Gellibrand

After our recent Australia Day trip to Johanna Beach we invited some friends to join us for another weekend.  We suggested Johanna beach as it was a normal weekend and we were sure there would be no crowds.  We were to meet there on Friday.

At about 4pm I recieved a phone call.  Our friends had arrived at the camp site only to find that there was a fishing comp on and the place was packed again!

We were only leaving Melbourne at that stage and with a 2.5hr drive we would have been guaranteed to miss out on a spot.  What to do???  A quick search on wikicamps and our friends suggested a caravan park they had passed on the way to Johanna Beach just out of Colac called Otways Tourist Park.

Otways Tourist Park

What a little gem.  This is the sort of place if you blink you will miss it.  Only about 20 kms south of Colac in a little town called Gellibrand.  This camp is a labour of love of the owners and they built it up from scratch over about 15yrs.  Lots of green grass and shade. They allow dogs and you can hire fire pits ($5) and a wheelbarrow load of wood ($20).

Since starting this post we actually went back and spent another weekend.  It really is that good and will most likely become one of our go to spots being less than 2hrs from home.

We took the opportunity to ride the Beach Forrest to Gellibrand Rail Trail (twice) on the second visit.  We went in the downhill direction and it was an amazing ride through rainforest and farming land with an array of history boards and relics from the past.  The ride is approx. 18kms mostly downhill so little pedalling was needed.  My type of bike riding.  It’s not really one for the kids unless they are experienced riders.

There is a great little cafe across the road that does good coffee and the food looks good too and the Otway Estate Brewery is only 10 kms away on the road back to Colac.  So if you are in the area don’t hesitate to stop here.  It would make a nice base camp to visit the nearby beaches on day trips.

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Johanna Beach

I’m a bit late on this post as we spent the Australia Day weekend at an amazing spot in the Otways called Johanna Beach.

A free camping spot that is very popular in the summer months and long weekends.  It gave us a good go and testing out the recent solar panel addition which worked brilliantly for the whole five days we were there.

The view from our van.

We were lucky enough that we could arrive there on the Thursday before the long weekend to get a spot.  By mid afternoon the place was full to the gills. Standing room only which meant anyone with a tent or caravan had nowhere to stay.  Only backpackers with a desire to camp on the side of the tracks in and out of the camp ground braved the overnight stay and then scurried off early the next morning.

The Girls at the lookout

Johanna beach is a gem.  If you get the chance to go when the crowds are gone on a normal weekend out of the summer months you would most likely have the place to yourself.  It could be wild weather but it’s a beautiful spot.

The beach from the lookout

With only a short stroll to the beach, it may only be your footsteps you see in the sand. There is so much to do and see in the area or it’s a great place to just waste the day away.

The mist rolls in.

If you decide to visit the campsite and your towing a van, make sure you drive in on Red Johanna Rd.  Blue Johanna Rd is not good for vans.

Sunset

Warburton’s Bridge

Warburton’s Bridge just out of Castlemaine in Victoria is fast becoming our quick trip away from home, free camping destination.

It’s just over an hour from home and we can get there two ways one being basically freeway (Calder Freeway) all the way.  It’s a great spot (I shouldn’t be telling you this) that is well setup with great firepits and even a brand new drop toilet.

Its close to Daylesford and Castlemaine if you need supplies and is a very relaxing spot along the Loddon River.  The camping area is in a gully with tall gums all round.

Just last weekend we went away with some friends for a couple of nights and had a ball. Sometimes free camping with great people is all you need.