Oh, for a life to be surrounded by nature, bird calls and crisp morning dew, starting the day with a stretch in a sunbeam after a cosy campervan slumber!

Whilst camp-life and van-life might not be for everyone, with its outside bathroom facilities, showerless atmosphere, smoky hair and ‘camp pants’, there’s something to be said about the sense of adventure and outdoor lifestyle can offer and the endless opportunities for discovery once you strip back down to nature.

Waking up in the heart of Central Victoria is a delight as you crawl out of a tent flap or stretch your legs delicately as you emerge from the womb of a campervan. A shuffle of the leftover coals from the night before and a gentle prod of a newly kindled fire draws upon childhood memories. When did we stop camping and start flying around the world and staying in resorts?

We have parked our sweet Toyota re-fitted van in the dress circle position alongside the Loddon River at the Warburtons Bridge Camping Ground. I’ve brought my original jaffle iron along, ready to prepare a molten baked-bean parcel which has already blistered my lips in anticipation.

Our van is just down the road from the popular picnic mecca of Vaughan Springs, known for its Big Red Knob lookout, fresh spring water pump and a massive 10-metre-long metal slide (warning: do not slide down this on a scorching hot summer day while wearing a skirt).

Vaughan Springs offers an excellent camping destination, filled will all the daytime activities required for the young (and young at heart) and includes a premium breezeblock toilet setting for privacy along with firepits, perfect for a ghost story or two… a perfect distraction from the extinct volcano lurking nearby…

The small volcanic crater is Lalgambook (Mount Franklin), located approximately 10 minutes from Daylesford. This adventure destination is a complete treasure trove for the happiest of campers! Spend your hours wandering up to the flat top of the crater, walking through the mysterious pine forest and return to your site for some fireside yarns — all within the belly of the volcano. There’s a toilet block, firepits, barbeque grills and picnic tables to complete your outdoor experience.

If you have room to bring the bikes, Harcourt’s Oak Forest is an offroad rider’s playground. Pick your park, set up and get adventuring around the many mountain bike tracks through the unique woods and into the world class La Larr Ba Gauwa Park mountain bike park. Along the way, stock up on apple pies and jars of local cider at the Harcourt Apple Juice road stall to see you through the night.

A short drive to the south west, squirrel away some delicious bakery treats at Creswick’s Le Péché Gourmand before getting fireside at nearby Slaty Creek Campsite. Surrounded by bush, a curious mob of roos, and a friendly wombat or two, you will want to warm your belly with a mug of hot choc and a fresh croissant before settling into your sleeping bag under the stars.

Central Victoria offers a premium selection of campsites to explore and, depending on who you are travelling with, you can set up confidently for one or for a whole family gathering.

Once you find your camping comfort zone, the sky’s the limit to where your next outdoor adventure can take you. So, pull on your camp pants, as a free mini weekend adventure in the wilderness awaits!

Hero image: Andy Chappell

Hot fireside spots:

  • Vaughan Springs Campsite, Vaughan Springs
  • Warburtons Bridge Campsite, Vaughan
  • Lalgambook (Mount Franklin)
  • Oak Forest, Harcourt
  • Slaty Creek Campsite, Creswick

* Always check campsite info before you travel to get the latest news and restrictions.
parks.vic.gov.au or visithepburnshire.com.au


  • Tent
  • Sleeping bag
  • Pillow
  • Torch
  • Jaffle iron
  • Matches
  • Can of beans
  • Toilet paper
  • Birds of Australia guide
  • Binoculars
  • Camp pants
  • Sense of adventure

About the author

Ali Webb House of Webb
Ali Webb, House of Webb
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Kyneton-based Ali Webb adventures the state as a tiny tourist, exploring the littlest to the largest corners of our sweet slice of Victorian heaven.

A writer, a publicist, an artist manager and a downright good human being, Ali’s a curious cat, always on the hunt for a tale to share, especially if it involves digging for treasure in a local secondhand haven, scouring the seasonal delights of our favourite kitchens or simply finding a golden spot to pitch her tent after a day of bushwalking. Follow her tiny tourist tracks across the state at @houseofwebb.