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Think camping is strictly a summer activity? Believe it or not, winter can be the absolute best time to pitch your tent. Although the mercury drops, the trade-off is clear skies and peaceful vibes.
Victoria is a beautiful place to explore, and for winter camping, the possibilities are endless. With its stunning landscapes and temperate climate, the state of Victoria makes it easy to brave the cold weather while still making the most of nature. And, as an added bonus, the cooler temperatures provide campers with a much more restful night’s sleep.
Sure, winter camping in Victoria requires a few extra blankets, some thermal gear, and a knack for building a toasty campfire – but it's all part of the fun. Just don't forget your camping must-haves and make sure your road trip kit is winter-ready.
Check out these five stellar winter camping spots we've handpicked for all you chill seekers out there.
158km West of Melbourne
Away from the hustle and bustle of city life, Jamieson Creek Bush Campground is a haven for nature lovers. Nestled among towering gum trees and overlooking the serene Jamieson Creek, this campground offers a tranquil retreat. The camp site facility is basic, encouraging visitors to truly immerse themselves in the natural beauty surrounding them.
How to get there:
Jamieson Creek Bush Campground is approximately a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Melbourne. Follow the Great Ocean Road and then Jamieson Track. The campground is an unpowered site accessible by 2WD.
446km East of Melbourne
This winter wonderland is perfect for those seeking a snow-filled adventure. Situated in Alpine National Park, Native Dog Flat Campground is a prime spot for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Remember to pack your winter woollies – the temperatures here can drop quite low!
How to get there
This camping spot is a good five-hour drive from Melbourne. Native Dog Flat Camping Area is situated nearby to the peaks Rams Horn and Rods Downfall.
220km South of Melbourne
Located in Wilsons Promontory National Park, Tidal River is a camping site which offers a unique coastal winter camping experience. With a variety of walking trails and stunning beach vistas, this site offers plenty to explore. Plus, the winter months often mean fewer crowds, making it an ideal spot for a peaceful getaway.
How to get there:
Wilsons Promontory is a three-hour drive from Melbourne and Tidal River is a further 30 minutes drive from the entrance.
270km West of Melbourne
The Grampians is a favourite camping destination for Victorians, and the Boreang Campground an ideal base for visitors wanting to experience all that the area has to offer. Away from the busier parts of the park, Boreang Campground is perfect for watching kangaroos and wallabies graze, or for spotting red-tailed black cockatoos and even gang-gang cockatoos, if you’re lucky.
How to get there:
Boreang Campground is situated approximately 16km south of Halls Gap and is best accessed from Glenelg River Road. If you are driving from Melbourne, follow the Western Freeway to Halls Gap. From there, turn onto Mount Victory Road and a final turn onto the steep and unsealed Glenelg River Road will lead you to Boreang Campground.
225km North East of Melbourne
Situated in the Howqua Hills Historic Area, Sheepyard Flat offers a rustic camping experience. With the Howqua River nearby and plenty of 4WD tracks and walking trails to explore, it's a fantastic spot for outdoor enthusiasts.
How to get there:
Sheepyard Flats is a free camping area, not too far from Mt Buller and about a four-hour drive from Melbourne. Sheepyard Flats is in a valley with easy access by foot, horses, 4wd or bikes to some of the Victorian High Country region.
Of course, winter camping isn't limited to five destinations. From Mount Buffalo National Park to Lake Eildon, here are a few more camping grounds to add to your bucket list:
Marengo Holiday Park
Each of these camping spots offers its own unique charm. Whether you're after a peaceful retreat or an action-packed winter adventure, Victoria's diverse range of camping locations has something for everyone. Remember to plan and prepare adequately for your trip, keeping in mind the tips and tricks we'll discuss in the next section to ensure a safe and enjoyable winter camping experience.
While winter camping does require thorough preparation, the rewards are well worth it. When equipped with the right knowledge and gear, you can fully embrace the magic of winter camping.
Here are some practical tips to ensure your winter camping experience in Victoria is both safe and enjoyable.
The key to staying warm is layering. Start with a moisture-wicking base layer to draw sweat away from your body. Follow this with an insulating middle layer, such as a fleece or down jacket to trap warmth. Finally, make sure you have a waterproof and windproof outer layer to protect you from the elements. Also, don't forget the importance of a good quality pair of thermal socks, gloves, and a warm hat. In winter camping, the mantra truly is 'there's no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.'
A four-season tent, rated for winter conditions, is essential for braving Victoria's winter wonderland. A suitable sleeping bag, rated for temperatures below what you expect, is another must-have. A sleeping pad with a high R-value, indicating good insulation, will shield you from the cold ground.
Additionally, a reliable camping stove that performs well in cold and windy conditions is advisable.
When winter camping in Victoria, you should be sure to bring a variety of food that will help keep you nourished and energised throughout your trip. Here are some of the best winter camping food items to pack for your Victoria trip:
Hearty Soups & Stews – Soups and stews are a great way to stay warm and full while you’re out in the cold. Look for options that come in lightweight, easy-to-carry packages such as freeze dried pouches or cans.
Hot Caffeinated Beverages – Nothing warms up your insides like a hot cup of coffee or tea. Pack plenty of packets of instant coffee, tea bags, and powdered creamer to fuel you through the chilly nights.
Protein-Rich Foods – Protein is important for keeping your muscles strong and helping you stay energised during cold weather activities. Pack high-calorie food to fuel your body and help keep you warm.
Water, water, water – As well as high-energy snacks, bring along plenty of water. Dehydration can be a real risk in cold weather, as the dry winter air can increase your fluid loss.
Cooking outdoors in colder weather can prove to be a bit tricky; we know that when you’re roughing it in the great outdoors, you still want a hot tasty meal at the end of a long day. Camping Adventures’ huge range of camping cooking essentials will allow you to whip up some food quickly, easily and with minimal bulky equipment.
Safety precautions should never be overlooked when planning your winter camping trip. Always check the weather forecast before you head out to avoid any unexpected storms. Carry a map and compass for navigation as GPS can be unreliable in remote areas. Pack a basic first aid kit, complete with bandages, antiseptic wipes, and any necessary personal medication. Lastly, always inform someone of your itinerary and estimated return time for added safety.
It's also crucial to plan your trip according to your level of experience. Beginners should start with one-night trips close to home and gradually take on more challenging expeditions as confidence grows.
As always, visit Parks Victoria for seasonal closures and safety tips before you go.
Ready to pitch your tent or park your camper trailer? Whether you're into rock hiking, bird watching, fishing, rock climbing, or you simply want an affordable winter escape, there are plenty of wonderful camping spots in the beautiful state of Victoria all year round.
Although it presents a few challenges, the charm of winter camping lies in its unique offering. Picture yourself waking up to a serene landscape, unencumbered by crowds, spending the day exploring nature's beauty, and ending with a cosy campfire cookout. The serene quiet of a winter's night in the bush provides a truly immersive nature experience.
With the right preparation, a positive mindset, and a thirst for adventure, winter camping could just be the extraordinary experience you've been searching for. So pack wisely, stay safe, and embrace the magic of winter camping!
Camping Adventures is the one-stop shop for camping gear in Melbourne. Our products can be purchased right here online or in-store. If you are planning to hit the road this winter, we supply a great collection of tents, thermals, cooking gear and heaps more. Happy camping!