Around Victoria in six ways
On two legs or four, with wheels or paddles, in five star comfort or under 5000 stars? There's a camping style to suit everyone in Victoria's parks.
1. Walk this way - Overnight hikes
For those who don’t mind a bit of hard work, an overnight hike is a great way to see a national park. Many Victorian national parks are ideal for hike-in camping and there are walks to suit almost every fitness level so you don’t need to be super fit to get started.
The peace and quiet of exploring a national park on foot is in stark contrast to everyday city life. There’s a real sense of isolation and relaxation as you immerse yourself in the beautiful scenery of the park.
Be prepared. Make sure you have some good boots, a pack, tent and stove. And don’t forget to check the booking and registration requirements before you head off.
2. Water world - Kayak or canoe
Sit down and let your arms do the work. Being on the river is a natural way to see the park; there isn’t a man-made route to follow.
The only way to get to some places in Victoria’s national parks is by river so the sense of isolation is amazing. Often you won’t see another person on your journey but you will find spectacular river gorges, sandy beaches to camp on and picturesque scenery.
You’ll need to be self-sufficient if you plan to tackle the park by canoe or kayak and a certain degree of skill is required. There is no mobile phone coverage in most areas, so you need to be prepared to deal with things as they arise.
3. Behind the wheel - Four wheel driving
It’s all about the journey when you experience Victoria’s national parks by four-wheel drive. Four-wheel drivers can go to a lot of the places bushwalkers go, but can traverse a much greater distance in one day.
There's a real sense of equity and accessibility that comes with four-wheel driving because people with disabilities, and those of any age and fitness level, can still enjoy the national parks. Travelling by vehicle also has some distinct advantages over other forms of exploring, including creature comforts like refrigeration and hot showers.
4. Giddy up - Horseback
One of the many reasons why you might choose to experience Victoria’s national parks on horseback is the extra height it gives you - it makes spotting the native wildlife easier!
Visitors on horseback are welcome in a number of Victoria’s national parks, but good planning is essential. There are also some basic rules to follow and it is recommended that riders follow the Australian Trail Horse Rider Association (ATHRA) code of conduct. The planning involved is all worth it. You’re basically riding through history when you go pack saddling - following the tracks of early explorers.
5. Luxe it up - Wilderness Retreats
For a luxury holiday that doesn’t need advice from an expert, choose one of Parks Victoria’s Wilderness Retreats. These safari-style tents might look like they belong on the African savannah, but they’re right here in Victoria, at Wilsons Promontory National Park, Cape Conran Coastal Park and Buchan Caves Reserve.
The Wilderness Retreats are perfect for seeing the best of the great outdoors while enjoying all the luxuries of the great indoors. While staying at the retreats, you can spend the day hiking or swimming, rafting or abseiling, birdwatching or kayaking. Then you can wander home to the fully equipped shared kitchen and barbecue to prepare your favourite meal. The retreats are comfortably furnished, with linen, towels and warm doonas provided. They’re the perfect way to enjoy the splendour of our national parks without having to rough it.
6. Not quite roughing it - Cabins
If camping with the kids is no longer appealing, try a cabin. It can still get cold, but it’s sure warmer than a tent.
Wilsons Promontory is the ideal place to try ‘cabinning’, as opposed to camping. Cabins here can accommodate up to six people and feature a spacious living area, fully equipped kitchen and bath tubs in most of the bathrooms.
Modifications to two of the cabins have made them accessible for people with disabilities. A personal hoist and specialised bathroom equipment are also available free of charge - making the Prom a destination everyone can enjoy.
It’s one of Victoria’s most popular parks and there are plenty of accommodation choices, but you need to get in early. Check the booking requirements to avoid disappointment.
For more information about booking campsites and accommodation visit www.parks.vic.gov.au/stay.