After spending a few hours driving the Brisbane Ranges 4WD tracks, we bumped into a Parks Victoria bloke in a Ute, and had a quick chat. We told him we were going to Lerderderg campground, and he suggested we consider Amblers Crossing instead, which we were very grateful for.
Local knowledge is the best knowledge, and so we plodded off toward Lerderderg State Park, in search of an amazing campground.
We decided to call into Lerderderg Campground anyway, and if was nice we’d stay a night, and if not we’d move on.
Upon arriving though, there was a bulldozer re-doing the road run offs, and despite the campground being pretty nice, you couldn’t camp really close to a creek (like we’d thought), and we confirmed with another helpful Parks Victoria employee that we’d make it into Amblers Crossing with our Reconn R2. She seemed confident as long as we were OK with steep tracks, and so we headed off.
Where is Amblers Crossing Campground?
This campground is further into the Lederderg National Park, heading out towards Blackwood. To get there, you need to descend down to the creek level, and you need a suitable vehicle for this, and if you are towing something, please don’t underestimate what is needed.
What’s the track like getting to it?
We were warned that the track into Amblers Crossing Campground was steep, and they weren’t lying. We cruised in fairly easily, using the engine brakes in first low, but even that wasn’t enough to slow the vehicle down and we had to use the brakes a bit (bearing in mind we are 5.2 tonnes total).
Asides from being steep, with a few holes and water run off marks, the track wasn’t too bad. I think you’d be OK with an AWD with decent clearance and tyres, but I’d probably advise that you don’t head here without a 4WD that has low range, and some decent traction. The sign at the beginning does say 4WD only, so heed the warning.
When you get to the bottom though, the actual creek crossing requires a bit of clearance (and quite a bit if you are towing), or you’ll be restricted to camping on the southern end of Amblers Crossing. Our Reconn R2, which has a huge amount of clearance scraped on both directions, and I had to change lines on the way out as it was going to do damage.
Please know the above is talking about the entrance from the south, and the one from the north had some pretty serious rocks and holes to navigate around (on Amblers Lane) and is certainly not suitable for anything but a 4WD with decent clearance. I wouldn’t tow our Reconn R2 in from that side, and you’d want something pretty light and nimble if you intend on towing in from that side.
How does Amblers Crossing Campground rate?
Pulling into this campground, we were stoked, and so we should have been. The crossing itself is a beautiful creek with water babbling down between the rocks, and its where two creeks merge together. You can camp in about 6 different places, but you are only allowed to use the fire pits that are permanently installed, and not all sites have fire pits.
We crossed the river and went to the largest of the campgrounds, which would comfortably fit a number of groups in it, and hoped no one else would arrive for the duration of our stay. We found a spot with good access to the creek (that even had a bit of a beach!), a fire pit, and some much needed sunlight for the solar panels.
This place is pure magic. Its quiet, private, peaceful and stunning. The kids had an absolute ball playing in the creek, and we loved the scenery around. This is the camping in Victoria that we’d hoped to find all along.
Now, I’m sure on weekends and school holidays that this would lose some of its peace and quiet, but its still a much smaller and harder to get to camp site than Lerderderg Campground, or some of the others floating around.
Costs, bookings and amenities
This campground is completely and utterly free, which is fantastic. It also doesn’t require booking, which can be a double edged sword, but there’s a fair bit of room for people to camp. At a guess, I reckon you’d fit 11 or 12 groups of people in, depending on how much room they each took up.
If you’re chasing more Free Camping in Victoria, we have a post covering that in detail.
Asides from fire pits, there are no other amenities, so that means bringing your own chemical toilet (please don’t leave human land mines and toilet paper around!), and taking all of your rubbish out.
4WD tracks in Lederderg National Park
Our initial reason for coming here, asides from the great scenery was to do some 4WD tracks, and if that’s what you are into, there’s no shortage of tracks to drive. We did quite a few, and found they ranged from your basic gravel road, to fairly difficult tracks in the dry that would be a big challenge in the wet (if they were open).
Would we come here again?
Amblers Crossing takes the cake as one of the best camp sites in Victoria for us so far, and that’s not a small call; we’ve stayed at some pretty epic places. For us, if its free, 4WD access only, has beautiful scenery and requires a bit of effort to get in, its perfect, and Amblers Crossing is all that, and more. If you are looking for a mint camp site near Melbourne and Geelong, you won’t go wrong with Amblers Crossing.
As usual, look after it; take your rubbish home, leave no trace and respect those around you, please!