The Pines, Goughs Bay Vic - Camping Guide

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The official name of this place is called The Delatite Arm Reserve but the more common name is known as The Pines.

Situated near Goughs Bay off the Piries-Goughs Bay Rd and around 3hrs from Melbourne, The Pines is probably the best free camping location around Lake Eildon.

I’ve been going up there non stop for around 20+ years and with many forum members inquiring what The Pines is like throughout the year on a recent forum ride, this my guide/take to the places.

You enter in from Walshes Rd off Piries-Goughs Bay Rd and the park starts where you literally see a Pine forest (hence the name) and the Delatite Arm Reserve sign.

The Pines is part Eildon National Park and State Forest with the whole place managed by DSE Vic.

Campgrounds:  Shown in the image below and although there are high water marks, this isn’t enforced unless the lake is around 90% or the water is close to these markers. 
At the time of this post, with the water level around 70%, many campers tend to frequent the shores of the lake which leave ample space in the marked campgrounds.
Campsites are first in best dress and most people will generally ask if you are expecting more people if you are in same location – most sites can easily accommodate 5-20 people per site.

Toilets: At present, the marked campgrounds have two drop toilets with a tap and sink to wash your hands via a rain tank but l would not rely on the rain tank to clean your hands.
Toilet paper is self-supplied although many campers tend to leave a few rolls.
Important note: After you are finished doing your business, please leave the toilet cover down...don’t want nasty surprises!!

Rubbish: - Take your rubbish home, paper products you can use as fire material, tin cans can be burnt if the fire is hot enough.

Fire pit/Fire Rings: Only recent have concrete fire rings been in place in each campsite, they are well sized and generally do the trick…if you are camping along the foreshore, dig a fire pit.

Firewood: You could get by savaging for dead branches etc, but it’s recommended a decent chainsaw is taken with a 4wd in order to reach area’s where there are fallen trees – whatever you do please don’t hack into the treated pine posts that border’s campsites!!

Police: During long weekends, expect VicPol to set up a breatho at the start of the park, generally 3-4 dirtbike VicPol will cruise the main Ridge Track and the main rd and will pull over every biker for reg and licence. On many occasions they will ride through every single campsite and have booked bikes unregistered if the bike is off the trailer – in other words, you need a rec or full reg licence and a licence (yes they have booked L and P platers for not high vis and plates). Only in the last 10 years have VicPol concentrated on The Pines which coincidentally is when the lake filled up again?

Best times to go:


Late Spring to Summer: Very dusty on the roads, the water will be freezing in early spring through to early summer as the snow runoff from major rivers ends up in Lake Eildon. Riding at this time is quite comfortable as it doesn’t get too hot nor does it get too cool, can be dusty on the tracks.

Summer to Early Autumn: Very Dusty on the roads and can be extremely hot if contemplating riding – best to do your riding early in the morning or late afternoon. Total fire bans do apply so it’s wise to bring gas and not rely on firewood and like many parts of Australia, flies are quite pesky. The busiest time at The Pines is during the Christmas period with families, boaters and houseboat folk frequenting the place often setting up campsites as early as end of November.

Late Autumn – Winter: Probably the best time to go if you are after dirt riding, 4wd driving and fishing as it’s quite cold however, through July and August expect heavy rains and gale force winds…not to mention the odd snow falls. The place is generally quiet during these times as the temperature barely registers above 12C during the winter months.

Winds: The winds tend to blow SSW or NNW and it does blow…often you can hear a huge gust coming your way as it roars through the forest or over the hill. Family Friendly tends to be more sheltered by the winds in comparison to The Badlands and Wastelands.

At the bottom is an image of the place which l/we have sectioned off and described below

Family Friendly Area (Green)

This is the front of the park and we’ve named this as many campers with families with caravans and large tents generally frequent this part of the park with activities such as hiking/walking, pets, low-level mountain biking are common in this area.
Dirt bikes are also welcomed in this part but yahoo activities are generally frowned upon due to the amount of children running around and most campers turn to bed pretty early. Also, the sounds of generators are quite common.

The road in from the rangers hut to the end of this area is recently graded so the road is fairly smooth allowing easy access for the standard vehicle, large caravans and boat trailers (don't always expect this though!!)

Also, being at the front or start of the park, this part of Walshes Rd is a very busy thoroughfare especially during long weekends where it is not uncommon to see long convoy’s of vehicles come through the day until late in the night – when it’s dry expect to be dusted.

The Badlands (Blue)

This area starts from over the hill behind the Ewarts Campgrounds and signified by the gate that is closed off occasionally and ends where Walshes Rd ends and Plantation Rd begins to go over the far back of the park.

We’ve named it The Badlands as the road went from smooth to potholed and generally bumpy. However, the name is apt as the sites in this section are very large and generally populated by 4wd drivers and dirt bikers, jet skiers and skiers alike, campers who are generally there for a good 4 days+.
The general behaviour in this area is with plenty of loud music, loud swearing, bikes on the rev limiter at midnight, 4wd driving late at night, butane party poppers etc. – you get the picture.
The campsites themselves are very similar to the front of the park but may find the drop toilets overcrowded as it’s not uncommon for sites to have a minimum of 20 people. Also, the treated pine post bordering doesn’t exist on this side of the park.

The Wastelands (Red)

The Wastelands starts at the end of Walshes Rd/start of Plantation Rd which goes over the mountain pass to the back of the park.

We’ve coined this area the Wastelands as it’s a very basic area. Only in the last 2 years Parks have installed drop toilets but only on the main sites, the rest is back to nature.
Mobile reception is very weak to non-existent as you are in between mountains and The Paps (primary mobile tower for the district) is blocked by these ranges.
It’s a very long drive to the start of the park so most campers generally do not drive out – make sure you carry what you need.
During summer, majority of campers use this area to join up with houseboats.
Firewood is very easy to come by as it’s everywhere and little need for a chainsaw.

The Wastelands is for the hard core camper as it’s quite quiet, very little traffic as most people don’t venture out this far so you can enjoy nature and the stars with very little light pollution or people.

Finally, there are heaps of tracks at The Pines, don't ask me for a gps track loop, go and explore and you'll be surpise what you'll find - Enjoy!!


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According to Dr Google Maps it takes 1hr 32min to drive from the first campsite to the last...take this with a grain of salt as it's a good 2hr drive even if you can go over the pass from Ewarts campgrounds - much easier on a dirt bike :)

ThePines_drive time.jpg

ThePines_drive time2.jpg

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 3 years later...

Hi Team,


I was wondering if anyone has been made aware that The Parks have barricaded all the entrances to the Lake Gough's Bay The Pines) and added signs if you camp lake side.

A friend who lives up there mentioned this as he was motorbike riding in the area.

I can't find anywhere on the net that states these works have taken place, but he rode down Welsh's road and it was all the way along (but it has been a rule that you are not to camp below the 100% line but they have turned a blind eye for years).

We go every year Christmas and easter with family and friends but if you can only camp in the designated camping area's these will be filled up in no time.

I'm worried a few thousand people are going to show up this year with nowhere to go.

Does anyone know anymore?

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Haven't been down to Goughs due to lockdown but it is a rule that hard to enforce as you can launch your boat or canoe or jetski from many of these campsites UNLESS they have now restricted all access to the lake and have built purpose boat ramps for visitors to launch from?

Usually the water level will be high and rising if they've had heaps of rain and snow melts from the mountains around this time so many of the site maybe at the high water mark?

Also, the tent cities that pop up along the banks should 20m from the waters edge plus ppl do leave quite a bit of rubbish down there which doesn't help?


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Sneaky aren’t they. Using the lockdown to close the areas off.
It is a rule though, no camping, riding, driving, or even fires etc below the high water mark. Aside from rubbish that some low life’s leave behind I can’t see the issue with it. It’s all about protecting the water supply apparently.
The camp grounds up past Jerusalem Creek were also done quite a while ago.
It will be interesting in peak periods now

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I spoke to the rangers last time i was up there and they said it's a rule,no camping below the high water line and they don't really enforce it. They go around regulary and pick up all the rubbish that idiots leave so it was only a matter of time. In general some people a pigs and just don't respect what we have. It's always the minority that rules and laws are made for. Bad news to hear though and many regular long time campers will be very pissed.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Just got back late last night,same as usual and water is well up. Jay,enjoy the riding and you can acess the 3 hillclimbs now.

Can report that Goughs is as usual - no block entrances to the lake.
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Yeh,it's very tough after a break and being over 50 doesn't make it any easier.Hows the legs and arms and shoulders,burn is an understatement.Didn't see any deer so maybe they have been hit by hunters,i seen a few sneaky markers here and there.Plenty of fish jumping in the shallows along the bank but could be carp?

Yes lve noticed some track clearing Cluffie!!!
PS. The body feels like I've been riding here for 2 days and it's only been 5hrs lol

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Yeah quads are burning, arm pump just trying to hold on but what l found was how quickly my energy was zapped just from picking up the bike on a 45degree, just one fall and that was it and struggle town had booked a room for me.
No deer which is very surprising and didn't hear dogs at night! Quite a few ppl up here more 4wders and jetskis, never bumped into anyone on the techie tracks.

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