I thought I would write up a bit of a ‘trip report’ on the BA Forum glamping (or car camping, depending on your definition) weekend at Mt Franklin.
First of all the location…
Mt Franklin Reserve is located in Hepburn Regional Park just north of Daylesford and Hepburn Springs. It is a lovely camping ground set in the crater of an extinct volcano which has been planted out with exotic confers and deciduous trees with plenty of grassed areas to camp on. You drive into the crater through the breach in the cone cause by a long ago eruption.
There are drop toilets with attached rainwater tanks for hand washing and the obligatory message about the water not being fit to drink unless treated. There were numerous picnic tables and fire places with swivel hotplates scattered around the campsite. The soil is not very deep in places so it can be hard to get your tent pegs in deep enough before they hit rock.
For photos of the camp grounds see: http://parkweb.vic.gov.au/explore/parks/hepburn-r.p/things-to-do/mt-franklin-reserve
A walking track winds up the inside the crater to the ‘summit’ ending near a gravel circle area which is the end of the service road for the multiple mobile phone antennas. Yes, everyone seemed to have very good phone reception! Following the service road around the rim of the crater eventually leads back down to the camping area. The entire walk is signed as 20 minutes and I can vouch for the fact that it took 40 minutes with children (including a 2-year old) so it is really more of a stroll.
Nearby there many walk options along the Tipperary Walking Track and Goldfields Track (which forms part of the Great Dividing Trail).
For more details on walks see:http://parkweb.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0017/313802/Park-note-Hepburn-RP-and-Mt-Franklin-Reserve.pdfhttp://www.goldfieldstrack.com.au/http://gdt.org.au/
OUR GLAMPING WEEKEND
Moondog and Cecile (also known as Beloved) arrived on Thursday to set things up. Sim1oz arrived early Friday afternoon with children, and family friend and child. Michael dropped off two dozen freshly laid eggs on his work travels. Soon Cecile’s daughter arrived her children. DavidM was next to arrive and set up camp. Snowzone and partner joined us for a few hours including dinner around the expanded fire place incorporating some of Moondog’s fire stoves and fire pits brought from home. Several people brought bags of wood to keep bodies and food warm which was good considering the cold weather over the weekend. Saturday we were joined by ErichFromm and his 2yo son. Franco and his wife joined us for a few hours in the afternoon, and icefest arrived not long after Franco left. (I hope I didn’t forget anyone in that list!)
Given the cold weather we did spend a lot of time sitting around the fire talking and keeping warm. There was lots of food shared round, including cakes, fresh bread from the bakery and Moondog’s kitchen, freshly made potato and sweet potato chips, chocolate, and plenty of wine and port. On Saturday Moondog made two big pots of soup, the promised lamb shank and barley broth as well as a vegetable soup for the vegetarians among us. Delicious and warming!
Whilst it seems people’s definitions of glamping seems to differ, there were many luxurious items brought along that would not normally make it into a pack. Moondog decked out his multiple shelters in fairylights, ErichFromm strung up some glowing balloons along rope tied between trees, and sim1oz brought glow-in-the-dark necklaces which we placed on the kids to keep track of them and eventually placed on tents so that people stopped tripping on guylines. It did become a bit of an obstacle course by Saturday night!
Some people brought big car camping tents which allowed for some extra luxurious bedding – I slept on my futon mattress with our home pillows and doona. It was cozy and warm despite the cold temperatures. It was also convenient bringing full-size camp chairs which allowed me to toast my toes nicely by the fire. As one who does not normally light fires whilst doing packwalks, I must admit I enjoyed the warmth and social side of the campfire.
The weekend provided a good opportunity for people to see and play with gear. Knives, packs and shelters seemed to be the most frequent display. DavidM showed us his Feuerhand kerosene lamp which shone all night acting as a beacon to help those returning from the toilet. We set up some shelters in one corner, ErichFromm’s hammock, Franco’s Notch and Stratspire 2, and sim1oz’s Hogback. Icefest impressed us all with his superlightweight cuben shelter and pack.
This is really just an overview of the many wonderful people we met and conversations we had. I enjoyed finally putting faces to names and find some potential new walking partners.
I invite everyone else who came along to share their reflections and photos.
Also, it seemed that people were keen to do this again, so stay tuned for a spring glamping trip….