Discovering a hidden gem

Fryerstown, Vic, Nov 2022

Day 1 Sunday 6/11/2022 Home to Fryerstown

It’s warm and sunny at last after weeks of cold and record-breaking rain. The air feels dry, something that we’d forgotten existed. Being Sunday, it’s an easy drive and the traffic out of Melbourne is quiet with no trucks. Hankering for a treat we veer off at Kyneton for a curry pie at Grist Bakery and a couple of sweet pastries to top things off.

The next turnoff is the Elphinstone Castlemaine one then a left turn at the historic village of Chewton. Under the old brick railway bridge, past the Cornish engine house that once was a part of the Duke of Cornwall Quartz Mining Company and we drop into the small green valley that is Fryerstown.

We had chosen Fryerstown as the freedom camp is not close to a river or creek and is the least likely to have been affected by recent floods.

The road is flanked by an avenue of grand old elms and paddocks are lush from winter rain. Miner’s cottages which at first glance appear to be forgotten have been lovingly restored, as too an old boot maker’s premises. The boot makers is the only remaining shop from the gold rush heyday. We turn left over Fryers Creek passing the old Post Office and turning left again just beyond the Court House which is also now a charming home.

Fryerstown Court House

The campground is behind Fryerstown School No. 252, built in 1915 to replace an earlier smaller one on the opposite hill. The school now is used for community purposes and is set up to allow freedom camping. Though the stony ground is not quite level it covers a large area and with levelling ramps is adequate. A covered veranda area between the classrooms of the old school makes a delightful deck area out of the weather and there are two well-appointed bathrooms with toilets and showers in a side shed. Water is available for top ups and power on the veranda for charging devices. It costs us $10 per head per night.

Set up behind the school

Woody who has rung around several camps enquiring about their suitability since the rain, gives me a piece of paper and asks me to ring the lady to find out how to get the key to the bathroom. I ring and she tells me that no key is required, but when I ask where the bathroom is, she tells me that we can’t miss it because it’s right near the cricket pitch. With the phone to my ear, I look about, behind me is the school and in front, there’s bushland and a few distant houses. I tell her there’s only a school and she sounds rather flummoxed. It’s then that we both realise that we’re at cross purposes. She’s in Meeniyan and I’m in Fryerstown. I turn the paper over and there’s the number for Anna of Fryerstown. Another phone call is all it takes to find the bathroom key and the bathroom that is in a nondescript tin shed.

It feels so good to be away and to be in the van. We spend the afternoon sitting on the veranda both chatting and gazing out at the bush and wondering why so many cars are passing on what is a dead-end road. Eventually, we drive back to the Red Hill Hotel at Chewton for happy hour only to discover that the pub is closed until late in the week.

We cook lamb chops on Toothless’ BBQ and eat under the covered veranda.

Accom: $20.00

Fuel: $62.08

Towing Kms: 180Kms

Fryerstown School, the camper-friendly veranda. The bathrooms are in the tin shed on left
Fryerstown – Map Source: WikiCamps

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11 thoughts on “Discovering a hidden gem

    1. The veranda was quite a bonus, somewhere to kick back out of the van. The bathrooms were a pleasant surprise. Castlemaine is only about 9kms away with a really good IGA. Oh, and lots of pobblebonk frogs to remind us of the Mornington Peninsula.

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  1. Your description reveals this to be a great place to stay. We find that camping (we tent) or caravanning is a wonderful way to explore the countryside.

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