Victoria surprised us on so many levels, and we had an absolute ball travelling from the South Australian border across to the end of the Great Ocean Road, not far from Geelong. After that though, we were a bit unsure of where to go, and when a long weekend rolled around, we decided to head out to Lake Eildon, and spend a couple of nights there, before going to a farm stay to wait the rest of the weekend out.
We were completely and utterly shocked at Lake Eildon, and really enjoyed our stay, despite a camp site that we initially didn’t really like.
Where is Lake Eildon?
The closest part of Lake Eildon is about 150km from Melbourne, in a North East Direction. You can get there in about 2 hours, but if you want to get to the other side of the lake it will take you quite a bit longer. We stayed at Lakeside Campground, which is the easiest place to get to from the Western side.
About Lakeside Campground
We booked site number 28 at Lakeside Campground, thinking that it looked fairly segregated from the other sites, and we’d have a little bit of privacy and space from other campers, with some lake views. In reality, it wasn’t like this at all, with a lot of sites very close to us, and to the point where you’d really struggle to get caravans into each site if everyone was there.
I also want to point out that the labelling on site is absolute rubbish, with tiny yellow markers to define the camp boundaries. If you don’t have a rough idea of where your number is, you can be driving around for some time trying to find it, and we watched a heap of people do exactly this as they arrived for the long weekend.
Despite this, Lake Eildon is truly magnificent, and it didn’t take long to realise this, even before we’d left our campground. The campground has flushing toilets and hot showers, which is hugely appreciated, but you pay $27.40 a night for a site, instead of the usual $15 from Parks Victoria.
The amenities are decent (and I really enjoyed a hot shower), but there are a lot of spiders around, and Sarah refused to shower in them as she’s petrified of anything that has 8 legs.
We made a point of walking around the campground, and realised we’d certainly drawn the short straw for camp sites. There’s some magic ones that are far more private, and larger. Anything from number 50 plus would have been a lot better, but you live and learn, and in the scheme of things its hardly something to whinge about.
The actual lake itself is stunning, and so worth a look. There’s a good day use area with fire pits, a boat ramp, and a reasonable size area to relax on the shore out the front of camp.
No fires at camp
Before heading to Lake Eildon, I cut a heap of timber laying around in Cobaw State Forest, and put in the Dmax, so we could have a couple of nice fires during our stay. We were disappointed upon arrival to read that the only place you can have camp fires is at the day use area, well away from camp, and no fires are permitted at camp.
Other Lake Eildon Camping options
Next to Lakeside Campground lies Candlebark Campground and Devils Cove. These only operate in busy periods, and are about 5 minutes drive away from Lakeside Campground. Both were fairly small, and probably more suited to tenting, but some of the sites were closer to the water.
We also went to Jerusalem creek campground near Eildon, which requires more of a 4WD or AWD vehicle to get to, and has some decent, more quiet sites that you can book, and pay $15 a night for.
If you look on Wikicamps though, there are hundreds of other places around the lake that are ‘free camping’ and I have no doubt that there’d be a huge number of spots to go, if you are on the other side, or prepared to do the long drive around it.
Lake Eildon was built about 70 years ago, with a big dam wall and spill way, and now has a hydro electric power generation system. It holds 3.3 million megalitres of water, and is hugely popular with house boats, fishing, water skiing, stand up paddle boarding and hiking.
The lake itself is a strange shape, almost like a big root system, which would be awesome for boating.
Heading into Eildon
I was stunned driving into Eildon, and seeing the huge number of house boats, and boats in storage, along with the spillway and dam wall. Lake Eildon is truly magnificent, and the more we looked around the more we totally fell in love with it.
We had a good look at Foggs Lookout, which was spectacular, and totally worth doing. Overall, a very scenic part of the world, and a place we really enjoyed.
Would we stay at Lakeside Campground again?
Honestly, probably not. The campground is not bad, and you can get a nice spot in the higher numbers, but you pay a premium to stay here, and there are plenty of other spots around the Lake that are free, or lower cost that are awesome too (and lots of other amazing places around Victoria too!).
We really loved the Lake, but would stay elsewhere on Lake Eildon next time, and give Lakeside Campground a miss. That said, if you wanted somewhere you could book, with a boat ramp, hot showers and flushing toilets on Lake Eildon, its a mint spot. I think we’ve been spoilt by other incredible camping in Victoria, but that’s our honest thoughts.