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Top spots to camp and play in Gippsland

Yanakie Caravan Park © Jessica Palmer

Covering the majority of southeast Victoria from outer Melbourne to the New South Wales border, Gippsland is a rural regional area like no other. It’s all about the great outdoors here. Think 4WD tracks, unspoilt beaches, snowfields, rainforests, waterfalls, boating, hiking and much more.

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It’s for these very reasons that Gippsland is a top spot to camp and play!

Camping in Central Gippsland

Head to the small town of Dargo for camping adventures in the Central Gippsland region and set up camp at the scenic Dargo River Inn. You’ll find it around 320km (4 hours) northeast of Melbourne. The camping grounds are spread over three flat acres and if you need juice, 20 powered sites are available. Cabins are also on offer if you’re sick of roughing it.

camping gippsland
The campgrounds at Dargo River Inn © Jessica Palmer

Although, camping at Dargo River Inn could hardly be called roughing as there are toilets, hot showers and free Wifi. The best part is the actual inn itself. It serves up cold beer and great pub tucker while you warm yourself up by the fire. Also of note is the excellent beer garden which features fire drums and overlooks the stunning Dargo countryside.

What to do around Dargo 

If 4WDing, fishing and motorbikes are your happy place, then you’re going to love camping here. It’s popular as a jumping-off point with both 4WD and motorbike groups in the warmer months, particularly those looking to conquer iconic tracks such as the Billy Goat Bluff. If you’re short on time, I recommend heading out on a tag-a-long tour. Read all about our two day adventure with Dargo 4WD tours

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For those who packed their rods just in case, trout and redfin are caught in the high country rivers around Dargo. Rafting and canoeing are fun when the fish aren’t biting and it’s also a popular spot for hunting deer.

camping gippsland
Heading down the Billy Goat Bluff track in the Victorian High Country surrounding Dargo © Jessica Palmer

Camping in South Gippsland

If planning a trip into South Gippsland, head to Yanakie for a spot of camping at Yanakie Caravan Park around 200km (2.5 hours) southeast of Melbourne. The premium sites are both oceanfront and huge, making for a memorable daily sunset and sunrise. 

Facilities are great and it’s particularly family friendly with large grassy areas and a playground smack in the middle.

What to do around Yanakie

Although there are few 4WD opportunities around Yanakie, it’s in a prime location just five minutes from the entrance to Wilsons Prom.  Here you can scale granite peaks on a hiking adventure, spot wildlife, and swim and snorkel to your heart’s content.

When you’re not exploring Wilson Prom, check out Agnes Falls. Boasting a 59-metre drop, it’s the highest single-span waterfall in Victoria. Shallow Inlet is where to head for water-based fun such as fishing, boating and sailing and Duck Point is where you’ll get the last of your daily steps in on the two-kilometre circuit walk.

camping gippsland
Views at sunset taken merely a few steps from the oceanfront campsites at Yanakie Caravan Park © Jessica Palmer

Camping in West Gippsland

Set up base at Erica Caravan Park in Erica for any outdoor adventure in West Gippsland. At around 170km (2 hours) east of Melbourne, it’s perfectly located for a weekender from the city. The grounds and facilities are modern and well maintained but more importantly, there are pizza ovens and a massive fire pit in the camp kitchen. Pre-made pizzas can be purchased from Bec and Trev at reception where you’ll also receive a warm furry welcome from Scooby Doo.

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What to do around Erica

Trace the steps of pioneers from the 1800s on the Aberfeldy 4WD route where you’ll experience mountain top views across the surrounding ranges. You will need to take it slow on the winding sections and be prepared for mud in the wet. As you climb above 1000 metres in the cold season, you’ll also need to be prepared for snow.

Speaking of snow, don’t miss the opportunity to snowboard, ski or toboggan at Mount Baw Baw Alpine Resort or Mt St Gwinear in the winter months. If it’s the green season, both of these are top spots for mountain biking and hiking.

Before you head home, stop in the historic township of Walhalla and take a scenic rail journey on the Walhalla Goldfields Railway. It takes around an hour and it’s fun for all ages.

Playing in the snow at Mt St Gwinear © Jessica Palmer

Camping in East Gippsland

Croajingolong National Park is a peaceful choice for camping in East Gippsland with large shady campsites, water access and great walking tracks. Although there are a few camping areas to choose from here, Wingan Inlet is the jewel in the crown and can be found around 500km (6 hours 15 minutes) east of Melbourne. 

Located on the western shores of Wingan Inlet and set among tall Bloodwood Trees, this is a nature-filled campsite chock full of wildlife.

What to do around Wingan Inlet

What’s not to do here? Well, one thing you’ll definitely be doing is disconnecting as phone reception goes from lame to zilch. You won’t miss it though.  You’ll be too busy launching your kayak, fishing for bream, flathead and tailor, listening out for the fur seals at dusk, and heading out on a number of well-marked walks, such as the walk to Fly Fish Cove or Elusive Lake. It’s important to note that if fishing from a boat, Wingan Inlet has a 20hp motor size limit.

Croajingolong National Park is listed by UNESCO as a World Biosphere Reserve and twitchers will be keen to know that with 250 bird species, over half of Victoria’s total species can be found here.

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