We’re exploring Australia in a campervan, so we spend our nights at campsites instead of hotels or hostels. It’s our first time travelling like this, and I have to say I was quite surprised how well equipped and clean (most) campsites in Australia are. In this blogpost we discuss our experiences with campsites in Victoria. Features or services we deem important are clean amenities and a WiFi connection (preferably unlimited, free, and fast). Shade on your site is always a plus, especially in hot areas, and a pool is nice as well. We’ve categorized the campsites in Victoria we stayed at according to our degree of satisfaction. The order in each category is random.
As we’d be spending three months on campsites in Australia, we decided to become member of two different campsite networks. Joining the BIG4 Loyalty Club cost us $50 for 2 years, granting a 10% discount (up to $40) on all bookings. For $40 you can buy a Family Parks Membership Card valid for 2 years, granting a 10% discount (up to $20 on sites and $40 on cabins) on all bookings. Both of these memberships are valid on a number of campsites in New Zealand as well, our next stop. A Top Parks Membership Card (used to be Top Tourist Parks) is included in the rental of our Spaceships campervan, good for a 10% discount (up to $40) on all bookings as well. If you were to buy this membership yourself, it would be $40 for 2 years, similar to the others.
Note that prices are in Australian Dollar and can vary depending on the time of the year you visit. We were in Victoria in February 2016.
Our favourite campsites in Victoria
These campsites have everything we desire: unlimited, free, and fast WiFi, clean amenities and a nice kitchen. These are campsites we highly recommend when looking for a campsite in the area.
Great Ocean Road Tourist Park
- Price: powered site, 5 nights, $162 ($32.40 per night, including 10% discount as a Top Parks member)
- WiFi: unlimited, free, and fast (short intermittent connectivity issues)
- Amenities: very clean and big
- Friendliness of staff: friendly
- Entertainment: television and game room, jumping pillow, basketball ring, children’s playground, tennis court across the street (only tennis rackets on loan at reception, no tennis balls)
- Location: on the Great Ocean Road, a 20 minute drive from the Twelve Apostles, a 40 minute drive to the nearest Woolworths, Coles and Aldi
- Laundry room: washing machines and dryers, each 3 x $1 per load, ironing board and iron, clothes line
- Camp kitchen: nice and clean (gas cooking fire, oven, barbecues (barbies), microwave, electric kettle, toasters, sink, fridge and freezer, cooking and eating utensils)
The Great Ocean Road Tourist Park, recently voted best campsite in Australia, was definitely one of our favourites in Victoria. We got a friendly welcome, receiving a map of the campsite, an overview of the park rules, and a map of the surroundings. The WiFi was unlimited, free, and fast, although after dinner it seemed to slow down, probably when more people were connected.
The amenities block was closed for cleaning around noon, which is a more convenient time than during morning like we’ve seen at other campsites. Bath maths were provided to keep your feet dry after showering, a nice gesture. Outside of the camp kitchen there were picnic tables, and inside there was a dining room with the barbies, tables, chairs, and a television. Thank God, because it rained quite a lot during our stay.Go to Great Ocean Road Tourist Park
Portland Holiday Village
- Price: powered site, 2 nights, $60 ($30 per night)
- WiFi: unlimited, free, and fast
- Amenities: a bit old, but clean
- Friendliness of owners: very friendly
- Entertainment: children’s playground, television in the kitchen area
- Location: Woolworths and Aldi within walking distance
- Laundry room: washing machines 3 x $1 per load, dryers 2 x $1 per load, ironing board and iron, clothes line
- Camp kitchen: clean (gas cooking fire, oven, barbecue (barbie), microwave, electric kettle, toasters, sink, fridge and freezer, some cooking and eating utensils)
Portland Holiday Village is our other favourite campsite in Victoria, although there’s not that much to do in Portland. The WiFi connection is great though, so at least we could get some work done. The owner gave us a warm welcome, handing us a map of the campsite and the surroundings, including a short list of park rules. Next to the camp kitchen was a covered area with the barbecue, some tables and chairs, and a television. My only remark, as a wannabe eco-warrior who loves to recycle, is the absence of recycling bins. Everything goes in the waste bin.
At this campsite we met two Belgian guys from Oostende and a Belgian couple travelling with two small kids, both still in kindergarten. We had a fun night, talking about our experiences over some beers. We exchanged some tips, compared Australia to our home country, and learned from them that the strange noise we were hearing are in fact the koalas. I didn’t even know that koalas make a sound! It’s somewhere between a baby crying and someone moaning in pain, but more bestial. Apart from the three koalas they have on the premises, we also got a visit from a wallaby one night. Quite strange, as the campsite is in the middle of a small city.Go to Portland Holiday Village
Great campsites in Victoria if you don’t need WiFi
These campsites have everything we desire, except for unlimited, free, and fast WiFi. The location is great and the amenities clean. If you don’t need WiFi or can do without for a couple of days, we definitely recommend these campsites.
- Price: powered site, 1 night, $27.57 (including a $2.57 online booking and credit card fee)
- WiFi: wasn’t working at the moment, there’s no cell service either
- Amenities: clean, although they didn’t seem to bother removing the cobwebs and spiders
- Friendliness of owners: a family runs this campsite, but the mom, who welcomed us, didn’t seem that friendly, maybe she hadn’t slept well
- Entertainment: television and game room, horse riding, mini golf, climbing wall
- Location: in Great Otway National Park, thus surrounded by nature (and koalas); walking tracks, bays and viewpoints close by
- Laundry room: washing machines $4 per load (don’t know about dryers, iron, or clothes line)
- Camp kitchen: saw picnic tables but didn’t make it to the kitchen as we only stayed for one night
The one thing we really liked about Bimbi Park is its location. It’s in Great Otway National Park, so we were surrounded by nature, it was really quiet. Every site had a small fire pit which definitely added to the “real” camping experience. We arrived quite late, so went searching for firewood in the dark in the surrounding forest, all the while looking up in the trees for koalas. Their eyes reflect the light from your torch, which is a bit scary as you only really see their glowing eyes. We didn’t see any koalas in daylight on the campsite, but we did on our way out of Great Otway National Park. On our way over to Bimbi Park, we saw people pull over at the side of the road to photograph a koala, but it was already getting quite late, so we were in a hurry to get to the park. The next day, when we were leaving, Brecht drove slow and I was hanging my head out of the window like a dog, searching the trees for koalas.
Being away from the civilized world unfortunately also meant no cell service. We had to drive about 5 to 10 minutes before we had service again. We did our grocery shopping on the way over from Melbourne as there aren’t any large supermarket chains nearby. There is however a little shop at the reception where they sell some groceries and souvenirs like Bimbi Park magnets. The park was on tank water, so we had to pay $1 per 3 minutes for the shower. Upon arrival we got a map of the campsite and the surroundings, including information about the walking tracks and other things to do. We really liked the suggestion box hanging at the amenities block. Apparently they’ve implemented quite a few suggestions from guests.Go to Bimbi Park
Crystal Brook Tourist Park
- Price: powered site, 5 nights, $166.50 ($33.30 per night, including a 10% discount as Family Parks member)
- WiFi: 350MB a day for free, very slow on our site (for 1 device, not possible to buy more)
- Amenities: clean
- Friendliness of staff: very friendly and helpful
- Entertainment: television and game room, jumping pillow, children’s playground, volleyball field, heated pool, bird feeding daily at 9h00
- Location: 5 minute walk from bus stop, 45 minute bus ride to the centre of Melbourne
- Laundry room: forgot about prices of washing machines and dryers, there is a clothes line
- Camp kitchen: clean (gas cooking fire, oven, barbecues (barbies), microwave, electric kettle, toaster, sink, fridges with freezers, cooking and eating utensils)
During our visit to Melbourne (a great city!), we stayed at Crystal Brook Tourist Park for 5 nights. From the park it’s a 5 minute walk to the bus stop, plus a 45 minute bus ride to the centre of Melbourne, where we spent our days and did most of our grocery shopping. At the reception they sell Myki cards, a card you can top up and use on all public transport. You just have to scan the card when getting on and off the bus. You can read more about these Myki cards in our blogpost about what to do in Melbourne. There’s a Coles and Aldi at 4 minutes (by car) from the park, and the bus stops there as well. If you forgot something, chances are you’ll find it at the little shop at the reception.
We got a very friendly welcome, receiving a map of the campsite, and quite an elaborate brochure with information about the park, the park rules and what to do in the neighbourhood. We got a badge to enter the campsite through the boom, but on our second day someone crashed the boom so we didn’t need it anymore. There’s a television and a sofa in the camp kitchen, and a table and chairs as well. Outside the camp kitchen there’s a heated covered area with more tables, chairs, and some barbies. There are no recycling bins, only waste bins on the premises. The heated pool was very welcome after a long day of walking around in Melbourne.Go to Crystal Brook Tourist Park
Average campsites in Victoria
These campsites were nice, but had some flaws. There wasn’t any camp kitchen, the amenities weren’t that clean, or the WiFi was very restricted. We were satisfied with our stay, but maybe it’s possible to find a better campsite in the neighbourhood.
Lakes Haven Caravan Park
- Price: powered ensuite, 2 nights, $70 ($35 per night)
- WiFi: unlimited, free, and fast, but only available at reception
- Ensuite: old, but clean
- Friendliness of owners: very friendly
- Entertainment: none
- Location: a 3 minute drive from Woolworths
- Laundry room: washing machine (only cold water) and dryer, each 2 x $2 per load, clothes line
- Camp kitchen: none, but several (moveable) gas barbecues available
We were satisfied with our stay at Lakes Haven Caravan Park, but we’ve seen nicer campsites. This place is run by an older couple and it seems like only older people stay there, so it was nice and quiet. The campsite is rather small, without shared amenities block. Everyone has his own little bathroom, which is called an ensuite. It appeared some people actually lived there, but we never asked. Surprisingly there was WiFi available, although not on our site, but you could sit at the picnic table at the reception for a fast connection.
Apart from Main Beach and the stunning view over the Gippsland Lakes there’s not much to see in Lakes Entrance. We only stayed there for two nights on our way from Canberra to Phillip Island. The map of the surroundings we got on arrival showed the viewpoints and Main Beach. On the campsite everyone had their own picnic table, which was nice and convenient, as Brecht is always complaining our camping table is too small. They asked us to recycle and told us the milkman comes by around 8h00 every morning if we wanted to make use of that service.Go to Lakes Haven Caravan Park
BIG4 Phillip Island Caravan Park
- Price: powered site, 2 nights, $66.60 (including a 10% discount as a BIG4 Loyalty Club member)
- WiFi: one time 100MB free
- Amenities: not that clean and quite small
- Friendliness of staff: didn’t have a lot of contact, as we arrived after reception opening hours
- Entertainment: television and game room (closes at 19h30), jumping pillow, basket court, go-carts
- Location: beach access from the campsite, a 20 minute drive from the nearest Coles and Aldi
- Laundry room: washing machines and dryers, each 2 x $2 per load, ironing boards and iron, clothes line
- Camp kitchen: nice, big and clean (gas cooking fire, oven, barbecues (barbies), microwave, electric kettle, toaster, sinks, fridge, sponges and dish washing soap available)
We made a stop at BIG4 Phillip Island Caravan Park to go and see the Penguin Parade: hundreds of Little Penguins coming out of the ocean at sundown. We arrived at the caravan park after 18h, so the reception was already closed. We received a text message with the code for the save where we could find our key to enter the park through the boom. A map of the campsite, some information and the park rules were in the safe as well. We were there on a weekend, probably one of the reasons if was very busy at the campsite. There were lots of families with children.
We did our grocery shopping at the Coles and Aldi about a 20 minute drive from the caravan park, but there’s a little shop at the reception as well. Next to the camp kitchen there’s a covered area with lots of picnic tables and a television. Doing the laundry at the park proved to be a challenge. On top of each washing machine there’s a dryer, and with sleepy eyes I put my coins in the slot of the dryer instead of the washing machine. They’re right next to each other! I went to the reception asking for help and judging by the annoyed look on the receptionists face I wasn’t the first to make that mistake. She summoned the handyman who couldn’t find the right key and eventually just handed me $4. This meant I could still use the dryer with the coins I mistakenly put in there. Score! It never took me so long to get a washing machine started.Go to BIG4 Phillip Island Caravan Park
Campsites in Victoria we wouldn’t return to
Apparently we made some good choices concerning campsites in Victoria, as there wasn’t one we definitely wouldn’t return to. Doing some research before booking paid off! We’ll be covering this in a future blog post as well, but the WikiCamps app is a great starting point for finding campsites in Victoria (and all around Australia).