOT open in the week?  In the 2 days we were there we encountered slow driving car after slow driving car, they’d stop in the main street and look around dumbfounded as we did.  Then they’d do a few more loops and drive out.  All eager tourists who left to spend their dollars somewhere else when presented with a ghost town.

The camping grounds (there are three options):

Chinese Gardens – The only paid campground in the town and quite lovely however the owner (when we finally did get a hold of her) was a right royal %#!+C putting us directly next to the only other camper in the entire campground for the one night and forgetting to give us the pin code for the toilet/shower then being uncontactable.  This place is lovely because it was empty when we stayed here but we can see it being horrible if there were more than a few campers staying here at the one time (it was one large clearing with no shade or privacy between spots).

Free Camping in town (legal) – This is more of a reststop on the side of the road with some taps and a public toilet.  Not really nice and not really ideal, but it is free.

Free Camping just out of town (not legal) – there’s a large bridge over the river that you’ll cross before you enter the town.  We were told by the waitress/bartender at the pub that it’s where the locals sometimes go to camp.  We drove down there but didn’t stay as there was lots of broken glass.  Was nice to swim in the river though.

Walhhalla – a nice town but even if the 5 shops had been open I really can’t see anything to do here.  2hours and 20 minutes from Melbourne and worth it if you want to spend a weekend in a pub.

 

 

Camping Spot Review – Blackwood Mineral Springs Campground

The TINY town of Blackwood has a surprising number of things going for it – beautiful old buildings and cottages, a lovely cosy local pub (a 5 minute walk from the campground), a cute general store with great coffee, snacks and wood fired pizza plus live music on Friday nights (also only 5 minutes walk away), mineral springs, a beautiful open garden and best of all it’s the perfect distance for a weekend away.

Location – Blackwood is a 1 hour 15 minutes drive from Melbourne or Geelong and is 30 minutes from Daylesford and 10 minutes from Trentham (which desserves it’s own blog altogether, and well worth the drive in itself).

The campground – Although there is a standard campground setup area we chose to camp in the ‘bush camping’ spot (one of two). These were absolutely wonderful. Protected, private, grassy, and with your own very clean toilets. Best of all the bush camping spots are only a 2 minute walk from the picturesque watering hole and mineral springs.

The camping spot with our van 

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The beautiful watering hole

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The campervan set up

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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.

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