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Best free campgrounds near Bendigo

Posted 13/01/2021 in Places


The Bendigo region hosts a huge collection of fantastic free campgrounds! Many are located very close to town over in the Greater Bendigo National Park and up along the gorgeous Campaspe River. Plenty of the campgrounds throughout the region are great spots for swimming, gold prospecting and bushwalking. This massive list covers all the campgrounds within an hour of Bendigo and includes distance from town, visitor facilities, things to do, and whether you can bring your dog along with you!


Lions Park Rest Area, Huntly VIC

  • Distance from Bendigo: 12 mins
  • Facilities: Undercover areas, electric barbecue, picnic tables, toilets, walking track
  • Things to do: Bushwalking
  • Dogs allowed: Yes
The Lions Park Rest Area in Huntly is a conveniently located free campground on the outskirts of Bendigo. There is room to pitch tents and park RVs around a central gravel area, and there is a small picnic rotunda as well as a separate undercover electric barbecue area. 

Click for more info on the Lions Park Rest Area.


Notley Campground, Whipstick VIC

  • Distance from Bendigo: 16 mins
  • Facilities: Picnic tables, wood fire barbecues, large undercover picnic area, toilets, walking tracks
  • Things to do: Bushwalking, gold prospecting
  • Dogs allowed: No
Explore the natural and historical treasures of the Whipstick area from Notleys, a fantastic free camping area within the Greater Bendigo National Park. This area is popular for bushwalking and gold prospecting. Visitor facilities include picnic tables, a large picnic shelter, wood fire barbecues, toilets and walking tracks. 



Happy Jacks Reserve, Lockwood VIC

  • Distance from Bendigo: 18 mins
  • Facilities: Picnic tables, free electric barbecue, undercover areas, toilets, sports oval, small playground
  • Things to do: Bushwalking
  • Dogs allowed: Yes
This excellent reserve stretches along the bank of Bullock Creek in Lockwood and features a free camping area, picnic area, playground and sports oval. The campground consists of a large, lightly treed area along the creek, located to the right when you enter the reserve on Glen Road. There is plenty of room to set up tents and park caravans/RVs. The picnic and play area is separate to the campground, but located a short walk through the reserve. 

Click for more info on Happy Jacks Reserve.


Bullock Campground, Marong VIC

  • Distance from Bendigo: 18 mins
  • Facilities: Picnic tables, walking track
  • Things to do: Bushwalking around scenic reservoir, gold prospecting, ruins of historic distillery site
  • Dogs allowed: Yes
This basic bush campground is set at an old distillery site in the bushland off Bullock Road, between Lockwood and Marong. Several features of the old distillery are still present, including brick ruins and multiple vats. The campground is located right beneath the small and scenic Green Gully Reservoir, where visitors can enjoy bushwalking and birdwatching. 



Barnadown Streamside Reserve, Muskerry VIC

  • Distance from Bendigo: 24 mins
  • Facilities: None
  • Things to do: Swimming, fishing, kayaking
  • Dogs allowed: Yes
Barnadown Streamside Reserve is a peaceful free camping area along the bank of the Campaspe River. This is a basic bush campsite with no visitor facilities, so campers must be self sufficient. Large clear areas provide plenty of room along the river to set up camp. 

Click for more info on Barnadown Streamside Reserve


Rocky Crossing, Goornong VIC

  • Distance from Bendigo: 25 mins
  • Facilities: None
  • Things to do: Swimming, fishing, kayaking
  • Dogs allowed: Yes
Rocky Crossing is a picturesque spot on the Campaspe River, where the water rushes through a shallow, rocky section creating swirling rapids and a few seasonal rockpools. A day visit parking area sits to the left of Rocky Crossing Road, and to the right is a free camping area which stretches along the bank of the river offering beautiful views over the water. No facilities are available here, campers must be self sufficient. 



Englishs Bridge Streamside Reserve, Goornong VIC

  • Distance from Bendigo: 26 mins
  • Facilities: Picnic tables, wood fire barbecues
  • Things to do: Swimming, fishing, kayaking
  • Dogs allowed: Yes
Englishs Bridge Streamside Reserve is a great swimming and camping spot along the Campaspe River, just half an hour from Bendigo. Set up camp and take a dip alongside the bridge, bring the rods for an afternoon of fishing, or head off on a kayaking adventure down the scenic river. 

Click for more info on Englishs Bridge Streamside Reserve


Avonmore Streamside Reserve, Avonmore VIC

  • Distance from Bendigo: 32 mins
  • Facilities: None
  • Things to do: Fishing, kayaking
  • Dogs allowed: Yes
A great spot for fishing, this peaceful bushland campground stretches along the bank of the Campaspe River in Avonmore. The bank is steep at this section of the Campaspe River but it is fairly easy to get down to the water, find a flat spot to set up chairs, and settle in for a day of fishing. Please note that there are no visitor facilities here so campers must be self-sufficient. 2wd and caravan/RV access is fine in dry conditions.

Click for more info on Avonmore Streamside Reserve.


Rush Dam Camping Area, Kamarooka VIC

  • Distance from Bendigo: 33 mins
  • Facilities: Picnic table, wood fire barbecue
  • Things to do: Bushwalking, gold prospecting
  • Dogs allowed: No
This basic free camping area sits alongside Rush Dam in the Greater Bendigo National Park, featuring a single picnic table and wood fire barbecue. There are lots of clear areas around this spot to set up camp, and the area is popular for gold prospecting. The interesting remains of a gold puddling machine lies directly beside the picnic area. 



Butts Reserve, Maldon VIC

  • Distance from Bendigo: 34 mins
  • Facilities: Picnic tables, wood fire barbecues, undercover area, toilets
  • Things to do: Bushwalking, gold prospecting
  • Dogs allowed: Yes
Butts Reserve is a great campground beneath Mt Tarrengower, featuring picnic tables, wood fire barbecues, bins, toilets, and water taps along the back of the toilet block. There is also a large undercover area with a concrete floor located separate to the picnic area. Campsites are scattered through a lightly treed area and surrounded by hillsides of huge boulders. These rocky slopes are great for kids to climb! If you continue up the mountain on Mt Tarrengower Road you will soon come to the Mt Tarrengower Lookout Tower, a massive tower which offers panoramic views over Maldon and the surrounding areas.



Laanecoorie River Recreation Reserve, Laanecoorie VIC

  • Distance from Bendigo: 34 mins
  • Facilities: Picnic tables, wood fire barbecues, toilets, boat ramp
  • Things to do: Swimming, boating, fishing, bushwalking
  • Dogs allowed: Yes
The Laanecoorie River Recreation Reserve is a fantastic campground along the Loddon River in the quiet town of Laanecoorie. The campground contains multiple picnic tables, wood fire barbecues, water taps, rubbish bins and toilets. A great walking track travels off along the Loddon River, beginning at the Janevale Bridge and travelling an easy 1.2km to the Laanecoorie Reservoir Weir - a lovely spot overlooking the Laanecoorie Reservoir and weir with spectacular views. 



Leanganook Campground, Harcourt North VIC

  • Distance from Bendigo: 36 mins
  • Facilities: Picnic tables, wood fire barbecues, toilets, walking tracks
  • Things to do: Bushwalking, visit nearby lookouts and historic sites
  • Dogs allowed: No
The Leanganook Campground is located off Joseph Young Drive in the Mount Alexander Regional Park. Multiple campsites are spread around the central picnic area, and facilities include picnic tables, wood fire barbecues, fire pits, toilets and water taps. Visitors can enjoy the Mount Alexander Regional Park through picnicking, bushwalking and birdwatching, and beautiful views can be appreciated from multiple nearby lookout points including Lang's LookoutDog Rocks and Shepherd's Flat. The stunning West Ridge Walking Track begins at Lang's Lookout and connects these lookouts in a four kilometre adventure across the mountain. 



Oven Rock Campground, Eliphinstone VIC

  • Distance from Bendigo: 40 mins
  • Facilities: Fire pits, rock oven
  • Things to do: Bushwalking, cook in the hillside rock oven, explore the nearby Castlemaine Diggings National Heritage Park
  • Dogs allowed: Yes
The Oven Rock campground in Elphinstone is a great little informal bush camp with plenty of space and a unique rock oven up on the hillside. This campground is unstructured and has no visitor facilities aside from a few informal fire pits - although someone has placed an open-air toilet around the side of the hill for anyone who's game enough (this toilet overlooks the road!). Although basic, this campground is in a fantastic location to explore the natural and historical treasures of the nearby Castlemaine Diggings National Heritage Park. 



Aysons Campground, Burnewang VIC

  • Distance from Bendigo: 41 mins
  • Facilities: Undercover area, toilets, boat ramp
  • Things to do: Swimming, boating, fishing, walking
  • Dogs allowed: Yes
Aysons is a fantastic free camping area along the Campaspe River, 40 minutes from Bendigo. The campground has all the benefits of being situated beside a large river including plenty of swimming spots, fish, a boat ramp, beautiful views and an opportunity for birdwatching. 



Chokem Flat Campground, Irishtown VIC

  • Distance from Bendigo: 43 mins
  • Facilities: Wooden table (no seats), fire pit
  • Things to do: Bushwalking, gold prospecting
  • Dogs allowed: Yes
Chokem Flat is a free bush campground within the fascinating Castlemaine Diggings National Heritage Park. A large clearing alongside Fryers Creek provides plenty of room for tents, caravans, RVs, and camper trailers.



Warburtons Bridge Campground, Glenluce VIC

  • Distance from Bendigo: 46 mins
  • Facilities: Picnic tables, wood fire barbecues, toilets
  • Things to do: Swimming, fishing
  • Dogs allowed: Yes
Located within a bend of the scenic Loddon River, Warburtons Bridge in Glenluce is a spacious campground featuring multiple picnic tables, wood fire barbecues, fire pits and a toilet. Campsites sit right alongside the river with views of some beautiful rocky outcrops on the surrounding hillsides. Warburtons Bridge is located within the Castlemaine Diggings National Heritage Park which harbours and protects culturally significant landscape and relics of the Victorian gold rush. 



Waanyarra Recreation Site, Waanyarra VIC

  • Distance from Bendigo: 46 mins
  • Facilities: Picnic tables, wood fire barbecue, undercover area, walking track, toilets
  • Things to do: Bushwalking, gold prospecting, explore nearby historic sites
  • Dogs allowed: Yes
The Waanyarra Recreation Site is a large campground in the Dunolly State Forest which is popular for bushwalking and gold prospecting. Explore the historic sites of the area including the historic cemetery, early burial ground, and the gorgeous 19th century Morton's Inn.



Vaughan Springs, Vaughan VIC

  • Distance from Bendigo: 48 mins
  • Facilities: Picnic tables, electric barbecues, undercover area, mineral spring taps, toilets
  • Things to do: Swimming, fishing, bushwalking
  • Dogs allowed: No

Formerly a large gold rush town called "The Junction", Vaughan Springs was a favoured alluvial gold and market gardening area for Chinese miners. Today you can visit the mineral springs and take a stroll along the beautiful Loddon River, sample the mineral water from provided taps or go for a swim, all to the beautiful sound of birds singing in the trees.

Click for more info on Vaughan Springs.


Moliagul Campground, Moliagul VIC

  • Distance from Bendigo: 48 mins
  • Facilities: Picnic tables, electric barbecue, toilets
  • Things to do: Gold prospecting, bushwalking, explore historic sites
  • Dogs allowed: Yes
This great campground in Moliagul is equipped with an undercover BBQ area, picnic tables, toilets and rubbish bins. The campground features an interesting memorial to John Flynn, founder of the Flying Doctor Service, who was born in Moliagul in 1880. The area is extremely popular for gold prospecting. The world's largest alluvial gold nugget ever discovered in the world was unearthed here in Moliagul in 1869 by two lucky Cornish miners. Click here to read more about the famous Welcome Stranger nugget and its discovery.



Greens Lake, Corop VIC


  • Distance from Bendigo: 52 mins
  • Facilities: Picnic tables, toilets, boat ramp
  • Things to do: Swimming, boating, fishing
  • Dogs allowed: Yes
Set up camp along the shore of Greens Lake and settle in for a relaxing weekend of swimming, fishing or boating. Free camping is permitted along a huge area of the foreshore at this popular lake-side campground, where picnic tables and toilets are available for visitor use. While this campground can get very busy, there is definitely plenty of space along the shore to accommodate many campers. 



Welcome Stranger Monument and Picnic Area, Moliagul VIC

  • Distance from Bendigo: 52 mins
  • Facilities: Picnic tables, wood fire barbecues, walking track
  • Things to do: Bushwalking, gold prospecting
  • Dogs allowed: Yes
The Welcome Stranger monument and picnic area is a peaceful, fascinating and educational place to go for a barbecue or a picnic lunch. There is an intriguing bushwalk through the area where the famous Welcome Stranger gold nugget was discovered in 1869. Gold prospecting is popular here, but please note that prospecting is not permitted within the direct vicinity of the picnic area, monument and discovery walk.



Melville Caves Campground, Brenanah VIC


  • Distance from Bendigo: 54 mins
  • Facilities: Picnic tables, wood fire barbecues, undercover area, walking tracks, toilets
  • Things to do: Bushwalking, explore nearby caves
  • Dogs allowed: Yes
Explore the spectacular Melville Caves within the Kooyoora State Park, named after the notorious bushranger, Captain Melville who supposedly used the caves as a hiding place in the mid 1800s. The Melville Caves Campground is located just down the road from the caves and makes a great spot to set up camp and enjoy the gorgeous sights and bushwalks throughout the area. 



Mount Korong, Glenalbyn VIC

  • Distance from Bendigo: 54 mins
  • Facilities: None
  • Things to do: Bushwalking, gold prospecting, rock climbing
  • Dogs allowed: Yes
Mount Korong is a beautiful granite outcrop located between Inglewood and Wedderburn. Countless gigantic boulders are heaped across the mountain and surrounding hills, creating unique shapes, caverns and spectacular scenery. A short climb up any hillside is rewarded with stunning views down over the rocky landscape, which is particularly attractive when the grass is green during winter/spring. Mount Korong is fantastic for bushwalking, free camping, birdwatching and rock climbing.



Hard Hill Tourist Reserve, Wedderburn VIC

  • Distance from Bendigo: 57 mins
  • Facilities: Picnic tables, wood fire barbecues, undercover areas, walking tracks, toilets
  • Things to do: Bushwalking, gold prospecting, explore the site's historical features including a reconstructed gold puddler, stamp battery, mine adit and eucalyptus stew pot.
  • Dogs allowed: Yes
The Hard Hill Tourist Reserve in Wedderburn is an excellent free campground filled with interesting historical features. Explore gold rush history as you stroll through the reserve and discover a reconstructed gold puddler, a stamp battery by the entrance, and a mine adit atop the hill. Information signs teach you all about eucalyptus distillation and you can view a working eucalyptus stew pot alongside the picnic area. 



SEE ALSO

ACCOMMODATION NEARBY

Inglewood Motel and Caravan Park


Inglewood Motel and Caravan Park is a 10 acre bush park privately owned and managed by Jerry and Pauline Wellman in the gorgeous gold-rush town of Inglewood, Victoria. The park is within walking distance to cafes, shops and hotel entertainment, and is surrounded by State Forests. Inglewood Motel and Caravan Park is a popular destination for tourists and is located within the renowned Golden Triangle - a region of the Victorian Goldfields which is world famous for the size, purity, and quantity of gold nuggets found in the area. 

Wedderburn Goldseeker Motel


Wedderburn Goldseeker Motel offers classic country hospitality in the heart of Wedderburn, providing the perfect base for visitors to explore the beautiful Loddon Valley, the region's significant historical goldfields, and the surrounding towns of Inglewood, Bridgewater and Boort. Located two and a half hours from Melbourne and one hour from Bendigo, Wedderburn Goldseeker Motel is the perfect destination for your next getaway.



 

 

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