Cooks Mill Campground; great camping in Cathedral Ranges

After doing some fairly ambitious 4WD tracks with our Reconn R2 hybrid camper behind us, we rolled into Cooks Mill Campground on the public holiday Monday, to find hordes of people still at camp. Despite this, we found a quiet spot to pull in, and decided that most people would probably leave, and we set up camp.

Cooks Mill Campground
Our setup at Cooks Mill Campground

Where is Cooks Mill Campground?

You’ll find this campground roughly 2 hours drive from Melbourne, and around 120km away. It’s in the Cathedral Ranges state park, next to a whole heap of walks, and a beautiful creek that runs right past camp.

Cooks Mill creek
The creek that runs past the day use area is stunning
Cooks Mill Campground information
Information on the area around Cooks Mill Campground

What does it cost, and do you need to book it?

Camping here is $15 per night per site, and you need to book. However, the booking system is a little different to many of the other Parks Victoria sites around; you book a spot, but you don’t get a dedicated area, and its basically first come first served when you arrive.

This is sometimes good, but it can result in confusion and poor use of space, so arrive early if you want to secure the best spots.

Cooks Mill tent camping area
The tent camping area at Cooks Mill Campground

Does it get busy?

Yep, without a doubt. There were almost more cars than you could fit when we arrived on the public holiday Monday, and whilst a lot of them were probably using it for the day, its a busy, and popular spot.

Weekends are always busy apparently, but if you camp there on a week day you can have the entire place to yourself, or share it with a handful of others.

Cooks Mill Campground gets busy
On the weekdays its lovely and quiet

What’s the campground like?

We really liked the campground. A lot of it is set up for tent camping, and you park your vehicle a few metres away, but there are some bigger sites to suit different kinds of setups. Each camp site has a small walk to the creek, and you can get to it from a number of different places. 

The water is freezing, has fish in it and is really quite beautiful. The toilets are good, and there’s untreated rainwater if you need it. For $15 a night, and somewhere that you can book, you really can’t complain too much about this spot.

Kids enjoying Cooks Mill
Our kids had a ball at the creek

Do you need a 4WD to get to Cooks Mill?

No, not at all, and we saw a huge number of 2WD vehicles at the campground. Please be aware of traffic on the roads though; on our way in we came across a number of 2WD vehicles who did not move over adequately, whilst ironically every 4WD did. I assume they are more aware of what is required, and its a gravel road in with limited visibility when its dusty, so slow down and do the right thing.

Road into Cooks Mill
The road in is more than suitable for 2WD vehicles

Does it suit caravans and RV’s?

You’d get caravans and RV’s in, and we did see a decent sized motorhome spend the night here. The road in would be entertaining if you met a fellow van on the way, but for the most part there’s’ no issue. The campground has a number of places where you can turn around, and it is certainly large enough for a caravan.

Watch the vlog

YouTube video

Would we stay here again?

I think so. It’s a nice spot, and the kids loved playing in the stream. There’s certainly nicer spots further away from Melbourne, or if you have a 4WD, but for a place that you can book its worthy of a weekend, or a night as you call past.

Have you been to Cooks Mill? What did you think of it?

Cooks Mill Stream
The Victorian High Country streams are just magic

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