It’s been a while since I tried a Hipcamp site. Most have no facilities, and I’m not super keen on carrying a portaloo with me. But I was quite taken by this listing, at a property called ‘Sandalwoods by the lagoon’.
The campsite, ‘Lagoon camping’, was indeed beside a lagoon – Baillieu’s Lagoon near Torrumbarry. But there were no sandalwoods in sight. They were apparently on the other side of the property near the owner’s house. They did invite me over for a look, but I got wrapped up in my solitude and didn’t want to intrude on theirs.
It was a lovely, secluded bush camping spot, but very dry at this time of year. It turned out to be quite warm as well which came as a bit of shock since we’ve had such a mild spring. Thankfully the eucalypts provided just enough shade. And Mala was very happy to be near (or rather, in) water.
I was happy to discover we weren’t far from the Murray River. So we walked 2 kms and found ourselves at the Tolhurst Bend camping area. Sadly, uncaring campers had left their marks: the usual rubbish strewn around – even an abandoned portaloo. And huge ruts in the now-dry tracks making it difficult to access without a 4WD. But I was cheered by some lovely views of the lagoon on the walk to and from the river.
Funnily enough, a discussion about the fees Hipcamp charge was initiated on a Facebook campervan owners group while I was there. With fees, I ended up paying almost $36 a night ($6 of that in direct fees) – for a site with no power, no toilet, no shower, no water. That is pricey. What I got for it though, was a secluded spot where I knew I would not be disturbed. Plus, I could let Mala ‘swim’ (ie do his water-bashing-with-squealing-bark) without bothering anyone.
But I do think the fees are on the high side. Aside from the nearly 20% added to the advertised price, another 10% or so is deducted from the advertised price. What is more annoying though is that the 20% extra a camper pays is not obvious until you reach the last stage of the online booking process. Too expensive and too sneaky!
- My photos (on Flickr)
- Richardson’s (Baillieu’s) Lagoon Water Management Plan (PDF) – provides information about the lagoon environment, flora and fauna