During our three hour drive towards Rocklands it became apparent that we had well and truly left the Great Ocean Road. Accustomed to the blues and greys of the coastline, our windows now showcased the varying textures of farming paddocks: a blur of browns and muted greens.
Following the dusty red track into Glendinning Campground it was as though we had stumbled onto a seventies movie set. In fact, some of the set-ups looked like they could have been there since then. All manner of tents, caravans, camper trailers and RVs were positioned around huge campfires and people were roaming everywhere. It looked like a gypsy town.
Sites were unpowered and unmarked so – within reason – you could set up anywhere that took your fancy. After driving around the different sections we snagged ourselves a spot amongst the trees, thirty metres from our closest neighbours.
The camp ground itself was set on the banks of the Rocklands Reservoir where hundreds of huge, dead trees loom out of the water. It’s an eerily beautiful place, particularly at dawn and dusk, when sunlight catches on the water and lights up the Grampian mountain ranges in the distance. On misty mornings we half expected pirate ships to come sailing out from between the tree skeletons.
Our favourite local haunt was a southern bank of the reservoir. Accessible via a 4WD track, this little stretch was deserted even though there were lots of people camping nearby. We enjoyed many happy hours here reading, paddle boarding, wood chopping and echidna-watching.
Inspired by a local pelican who was catching more lunch than he knew what to do with, we also tried our hand at fishing. The area is a well-known bass hotspot. However, despite commendable patience from Jono and some impressive line untangling skills from Laura, we didn’t even get a nibble.
Seven nights at Glendinning Campground without power or water tested Claude’s free-camping mettle. We experienced gale force winds, storms, perfect sunny days and even a lunar eclipse. By the time the Easter crowd had thinned, our water supply was running low and it was time to move on to our next destination. Looking across the water towards the Grampian mountain ranges, we already had it in sight.