Family road trips to country caravan parks is the new black when it comes to budget-friendly summer holidays, but could there be a better way of doing it than jumping in a cheap campervan rental and hitting the road?
My tribe says no, especially when it’s in a six-berth camper, the ultimate home on wheels with all the mod cons including toilet and shower. All that’s required is a top park with a powered site to hook up to and life couldn’t be easier on the road.
So, now that you’ve picked up your Melbourne campervan rental where should you go? Here are five Victorian road trips with great venues to park your wheels at for a few days.
Hit the Western Freeway (M8) for 110km and an hour and a half later arrive at Daylesford Caravan Park, set in a quiet parkland with giant Western Redwoods surrounding the area and only a short walk to Lake Daylesford. Yes, it’s an escape destination better known for romantics thanks to the spas and hot springs, but it’s a bit of a secret getaway for families, too. And speaking of secrets, try the Secret Forest Walks in Wombat Forest, offering walks of varying sizes and challenges. There’s loads for the kids to enjoy at the farmer’s markets, Chocolate Mill, and Boomerang Holiday Ranch for some gentle horse riding treks in beautiful bushland.
Head for the Hume Highway and you’re on the way for a 200km journey to Echuca (about three hours) in Murray River country where A Shady River Holiday Park is close to all the tourist attractions. You can’t pass up taking the family to the historic Port of Echuca where you’ll be transported to a bygone era in the 1800s that houses old world arcades, paddlesteamer rides on the Murray and the fascinating Port of Echuca Discovery Centre.
The big question is, why wouldn’t you go for a road trip to Phillip Island? It’s a dream destination for a family getaway with much to do once you set the wheels in motion on the M1 for a couple of hours and 140km. Once you arrive at Phillip Island Caravan Park, set amidst the sand dunes of Newhaven Beach, you’re only a few hundred metres way from restaurants, cafes and shops. Fun places to visit include A’Maze’n Things, Churchill Island Heritage Park, the Phillip Island Chocolate Factory, GP circuit for some fast-paced go karting, and, of course, the mighty Penguin Parade as you sit back at dusk and enjoy the show as these amazing little creatures waddle into shore.
Glen Cromie Caravan Park is 100km drive south of Melbourne and is tucked away on 35 acres of secluded valley with the Tarago River winding its way – perfect for a splash and it’s very safe. There are some great bushwalking opportunities within the park, and a nifty little kitchen and shop area where the coffee is superb for mum and dad. Glen Cromie Caravan Park set in the green pastures and rolling hills of West Gippsland in Victoria. Nearby there are walks to waterfalls and some beautiful little hamlets only a short drive away.
Victoria’s Yarra Valley has rolling hills and greenery, and overflows with some of the world’s finest pinot noirs and chardonnays, thanks to its cooler climate, so while the kids are snoozing you’ll be able to sample some of the finest local drops at BIG4 Badger Creek, a park on the outskirts of Healesville. It’s just over an hour from Melbourne and provides the perfect launchpad to explore the region’s spoils. But it’s not all about the beautiful vineyards and cellar doors – there’s a load of things to do for families including Healesville Sanctuary, where you can meet all sorts of interesting animals and reptiles, Hedge End Maze, and for some adrenalin pumping action take a short drive to nearby Trees Adventure in Glenn Harrow Park where you can try your luck with the obstacles in the Tree-top adventure courses.
For more information about great Australian campervan rental deals visit drivenow.com.au
– Scott Podmore
Scott is a best-selling author and seasoned travel, food and music writer. He regularly writes for Elite Traveler Asia magazine, Escape magazine and various newspapers, online portals and magazines. You can follow him on Twitter @scottpodmore