Cormorant by the Lakes is a Christian campsite established over 40 years ago on the Banksia Peninsula. The site caters for large and small groups looking for a tent or camper sleeping-under-the-starts experience, with the convenience of a self-catered kitchen, a lounge, meeting spaces and amenities.

Cormorant by the Lakes is a campsite located on the Banksia Peninsula, in the heart of the Gippsland lakes; 300 km East of Melbourne (typically 3.5 hours drive). The campsite is owned by the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne and managed by us (St Hil’s).

The site is maintained primarily to offer tent/campervan based camping, with both powered and unpowered sites as well as a single cabin for younger families. Families tend to use the site for easy, friendly camping, as separate cooking, cleaning and toilet facilities are provided, with plenty of room available for small groups or camps of up to 80 people.

A Donation is requested for using the site in order to help with the maintenance costs.

Getting There

If you need directions to the site, see the map at the bottom of the page. The actual address is 19 Pryce Rd, but there aren’t any signs near the end of the journey. The Google Maps satellite pic must be a fairly new one, as you can now see our two camping platforms over near the cabin, and the bright white sand is our own personal beach. (Crown land, but not often visited by anyone else)

Take care with the drive down; call us if you get lost – the site telephone is 5156 7463, or you can call someone’s mobile, though mobile coverage is poor. We recommend that if possible you leave Melbourne early in the day, so that after travel and camp set-up you still have half a day and the evening to enjoy.

What to Bring

Items to consider:

  • tents (kids often like to sleep in their own tents)
  • sleeping gear (sleeping bags, mats, pillows etc.) The nights can be quite chilly still in September, so bring extra layers, sleeping cold is not fun)
  • camp chairs (by the camp fire, or beach if towels won’t do)
  • wetsuits (for sailing, kayaking, swimming for the hardy)
  • towels, beach towels
  • lifejackets if you have them, but we do have quite a few in a range of sizes including small ones, so don’t worry if you don’t)
  • fishing gear for jetty, lake beach fishing if you like that sort of thing
  • games, activities, crafts, colouring/drawing etc in case of rainy days
  • bikes if you can/want to (there is a nice 30k loop to Paynesville for coffee for the so inclined). There are some bikes at site
  • Camp oven (for a fire cooking experience)

Food

The site is self-catering, so groups are responsible for their own food and its preparation.
Be prepared to manage your own food expenditure, as a typically food budget could be up to $13/day for adults (= high school and above) and $8/day for kids. Groups tend to bring along their own desserts, chocolate!, marshmallows and perhaps some beer or wine to share with dinner, also something to share by the campfire. If you are happy to share you can store in the pantry cupboard, noting that not infrequently children get up first and devour anything not nailed down! If you need to bring special food, probably best to store it in your tent – same goes for other personal belongings. There should be some room to store in a box/crate/esky in the kitchen area or outside on the shelves.

Managing Your Camp

We have set up a Google docs spreadsheet so you can tell us when you’re arriving, how much you’ll need to pay, who’s coming, and who else is coming! Note that high school and older children are considered as an adult for camping/catering purposes. A roster of roles is recommended.
See this link here

Pitching In

Cormorant is NOT a serviced campsite. On arrival, all benchtops should be cleaned in preparation for your camp. You will need to leave the campsite as you found it for the next group. This means getting campers to assist with cooking, cleaning and maintaining the basic creature comforts. Toilets, showers and the kitchen floor should all be mopped, with wood stores maintained as much as possible. Gathering Banksia nuts is one of the easiest ways to stoke the water and lounge heater.

Donations for Camping

(these are separate from your own food cost management)
The campsite is managed by reasonable donations. We suggest a donation of no less than $10/adult/night and $7.50/child/night – so a family of 2+2 would be $105 for 3 nights if you stayed Friday – Monday. The easiest way to do this is straight into the Cormorant bank account – BSB: 633 000 Acc no: 135115780 – with some kind of comment that lets us know who you are and when you came. There is an easy calculator on the spreadsheet linked above.

Safety

You are responsible for your own campers & kids, so the following is provided only as a guideline

We would recommend ABSOLUTELY no swimming or water activities without an adult present
We would usually allow older kids (high school age) to visit beach as long as an adult has approved this
No water activities (sailing, canoes, boat rides..) without a life jacket
Always check with an adult before taking out a craft. If you are not experienced, try to check prevailing conditions etc.
Mostly we only see Kangaroos, wallabies, kookaburras; occasionally dolphins and our resident echidna, but if you do see a snake, just back away and tell an adult/other adults.

Find Us

19 Pryce Rd, Forge Creek, Vic 3875

Directions from Melbourne:

  • Take the Princess Hwy to Bairnsdale
  • Drive through Bairnsdale to Mitchell Garden Caravan Park – turn left at the sign to Paynesville
  • Drive 9.5 km to Lake Victoria Road, Signposted for ‘Newlands Arm’, ‘Banksia Peninsula’ & turn right.
  • Drive 7.5 km & turn left at ‘Bankshaven’, ‘Private Property’, ‘Camp Coorong sign ( if you miss it, the road becomes a dead end within a km) sign & turn right.

The centre of the site is the “Lounge” – a multi-function room with:

  • Roller door access
  • Additional access doors for meal preparation flow
  • The Kitchen, scullery, dining and lounging spaces

The Kitchen, includes:

  • A 900mm wide Gas cooktop, range hood and oven
  • Electric hot water
  • A domestic dish washer for small groups
  • An industrial dishwasher for larger groups
  • A microwave
  • 2 refrigerators
  • 2 sinks
  • Coffee facilities
  • Toasters and kettles
  • Plates, bowls, cups, glasses and cutlery for up to approximately 80 people
  • Pots, pans, rice cookers, blenders and cooking utensils
  • Cupboards and drawers for food storage and food preparation items

The Scullery (Outside the southern kitchen window) includes a stainless steel bench fitted with 2 sinks. This allows for larger groups to separate the food preparation from the clean-up.

Adjoining the kitchen is a dining space, which includes:

  • 4 tables for seating up to 20
  • Seats and bench seats

The remaining Lounge space includes:

  • 3 Couches, 4 arm chairs and a coffee table for games
  • A wood-fired heater. The wood store should be maintained by campers while at site if possible
  • A screen for projection
  • A basic stereo system for audio
  • Outside, under cover, there are further bench tables for eating in fair weather.

The Multi-function space. Through covered access from the lounge is a direct link to the Multi-function space, used for boat storage and for larger groups. This space is open plan, and includes a number of boats for use by experienced sailors, as well as:

  • A lounge area with 2 couches and 4 arm chairs
  • Over 100 chairs and 10 tables
  • An overflow fridge
  • Table Tennis tables
  • A Foosball table
  • A projector screen and mount, with a small stereo system.

Amenities – The main toilet block provides:

  • 6 showers, 6 basins and 4 toilets divided over separate men’s and women’s
  • A wood fired hot water service. The wood store should be maintained by campers while at site if possible
  • The main electrical and water control facility for the site; with a pump servicing the 2, main water tanks (90,000L total capacity.)
  • Additional laundry facilities at the rear include 2 washing machines, a dual sink and 2 clothes lines.

Accommodation – the site is primarily designed for unstructured tent, camper trailer and caravan – based camping. However, the site does include:

  • 4 power poles for powered sites
  • 2 camping platforms
  • A single cabin with 2 beds and 2 bunks, electricity and a fold out sofa, for up to 8 adults.

Water Access – Water-based activities can be organised from:

  • The sand beach
  • The stony beach
  • The Jetty (Duck Arm)

All 3 areas have 4WD access for transporting light boats, canoes and other beach equipment. Larger boats can be launched from the end of Duck Arm at the owner’s own risk.

The Fire Pit – fires at the site are managed in a solitary in-ground fire pit, allowing for groups to gather, cook and relax around the fire. It is recommended that wood from the wood store is saved for the lounge and toilet block, requiring campers to gather their own wood for the firepit.

Check out Time

10am is check out time for those staying in cabins, powered sites and campsites

Powered Sites and Camping Sites

Sites are available from 2pm on the day of arrival. Departure is by 10am on the final day of your stay. Campers are responsible for choosing safe areas to set up their portable home and ensure it is left clean and tidy for the next resident.

Responsibilities

All persons enter the park at their own risk and are totally responsible for their own property and motor vehicles. Management assumes that all electrical appliances provided by the guests conform to the relevant Australian standards.

Rubbish

It is the responsibility of the campers to remove all rubbish from the site. There is no council rubbish collection from the campsite. Please keep your camping area clean and tidy

Trees

Trees in the park are inspected regularly but branches are still prone to fall from time to time. Persons entering the park do so at their own risk. No responsibility will be accepted for persons or property damage caused by falling trees or branches.

BBQ

There is a barbeque available for camp use. Campers are required to provide their own 9Kg gas bottle with a POL connection

Behaviour

Please respect the environment and the other campgrounds on the Banksia Peninsula. Be mindful to keep to the walking paths on the site where possible to minimize damage. Management has the right to terminate your stay if you are causing disruption or undesirable behaviour.

Bicycles

Helmets are recommended to be worn while riding bicycles or scooters within the campground.

Cabins

Cabins are available to occupy from 2pm on the day of arrival, with a 10am checkout on the last day. Please leave the cabin clean and tidy. You are responsible for breakages or damage caused by you or your visitors.

Cancellations or Early Departures

During peak periods (school holidays and public holiday weekends) any cancellation made less than 14 days prior to the booking incurs a 50% cancellation fee. Bookings cancelled more than 14 days prior to the arrival date will not incur a fee.

Damages

Any damages caused or simply identified during your stay should be reported to the management committee, on (email, Phone)

Electricity

The main switches are located in the boiler room between the two toilets & should be turned off when leaving an empty campsite.

Fires

Fires are only allowed during the non-fire danger period. Fires can only be lit in the designated fire pit BBQ. The country Fire Authority expressly forbids Fires on the beach. Please do not put litter, glass or rubbish in the fire. Fires must be monitored at all times and thoroughly extinguished before being left alone.

Laundry

There is a laundry located at the back of the toilet block. Please be aware that it is a front loading machine and due to the low water pressure, one cycle takes approximately 2 hours to complete.

Pets

Domestic pets are not permitted in the campground.

Visitors

Visitors to the campground are required to leave their cars outside the fenced area whilst they are on the site. This helps minimize the erosion on the campground.

Water

The campsite runs on tank water, hence campers are requested to be mindful of the use of water during their stay.

Our Mission

Our mission is to provide a self-sustaining bushland and lakefront campsite providing Christian camping and holidays for young and old Australians.

Site History

Cormorant is one of a number of campsites on the peninsula, which was given to the Anglican Diocese by Fred and Joan Barton, who owned the land at that time. They also created a large section of the peninsula adjacent to the Cormorant site into the Barton-Crees Memorial Trust. Mr and Mrs Barton formed a magnificent concept of Banksia Peninsula as a centre for Christian Youth camping that would provide an enduring benefit to young Australians.

In the early 1970’s, the newly created Department of Christian Education (DCE), under the leadership of one of the site founders – Mr. Tony Morgan, began to develop the property and make it viable area for Christian camping. Over the following years the site was cleared, the toilet block and lunge was built (and rebuilt after the fires of 1978), to allow the site to keep its natural feel and minimise its environmental impact.

The site continues to be managed and developed by a group of dedicated volunteers, committed to the vision of Christian camping.

Since 2010, the site has continued to be developed, to include new multi-purpose storage and all weather meeting facilities, a modern mid-industrial kitchen and camping platforms. The full list of facilities can be found here.