Our intention had been to free camp at Brooks River Camping Reserve but with two of Australia’s most wanted armed fugitives on the loose in the area we had to seriously reconsider our plans. They were, according to the media, armed with high powered hunting rifles and experienced bush campers who were familiar with the terrain of the area. My teenage daughter, who sleeps in a swag outside our van, painted a picture which left me, although sceptical still slightly uneasy. “What if” she said, in all seriousness, “they come in the middle of the night, while you’re asleep and drive off with the van hitched?” Far-fetched? Perhaps. Hardly likely? Probably. After all, with a Jayco Outback Dove attached they’d be a bit conspicuous and probably wouldn’t get too far. But were we going to take any chances? No way.
Brooks River Reserve is set amongst thick bushland and the Goulburn River, one of the only free camping spots in the immediate area, located just off Swanns Lane about three kilometres west of historic Alexandra. This area is particularly attractive to anglers who vie with each other to hook the local trout, abundant in the waters. So abundant in fact there’s a sign with all the different types of trout at the camping ground. In off peak times chances are good that you’ll have the place to yourself.
The campsite, as we checked out, is flat, spacious enough for a few large rigs, with a drop toilet, fireplaces and just a short stroll down to the river, not to mention guaranteed serenity, that is, unless there are armed fugitives on the loose. The chances of father and son duo Gino and Mark Stocco hunkering down in this campground were pretty remote but, as they were last reported seen just 40 kilometres away between Yea and Castella on the weekend we planned to camp, we decided to look elsewhere.
So, looking to stay within close proximity of the area and with only one night to get away with fellow campers Greg and Angie, we set our sights on nearby Molesworth. The tiny village of Molesworth is located amongst rolling green hills on the Goulburn Valley Highway between Yea and Alexandra.