Lower Glenelg National Park
The Glenelg River in South West Victoria has been a big drawcard for campers and caravanners for many years but some of the better places to camp are not so well known.
Pritchards camping ground was named after the original family who owned a river shack beside the river. When the area was declared a National Park all the river shacks had to go and so the shack was torn down and the clearing became a popular campsite for those in the know. Mostly it was used by those fishing the river for bream and mulloway and canoeists transiting the river.
In later years the National Park service has up-graded many of the campsites that dot the banks of this idyllic river inducing a corresponding rise in the popularity of these superb campgrounds.
We found Pritchards covered just about everything you could need in a campsite. It has three good landings to fish from, mostly level campsites, boat ramp, river for swimming and fishing and miles of river for boating and canoeing. There are also fireplaces with BBQ tops and bench seating and tables.
As there is no power available, you must supply your own and as generators are frowned upon solar panels are the way to go if staying more than a night or two. With most of the sites being shaded during at least part of the day you must either find a sunny site or limit your power usage. As there are no rubbish bins provided you must also take any rubbish you have with you when you leave.
Firewood is not provided so you must either buy some or collect some from the surrounding bushland. We bought some firewood and supplemented this with foraged wood and pine cones from the nearby pine forest.
Wildlife is prolific. We saw kangaroos in the morning and evening right in camp some with joey’s hanging out of theirs Mum’s pouches. An echidna waddled through camp one afternoon but it is the bird life that is so abundant.
We saw blue fairy wrens bouncing about all over the place even foraging under our chairs and between our legs, black cockatoos screeched overhead while those clowns of the skies, galah’s played amongst the tall timber surrounding our camp. Cheeky currawong came right into camp and you had to be careful not to leave food lying about or they’d have it in an instant. Many other species of birds that we couldn’t identify flew, hopped and sang around our camp all day providing endless entertainment.
A large population of koala live in and around the campsite making the spotting of these iconic creatures quite easy, especially when the males gave forth their territorial roars and coughs, even during the day. In the still of the night a koala can sound like a mixture of a Bengal tiger and an angry hippo, very disconcerting for those who have not heard it before.
Possums rule at night with the hungry little blighters almost surrounding us demanding bread crusts. These are the night time raiders of your food should you leave any out where they can get it.
Fishing can be very good at Pritchards with bream being the most common catch and mulloway the most sought after. Most mulloway are caught after dark so you need to be a dedicated fisher to catch one of these tasty big fish and the bigger bream also like the cover of darkness.
Pritchards isn’t the only campground along the Glenelg, there are several of these delightful spots dotting the river bank and all offer similar delights and amenities.
Pritchards is located on the south bank of the Glenelg River at: 38.03.22.91 S 141.13.08.30. E. To get there head out the Portland road from Nelson about 14km then take the Dartmoor road for 5km until you see the turnoff to Pritchards. It is only 1.5km of good unsealed road to the campsite. There are two separate campgrounds at Pritchards numbering 1 to 10 and 11 to 20. The 1 to 10 sites are closer to the boat launching ramp but both have landings and flush toilets with water for washing.
The cost of a site while we visited was $23 a night. You might think this is a little excessive for a campsite with no power but I can assure you it is worth it.
To book a site you can call in at the National Park Headquarters at Nelson or book by phone or on line. Bookings open on 1 July each year and will be based on a first-in, first-served basis.
Book your accommodation and tours online with Parks Victoria
Mail enquiries: Parks Victoria 10/535 Bourke Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
Tel: 13 19 63 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Peak periods occur at:
Melbourne Cup weekend to the last Sunday in April (inclusive).
September school holidays.
Minimum booking periods occur at:
Labour Day weekend (minimum booking 3 nights – Friday, Saturday, Sunday)
Easter (minimum booking 4 nights – Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday).
Melbourne Cup weekend (minimum booking 4 nights – Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday).