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Best spots for camping with kids in the Victorian Goldfields

Posted 24/02/2021 in Places

On the hunt for family-friendly campgrounds? There are plenty of fantastic options throughout the Victorian Goldfields! I've compiled some of my favourite spots for camping with kids to help inspire your next family weekend away. These campgrounds all offer great visitor facilities, fun things for the kids to do while you're there, and lots of interesting places to explore in the surrounding areas.

Vaughan Springs, Vaughan VIC

Beautiful view, a short walk from the camping/picnic area at Vaughan Springs
The gorgeous Vaughan Springs is a fantastic family-friendly spot to spend a weekend, located within the Castlemaine Diggings National Heritage Park. You can enjoy a range of activities including swimming, fishing, bushwalking, a giant hillside slide and mineral spring water taps, with lots of fantastic attractions to visit nearby. 

Click for more info on Vaughan Springs.

Cork Oaks Campground, Mount Beckworth VIC

Cork Oaks Campground, within the Mount Beckworth Scenic Reserve
Surrounded by rocky peaks, bushland and beautiful views, Cork Oaks is a fantastic free campground and picnic area in the Mount Beckworth Scenic Reserve. This is the perfect place to set up camp and explore the natural and historical features of Mount Beckworth. Young children will love climbing on and exploring the many boulders and trees which surround the campground at Cork Oaks, and there are several fantastic walking tracks which set out from here. 

Click for more info on Cork Oaks Campground.

Melville Caves Campground, Brenanah VIC

Set up camp at Melville Caves Campground and explore the area's spectacular lookouts, caves and scenery.
Explore the spectacular Melville Caves, named after notorious bushranger, Captain Melville who supposedly used the caves as a hiding place in the mid 1800s. The campground features multiple separate campsites with picnic tables, fire pits with wood fire barbecue plates. A large undercover area features a beautiful long wooden table which incorporates huge stone blocks into its design. This undercover area is surrounded by layers of decorative stone blocks. 

The land surrounding the campground is filled with beautiful, gigantic rock formations, and one of the campsites within the campground also features an attractive sloping mound of stone - great fun for kids to climb on. Pyrite in the rocks and gravel makes the ground sparkle beneath your feet!

Click for more info on Melville Caves Campground.

Lions Club Park, Avoca VIC

There's a great playground and picnic area at the Lions Club Park campground, Avoca VIC.
The Lions Club Park in Avoca is located on the bank of the Avoca River, and is a great spot for camping, barbecues and picnics. The camping area is a large, clear, flat area between the barbecue/playground and the creek, and offers easy access for caravans. Take a leisurely stroll along the Avoca River Nature Trail, which begins at this park and loops around the parklands alongside the river.

Click for more info on Avoca's Lions Club Park.

Smythesdale Gardens, Smythesdale VIC

Excellent picnic area at Smythesdale Gardens, Smythesdale VIC
  • Location: Smythesdale
  • Facilities: Undercover picnic area / camp kitchen, electric barbecue, microwave, toaster, kettle, picnic tables, water tap, powerpoint, fireplace, fire pits, rubbish bins, playground, walking/cycle track, toilets, showers, caravan dump point
  • Things to do at campground: Playground, walk or cycle on the Ballarat-Skipton Rail Trail which runs alongside the campground
  • Attractions nearby: Ballarat-Skipton Rail Trail, historic sites throughout the town of Smythesdale, Jubilee Mine, Devils Kitchen Geological Reserve, Happy Valley Crossing Streamside Reserve (swimming spot)
  • Dogs allowed: Yes
Easily one of the best campgrounds in the Ballarat region, Smythesdale Gardens provides outstanding visitor facilities and a massive camping area, popular for caravans and RVs. Features include a large undercover picnic shelter complete with electric barbecue, kitchen appliances, fireplaces and powerpoints, as well as a shady playground, toilets and showers. 

A huge ornamental wooden ship stands alongside the picnic area, which will be a great sight for the kids upon arrival at camp. A sign by the ship states no climbing is permitted - children may be tempted to climb, but please note that there are nails sticking out inside and lots of splinters, so be sure to have them playing in the playground area instead. 

Click for more info on Smythesdale Gardens.

Bealiba Reservoir Recreation Area, Bealiba VIC

Several picnic areas are set around the Bealiba Reservoir, Bealiba VIC
The Bealiba Reservoir Recreation area is a fantastic spot for camping, picnics, fishing, swimming, bushwalking and birdwatching. There are three picnic sites around the small reservoir, two of which are well equipped with tables, chairs and fire pits - the third is simply a firepit. The dirt tracks around the reservoir make great walking/cycling tracks, and there are several great trees for kids to climb around the picnic areas. The beautiful Mount Bealiba is located up behind the reservoir. 

Click for more info on Bealiba Reservoir.

Leanganook Campground, Harcourt North VIC

Discover the gorgeous, wild scenery of Mount Alexander while staying at Leanganook Campground
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. The stunning West Ridge Walking Track sets out from the campground and connects these lookouts in a four kilometre adventure across the mountain. 

Click for more info on Leanganook Campground.

Slaty Creek Campground No 1, Cabbage Tree VIC

Shady picnic area alongside Slaty Creek
Slaty Creek Campground Number 1 is a great spot to bring the kids for a weekend of gold panning in the seasonal creek! This is the first of three campsites along Slaty Creek within the Creswick Regional Park. This area is fantastic for bushwalking, birdwatching and gold prospecting.

Click for more info on Slaty Creek Campground No 1.

Lake Burrumbeet Foreshore Camping Area, Burrumbeet VIC

Spend a weekend swimming, fishing and boating at Lake Burrumbeet
Pitch a tent along the shore of the beautiful Lake Burrumbeet, just twenty minutes from Ballarat, and settle in for a weekend of swimming, fishing or boating! Free camping is permitted along the lake's foreshore, and long drop toilets are available for visitor use. You'll find plenty of shady spots beneath the large trees to set up your camp chair and relax, while keeping an eye out for the Lake's many resident pelicans. 

Click for more info on Lake Burrumbeet Foreshore Camping Area.

Hard Hill Tourist Reserve, Wedderburn VIC

Explore local gold mining history at Hard Hill Tourist Reserve, Wedderburn VIC
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. 

Click for more info on Wedderburn's Hard Hill Tourist Reserve.

Richards Campground, Raglan VIC

Enjoy the beauty of the Mount Cole State Forest from Richards Campground, Raglan VIC
  • Location: Raglan
  • Facilities: Undercover area, picnic tables, fire pits, wood fire barbecues, fireplace, water tap, information sign, walking tracks, toilets
  • Things to do at campground: Walking tracks - Raglan Falls, Grevillea Walk, Beeripmo Walk
  • Attractions nearby: Raglan Falls (seasonal waterfall), Ferntree Falls
  • Dogs allowed: Yes
Richards Campground is a fantastic free campsite in the Mt Cole State Forest. A large clearing surrounded by trees, ferns, and moss-lined logs, features excellent picnic facilities for visitors. Multiple picnic tables and wood fire barbecues are spread through the clearing, as well as a large fire pit. Several beautiful walks start out from here. 

Click for more info on Richards Campground.

Aysons Campground, Burnewang VIC

Spend a weekend in the water at Aysons Campground, Burnewang VIC
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. 

Click for more info on Aysons Campground.

Green Hill Lake Campground, Ararat VIC

Shaded playground at Green Hill Lake Campground.
  • Location: Ararat
  • Facilities: Undercover area, electric barbecues, playground, outdoor fitness station, fire pits, wood fire barbecues, boat ramp, walking/cycling track, powerpoints, showers, toilets
  • Things to do at campground: Swimming, fishing, boating, playground, outdoor fitness station, walking/cycling
  • Attractions nearby: Alexandra Gardens, J Ward Asylum for the Criminally Insane, Aradale Asylum, One Tree Hill Lookout
  • Dogs allowed: Yes
Green Hill Lake is located 4km east of Ararat and is a fantastic free area (donations encouraged) for recreation, camping, fishing, boating, swimming, barbecues and bushwalking. Spend an afternoon in the water or head out on the walking/cycling track which travels all the way from here to Ararat. 

Click for more info on Green Hill Lake Campground.

Happy Jacks Reserve, Lockwood VIC

Picnic area and playground at Happy Jacks Reserve in Lockwood. 
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.

Click for more info on Happy Jacks Reserve.

Mount Franklin, Mount Franklin VIC

Beautiful campground within the extinct volcanic crater of Mount Franklin.
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. A 1.7km (45 minute) circuit walking track brings you up around the rim of the volcano to a fire lookout.

Click for more info on Mount Franklin.


Established in 1980, the Prospectors and Miners Association of Victoria is a voluntary body created to protect the rights and opportunities of those who wish to prospect, fossick or mine in the State of Victoria, Australia.

You can support the PMAV in their fight to uphold these rights by becoming a member. You'll also gain access to exclusive publications, field days, prospecting tips, discounts and competitions.

Check out the PMAV website for more information.

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