Spring 2018, Loch, Vic
West Gippsland is all rolling hills dotted with contented dairy cows and the tiny village of Loch is little more than an hour from Melbourne (80 minutes from the CBD). The Reserve is a sports ground with a large sheltered BBQ area and a toilet block for the use of campers. We paid $15 for an unpowered site and power is available for an extra $5. There is a donation box and a good chance that a local resident will pop by to say g’day and give you a receipt. The area is more spacious than it first appears as caravans can be parked on the disused tennis courts as well. For larger groups the clubrooms can be hired for a fee, just contact the Reserve management (see details on Wikicamps). There is one downside and that is the passing milk trucks taking the road to Poowong though personally I believe that the benefits far outweigh this one negative.
The trees surrounding the park are a memorial to locals who died in service to their country. There is a haunting image of a soldier at the far end of the Loch, Stock and Barrell suspension bridge. It is this bridge that links the park with the town. At night the bridge is floodlit. The park has two excellent attributes, one being the large sheltered BBQ pavilion and the other the easy access to town. It’s a short walk across the bridge, through a meadow, along the old railway line and through a tunnel that passes under the highway. Within five minutes you’ll find yourself in the village without having to cross any busy roads.
Loch village is home to a Brewery & Distillery, cafes, antiques, a wood carver and more. We can never go past Olive at Loch for their coffee and lunches. A short walk down the highway and you’ll find the Gippsland Wine Company.
We have another scrumptious lunch at Olive at Loch then spend an afternoon soaking up the spring sunshine. A local chap who happens to be a caravanner pops in for a chat and we talk for hours about death, taxes and freedom camps. To our surprise he tells us that he helped build this clubhouse many years ago. And that’s part of the appeal of freedom camping, you never know who you’ll meet.