Cathedral Range State Park
Camping at Cooks Mill & Neds Gully Campsites
Cathedral Range State Park is about a one-and-a-half to two hour or roughly one hundred km drive north-east of Melbourne, between the towns of Buxton and Taggerty. The drive from Melbourne is through the Yarra Valley and Yarra Ranges consisting of giant Gum Trees and huge ferns – it’s worth making the trip even if you were to turn ack and head home again upon arriving.
It’s one of our favorite destinations to visit for a quick weekend escape from Melbourne and a great place for rock climbing, fishing, camping and day hiking.
The are two main campgrounds are Neds Gully and Cooks Mill. Both sites have drop toilets and plenty of space per group with access to short walks and day hikes.
The campsites are beautiful and green with a small river on one edge that joins both of the sites, which allows you to swim and fish.
There are some great hikes to the summit which can be completed around three to four hours depending on your fitness, or your preference or choice of companions.
We come here regularly and highly recommend Cathedral Range for a weekend get away, a family camping trip, or somewhere to go for a day hike close to Melbourne.
Booking a campsite at Cathederal Range
To stay at either Neds Gully camp site or Cooks Mill camp ground, you’ll need to book through Parks Victoria. It’s inexpensive and a great idea, as the money you pay helps take care of the campgrounds and state park.
Neds Peak Hiking Trail
There is a steep hike to Neds Peak leaving Neds Gully camping area. The map says it’s less than an hour, although for us it was a fun two hour hike to the summit. Allow some tip to explore the cliff shelf once at the top, with incredible views of the great Australia plains.
Neds Gully Camping Area
Neds Gully is our preferred spot out of the two main campsites but it does have a footbridge at the entrance which requires you to carry all your gear from the carpark across the bridge to your campsite. There is a lot of space for each group and has a great layout, making it feel as though there is less people than how many might be there, as most of the individual sites have two-three of the sides being native Australian trees and bush.
It’s a thirty minute walk from Neds Gully campground to the other campsite, Cooks Mill. It’s a nice walk along the river, it’s completely flat and easy. It’s slightly faster walking along the dirt road and would take just a few minutes by car.
Cooks Mill Campgroud
People tend to set-up camp at Cooks Mill camp ground over Neds Gully as there is parking available right next to each/most campsites. There are loads of Gum Trees and plenty of space weaving around them.
Cooks Mill is a nice and easy place to go camping due to the accessibility, it being a short drive from Melbourne and the many hikes and walks leaving from the camp ground or close by.
Last time we were here, it was after getting home from work on a Friday evening and making a spontaneous decision to go camping – we only had our hiking tents with us a few items in the car. Upon arriving at Neds Gully, it was bucketing rain and pitch black. We tied some tarps up to the trees, built a small moat around the camping area and lit a fire under the tarp. It was a great night and there aren’t too many places this close and easy to visit and go camping. Take a look at some of the photos of that night, below.