Words by: Amy Jenkin Art by: Johanna Toner
Like many university students, dreaming of my next international adventure has gotten me through the drudgery of many semesters.
However, with overseas and even interstate trips being uncertain and unsafe at the moment, I began to look local, at holiday destinations in beautiful Victoria.
Whether you’ve been using your time at home to eat more or to exercise, a hike can only do you good. Being somewhere surrounded by native bushland and wildlife will be a welcome change from the four walls of the house, apartment or room you’ve been stuck in for basically the entire year.
The hikes in this national park offer incredible views and beautiful beachside boardwalks. You’ll see pristine, clear blue water and famous Australian wildlife such as echidnas, wombats and wallabies. Choosing to stay in some of the less popular spots along the Southern or Northern overnight hiking circuits will often leave you with a campground and entire beach to yourselves. The Big Drift Walk is a shorter hike offered at The Prom that is ideal in poorer weather and takes you across inland sand dunes. Maximum group size per campsite is six and there is a two-night stay limit at their overnight sites, which cost $18 a night. Longer stays are allowed at Tidal River but sites cost substantially more, at $35 per night.
Croajingalong National Park
A true wilderness walk, these hikes are a bit more difficult than those at Wilsons Prom but well worth it for the natural beauty of the area. Walks are often poorly marked and take you over rocky headlands, secluded beaches and may even require swimming across river estuaries. Be careful not to arrive underprepared though, as you will need to carry your own food and water supplies. The advantage to the secluded nature of these hiking tracks and campgrounds account for a complete immersion in the natural landscape and you might even encounter some native wildlife! It’s also slightly cheaper than Wilson’s Prom, at only $13.70 per night.
If COVID-19 has affected your income or job security, there are still some amazing places in Victoria where you can camp free of cost, save for a tank of petrol and a couple of beers.
This small but popular campground is just a scenic thirty-minute drive from the Great Ocean Road through beautiful Australian bush. The campsite itself is completely free but busy year round, so it’s advisable to try and arrive early in the day to ensure you get a good spot. It’s a great place to bring a couple of beers and a guitar, as people sit around their campfires chatting well into the night. During the day there are various short hikes you can do, including to the Beauchamp Falls themselves, the Otway Fly Treetop Walk and the Otway Redwood Forest Walk.
In East Gippsland and other areas of regional Victoria, the coronavirus pandemic has not only shut down businesses, but also hindered important bushfire recovery work. There are some places to visit if you want to spend your holiday revitalising communities that have faced not only coronavirus, but also a horrific summer of bushfires and smoke.
The Roadtrip for Good website plans your route and itinerary for you through bushfire affected communities, highlighting tourist towns and businesses that suffered income loss due to the events of the past summer. It will tailor the trip for you based on your interests and requirements, including dog friendly locations, beautiful forestry or culinary destinations. Trips vary from short day trips to ten-day road trips and long weekend getaways. You can also choose to create your own itinerary from a list of highlighted businesses and destinations that the website identifies.
Whether you enjoy camping, glamping or ethical adventures, Victoria is the place to be this crazy year.