Nariel Valley, a tranquil rural Victorian region located south of Colac Colac and around 296kms north-east of Melbourne. The area is noted for its peaceful beauty, colourful hills, a picturesque creek and valuable cattle and dairy farmland.
Many people around Australia will know the valley for the ‘Nariel Valley Folk Festival’. This event started in the early sixties, making it the longest running festival of its kind in Australia. Being a not for profit community event the artists perform without charge during the Christmas to New Year period. It is held at the Nariel Creek Recreational Reserve, 12 kilometres south-west of Corryong.
Nariel Creek Recreational Reserve
Nariel Creek Recreation Reserve has long held a special place in my heart. My husband grew up in Corryong and his parents had been involved with the festival for many years, with his Mum playing the accordion. I was introduced to the Reserve on our first family camping trip as it was a safe place to take young children. It offers a spacious grassed area alongside the creek with many shade trees for the hotter months. One end of the reserve is further away and fenced off from the banks of the creek, making it a safer spot for small children.
Since 2011, we have camped at Nariel a total of eleven times in our tent, camper trailer and more recently our caravan. It holds so many memorable moments for us and our extended family who on many occasions camped along with us. So what makes this place so special?
Aside from the natural beauty of the scenery and the fresh running creek, Nariel reserve offers a low cost option at just $5/night to camp off-grid in a safe well maintained environment. The camp fee, paid into an honesty box on site, covers the upkeep of the camp grounds, the use of drop toilets, water (not suitable for drinking) and fire pits. It is advisable to bring your own fire wood although on many of our trips fire wood had been left behind or donated by other campers. There is a fenced off section within the reserve with picnic tables, an undercover area and the stage used during the festival.
Even during the busier holiday periods (not including the festival period) due to the size of the reserve you never feel on top of anyone else. The expanse of the area also makes it suitable for all types of camping accommodation including caravans and big rigs. You won’t need to back up into a tight spot here!
The biggest drawcard to the reserve is the ability to camp right next to the creek. Nariel Creek gently meanders its way through the campground, offering swimming holes as well as safe shallow areas for younger children. It is also a great place to throw in a fishing line, although due to recent bushfire activity there are very few fish at the present time.
One of the greatest pleasures whilst camping off-grid is having a campfire. Fires should never be lit during total fire ban days, check the CFA website for up-to-date information. Please make sure that you keep the fire contained and have access to water nearby. Collection of firewood is permitted in certain places during autumn and spring, click here for more details.
If you find yourself travelling through this magnificent region make sure you stay at Nariel Creek Recreation Reserve and check out this wonderful spot for yourself as I’d love to hear about your experiences too.