Our first attempt to camp at Marengo Holiday Park was way back 2016. That could have been our first ever camping trip, along with friends and their families. However, for some good reason, we had to cancel. Four years later, early 2020, we gave it another shot but ended up cancelling again. A lot of crazy stuff going on in 2020 especially in Victoria (the whole world actually) but finally, the stars have aligned, we made it to Marengo.
Marengo Holiday Park is at 200km South West of Melbourne CBD. The fastest route is about 2 hrs and 40 min. However, if you’d like to take the scenic route which is via the Great Ocean Road, then it’s about 3 hrs 15 mins — that’s just a little further down Apollo Bay.
In our case though, the ‘fastest route’ took us a good 3 hrs 30 min. So it depends which time of the day you choose to travel. Just assuming you don’t or can’t have a GPS, you can’t really miss it, just drive along the Great Ocean Road.
There are 3 ways to spend the night at Marengo Holiday Park. You can bring your own tent, you can tow a caravan, or book a cabin. Either way you’ll have to book in advance.
We booked the unpowered camping site but for some reason, we ended up on the powered one. I assume it was due to the fact that restrictions have just been lifted in Victoria, bookings must have gone bananas. I can’t complain though. If you’ve read my previous blog, safe to say I can’t get a better spot than that.
Here are a few stills of the place in general:
Because we are not really hardcore campers (well not yet), and we got a kid in tow, proper toilets and showers are always a must have. We can do away without a kitchen but since they have it, I’d say it’s a plus — you’ll never know when you need one.
Here’s what they have to offer:
- Separate toilets and shower for ladies and gents, and a family toilet and bath for family use. I can tell you they are very clean for a camping toilet/bath.
- Kitchen – equipped with a sink for washing your dishes, 2 fridges, electric kettle and a microwave, etc.
If you look at that list, it’s borderline glamping. Just what beginners like us would want.
There are a couple of nearby destinations including the Otways, you might want to check that out. But for a 2-night stint, Marengo itself has a lot to offer. After all, what good is a camping ground without stunning views and landscapes.
All these sites below are well within a 5-minute walk, or less, from our tent.
What good is camping, or any activity for that matter, if we don’t make mistakes and learn from them. Here’s a rookie mistake that you don’t have to go through so read on. 🙂
I had my portable fire pit, fire starters, a lighter and some firewood that I bought from Bunnings. What could go wrong here? It’s the firewood. I had this dilemma, I had to choose between the normal campfire wood and another one called Pizza Oven Firewood. The former came in 20kg bags, the latter came in 10kg. Knowing I will only need it for a night, I went with the pizza firewood for that reason. They look the same anyway, firewood is firewood!
Big mistake. The bloody thing never set ablaze, which is what we need in a campfire. I’m not really sure what went wrong (feel free to share your thoughts on this one on the comments section). Maybe it was the wrong firewood, or maybe I should’ve brought some kindling to start the fire. I’ll have to figure that out. I’m such a noob.
What can I say? I loved every bit of that weekend. The weather was just fine, we never had to use a sleeping bag on our first night. Although the place looks fully booked, you can hear nothing but crashing waves starting at around midnight.
In the morning you’ll wake up to the sound of birds chirping and squawking, heaps of them. I’m no expert but I was listening to them and there’s a lot of different types I can hear. It’s proof that the wildlife in that area is doing pretty well. In fact, we’ve seen 3 wild koalas in our 2-night stint, one of them was a little cheeky, as you may have read.
Majority of the visitors were families, as expected on a site like this. You can see random people walking around with their kids and dogs, people greeting everyone, smiles everywhere — we loved it, such a positive vibe.
Lastly, being outside the comforts of our homes, having to hear some unfamiliar wildlife sounds, howling winds and crashing waves, is a reminder of how small and fragile we really are. And that we don’t want to mess with mother nature because she’s damn scary. And beautiful at the same time.
It’s hard not to miss the place. We will be back!