Please ensure you leave access for vehicles at all times - so don't park or pitch a tent on car tracks. Setting up next to dirt roads/car tracks is fine as long as someone can drive past freely.
Adult supervision required at all times for children (and let's face it, each other). There are un-fenced Billabongs, old fence lines, old gold mines on the property and even old car wrecks estimated to be from the 50's on the property and in the state forest, enjoy them but don't let your children in them and do not take your eyes off children near water/mines. Simply watch where you are walking.
The wonders and creative games that come from people when they stumble across the old fence lines are amazing, be responsible for your children and your own actions. These old wire fences are near both Billabongs, one runs through the Tennis Court Billabong (hence it's name) and through the bush and shrubs, the other is behind the Reid Reed Billabong toward Middle camp.
Also be aware of the old mine gold pits on and surrounding the property - watch where you are walking, observe the signs. What will you find that has been used to fill them up? Again, observe but do not enter or attempt to retrieve any item from the mines.
Being Australian bush there are snakes hiding, the chances of you seeing them are extremely rare (I've only seen one dead one in the past 3.5 years) but be prepared. Always call emergency 000 if a bite occurs. Be aware not alarmed.
Lights, lights and water..... and more water! Take a head lamp or torch and plenty of water with you when going on walks, maybe even a muesli or chocolate bar . What if you decide to stay out later than you expect? Your light will help you get back.
Everything looks different in the dark than it does during the daytime, plan to get back before dusk and know your paths well if you plan to do any night walks.
Take some solar powered ground or fairy lights to help you mark your camp site if you have them.
Lady Leyland. Unless you have booked Lady Leyland, or have specific permission from me, you are not permitted to enter inside the bus or climb the ladder. If you have booked Lady or been given permission by me (It's highly likely I'll give permission), access to the roof top is strictly at your own risk and should never exceed two persons standing or six persons sitting/laying down. Note there is no hand rails on the rooftop terrace so intoxicated or silly behavior is banned for your own safety. Again, access is at your own risk, enjoy and have fun while being aware.
Motorbikes. Whilst bikes are currently allowed, please consider other potential guests and noise created by your bikes. All responsibility of bike riding on the property lies with the rider and or parent/guardian. This is real bush and requires careful riding, riders ride at their own risk. The state forest has some great riding trails if you really want to get amongst it!
You will see some Private Property, surveillance cameras in use signs around the borders of the property, this is to discourage the firewood thieves who chop down trees and sell the wood to others. There is only one motion sensor camera at the entrance to record vehicle registration plates for your safety and ensure correct camp numbers etc. There is no other surveillance so don't worry, get naked if it's your thing (don't walk past the entrance naked - I don't need to see that!).
Fire! If the fire danger season is over, and camp fires are allowed, following CFA clearance for the area, please choose your fire spot carefully, fires are permitted anywhere on the property as long as you have considered the following:
- Look above, are there trees hanging over you? no fire.
- Is there dead or dry grass around your proposed fire? no fire.
- Don't have a bucket of water to throw on the fire when you're done? no fire.
- Have you cleared the fire area of dead leaves/scrub, have no trees or branches above and have some water just in case? Are you fully responsible and aware of the dangers of not keeping an eye on your fire for the safety of you and others? Fire allowed!
Feel free to use the fallen trees/branches on the property as firewood free of charge. Do not use too much scrub as kindling (a few handfuls of dead scrub is sufficient). Scrub is highly flammable and full of oils meaning high flames so please don't add much to get your fire started.
I repeat, for the safety of you and others, it is your responsibility to check current local CFA fire advice before any fires are created, it's for your own safety.
Okay now that the safety warnings are out of the way - have a brilliant time! Take a frisbee, cricket bat, books and plan some time out. Look up at stars at your fire of a night, enjoy the milky way, saucepan and southern cross which may be right above you.
Check out Snake Valley (pub and general store) and Smythesdale for a pub meal, Foodworks, cafes and antique stores, the pizza from the general store is insanely good! Ballarat for endless tourist attractions and take a drive to explore the Lookout tower to see where you are. Is it going to be hot? You must head to St Georges Lake near Creswick for a true Aussie style cold dip.
Ballarat has markets almost every Sunday - check them out!
Print the maps (both aerial view and dirt road directions), Print the maps, print the maps! Look for trees with a ring of yellow tape to guide the entrance off Smythesdale-Snake Valley Road, to show you to turn left at the T intersection in the forest and finally, guiding you into the property at the entrance.