Best free camping areas in Victoria

Frys Flat camping area, courtesy of Lyndon Sparrow

Frys Flat camping area, courtesy of Lyndon Sparrow

Whether you want to camp next to Victoria’s spectacular coast or find a bush campsite with access to bushwalking and mountain-biking, you don’t have to spend a cent to find a great camping spot in this southern state.

Victoria has some of the best free camping areas in Australia, many of them within an easy drive from Melbourne. And since many of these free campsites are in state forests, you can often bring your dog along with you.

Here are our picks for some of the best free camping areas in the state – let us know your picks in the comments.

Blue Pool camping area, Briagalong State Forest

Blue Pool camping area in Briagalong State Forest is all about water, both for its proximity to the refreshing deep swimming hole of Blue Pool, and also for being the only campground with toilets in the state forest.

This could almost be the perfect summer campsite. There’s also a relaxed attitude to dogs and campfires (both are allowed). But always check with rangers regarding fire restrictions and whether you need to keep your pet on a leash.

Andersons Garden camping area, Mount Disappointment State Forest

If you are looking for a campsite that’s an easy drive from Melbourne, you could do much worse than Andersons Garden camping area. This camping area was damaged in the Black Saturday bushfires in 2009, but it’s well on its way to recovery, supported by regeneration initiatives and a few wet winters.

There aren’t many facilities here, but it’s free, dog friendly and you can also have a campfire (but remember to check fire warnings and restrictions before your trip). Sit back and enjoy the peaceful forest surrounds, or for more adventurous campers, this camping area makes a great base for bushwalking, mountain-biking or horseriding in the surrounding forest.

Ada River camping area

Just on the outskirts of the enchanting Errinundra National Park, the free campsite at Ada River is a fantastic option for people travelling with pets or in caravans or motorhomes, as the only campsite inside the national park is not suitable for pets or large vehicles.

There’s nothing particularly flashy about Ada River, but if you are looking for a campsite from which to explore the cool temperate rainforests of the national park, or even just a place to relax with a few mates in a nice forest setting, Ada River camping area could be right for you.

Sheepyard Flat camping area, Howqua Hills Historic Area

There’s a surprising amount of free camping areas spread throughout Victoria’s High Country, which is a popular camping region. You’ll find a collection of great free campsites in Howqua Hills Historic Area, which is sandwiched between Lake Eildon, Baw Baw and Alpine national parks. But unlike most of the campsites in these national parks, the camping areas at Howqua Hills are free and dog friendly.

Sheepyards Flat is one of the most popular sites in the area, and has a sizeable range of facilities from toilets to picnic tables. Other free campsites nearby in the historic area include Frys Flat camping area, Davons camping area, Noonan Flat and Pickering Flat camping areas.

Victoria Mill camping area, Mt Cole State Forest

Leave the caravan behind and just bring your tent to camp at these scenic site in an old-growth forest.

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  • Mick main

    Thanks to jeff kennett johanna red and blue was always free till his grubby mitts stuffed it

    • JT

      Mate, Really Jeff Kennett?. I was and am no fan of him but he didn’t put his grubby mitts any where near this. The introduction of fees did occur during the last Liberal govt raid on our liberties. And as an ex Parks Vic Ranger, I can tell you it costs more in time and energy to collect fees and do the necessary admin tasks associated with fee collection. The Rangers do not want to do it but are basically forced to.However it cost money and time clean up after many disgusting disrespectful slob campers. The minority always f### things up for others. Lets stand up and say no. Complain to your local MP. Aussies past and present treasure free camping. Bring it back. But clean up your mess.

      • Proud Aussie

        I agree it’s always ruined by the yobbo factor. This is our country and we should look after it for every one. I’ve taken to dobbing in the messy shits who leave a mess, photos and number plates to the local managers who hopefully will at least give them a rev up.

        • econ camper

          I find its just as easy to pick up any rubbish left around and help dispose of it rather than just complain johanna was very clean last time i went there…

      • Michelle

        Well said JT we have been camping for more than 20yrs now not just free camping but in Parks etc and have done a lot of travelling over the last 10yrs or so. The things we’ve seen people do is absolutely disgusting & disgraceful and you wonder what their own home look like…. Yes bring back free camping but all need to respect it..

  • Nimsie Dissan

    Blue Pool – no problems, neat & tidy. Campers are very cordial ans civi minded. so far my best. I will be going again this Summer. Try the place you won’t be disappointed as long as you do the right thing.

    • lilmishy

      Can you fish there?

  • Oliver Jones

    I guess Blue Pool camping area is the best place to be right now.Well i hope the security their will be good to.

  • Isabelle Kenny

    Devastated by the charging for camping at Johanna. Poor people need holidays, too! My children and I have not had a decent holiday since fees were introduced, and it has had an effect on our health and ‘productivity’ (to speak a language the politicians seem to understand…)

  • Matty McColl

    Im looking for a place to go camping and fishing but is easy to get to in a sedan. It has to be in the Melbourne area…
    Any ideas please??

    • Matty McColl

      Dont care if it in the bush?