Pitch your tent at seven of the best free camping spots in Victoria

Pitch your tent at seven of the best free camping spots in Victoria

Words by Tehya Nicholas

Camping is always fun, but it’s even better when campsites are free.

Camping in Victoria’s countryside is just like any other leisure activity. We usually do it in groups, there is mild exertion involved, a feeling of satisfaction both during and afterwards. But then there’s free camping. When you get to do all the things you love: pitching your $50 Kmart tent, roasting marshmallows on a stick you just found, shouting ‘snake!’ at your unsuspecting friends… except it’s unequivocally more enjoyable because it doesn’t cost a dime.

Whether you’ve got a tent, caravan or a tiny home, we’ve rounded up the best free campgrounds across Victoria. Most of them are relatively unheard of, so you’d be pretty unlucky to miss out on a spot, but nonetheless it’s a first-come-first-served type of situation so best to arrive early.

Big Billy Bore Camping Area

Okay, so this one definitely wins on the title front, but there’s more to it than that. If you’re up for a drive to the far north-west of Victoria, up in Mallee Country, you’ll find Big Billy just next to the Big Desert Wilderness Area – which obviously sounds cool, but make sure you’re a serious camper before you jump in. The site itself has a barbeque, basic toilets and is accessible via the rough Murrayville-Nhill Track. When you get there, you’ll find yourself pitching up within a grove of tall trees and just a short drive from experiencing one of Victoria’s oldest and most rugged bushlands. Would recommend sliding down a sand dune.

If you’re prepared to brave it, click here

Koetong Creek Campground – Mount Lawson State Park

If you’re into the sound of softly bubbling water, then you’re probably going to like Koetong Campground. Sitting pretty at the southern end of Mount Lawson State Park, right by Koetong Creek, the campsite is your good old-fashioned type of set up. Drop dunnies, fireplaces, picnic tables galore, all surrounded by some darn good-looking bushland. The campsites are numbered 1 and 2 – the latter having the nicer ambience. 

All the deets and how to get there, click here

Cotton Tree Creek Campground – Mount Granya State Park

A couple hours drive from Melbourne, this cheeky little spot backs onto a forest of Red Stringybark and Long-leaved Box trees, meaning you’ll have chirpy native birds as your alarm. The spot is well located if you’re looking to do a trip through the Albury/Wodonga area, just a few kms from the grand ol’ Murray Darling. There’s plenty of good walks to do nearby, but the season Granya Falls walk and Lyrebird Walk have to get a special mention. We hear those birds can mimic your camera sound… 

For more info, head here

Base Valley Campground – Loch

We couldn’t forget the Gippsland region. This campsite is pretty popular among those in the know, so you best be phoning ahead to make sure there’s a spot for you. Just 5kms away from the bay and within arms reach of a bunch of wineries, it’s the ideal summer spot. Not to mention, pets are allowed and there’s phone reception. Defs make sure you check out the little town of Loch while you’re there. It’s got a surprisingly good spread of antique stores and fine dining restaurants. 

This website will give you latest

Lalgambook (Mount Franklin) Reserve – Daylesford

Fancy sleeping in a volcanic crater? Here’s your chance. Deeply sacred to the traditional owners, the Djara Wurrung people, the site is truly something to behold. Sitting in what was once the mouth of the volcano (now the basin), the campsite has loads of open space to park, pitch and/or picnic. Trotting through the surrounding woodland you may encounter some star residents: kangaroos and wallabies. We also hear it’s pretty quiet, so meditation is an option.

For more info, clickety here

Smoko Campground – Bright

Direct orders to any fisherpeople reading this: get the rods in the car, pack your bait and load the esky up with ice, because this here is campground perched by a freshwater trout ~haven~. Smoko is sitting on the banks of Ovens River, which is famous for its epic fish habitat, in particular local trout. Not to say those among us who do not fish won’t enjoy it too. The campsite is on level ground, surrounded by native trees and the river for swimming. Plus there’s a couple of drop loos. Mount Buffalo State Park is just next door and well worth an exploration.

Wanna know more? Click here

Kurth Kiln Scout Loop – Gembrook

The Yarra Valley is a special place. Full of ferny glades and towering Mountain Ash, it’s reminiscent of a fairy garden or a picture you saved on Pinterest. Kurth Kiln Campground is smack bang in the middle of it, giving off full woodland vibes while still making sure you get an easy camping experience. There are barbeque areas, firepits and plenty of room for caravans and campers, all on an even ground. If you’re lucky you might encounter an echidna. If you’re less lucky, a crying baby (it is popular with families.) Pro tip: take a ride on the Puffing Billy. You’re never too old.

Here’s where you can find out more.