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Best Free Campgrounds near Castlemaine

Posted 22/01/2021 in Places

The Castlemaine region hosts a great collection of fantastic free campgrounds! 

Whether you're looking to explore historical sites, set up camp for a weekend of gold prospecting, or settle in at a scenic spot by the river, you're sure to find the perfect destination for your next camping trip. 

I know I'm always on the lookout for free campgrounds near me, so I thought I'd put together this handy list. This collection covers all the best campgrounds within thirty minutes of Castlemaine and includes distance from town, visitor facilities, things to do, and whether you can bring your dog along with you!


  • Distance from Castlemaine: 12 mins
  • Location: Irishtown
  • Facilities: Fire pit, table
  • Things to do: Walking, gold prospecting, explore local history
  • Dogs allowed: No
Chokem Flat is a free bush campground within the fascinating Castlemaine Diggings National Heritage Park, an area filled with history and popular for gold prospecting. 

A huge clearing alongside Fryers Creek provides plenty of room for tents, caravans and RVs. 

Warburtons Bridge Campground

  • Distance from Castlemaine: 15 mins
  • Location: Glenluce
  • Facilities: Picnic tables, wood fire barbecues, fire pits, toilets
  • Things to do: Swimming, fishing, gold prospecting
  • 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. 

Red, White and Blue Recreation Area

  • Distance from Castlemaine: 15 mins
  • Location: Muckleford
  • Facilities: Picnic tables, wood fire barbecues
  • Things to do: Walking, cycling, gold prospecting, explore the historic mine site and poppet head right alongside the campground, walk to nearby Dunns Reef mine site.
  • Dogs allowed: Yes
The Red, White and Blue Mine in the Muckleford State Forest is a fascinating place for camping, barbecues and bushwalks. 

The historic mine is a sight to behold, with an intact poppet head, a mine shaft, machinery site, mullock heap and dams. 

The poppet head was originally from the Bendigo Deborah United Mine. 

There are multiple picnic tables scattered around the area, each with its own wood fire barbecue, and several tables have great views over the water of the dams.

Oven Rock Campground

  • Distance from Castlemaine: 16 mins
  • Location: Between Chewton and Elphinstone
  • Facilities: Fire pits, natural rock oven
  • Things to do: Walking, cycling, trail bike riding
  • Dogs allowed: Yes
There's a neat little hidden gem tucked away in the bushland between Chewton and Elphinstone - a rock oven set in the end of a hillside outcrop, overlooking a campsite below! 

The rock oven is easily spotted up the hill at the far end of the campground clearing, with a narrow track leading up to it. 

The Oven Rock campground is a great little informal bush camp with plenty of space. 

This campground is unstructured and has no visitor facilities aside from a few informal fire pits.

Leanganook Campground

Leanganook Campground is a fantastic spot in the stunning Mount Alexander Regional Park. 

Visitors can enjoy the area through camping, picnicking, bushwalking and birdwatching, and beautiful views can be appreciated from multiple nearby lookout points. 

Vaughan Springs

  • Distance from Castlemaine: 17 mins
  • Location: Vaughan
  • Facilities: Picnic tables, electric barbecues, giant hillside slide, mineral spring taps, toilets
  • Things to do: Walking, swimming, fishing, taste mineral spring water, check out the adjacent historical Chinese Cemetery and the fascinating Red Knob Mining Landscape down the road. 
  • 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 or camp at 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

Butts Reserve

  • Distance from Castlemaine: 19 mins
  • Location: Maldon
  • Facilities: Picnic tables, wood fire barbecues, fire pits, toilets
  • Things to do: Gold prospecting, walk to Mount Tarrengower Lookout Tower, explore the historic sites of Maldon.
  • Dogs allowed: Yes
Butts Reserve is a great campground beneath Mt Tarrengower. 

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, a massive poppet head lookout which offers panoramic views over Maldon and the surrounding areas.

Mount Franklin

  • Distance from Castlemaine: 26 mins
  • Location: Mount Franklin
  • Facilities: Picnic tables, wood fire barbecues, fire pits, toilets
  • Things to do: Walk to lookout
  • Dogs allowed: Yes
A gorgeous and peaceful campground rests within the scenic crater of an extinct volcano at Mount Franklin. 

Bordered by conifer forest, the crater has been decorated with ornamental trees such as Silver Birch, White Poplar, Sycamore and Californian Redwoods. 

A large, central lawn area is surrounded by a ring of campsites with picnic tables and wood fire barbecues. 





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