We’re proud of our work ethic, but it’s important to balance work with a bit of rest and adventure.

Frenchmans Creek Camping Ground

frenchmans creek camping ground

A short trip back to the Yarra Ranges – Big River Section.

Three days after our trip to the Big River Pines – and wanting to take advantage of the cold weather that seemed to be keeping everyone at home – we were back in the Hilux and heading for Peppermint Ridge Camping Ground, with a quick stop off at Supersoil Garden Centre in Healesville for some kindling and firewood. The drive along Lake Mountain Road proved a different experience this time around, as the temperature was ever so slightly warmer, with no fog to be seen. The lookouts along the road provided some stunning views back toward Marysville, but we decided to wait until the lunch-time trip back into town to stop for photos. We were late leaving home – partially due to both of us ‘sleeping in’ until 6:30am – so we were keen to head straight to the camp site to get settled in.

While making the slow descent to the Big River Road turn-off, we noticed that a dense fog – appearing more like thick cotton wool – blanketed the lower half of the mountain. It wasn’t until we turned on to Big River Road our surroundings changed dramatically. The fog hid the dense forest from our view, barely allowing the sunlight to pierce through. It was an incredible sight that made for some stunning photos and a unique driving experience. The fog did eventually retreat back into the forest as we drove past Petroffs Camping Ground and didn’t return for the remainder of the trip.

When we arrived at Peppermint Creek, we jumped out of the Hilux and walked eagerly to our chosen spot. When we arrived, I realised that despite all of the photos, notes and site assessment summary (see big river pines camping area), I had managed to confuse myself into thinking the image I had in my head of Peppermint Ridge, was in fact Frenchmans Creek. Both camp sites offered amazing, private camping areas with great river access, with the biggest difference being the forest canopy. The Peppermint Ridge site was well shaded and perfect for winter, but we knew the sun would be out and the sky was going to be clear at night, so we wanted to stay at Frenchmans Creek to take advantage of the exposed nature of the site. We walked quickly back to the Hilux, hoping that the Frenchmans Creek site only a few hundred metres down the road would be available.

When we arrived at Frenchmans Creek, we saw something that we hadn’t seen so far this trip or at all in our previous trip; another tent! Luckily the campers had decided to set up close to the road and entrance, leaving our spot free on the other side of the camp. After parking the car and completing a short walk along a dirt track, we found our spot at the confluence (don’t worry, we had to Google it too – it means the point where two or more bodies of water meet) of Big River and Frenchmans Creek and set up our tent and camp fire.

After relaxing in our camping chairs for a few hours, we headed back to Marysville and once again attempted to have lunch at the Duck Inn. With the Hilux kept in H2 mode, we made it to the pub without incident and ordered our long awaited parmas. The food was excellent and we enjoyed a relaxing chat before heading up the street to find something to take back to the camp for dinner. Having brought no food or equipment with us, we weren’t in a position to cook our meal, so we strolled along the main road in search of something that would keep in take away containers until dinner time. We stopped at Elevation 423 to look at the menu, and we were greeted by one of the owners. We both chose the chicken salad and a ginger beer, until we saw the two specials on offer – butter chicken and goat curry. We both enthusiastically changed our order to goat curry, but the chef was making the curry in preparation for dinner service, so we would have to drive back into town to pick it up. Not wanting to drive back again, we changed our minds again to the butter chicken and went for a stroll to get some fruit for breakfast from the local Foodworks while we waited for dinner.

When we returned to the restaurant, our food was ready and waiting; neatly packed into individual containers so the rice wouldn’t get soggy. The owners knew we were taking it to our camp, so they made sure to include spoons and serviettes in the bag as well. We chatted for a few minutes as the owners told us their story of how they came to own a restaurant in Marysville and how they spent time in both Melbourne and Marysville, depending on the seasons and peak periods. The owners were lovely and clearly passionate about their food and restaurant. While we do enjoy cooking our own meals, supporting local businesses and meeting owners who are both passionate about their businesses, and care about their customers, can be a major highlight of a trip. With butter chicken in arm, we strolled back to the car as relaxed as could be.

The afternoon brought more sunshine and the sounds of the Big River as we sat in our chairs and read. Having only recently remembered that I own an SLR camera, I chose to read parts of the instruction manual; testing out different settings and features while Bindy read a novel.

As daylight began to fade, we decided to eat dinner early to give us plenty of time to get settled in for the night before the temperature dropped. We set up our chairs next to the camp fire and unpacked our butter chicken. As soon as we had figured out a way to balance all of the containers and utensils on our laps, we took one mouthful each and were blown away at just how good it was. The flavours were sensational, with the curry having a slight, spicy kick that took it to a clear level above any other butter chicken curry we had ever had. We both agreed that the combination of the food, setting and tranquility made this one of the very best dining experiences we had ever had.

Having found a way to resolve the fact that dinner had to end at some point, we packed up and sat outside until the darkness set in. The sky was crystal clear and the number of clearly visible stars in the sky was incredible. Living in suburbia, it’s easy to forget just how beautiful the night sky is when there’s no light to hide the stars. We sat in relaxing silence for just over half an hour, breaking the silence only to point out two shooting stars as they tore across the sky.

Once in our sleeping bags, we unpacked our laptops and spent a few hours taking notes for our respective businesses. While I wouldn’t expect that working while camping would be most people’s idea of relaxation or fun, being relaxed and having a clear head provides a great opportunity to reflect and plan. If you get stuck juggling too many thoughts at once, you can easily return to the sounds of the river and breeze for as long as you need to clear your head before re-focusing.

Unlike our previous trip, we didn’t wake up at 5:30am. By the time we were awake and dressed inside the tent, the darkness had started to retreat; making it easier to leave the comfort of the tent to start a camp fire. Breakfast was spent the same way as dinner, by the fire and river, before we decided to go for a walk to fully explore the camp site. We found some walking tracks and more access points to the river before finding a track that took us back to the camp site entrance off Big River Road. As soon as we entered the camp site, we immediately saw what appeared to be a cow hanging from a tree. Being more than slightly curious, we made our way toward the animal where we were greeted warmly by some hunters who had pitched their tents nearby. As it turned out, the cow wasn’t a cow – it was two deer they had shot the previous afternoon. One of the hunters was a chef and the other a butcher, with both going on regular hunting trips with their friends. They offered us a piece of venison back strap which we happily accepted – partly because you don’t refuse gifts from people with guns and partly because we had never tried venison before. We returned to the tent and spent another hour relaxing before deciding to head back home before lunch; giving us some time to unpack and organise ourselves for work the next day.

Despite only being another short overnight trip, it was an adventure that left a lasting impression and made us keener than ever to make our way back as soon as we could.

useful information

Supersoil Garden Centre in Healesville: http://www.healesvillegardensupplies.com.au/

Elevation 423: https://www.elevation423marysville.com/

The Duck Inn: https://www.facebook.com/theduckinnmarysvillepub/

Yarra Ranges Camp Sites (Big River Section): http://www.findacamp.com.au/search-camp-sites.php?

 

Big River Pines Camping Area

big river pines camping area

An overnight adventure to discover camp sites in the Yarra Ranges.

The morning started as most of our previous camping trips have; with an early morning walk for the dogs before loading our packs into the Hilux.  We headed down the highways and through the stunning Black Spur toward Marysville, reluctantly agreeing that bacon and egg sandwiches from our favourite roadhouse – Roadrunners Roadhouse in Coldstream –  wasn’t the healthy breakfast option we had discussed the night before. We opted instead to visit the Marysville Foodworks for some blueberries, bananas and tangelos before continuing on our journey to the first site – Married Mens Camping Ground.

The drive along Marysville – Woods Point Road was somewhat eerie, with the thick morning fog blanketing the mountain as we ascended. The temperature dropped to 1°C as we arrived at the intersection with Lake Mountain Road and had barely risen to 3°C by the time we had descended and turned on to Big River Road. While not quite as stunning as the Black Spur, the views along Marysville – Woods Point Road were still incredible and well worth a photo or two.

The drive along Big River Road was very different to Marysville – Woods Point Road, as the fog created an almost smokey haze you would expect from a nearby bush fire. The wide, bare road dominated the landscape as we twisted and turned through the forest; only softening as the fog disappeared near the camp site to reveal the dense forest that had been hidden for most of our journey. After two hours of nearly continuous driving in a warm and cosy Hilux, we were excited to brave the winter weather as we explored the first site on our list.

The Married Mens Camping Ground was a very simple, open camp site that had good, clear access to Arnold Creek. The camp site is essentially a large turning circle, with plenty of space to set up a tent, caravan or trailer. There were no toilets on site, it was very close to the road and offered little privacy, so we filled up our LifeStraw Go drink bottles and headed a hundred metres down the road to the Big River Camp.

We had read online about the Big River Camp and we found what we were expecting to see – a substantial bush camp site extending from grassed clearings on both sides of the Big River Road into the surrounding forest; especially on the south side away from the creek. The site has toilets and is perfect for large, social groups travelling with dirt bikes, multiple caravans or trailers.

The next site on our list was the Big River Pines Camping Area. We couldn’t find a description of the site or its location online; only a marker on Google Maps suggesting it was a short drive from the Big River Camp. What we found was a unique and picturesque site that was completely unlike the previous two sites we had just visited. We were surrounded by a cluster of tall, thin pine trees that were covered with ivy and surrounded by small palms. The pines shielded us from the nearby road and provided us with glimpses of the sun; creating a beautiful, semi-secluded camp site that highlighted the amazing elements and aspects of winter camping. This was a place we were keen to stay.

Despite the impression that the Big River Pines made on us, we decided to continue on to visit as many camp sites as we could along the road; stopping at eleven more by 12:30pm. As we walked around and took photos of each site, we realised halfway through our journey that we needed to devise a system for taking notes that would allow us to compare sites, plan future trips and to provide useful information to other campers. The criteria that we decided to assess each camp site on included:

  • Privacy – are we able to camp in a private area hidden from other campers or are we always exposed to all campers at the site?
  • Vegetation – is the camp site surrounded by lush greenery or blackberries, creepers or other weeds?
  • Facilities – are there toilets and are fires allowed?
  • Accessibility – is this camp site suitable for caravans or is this a tent-based camp site?
  • Exposure – does the forest provide a protective canopy or is the camp site open to the elements?
  • Waterways – does the camp site have good access to the river for water, bathing or swimming or is there no river access?
  • Traffic – is the camp site secluded or is it located next to or near a road?
  • Notes – are there any specific features or notes that we should consider in the future?

With our new system in place, we found it much easier to summarise each site using a simple table. To download a copy of our camp site assessment table, please click here.

Standing among the trees at our final camp site – Peppermint Ridge – and with the sound of the Big River in the background, we discussed our options and narrowed our choices down to three; Big River Pines, Frenchmans Creek and Peppermint Ridge. We ranked them in order of preference – based on the features that we liked most, the time we had left and the weather – and decided that while Peppermint Ridge was our favourite, we would spend the night at the Big River Pines. We felt that the close proximity of the site to the road, made it less likely that we would have a chance in the future to camp without cars and dirt bikes disturbing us. The overcast, foggy weather was another factor as it added to the atmosphere at the Big River Pines that we were unlikely to experience in the warmer months. With our decision made, we hopped back into the Hilux and headed back down Big River Road to get settled in.

Our adventure to visit the camp sites had taken a lot longer than we had expected, so it wasn’t until almost 1:30pm that we had the tent set up and headed back to Marysville for lunch. We would have taken lunch with us had we expected to spend so much of the day driving, but the promise of a parma from the Duck Inn made the 40 minute drive a little easier.

As we made the final turn into Darwin Street, the Hilux came to a complete stop. With the Duck Inn only a few feet away, we were stuck in the middle of the road with no idea why we weren’t moving despite the engine still running. Despite our best efforts – and with the car feeling like the brakes were stuck on – we put the hazard lights on, stood on the side of the road and called RACV for help. For twenty five more minutes we sat, thankful that the car had stopped in the centre of town where we had reception, but genuinely annoyed that we could see other people enjoying their parmas.

When the RACV mechanic arrived, we explained the issue we were experiencing. We were immediately asked to put the Hilux back into H2 mode and reverse gently; after which we heard a loud ‘thunk’ and the car returned to normal. As we were completely clueless as to what had just happened, the mechanic spent the next twenty minutes explaining how four-wheel drive systems work; drawing diagrams of differentials, axles, wheels and transfer cases on our muddy rear-windshield while explaining transmission wind up. While some of the detail did sink in, we quickly realised that some of the things we were doing – driving in H4 on a hard surface with grip – was not what we should have been doing and that booking into a four-wheel drive course was probably a good idea if we didn’t want to destroy the car!

With the Hilux now working and safely parked, we headed in to the Duck Inn, only to find that lunch service finished at 2:30pm and the kitchen was now closed. Needless to say we were disappointed, but decided on a quick lunch at the local bakery. The pies were nice, but not in the same league as the parma we were hoping for. After lunch we made a quick stop at the Foodworks for some firewood and headed back to the camp site.

With the Hilux parked – and very much still in H2 mode – next to our tent, we settled in to an afternoon of relaxing in the tent and by the camp fire. We didn’t hear a car and we didn’t see any campers; only the birds and creek kept us company until dinner, where we had a roast chicken and baby spinach salad that we had brought with us. We were glad with our decision to bring at least one meal with us, as neither of us were in the mood to leave the camp to venture back to town. As night fell, the camp was quickly plunged into a darkness that surrounded us in much the same way as the early morning fog had. The camp fire and Makita torch provided all the light we needed, with only two sets of headlights briefly appearing in the distance before disappearing quickly as the cars continued along the road. After extinguishing the fire, we settled in to our sleeping bags and read until we could barely keep our eyes open. Ignoring the fact that it was barely 7:45pm, we turned off the torch and fell asleep to the sound of canopy branches swaying in the gentle night breeze.

We woke at 5:30am the next morning, agreeing that while we had had more than enough sleep, we weren’t in any rush to leave our sleeping bags to brave the cold. After a lengthy chat and an attempt to get dressed inside our sleeping bags, we set off on a morning walk to the Married Mens Camping Ground to refill our drink bottles; passing the Big River Camp and two cars unloading their dirt bikes along the way. The remainder of the morning was spent wandering about the camp site, sitting by the fire and just enjoying our surroundings. As the distant sounds of cars and dirt bikes became more frequent, we knew we had been extremely fortunate with the timing of our trip and were unlikely to have the same tranquil, secluded experience at this camp site until next winter.

useful information

The Big River Pines Camping Area: https://www.google.com.au/maps/place/Big+River+Pines+Camping+Area/

Yarra Ranges Camp Sites (Big River Section): http://www.findacamp.com.au/search-camp-sites.php?

4×4 / 4WD Transmission Wind Up – Explained: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mhTVQh7bFtw

5 Things You Should Never Do In A 4X4 Vehicle: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-Wy5ENm_lM

Big River Campsite

big river campsite

An outdoor adventure to Big River on the border of the Lake Eildon National Park.

Unlike our previous camping trip to Toorongo Falls, we were unsure of which campsite we would stay at along the Big River. The Taponga, Jimmy Bullocks, Big River, The Pines, Bulldog Flat and Burnt Bridge campsites were all within a 5 minute drive of each other, so we decided to visit each one before making our decision.

Having found such a relaxing site at Toorongo Falls, we set our standards high and set out to find a sheltered spot somewhere along the river bank.

We left the eastern suburbs at 5:30am and headed down Maroondah Highway through Wonga Park and Yering, stopping at our usual spot – Roadrunners Roadhouse in Coldstream – for breakfast. We continued along Maroondah Highway through Healesville, the Black Spur and Buxton before taking the Taggerty-Thornton Road to the Goulburn Valley Highway. Turning off the Goulburn Valley Highway, we started the 45 minute journey along Eildon-Jamieson Road; winding our way through incredible bush landscapes that ranged from rugged hills with open woodlands through to dense forest. Google Maps guided us until a few kilometres from the Taponga campsite, which was relatively well signed and accessible by car or caravan.

We arrived at the Taponga campsite 8:30am to find a large, protected campsite that was empty but close to the road and set back from the river. We spent a few minutes walking through the campsite, finding the river hidden at the end of a walking track and surrounded by dense bush. While the campsite was certainly nice, the sound of the passing cars and location of the river made it easy to eliminate the site from our list of options. We hopped back in the Hilux and found the Jimmy Bullocks site only a few hundred metres down the road. This site, while close to the road and set back from the river, was popular with motorbikes and caravans as it was easily accessible and had a range of large sites to choose from.

Like the Taponga site, we crossed Jimmy Bullocks off our list and continued along down the road to the Big River campsite.

When we arrived at the Big River site, we were immediately optimistic; a large campsite, only one other tent set up and no noise from passing traffic. We drove through the site and found a short walking track that led to the pebbled river bank. We walked along the track to find what we had been searching for; a flat, shaded spot set up on the river bank with only the sound of birds and the flowing river for company. We stopped for a few minutes to take in our surroundings and snap a few selfies, before reluctantly returning to the Hilux to visit the remaining three campsites.

Of the remaining three campsites, Burnt Bridge offered the most appealing alternative to our spot at Big River. Driving through what seemed like an endless maze of twisting tracks and sites, we arrived at the end of the main track to find an incredible view through the forest, out to the river and pebbled banks. We decided that it might be a better spot for camping during the cooler months, as the views were spectacular but our tent would be unprotected from the sun.

Unfortunately, The Pines was closed due to back burning, and while the Bulldog Flat was an amazing site surrounded by gorgeous forest, we were keen to camp by the river. We knew we had our ideal spot, so we headed back to get settled in.

We set the tent up and unpacked our latest ‘glamping’ purchases – two Wanderer KingCamp100 mattresses and two LifeStraw Go drink bottles from Rays Outdoors. We don’t mind roughing it up while hiking, but drive-in camping – for us – is about relaxing and enjoyment. We visited a range of outdoor stores and tried every available self-inflating mattress, with the KingCamp100 being by far the most comfortable and akin to sleeping on a comfortable bed at home.

They did take up a bit more space in the tent than we were expecting, but it’s certainly a sacrifice we are prepared to make!

Having spent some time exploring the campsite and enjoying the view from the tent, we set off along down the road to Jamieson for lunch. The 45 minute journey to Jamieson was equally as beautiful as the drive from Eildon to the campsite, with the landscape changing constantly as we moved through the hills and valleys. We crossed the Goulburn River and made our way to the town centre, where we hoped to try the parma from the pub. While the barman was friendly, the pub was very dark, empty and uninviting, so we headed down the street to Deb’s Jamieson Cafe. Our eyes may have been larger than our stomachs, as we ordered three pies, a sausage roll and chips to share. Unfortunately we had to sit inside the cafe as the town was inundated with wasps fleeing from the back burning, but it did give us a chance to chat to some other people who were visiting the town. The food was very nice and the staff were more than happy to provide some suggestions for things to see and do in the local area. It was a really enjoyable lunch and we’d certainly recommend the cafe to anyone passing through Jamieson.

After lunch, we retreated to our tent for a nap and some reading. We had spent a large part of the day driving, so it was nice to relax and enjoy a lazy afternoon with the sound of the river in the background.

Well rested and still keen to sample a local parma, we set off for Eildon at 5:30pm. After another 45 minute drive, we arrived to find a town that was far quieter than we were expecting for a Friday night. We drove through the town centre and along some of the main streets, but didn’t manage to find any restaurants or a pub worth visiting. Slightly disappointed, we jumped on Google and found what seemed to be our only option; the Aqua Bar & Café. The reviews ranged from good to bad, with one review from Junnay on Trip Advisor being fairly reflective of our experience:

This place is in a fantastic location overlooking the houseboat mariner and Lake Eildon and could be an absolute gem, but it’s very lacklustre when it comes to the food and service. They try hard, but just can’t quite get it together. It’s really hit and miss, some days good, others terrible. Maybe just go for the views and have a drink? – Junnay (Melbourne)

The food was ok but not worth returning for, with the biggest disappointment being a coin-flip between not offering a parma on the menu and the standard of the desserts. We sampled a few of the cakes, but none came close to matching the promise they had while they were sitting in the display fridge. The staff were friendly and the view was nice, but the restaurant may survive simply by being the only option in a quiet town. If we had to go back we would, but only because there isn’t another choice.

As we drove back to the camp, the forest seemed to envelope us; with only glimpses visible as the Hilux’s headlights pierced through the darkness. We drove slowly and made the most of the blackened journey, listening to music and chatting about life until we reached the campsite. It wasn’t long before we were tucked up safely in our sleeping bags, delighted in our decision to splash out on new mattresses. As with our previous trip, the sound of the gently flowing river sent us gently to sleep.

We woke early the next morning and in no great rush to get out of our sleeping bags. We spent close to an hour reading in the tent and talking until we mustered up the courage to brave the river for a morning dip. Unsurprisingly, the water was as cold as we were expecting it to be, but it did wake us up and helped kick-start us into gear. We reluctantly packed up the tent and loaded our bags into the Hilux, ready for the drive home. We stopped for breakfast at the 4-Ways Cafe and Diner and were greeted by a lovely owner who was more than happy to chat and ask us about our adventure. We tucked into the sort of breakfast that can only be justified while on an adventure – a schnitzel roll with a yo-yo cookie – before completing the final leg of the drive home.

review

The Big River Campsite is a fantastic campsite for all types of campers. Whether you prefer a tent, a caravan or a swag, it really is a great place to visit and is easily accessible by car, 4WD, truck or bike. The two and a half hour drive from the eastern suburbs is a little bit further than other places you could camp – and the nearest towns are 45 minutes from the site – so we would recommend bringing your own food if you wanted to stay more than one night. We’ll certainly be revisiting the area soon to camp at the Burnt Bridge site.

useful information

The Big River Campsite: http://findacamp.com.au/camp-site.php?pc=marysville&dis=100&camp=1569

Wanderer KingCamp100 Mattress: http://www.raysoutdoors.com.au/Product/Wanderer-KingCamp100-Self-Inflatable-Mat/521024?menuFrom=5041109

LifeStraw Go Drink Bottles: http://lifestraw.com/products/lifestraw-go/

Deb’s Jamieson Cafe https://www.tripadvisor.com.au/Restaurant_Review-g552188-d8512705-Reviews-Deb_s-Jamieson_Victoria.html

The Aqua Bar and Cafe: https://www.tripadvisor.com.au/Restaurant_Review-g552167-d4791777-Reviews-AQUA_Bar_Cafe_Lake_Eildon-Eildon_Victoria.html

Toorongo Falls Campsite

toorongo falls campsite

Australia Day is a perfect day to get away for a short trip; and what better way to relax and celebrate, than by camping by a river.

We left the eastern suburbs at 6:00am and headed down Maroondah Highway through Ringwood and Lilydale, before turning off onto the Warburton Highway toward Seville. It was an easy drive along relatively quiet highways until Yarra Junction, where the scenery changed as we made our way along Yarra Junction – Noojee Road.  Google Maps guided us all the way through Noojee to the campsite, which was well signed and easily accessible by car or caravan.

We arrived at 7:45am to find that the main campsite – a large, open clearing set 20m – 30m back from the river and surrounded by mature Mountain Ash and Blackwood wattles – had already proved quite popular, with two dozen tents and caravans already set up from the night before. We were surprised to find that no one had chosen to set up camp next to the river, so we happily picked the best of four sites and set up our tent.

In keeping with our previous short camping trips, we decided against bringing food with us; opting instead to support the local community by exploring the local shops, cafes and pubs.

With the tent set up, we hopped  back into the Hilux and headed to the Noojee General Store for breakfast. The owners were very welcoming and breakfast – bacon and eggs on toast – was lovely. Unfortunately all of the newspapers had sold out  by 8:30am and phone reception was essentially non-existent, so we’d recommend dropping in early if you plan on keeping up to date on the news.

After breakfast, we made our way back to the campsite and prepared for a morning of bush walking. The forecast was for a warm day and we were expecting a few flies and bugs to be about, so we applied ‘some’ Bushman Heavy Duty Insect Repellent; which we later realised was completely unnecessary. The river and waterfalls are surrounded by a lush, wet sclerophyll forest, which is extremely well shaded, cool and almost completely free flies and bugs that might annoy you while bush walking.

We set off from our campsite, along the road that led us to a secondary campsite that was less shaded but better suited for caravans and large, multi-person tents. We found a formed track at the end of the campsite that ran along the river and took us to the start of the Toorongo Falls and Amphitheatre Falls loop. The track was well formed, with relatively few steep sections and plenty of great places to stop and take photos. There were quite a few tour groups and bush walkers on the track, but they were barely audible over the sounds of the river and local wildlife. While the walk and views of the Toorongo Falls were certainly nice, the walk to the Amphitheatre Falls – and views once we were there – were even better. We spent half an hour or so just sitting on a fallen tree trunk at the top of the water fall, enjoying the sound of the falling water and spectacular views to the river below. It was definitely a morning well spent and a track that is worth revisiting.

We relaxed in the tent for an hour until lunch, where we headed to the Outpost Restaurant and Toolshed Bar. We ordered a traditional parma and a homemade lamb and rosemary pie; both of which were excellent and well priced. The staff were lovely, the cider was cold and we couldn’t help but relax as we enjoyed our lunch surrounded by gorgeous gardens and forest. After lunch, we did the only thing we had energy left to do – relax! We spent some time reading before taking a dip in the river, which was quite nice after we got over the initial shock of the genuinely cold water. The rest of the afternoon was spent listening to the river and reading while relaxing in the tent.

As the sun started to fall, we headed back into Noojee for dinner at the Noojee Hotel. We sat outside on the balcony that overlooks the river and ordered another two parmas. Two parmas in a day might be considered too many for some people, but that’s how I tend to judge the quality of a pub or casual restaurant. If they can’t get a traditional parma right, what chance do they have with twice-cooked pork belly or pan-seared barramundi? We weren’t disappointed, as the food and service matched the picturesque view and capped off an amazing day. We made our way back to our tent in time to enjoy the sunset, after which we climbed into our sleeping bags and continued to read. While not overly useful for building fences, the Makita 18V cordless torch does come in handy for reading by torchlight. At 10:00pm we turned the torches off, made ourselves comfortable and fell asleep to the sound of the gently flowing river.

The next morning we woke to the sunrise and sounds of birds chirping. In no great rush, we packed up the tent and headed back home, deciding to stop at the Noojee Trestle Bridge on the way to walk part of the rail trail. The bridge itself is an impressive structure, with information boards at the base of the bridge providing an interesting overview of the bridges construction and history.

review

The Toorongo Falls Campsite is a great place to get away for a weekend. The campsite and surrounding forest is well worth the hour and a half drive, and the neighbouring towns offer quality restaurants and cafes to choose from if you decide not to bring any food. We’ll certainly be returning to camp by the river at some stage this year.

useful information

The Toorongo Falls Campsite: http://www.findacamp.com.au/camp-site.php?camp=112

Noojee, VIC: http://www.visitvictoria.com/Regions/gippsland/Destinations/noojee.aspx

The Noojee General Store: https://www.google.com.au/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=noojee+general+store

The Outpost Restaurant and Toolshed Bar: http://www.theoutpostretreat.com/index.html

The Noojee Hotel: http://www.noojeehotel.com.au/