Clunes Camping Weekend 15-16 February 2020

Event Details

Clunes Camping Weekend 15-16 February 2020

Time: February 15, 2020 at 8:30am to February 16, 2020 at 4:30pm
Location: Clunes
Street: Zen Den Cafe, 736 Main Road
City/Town: Eltham
Website or Map:…
Phone: 0408833764
Event Type: ride, weekend, camping
Organized By: David Atkinson
Latest Activity: Feb 20

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Event Description

Clunes is a charming town in Victoria's central goldfields. Its main street is wide enough to turn a wagon and is lined with a splendid collection of well-preserved 19th century buildings - a streetscape set in aspic. Clunes has become renowned as an international booktown and an annual hub for Australia’s literary heavyweights.

Ride Description

Clunes is 140-kms northwest of Melbourne but you wouldn’t expect us to go the direct way there. We’ve chosen some amazing roads with interesting sights along the way to make getting to our destination half the fun. Our adventure starts at Eltham taking in some lovely roads to Romsey. We skirt past Hanging Rock to refuel at Kyenton. We’ll ride between the Upper Coliban and Lauriston Reserviors. Lunch will be at the Malmsbury bakery. There is a short bit of dirt road at Glenluce on our way to Vaughan and Guildford. We’ll explore the Yandoit Hills to admire the few remaining drystone houses built by Swiss-Italian settlers. It feels a bit like Tuscany. Clunes is not far away. After setting up our little tents checking the stays are nice ’n tight and feeling faint-headed from blowing up airbeds, we’ll amble over to the pub to recover and unwind. After rousing on Sunday morning with sore hips and a foggy head, we’ll crawl out of our sleeping bags to seek a cure for the lack of sleep with a strong coffee in town. As we ride towards Smeaton, we’ll be surrounded by many domed hills which rise out of an otherwise flat plain. Each was once an active volcano. A highlight of Sunday’s ride is the splendid 1862 Andersons Flour Mill. A non-stop meander around Daylesford will include its two lakes and Wombat Hill. We’ll then ride up the side of a volcano and into its caldera. We have another short 8-km dirt road to negotiate which leads us to a secret spring, an oasis of green amongst all the dryness. We stop by the quaint Glenlyon General Store. Lunch is planned at the Pig and Whistle, a cute little pub in East Trentham. Our route home is via Woodend and Clarkefield finishing at Moonee Ponds.


Bleached landscape, summer heat, vast blue skies, dry scrubby bush, yellowing grass, flies, camping and discomfort (I won’t mention snakes) - the quintessential Aussie bush experience - simply wonderful. Pack sunscreen, a hat and water bottle.


Camping and scooters go together like a horse and carriage - a kind of marriage. Aussies are supposed to be outdoorsy people but one can’t help observe that Europeans embrace it more than we do. We’ve become soft. Let’s redress this failing in our character. Let’s toughen up and reclaim our pioneering past. Remember this event is about camping not “Glamping”. Okay if you must Glamp go ahead and make your own nancy-pansy arrangements. The rest of us will be tenting at the Clunes Caravan Park. Make your own booking here:

Departure Point

Cafe Zen Den, 736 Main Road, Eltham departing at 9:30am sharp. You’ll need to arrive earlier for breakfast. Park down the drive behind the cafe or across the road. PLEASE ARRIVE WITH A FULL TANK as the next fuel stop is 120-kms away.

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Comment by Les Bennett on February 7, 2020 at 13:03

Just been on to the Clunes Caravan Park David, no need to book for unpowered sites it seems. I shall just have to air the sleeping bag, all on track. Just sort the weather.

Comment by David Atkinson on January 22, 2020 at 21:14

Stone Houses Of Yandoit

There is a couple of old buildings in Hepburn Springs that I’ve always particularly admired ever since my first visit there on a Vespa in 1966. The Lucini Macaroni Factory built in 1859 proudly sits on the main road. Inside many naive fresco murals cover the walls and ceilings. Further down the road opposite the turn off to the spa baths, there is a rendered stone building of a style that is distinctly European. Parma House built in 1864 looks as though it would be right at home in Tuscany. Not aware of it at the time, I was responding to a sensibility that was other than British Colonial. I only learnt recently that it was migrants from the Swiss-Italian border region who built these cottages, houses and farmhouses when they settled around Hepburn during the gold rush of the 1850s. They were constructed in rubble stone, a technique of their native land.

A highlight of the ride to Clunes on Saturday afternoon is a brief exploration of some of the remains of stone farmhouses around the Yandoit Hills. Many have fallen into ruins but recently restorers have been at work in the area. One example we will see is the homestead complex established in the mid 1850s by Carlo Gervasoni, a north Italian migrant. It consists of three buildings. The main two story house locally referred to as the Old Stone House which once had an upstairs veranda, Granny’s Cottage and a blacksmith shop. The buildings were last occupied in 1923. By the 1960s, they had become extremely dilapidated and derelict, a virtual ruin, not helped by a subsequent owner who became so angry with curious tourists, the National Trust and the Historic Buildings Council that he blew up the back of the main building with gelignite. 

I’ve just bumped into an ABC program. “Restoration Australia” which documents the restoration of the Gervasoni Homestead.

Comment by Jo Wilson on January 20, 2020 at 17:20

Definitely camping!

Comment by David Atkinson on January 20, 2020 at 17:15

That’s great Jo. Camping or glamping?

Comment by Jo Wilson on January 20, 2020 at 12:13

All booked in at the caravan park and looking forward to this so much!!

Comment by David Atkinson on December 12, 2019 at 20:47

Thanks Ray. Enjoy Thailand

Comment by Ray Cassar on December 11, 2019 at 22:04

Hi David,

we would have loved to participate, but will be in Thailand at that time :)

have a great weekend,

cheers Ray & Suzette :)

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