A load of waffle
Sometimes my inability to plan ahead fails miserably, sometimes it pays off!
My daughter and her family had booked the Big4 campsite at Wye River months ago. I really couldn't be arsed to drive for nearly six hours just for an exhausting weekend, so I said I wouldn't be going. Their break was going to be for 7 days from the public holiday onwards, on the 26th of January, which happened to lie on a Thursday this year. Unexpectedly my boss announced that we would have the Friday off as well, making it a four day long weekend. It wasn't until late on the Wednesday afternoon before the public holiday, that I decided I'd find out if there was any spaces left at the Big4 campsite for me and my little tent. Unsurprisingly, there wasn't, and I was kind of glad as I couldn't really be bothered, it was all just too much effort, I was just going through the motions. Then I noticed on Google Maps that there was a campground opposite the Big 4, so I gave them a call and was shocked that I found myself booking the last pitch on the Beachfront Campground! I was kind of panicking as I gave the guy on the phone my card details, as I hadn't committed in my head that I was going to do this!! But, too late, it was done. When I got in from work that Wednesday night, I hurriedly packed my camping gear, mountain bike gear, surfing gear, beach gear, surf board, body board, mountain bike, skateboard and electronics. Thursday morning I packed my clothes and food, and set off around 10:30am. It was all quite civilised really!
I used to love driving but for the last 25 years, with the introduction of speed cameras, and the sheer amount of traffic on the roads, I find it tedious nowadays! So tum-te-tum te-tum I plodded along the M31 from Albury towards Melbs, then skirted around the west of the metropolis on a couple of other major roads, only hitting a stop-start-jam for 15 minutes, after there had been an accident near the Avalon airport. Eventually I hit the Great Ocean Road. Australians like to put Great in front of things! The Great Dividing Range, the Great Ocean Road, the Great Australian Bight, the Great Barrier Reef, the Great Alpine Road etc. Now if there's any Aussies reading this, it's just an observation not a criticism and in fact, the Great Ocean Road is very scenic, beautiful ocean views one side and forested, sometimes rain forested, hills the other. The trouble was, due to it being a public holiday it was busy. Sight-seers driving along, without a care in the world, at 30kph argh!
The first 400 Kilometers went reasonably quickly, the last 150 kilometers went very slowly, at least for the last 50 Kilometers I could take in the pretty views! Eventually I arrived at the Wye River Beachfront Campground. I'd left home at 10:30 and arrived at 16:30, with only a quick stop for fuel in between.
Driving west along the Great Ocean Road, you'll find the campground on your left. You can drive in and park-up outside the office to check in. Alan is very helpful and friendly, checking in was very slick and easy.
One thing I didn't realise was that if you occupy one of the four tent only pitches along the beach, not only can't you get a car to the pitch, you're not permitted to keep your car on the site at all. I knew I couldn't get to the pitch, but I didn't realise you couldn't park on site.
Parking arrangements for beachside tent pitches
I cringed when Alan told me this, but anyway, this perceived parking palaver turned out to be a non-palaver, you can temporarily park as near as possible to the pitches, unload, then take your car off-site. Luckily I was on pole position in the car park, which is directly across the road from the campsite entrance. So when I had to keep returning to my car to get things I'd forgotten, it wasn't a big deal. I left my car, with my mountain bike in, for all four days I was there, with no problem. The only thing I found was that I didn't venture out in the car at all, as I didn't want to lose my prime parking spot! A curse and a blessing, I didn't get out to the mountain bike park which is around an hour's drive away but I really did just chill out!
You can catch the video of my time at this site here Give us a like and a subscribe please!
Unloading/Loading for beachside tent pitches
If the campground is busy, you have to park outside some caravan pitches to unload. The closest you can get is around a 50 metre walk to the beachside tent pitches. It's certainly worth explaining to the caravan campers that you are only temporarily parking outside their 'home', while you unload, explaining you'll be gone soon. One caravanner was getting quite irate, as the couple setting up next to me on pitch 4, parked up, unloaded then walked off site!
The surface of the short walk to the pitches is sand. I struggled to get my heavy battery to and from the tent, hence my skateboard! I was pushing it to the tent and a neighbour carried it for me. On pack-up, I pushed it on the skateboard! The skateboard stopped dead in the sand so I had to push it on the grassier part on the side of the path. If you have a lot of stuff a trolley would be handy, especially if it's heavy. I shall look at buying a simple trolley for my battery.
The beachside pitches
You can see the fence in the photo, above, then there's a narrow band of bush, then the beach. It's worth noting that when the tide comes in, it's around 10 metres from your tent. The ocean covers the rocks you can see in the photo below, so is quite noisy, a beautiful sound but not if you're a light sleeper!
There's a family of Superb Fairy Wrens living in the bushes above the tent area, they're so pretty.
There wasn't many bugs for the first couple of days, very few mozzies. On the Saturday, I think possible because the site was being whipper-snipped, there seemed to be more horseflies around.
I was at the site from the 26th - 29th January 2023, the high tide was around 4:30 am and 4:30 pm, varying as much as an hour later. As the tide is fully in at 4:30 am, it is coming in, in the middle of the night, so can be quite noisy. Book your pitch here
I paid $72 AUD per night, I would imagine that is peak season prices. The facilities certainly made that payment worthwhile. There seems to be varying, and reasonable cancellation policies, depending on the time year you have booked.
Open fires, solid fuel barbecues, or fire pits are not allowed at all.
The ground is a very sandy soil, easy to push the pegs in, but of a good enough consistency to secure the tent pegs
From the tent only pitches, you can get on the beach at either end of the four pitch area as shown below in the two photos
There are other beach entrances on the site, so not everyone is accessing the beach via these two entrances. The Surf Life Saving club house is actually on the campground, when I was there in January the beach was protected by life savers from 10am to 4pm
The beach itself has the rocks opposite the tent only pitches, when the tide is out it's a good place for young ones to explore, there are many rockpools to paddle in. I didn't, nor did my 2 year old granddaughter, find the rocks slippery.
The beach is sand, not pebbles, although there are a few pebbles to the very right hand end of the beach, right as you look out to the ocean. The life savers were setting the flags approximately three quarters of the way from the left, as you look out into the ocean. I tended to bodyboard between the flags whilst they were there, and in the centre of the beach when they weren't.
The weather was warmish whilst I was there, perhaps 25°C, until the Sunday, when it rained all night and for my morning pack-up. Pitch vacate time is 10am.
Dogs are permitted on this beach.
Each morning, except Sunday! when it was raining, there was a beautiful sunrise over the ocean.
I'm no ocean expert but I didn't see any dangerous conditions whilst I was there.
The campsite rules and facilities
It's not a big site, but it's in a prime spot. It's well arranged, nicely kept and clean.
The campsite quiet time is 10pm to 7am, which was fully adhered to, thankfully!
There's a single loop of a road that circuits the site, so you can't get lost! Even I can't get lost!
The kitchen is a 100 Meter walk from the tent pitches, perhaps not even that far! It's clean and well equipped. There's two fridges, one with a freezer, hob, barbecues, toasters, kettles, microwaves and sinks, unusually, the sponges and washing up liquid is provided!
Such a shame some of the guests a) can't read and don't close the doors like it asks, so the aircon can work properly and bugs don't get in. And b) are quite disgusting, one leaving a cheesy goo in one of the sinks, my OCD just made me clean it up, filthy heathens!
The toilet and shower blocks are further from the tent pitch area, next to the reception building actually, perhaps 200 metres. There's two separate men's shower and toilet rooms, and two separate women's shower and toilet rooms. I don't know about the men's, but in the women's rooms there was around three showers and three toilets (perhaps 4 of each), some wash basins, a full length mirror and an electrical point.
I believe there was a disabled room too.
There was two outdoor showers to wash off after being in the ocean. No wetsuits were permitted in the toilet blocks.
Location, for beach fun, perfect
Clean and well arranged
Good kitchen and bathrooms
Don't hesitate, just book it!