By Callum Ludwig
As the wet and cold of winter pass on (hopefully!), the Yarra Ranges opens up to a plethora of great camping sports for a trip away from the hustle and bustle.
While we are predicted for a wet and wild spring, the early days have shown a glimpse of some of the lovely weather we can hopefully see in between, just enough for a getaway.
Camping spots can come free too, with a number of spots across the region offering a unique experience at no cost.
For visitors to the Upper Yarra region, Starling’s Gap Campground provides their first option. Based around the Yarra State Forest. After turning right onto Little Yarra Rd from the Warburton Highway in Yarra Junction, it’s only 34 mins to your destination. Powelltown is the final township on the route before you turn left down Monett Road. Once arriving at the campgrounds, campers can find a fireplace, toilets and picnic table to use in an open setting among the ferns and mountain ash forest. There are no designated sites and it is first-in, best dressed for the 2WD accessible grounds that provide access to the Upper Yarra Walking Track.
If travellers continue along Yarra Junction-Noojee Road, they can also find the LaTrobe River Camping Area with free, walk-in camping is available at the Federal Mill and Ada No 2 Mill.
The area popular with bushwalkers allows dogs and has a park ranger on patrol and good shade provided by Narrow-leaved Peppermint and Mountain Ash trees. There is also a walking track with access to the Latrobe River and for a good feed, the ever-popular Noojee Pub is a short drive away.
For those who want to explore the Dandenongs, the Kurth Kiln Regional Park off of Gembrook-Launching Place Road is an ideal location, with three campgrounds to choose from. Magazine Track Camping Ground, Heritage Fence Camping Ground and Scout Loop Track Camping Ground all provide similar experiences, with toilet and picnic facilities and popular horse riding trails at Scout Loop. Magazine Track Camping Ground, and Scout Loop Track Camping Ground have 36 designated camping sites between them, while Heritage Fence Camping Ground is undesignated.