In the heart of the Otway Ranges and 12kms from Gellibrand, the road into Dando’s Campground is good gravel but the locals have warned us to watch for trail bikes and logging trucks as it is narrow. They also smiled warmly as if they wanted to join us at their favourite spot.
A once forestry tree nursery of tall straight gums, it is flanked by rows of pines, poplars and blackwood. It is a well laid out campground with tables, seating and firepits with hot plates. We wonder about the suitability for caravans but on closer inspection we find that there are many easily accessible larger sites. There are two modern long drop toilets. A short walk to the back of the campground is rewarded by steps down to the fern fringed Gellibrand River and a perfect swimming hole. The air is so sweet that I wish we could bottle it.
As we arrived on a Sunday the campers and trail bikers were packing up and by the time that we’d settled in with a sandwich and a cold beer everyone had left and we had the place to ourselves with only a family of amusing wood ducks for company. It was so quiet that the only sounds were the buzzing of the insects and the footfalls of the marching ducks.