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Camping is a fantastic and cost effective form of accommodation when travelling in a rental car. My girlfriend and I recently spent the night camping at Cumberland River Holiday Park a scenic campground around 10 mins southwest of Lorne on the Great Ocean Road. The campground runs along the river and there are many sites right on the river’s edge. It’s also nestled amongst the cliffs and mountains it would have to be one of more scenic campgrounds I have been to and the facilities are great too. It is family friendly and there were plenty of loud young children around but this is the case with most campgrounds that you don’t have to hike to.
Campsites along the river at Cumberland River Holiday Park
We left Melbourne for Lorne in the morning not really knowing what to expect as we had never been there before but had heard only good things. It took us around 2.5 hours to get there travelling at a good pace (excluding a quick stop in Geelong to pick-up a gas cooker). The drive into Lorne is beautiful and covers the first part of Victoria’s famed Great Ocean Road. Although there were some aggressive drivers on what is a winding road without many passing opportunities so it is a good idea to take it easy.
Getting into Lorne around lunch we went straight to the campground to see what it was like and because we hadn’t booked or even called to see if it was busy. We talked to the park managers David and Libby (both very friendly) I asked about fishing and although I didn’t end up doing any but there are trout in the river as well as a good spot off the rocks just down the road. It turned out all the spots along the river were taken but we got a great spot just back from the river with shade and plenty of room, site 103 I think it was.
In hindsight, at this point we should have got setting up the tent out of the way but we hadn’t eaten lunch so back into Lorne we went. Looking for a quick meal we went to the bakery just across from the surf lifesaving club and had some toasted ciabatta sandwiches. They were tasty, looked like they had other good food there too. Lorne has a great vibe and the beach is perfect for swimming and has great surf when the conditions are right.
Hunger satisfied, we drove back to the campground, set-up the tent, pumped up the air bed and got settled in. Another unique thing about the Cumberland River Holiday Park is that you can have your own campfire! Each campsite comes with a half barrel drum that you can set a fire in. We were unsure at first because you have to buy the firewood from the camp office ($20 for red gum and $6 for kindling). Don’t try and get your own wood from the bush or the beach as this is strictly prohibited and as the people camping next to us found out they had to put it all back. We went for it anyway and lit the fire at 7pm and had enough red gum to more than last the night.
Our campfire at Cumberland River Holiday Park
Speaking of the people camping next to us, they were on site 101, which is under a large tree with pine cones. We noticed some large Red-tailed Black Cockatoos in the tree eating the pine cones and dropping the left-overs onto their car below. A while later we heard glass shatter and one of the parrots had dropped a whole pine cone onto their wind shield and shattered it. It turned out that they had a rental car and had paid for insurance leaving little excess so they weren’t too worried but it was a pretty unlikely scenario we thought!
We had a great night playing cards, drinking wine and toasting marshmallows on the fire. Sleeping on the small air bed was less enjoyable but we managed to get a good nights sleep. There were some interesting animal noises coming from the bush I thought it sounded like a wild pig (loud grunting) but I wasn’t too keen on leaving the tent to find out. All-in-all we had a great time at Cumberland River Holiday Park and I’m looking forward to going back. Next time we will take a grill and cook over the open fire!
For more information visit the Cumberland River Holiday Park website