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