Camping with your dog
Free camping, with your dogs in Victoria. Are you searching for ‘camping with your dogs’? Then look no further. Read below to see why this destination should be on your list of ‘go to places’ to take your dog camping.
Location: Buckland Valley, Buckland, VICTORIA
Campsite: Ah Youngs Campsite
Accessible: 2WD, 4X4, RV or a Van
Address: Ah Youngs Campsite, Buckland Valley Road, Buckland, VICTORIA, 3070
Quick Points: Free Camping / 2WD Access / No Shower Facilities / Fishing / Swimming
We were in search of an off-road, free camping spot where we could be with our dogs. Coming up to the Australia Day long weekend, we decided to go to the Buckland Valley, approx 4 hours from Melbourne off the Alpine Shire highway, south of Mount Buffalo. We wanted to spend some time here before choosing it as a go-to spot for the Australia Day long weekend. Our plan was simple – pack up, take the swag and enough food for the first three days, and we won’t need to move. #jobdone!
We left Melbourne late that evening. 4 hours later, we were on Great Alpine Road, and we took the exit towards Buckland Valley; when you first arrive at the central roundabout, you’ll have options for Porpunkah, Bright, Buckland Valley or Mount Buffalo. The Buckland Valley is a scenic drive away from the conventional holiday spots. The campsite is easily accessible with a two-wheel drive; you need to drive relatively slowly as you get further in and find a loose gravel road under your wheels.
We arrived in the Buckland Valley late and kept following the maps to take us to ‘Ah Youngs’ campsite. This location is a vast area of open land with amazing trees, as tall as a building in the city. We knew we had found our destination; as we drove into the camp from the road, we couldn’t see anything; it was pitch black, but what we could see were campfires roaring from other people’s campsites. After a long dark drive, it was a welcomed sight.
The local birds that habitat the area will have your ears on alert the whole time. We heard a chainsaw going off in the middle of the night. It sounded like someone was cutting down a tree, and this lasted for some time. Was it odd to think someone would be doing such a task in the middle of the night? The following day after talking to some of the locals camping, they explained that Lyrebirds are local in the area. The morning was a sound worth hearing, cockatoos squawking like the crazy birds they are. We love them, and the kookaburras were going off like there’s a party in the trees around us (I was in my element), and so are the boys, the smells of the forest, the sound of the wind rushing through the pine needles, they can smell the river, and they want to go. Literally a 2 min walk down the hill, and the river is at your feet.
What to expect
It’s a dog-friendly campsite that backs onto state forest. The Buckland River runs alongside and boasts swimming holes for you to dunk yourself into on a hot summer’s day. It’s an open area with lots of space to pitch your tent away from others. Shady camp spots along the perimeter, you can have enough space to feel like you are entirely on your own.
- Drop Toilet
- No Bins
- No showers
- Free Camping
- Zero W-Fi Connection
- No shops or pubs
Essential items we advise to pack for your dog.
There are a few essentials for your dog; we think you should bring along for the trip;
- Collapsible dog bowl; use it for both water and food.
- Grooming items; nail clippers, brush & comb for your dog.
- ‘First Aid Kit’ and the local vets on speed dial, just in case.
The campsite is rife for grass seeds. I always carry dog nail clippers and tweezers as part of our ‘dog first aid kit’, just in case one of the boys gets a split nail; this can happen so quickly from walking and running along the rivers. You’ll have no choice but to cut it short.
Grooming: If you have a curly-coated dog(s) or if you have a dog that requires regular grooming, and you are here in the late spring or the summer, you may wish to ask your groomer to clip your dog nice and short. Having a nice short coat will help you see if you need to attend to a cut, seed, or tick quickly.
- Buckland Valley
- Mount Buffalo – National Park (no dogs allowed, not even in your car).
- Porpunkah is the nearest place for a quick petrol stop.
Bright is not too far down the road, and this is where you can do a big shop, walk along the river with your dog, and relax. It’s also the best township for all your shopping needs. Bright Brewery does a great pub lunch and lovely ale to drown your thirst. You can sit outside comfortably with your dog and watch people enjoying the river.
Wineries and Berry Farms are all over the Alpine Shire; to be honest, there are many places to walk your dog, visit and explore. The Buckland Valley is a perfect spot to have your base camp. I just love the drive in, its spectacular seeing the mountain range with the hops growing and historic curing tobacco drying sheds, now turned into hired accommodation.
- Swag, we use the Darche 1100 this fits 2 adults and 2.1/4 dogs (really quite comfortably).
- Sleeping bags + your pillow from home for extra luxury.
- Blanket for the cooler nights.
- Stainless steel BBQ that doubles up as a fire pit (this saves the scaring the campsite).
- Some wood for the fire pit, although there is kindling you can collect.
- Dog first aid kit.
- First Aid Kit + Snakebite kit – (humans).
- Water/rock shoes.
- ‘Earth Friendly’ fire starters, we make ours.
- Toilet paper.
- A rear-wheel rubbish bag (leave no trace).
We hope you have enjoyed reading this, and hope you enjoy reading our future blogs.
Nicola, Sam, Lucky, Poly & Alfie x