Free Campsites checkout (Vic)

Submitted: Thursday, Mar 14, 2013 at 09:37
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Their have been a few posts about free camping sites which haven't all been good news and this has co-incided with us checking about about 30 Victorian sites listed in a magazine someone got us for Xmas.
(After various recent 4wd incidents - I had promised the wife some quiet exploring alone time)

The overall picture I saw was quite encouraging given the usual hassles and I was surprized at the quality of some places I have usually driven right past to get to the bigger hills.

In one example not far from melbourne - exploring the Goulburn from Seymour to Eildon we came across an un-documented tracks and even river access.

We moved on to Gippsland where recent fires and roadworks still had the bridge closed at Glen Maggie and road north of Dargo was still closed (I thought unnecessarily so) so we checked out a backroad to Dargo listed in the magazine.

A series of sites seriously worth checking out were in the freestone creek valley north of Stratford This is mostly the dirt back road to Dargo area - a couple of valleys over from the Avon wilderness - and in state forrest.

On the way we stopped at the 36 hour freesight on the main hwy out of Melbourne at Rosedale.
This is a seriously good stopover and the town got some of our business as a result.
On the other side of town is a $62 a night motel and between them I thought there was a good balance of business and freecamping.

Blue Pool is a featured site in the camping magazine and its almost to good to be true.

Elsewhere in Australia this huge circular pool with safe swimming and rock diving would be the sort of thing you would drive 500km to see and then find vested interests wanting to control it or tell you how many breaths of the fresh air you could inhale per dollar.





The camping area is a bit poor with just the minimum facilites of a drop loo but thats just how we like it.

We set up camp about 3pm friday as these places get filled up quickly over weekends and made a small fire from just the twigs lying around the camp ground and it was just beautiful - only two other campers
were there and we went to bed early however about midnight lots of cars came thru, 4 or 5 stopped and had loud music playing for hours and we were thankful to be sleeping inside our car instead of a tent as shutting the doors drops noise down over 20 db.
The group were quiet considerate though and moved up the road 50m to the day picnic area were they set up several tents and partyied till 4am.

Next day we explored the whole length of this valley which included several short tracks cutting across the stony creek and even a 1km drive up the creek bed during which I had to quickly grab the lockers in a deeper than average puddle else it may not have been a drama free weekend.

There is at least a dozen seperate camping areas off the 2wd dirt road and many tracks, even a Gorge with small caves.




The magazine references were quite accurate and showed that one could go to a new place with confidence and even if one site was occupied another could reasonably be found.

We only checked out 30 sites but with hundreds listed, and many more not, I think the free camping picture is pretty good around Victoria.



Robin Miller

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Reply By: Member - Phil 'n Jill (WA) - Thursday, Mar 14, 2013 at 11:14

Thursday, Mar 14, 2013 at 11:14
Great feedback as usual Robin.

Just a query - the location of 'Blue Pool' please?

I just checked it in 'Places' but only found Blue Rock Lake Vic & wondered if that may be how the system tags this spot or if this is anothother great camp spot.

Nearest town would be a help - looks like you had moved on from Dargo and may have been around Rosedale?

Planning a Vic trip following the Murray next year and making notes of recommended 'must see' spots along the way.

Returning via Ballarat/Stawell/Pleasant Ck to check some family history.

Thanks for the report- very helpful.

Cheers - Phil
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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Thursday, Mar 14, 2013 at 12:08

Thursday, Mar 14, 2013 at 12:08
Briagalong Phil and its 10km north along a narrow Bitumen rd that stops exactly at Blue Pool and is sign posted as its quite a spectacular spot hidden amongst the forrest.

I did not want to make this post about the "On the road" free campsites publication we got at the newsagents- but if your going along the Murray and around you will find it hard to spend $19.95 better.

I have certainly found the sites above accurately mentioned.
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Follow Up By: Member - Phil 'n Jill (WA) - Thursday, Mar 14, 2013 at 13:54

Thursday, Mar 14, 2013 at 13:54
Thanks again Robin - most appreciated.

Snippets like these can fill in a lot of treats for intrepid travellers from t'other side.

Cheers - Phil
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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Thursday, Mar 14, 2013 at 15:30

Thursday, Mar 14, 2013 at 15:30
Hi again Phil

It is in places but with the slightly incorrect name of " Blue Pools Campground"
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Follow Up By: Member - Phil 'n Jill (WA) - Thursday, Mar 14, 2013 at 16:44

Thursday, Mar 14, 2013 at 16:44
Thanks again Robin - we have numerous locations like that in WA where names of 'places' change according to who you deal with.

Parrys Pool / Parrys lagoon
Crocodile hole / Alligator hole - just a couple that come to mind after 25 years away from the kimberley region.

The list is probably endless if property researched.

I usually defer to the 'locals' when I am in unfamiliar territory - as I am sure you do.

Regards - Phil
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Reply By: ExplorOz Team - Michelle - Thursday, Mar 14, 2013 at 13:06

Thursday, Mar 14, 2013 at 13:06
Robin,
Yes it would be good for you to head over to Places and setup the new Places for these camps given that you've got all the info. You must enter the coordinates of course. The other way is if you've got a pic on your phone (with gps enabled) at the spots - then just send the pics via mobile place udpate (ie. email the pic to places@exploroz.com) and that will automatically create the correct place at the coordinate where the pic was taken then you can just edit and add your hi-res pics etc. Place Administrators (and myself) are able to use the tag that is in the photos you've already put into this post to add them to your new Place records if you need (just saves you uploading them again).

Please just sing out if you need assistance, it would be a shame not to get this info into Places as it all just gets lost in the Forum.
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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Thursday, Mar 14, 2013 at 15:27

Thursday, Mar 14, 2013 at 15:27
Hi Michelle

Okay on places, but it looks like it , and the surrounding area has already been done but with a slightly incorrect name.

The actual place is called Blue Pool - which I have since verified on my drive recorder footage and with the local visitors guide.

It is in places with the name Blue Pools Campground.
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Follow Up By: ExplorOz Team - Michelle - Thursday, Mar 14, 2013 at 16:56

Thursday, Mar 14, 2013 at 16:56
Thanks Robin,
I've changed the name to Blue Pool (this should auto link now - for those that it isn't linking that's just a caching issue sorry can't do anything about that for now) and I am started to move across these pics to that page for you. Give me 5 mins and it will be done.
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Follow Up By: ExplorOz Team - Michelle - Thursday, Mar 14, 2013 at 17:01

Thursday, Mar 14, 2013 at 17:01
whoohoo! Damn me, it actually works! You now have Blue Pool folks with Robin's pics. Now, I'll get back to work...
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Follow Up By: Warren B - Thursday, Mar 14, 2013 at 19:34

Thursday, Mar 14, 2013 at 19:34
Robin,
What have you done ? we have been keeping blue pools secret ( just joking ) bloody nice spot / area and usually quite. Lot of history about also if you do some research.
Cheers warren
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Follow Up By: Warren B - Thursday, Mar 14, 2013 at 19:50

Thursday, Mar 14, 2013 at 19:50
Whoops nearly forgot, in the campsites book you mentioned there were a few ( 2 i think ) that I would not take a van into, and I am pretty adventurous with where I will go and some that I would take my van into no probs. This is Gippsland area only so would pay readers to do bit of homework first. The book is very good but and will come in handy in june.
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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Thursday, Mar 14, 2013 at 20:16

Thursday, Mar 14, 2013 at 20:16
Looks good Michelle.
Warren I ashamed to say that I used to drive straight past Blue Pool going up the back way (I used to live in Yallourn till they turned it into a big hole).

Never had a Van so I'm a bit one-eyed.

Maybe as one gets older one looks more at the scenery than looking for the biggest hill !
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Reply By: Crackles - Thursday, Mar 14, 2013 at 22:56

Thursday, Mar 14, 2013 at 22:56
Shhhh Robin. Don't go making these places too easy to find or you certainly wont have them to yourself next time. No sooner than the local roadside stop near my town made it into the free camping guide books it was over-run with rubbish & human waste & the fishing has suffered since too.
I liked the approach one of the 4x4 mags had recently when writing a trip report giving general info & speaking broadly of the area but never mentioning the actual track names nor giving GPS co-ordinates. Gives enthuisiests enough to find these special places but keeps many of the ratbags out.
Cheers Craig...................
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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Friday, Mar 15, 2013 at 08:31

Friday, Mar 15, 2013 at 08:31
Hi Craig

Tricky subject in some ways - I looked at a couple of those sorts of mags and tend now to look at the reference information and if it doesn't give enough data or looks like its weak on real info I don't buy it.

When I was driving toward Blue Pool I stopped in Brig and their was a pamphlet on the bench in the second hand book shop, it was calling locals to a clean up day at Blue Pool.

The shop had a whole bunch of the Len Beadells books at $6 bucks each and I got one and spoke to shop keeper about things and they do have an issue with some excessive behaviour , the other side of the coin was that she asked me if I would have been in her shop buying things if Blue Pool didn't exist.

The locals in that area came down on the side of making the cake bigger , but their are other views perhaps worthy of their own discussion.




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Follow Up By: Crackles - Friday, Mar 15, 2013 at 09:41

Friday, Mar 15, 2013 at 09:41
From my observations the way it generally works is from a pristine site that just a few locals & intrepid travellers visit, it's decided by a couple of individuals or a tour guide (example) to promote an area so it starts to get busy. With that comes increased rubbish & waste & of course there are no facilities. Locals start by cleaning this up themselves but soon tire of it so as it gets more popular. Council, DSE or Parks then need to install bins, barriers to stop hoons doing donuts on the grass & bit by bit the lovely spot we once remember starts to fray.
Then comes the trek notes, being marked on maps & signage from the main rd. With more people comes the expectation for better access so the road is graded/sealed, toilets installed & before you know it fees are charged.
While I doubt Blue Pool will progress this far, Victorian's in general have to decide whether they like the dispersed camping & easy access which we have currently have or promote tourism heavily ending up with the NSW pine post system of user pays.
I no longer tell people of the favorite spots I've found as have seen too many restrictions in just the last 20 years.
Cheers Craig..............
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Follow Up By: Nigel Migraine - Saturday, Mar 16, 2013 at 18:22

Saturday, Mar 16, 2013 at 18:22
!00% correct Craig.

The Blue Pool area is 2WD (maybe ute) in the main and this crowd will usually destroy anything they can get to.

Other than Parks Victoria the worst thing to happen to bush camping in Victoria is Rooftop Maps - dick-heads now manage to find decent off-road campsites. Previously they were happy cutting up tracks within a near distance of the pub - finding their own places was too hard. Many of the Rooftop marked camps are now unusable - thanks Robin Rishworth!

No way on this planet would I publish decent campsites on the internet 'cause they wouldn't be decent for long.

Go out and explore and you'll find a stack of stuff not on any map, book, magazine or website.

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