Camping at Plantation Campground – Grampians National Park

My first camping trip to Plantation was back in the ’90s with a small group of students which included a week of bushwalking, rock climbing and abseiling. The weather was kind and the excitement levels were high as we explored the Grampians each day with the finale culminating in a day trip to ‘The Pinnacle’ where we could view the enormity of the district and its natural features.

Entry to Plantation Campground is opposite this sign

Not much has changed since then but it’s obvious that Parks Vic (or whatever their name is these days) have invested some time and money into upgrading the toilets, installed two solar showers, improving the water tanks, defining the campground sites, grading the campsites so they are flatter and creating better parking areas. In other words, they’ve given it a facelift.

Information board at the campground entrance

The Plantation Campground was originally an old Radiata Pine forest with remnants of some of the big trees still offering respite to campers on hot days. Located at the eastern edge of the Mount Difficult Range, it’s 10kms from Halls Gap, 32kms from Mt Stapylton Campground at the northern end of the Grampians and easily accessible to some excellent walks and picnic sites. Aboriginal rock shelters and world-class climbing is also accessible in the Northern Grampians.

Old radiata pine still exist within the park

Access

From the Halls Gap end head towards Stawell and just out of town, take the Mt Zero Road turnoff. The first 1km is bitumen and the remaining 8.5kms is unsealed but suitable for two-wheel drive vehicles.

From the Western Highway at Stawell, follow the signs to Halls Gap and turn right into Mt Zero Road. Total distance is around 33kms.

Entrance to the park

Bookings

No booking or payment is required at this campground. This campground operates on a first in, first served basis. However, there is a donation box at the entrance which assists Parks Vic in walking track maintenance.

Why not donate what you would normally spend on camping fees for improving the walking tracks in The Grampians.

Campsites

There are 30 campsites at Plantation Campground. These sites cater to tent-based camping, caravans, campervans and camper trailers. Each site at Plantation Campground accommodates a maximum of 6 people. Sites are unpowered. My favourite is Campsite F which is towards the back of the campground and has nice shady areas to pitch your tent or park your camper.

The campground slightly slopes away from the entry but not enough to worry about your camping experience. The campsites are a mixture of locations with some bordered with tea-trees, thryptomeme, yellow gums and stringybarks. The space between each campsite is generous so you won’t feel like you’re camping on top of other people

If you want to camp under trees, please follow the usual camping common sense of making sure it’s safe. Note: there are signs warning of the dangers of limbs dropping – common Australian vegetation issue.

Interesting how people push the boundaries. Sign to the right of the tents says ‘No Camping Beyond This Point’ – a technicality perhaps!

Introduced myself to the owners of this Troup Carrier – Skye and Emu. (you can find them on Instagram at @emu_escape). Brilliantly designed from scratch and completely independent no matter where they travel. One of the joys of being a blogger (and a wee bit of an extrovert) is that I enjoy chatting to people on their travels. Such lovely young people on a great adventure.

One of the best hand made rigs I’ve seen travelling across Australia

Campers and trailers are welcome

There is a nice grassy space ideal for a game of cricket, kick of the footy or other activities. The local lawn mowers – wallabies, come and mow it each morning to keep the grass down.

Facilities

Non-flush toilets (long drop/composting), bush showers, shared fireplaces and shared picnic tables.

Toilets and water tank and shower at the northern end of the campground

Cleverly designed camp shower

Hot showers bush style

Water

No drinking water supplied; limited non-potable water may be available from a seasonal rainwater tank and creek-fed campground taps. If you HAD to use the water, boil for at least 10 minutes.

BYO water. This is not drinkable.

Taps for water but not drinkable

Campfires

Only allowed in designated fireplaces – supply your own wood. Never leave a fire unattended. On Total Fire Ban days, which are common from November to April, you’ll need alternatives for food preparation than using a fireplace. or information on Total Fire Bans check the Victorian Bushfire Information Line on 1800 240 667.

Safe Campfire Use information + Total Fire Ban Days

Rubbish

There is no rubbish collection at this campground, please take all rubbish with you.

Pets

Not allowed but check out these little cuties hanging out to dry. Some gorgeous ‘little campers’ animals getting a freshen up in the bush.

Wildlife

Expect the usual – kangaroos, wallabies (which are very dark in colour) and possums. Note that they are nocturnal so you’re more likely to see them at dusk and dawn but will enter campsites during the night on the hunt for leftover food. There are koalas within the area but I’ve never seen them at this campsite. Haven’t seen wombats here either. Birdlife is prolific with emus, quails, magpies, currawongs, tawny frogmouths, peregrine falcons, owls, thornbills and plenty of parrots. Here is a list of the birds within the park.

Phone Network

Dodgy at the best of times. It’s intermittent and can drop out quickly.

Open space for cricket, football, frisbee etc.

Activities

Climbing and abseiling – whether you’re already a climber or want to engage the services of a local guide, the sandstone climbing is excellent.

Bushwalking – There are so many great walks suitable for all fitness levels and ages. The Information Centre in Halls Gap is good and you can view more at this site here. 

Road and Mountainbike riding – If the Mt. Zero Road wasn’t bitumen, you could actually ride completely around the entire Grampians on bitumen – what a hoot that would be. If you’d like to circumnavigate The Grampians on bitumen currently, you would have to ride out to the Western Highway by Dadswell Bridge and come back through to Halls Gap via Stawell.

Never too young to practice your riding. Plenty of room at the campground for kids to explore on their bikes.

Note:

While most people know the mountain range as The Grampians, Aboriginal people have always known this place as Gariwerd.

Gariwerd is a special place, a place central to the dreaming of Aboriginal people, particularly the Djab Wurrung and the Jardwadjali the traditional people of this area. Their descendants are still at Gariwerd involved in maintaining the culture and the stories of the land.

Gariwerd is a very spiritual place for Aboriginal people, because of the dreaming stories and the abundance of food, water and shelter it provides. This is evidenced by the number of occupation sites found in Gariwerd and the fact, that still today Aboriginal people are drawn to this place. Further evidence of the Aboriginal presence in the area is the fact that Gariwerd contains 90% of the rock art sites in Victoria.

The Cultural Centre in Halls Gap is well worth a visit. You can find more information about it here and highly encourage you to spend some time exploring the facility.

Vehicle-based campingWood fireplaceNow it’s your turn.

What are your experiences of camping at Plantation Campground? How have you found other campers?

Leave a comment below.

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