Freecamping is one of the greatest pleasures there is in being a traveller. Not because it is free, as inexperienced travellers imagine, but because of the freedom. It isn’t about camping in rest area’s and skipping those Caravan Parks but more about the involvement you have with the Aussie bush, the forestry area’s, the National Parks and those precious Reserves that dot the country.
We are currently exploring the Gippsland Region of Victoria and enjoying the Forestry and Reserves there, as well as the National Parks… this is the blessing of Freecamping, as those who camp self-sufficiently will understand. It has nothing to do with getting a free night camping at all.
We have been camped up around Lake Tyres in the SE corner of Victoria for a times now and loving the birds, playing in the lake, testing the 4×4 tracks and toasting the toes near a camp fire. We have been relatively sheltered from the high winds and foul weather much of the South and East coast has been labouring under. The winds are still around, but they are high in the trees and are a song more than a presence. There is something to be said for sheltering behind the mountains.
Lake Tyres State Park is a delightful area for a bush retreat. It offers a number of campsites, the easiest to access being Pettman’s Beach on the surf side. This is the most popular of the sites as it also has a public loo and is a good track in from the main road. It isn’t as large as Glasshouse campground which also has access the to the beach, and added access to the lake being the very last campsite at the end of the track. Glasshouse camp is also the biggest site of all and easily found. Both of these camps are suited to caravans and even the larger rigs if they can negotiate the length of the main track in, which is klm’s of unsealed road.
The other two camps able to accommodate a limited number of vans is Cameron’s Arm and Trident Arm, both have suitable level sites but are much smaller than the first camps mentioned. We chose Trident Arm as we prefer the day use area that is one of the nicest, and only a short drive further down the track.
Suited mostly to tents, campers and cars are the remaining camps of Morgans Landing, Ironbark and Happy Valley. Bollards have been located into most of these camps, to protect campers and limit access by vehicles and it’s a good thing. A few of the old camps have been now designated ‘day use’ area’s and largely aren’t much suited to camps in that they are small in area and uneven ground.
The tracks are subject to weather access and can become slippery and dangerous after rain. Washouts and gutters are common and although regular vehicles use the tracks in good weather I wouldn’t be going down them when the weather turns bad. Stick to the main access track or head to Pettman’s Beach, which has by far the most groomed of the access roads.
Last time we were here we came across a sea lion basking on the beach, the beach is gorgeous but can also be treacherous so don’t go swimming alone. It is a great area of the Eastern Gippsland and much used by locals, school groups and travellers. A place definitely to put on the ‘Gunna get there’ list, for the self-sufficient and independent traveller who like us, loves the Parks, Forestry and Reserves as the best of the best.
Jan is an author and writer who travels about the country full time. You can read more about her travels in her publications
‘Discovering Australia and Her Lore’.
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Saunders Beach (north of Townsville) has 48 hours free camping, with toilets and cold showers at one of its beachside car parks. Not the wonderful remoteness you describe but the freedom that comes with the waves and sea, birdlife and fishing.