The Lakes and Craters Holiday Park, on the outskirts of the township of Camperdown in rural Victoria, is one of those traditional-style parks that offers you what you need, where you need it, without too much fan-dangle.
There’s an enclosed and spacious timber-clad camp kitchen with a large screen TV that kept us ‘out of the elements’ while the weather was rough, and a clean laundry and amenities block. There are also plenty of grassy sites set among the Arboretum’s pretty trees.
In terms of the Park’s attractive location, the site is set on a ridge between Lakes Bullen Merri and Gnotuk - which are volcanic features popular for water sports – with views extending across the township and the Lakes and Craters region.
A key feature of this area is its unusual geology. There are literally hundreds of shallow lakes in the area formed by volcanic events as well as appealing hills. A drive (or walk the trail) up Mount Leura (10 minutes from the town centre) offers more great views of the surrounding landscape.
And who’d have thought I’d find ‘Kath’s Track’ at the summit inviting me to take an easy 80 metre walk to enjoy the vista on foot?
Reflecting the efforts of the town’s Scottish settlers, a little further from town a network of man-made dry stone walls are known to be the most numerous and impressive in Australia. Nice.
Camperdown itself is an unexpected gem that warrants the visitor spending some extra time. Walking around town, we were struck by the broad avenues, well established trees and impressive buildings that speak to the town’s legacy of successful agriculture.
Impressively, all the monuments along the town’s 1876 ‘Avenue of Elms’ are listed on the Victorian Heritage Register.
The Heritage Centre itself is well worth a visit and the staff were very accommodating. Here you can learn about the town’s indigenous roots and its European settlement.
Next door at the Corangamite Shire Office I was surprised to find the oldest statue in existence of the Scottish Poet Robert Burns. In Dundee there’d been a Burns statue in the town square since 1880. Here in Victoria, the Burns statue was created 50 years earlier and brought to Australia by an early Scottish settler. Until it was vandalised in 2009, it had been displayed for years in the Botanic Gardens.
The Lakes and Crater Holiday Park is certainly a place we’ll revisit. While there are plenty of reasons to come here, one of our goals will be to say ‘thank you’ to the Park owners Jodie Jagoe and Anthony Meechan who kindly packaged-up our 5 x 3m camp mat and sent it home to us when we left it draped over the play equipment to dry.
After all, there’s nothing like a bit of old-fashioned service to encourage a return visit.
MEET THE OWNERS
Originally coming from Mansfield, Victoria, Anthony Meechan and Jodie Jagoe spent 20 years in the city serving Victoria as a policeman and nurse respectively. Looking for a break from night shifts and to establish the country lifestyle they wanted for their two kids, in 2012 the couple began researching options to purchase a caravan park.
In 2015, they settled on Lakes and Craters Holiday Park and the family moved to Camperdown.
Anthony told us that the park was a little ‘tired’ when the family took possession. But the two-hectare site has undergone a transformation under their leadership. With a six-year masterplan in place, they’re really keen to bring the park up to the high standard that its location deserves.
When we spoke to them, Anthony and Jodie were looking to build a games room for the kids, replacing the amenities blocks and putting in a jumping pillow. Given their efforts to date, we’re sure that Anthony and Jodie will make a great fist of things and we look forward to seeing the new developments next time we visit.
No matter where you’ve started your life-journey, it doesn’t take much imagination to see why Lakes and Crater Holiday Park offers a great recreational destination.
Located on the Princes Highway 194km from Melbourne and 634km from Adelaide, Camperdown is the Gateway to one of Victoria’s most iconic travel destinations – the Great Ocean Road and associated Otway Ranges.
With Cape Otway within 100km, Lakes and Crater Holiday Park offers an ideal hub for short forays into this tourist destination.
The Otway Fly Treetop Adventures is a great example. This place offers a rainforest experience from within the canopy of the magnificent Otway Ranges. From nature walks, to ‘zip lines’ that soar between the tree stands, and the 45m high spiral tower for visitors to climb - there’s something for everyone.
The short 49 km drive from Camperdown to the coastal town of Port Campbell takes travellers through picturesque townships such as Timboon which boasts a high quality whisky distillery and associated restaurant.
This little township also provides access to an impressive network of bicycle riding tracks that cover ground that was cleared to accommodate a series of railway tracks. It’s actually possible to cycle from Camperdown to Timboon. And from here, there’s the opportunity to marry-up with your travelling party to follow the 12 Apostle Gourmet Food Trail by car.
For those who prefer to establish camp and ‘stay-put’, fishing, water-skiing and boating bring many thousands of visitors to the Camperdown region every year. So there’s no need to venture too far to have a great time.
Various lakes have been stocked from time-to-time with species such as Chinook salmon, Atlantic salmon, Brown, Rainbow trout and Redfin. Short finned eel and Australian Bass are also in some lakes. That should put a smile on the face of your family’s favourite fisher.