By Agnes Hellwig
My husband Nick and I appreciated caravan parks that welcome pets so when we heard that Traralgons Park Lane Tourist Park was pet friendly we took a few days break and pitched our tent on one of their comfy en-suite powered sites.
We go everywhere with our beloved dogs Bindi and Ika. We had heard good things about major improvements at Park Lane and that serious attention had been given to providing for people who travel with their pets.
Park lane is very pet friendly and even has a small enclosed run where dogs can be left while their owners tour the Tarra Valley National Park or attractions like PowerWorks.
Camping in comfort
There is a big leash free area at the back of the park as well, and manager Barry Stewart told me there are even a couple of cabins where dogs are permitted.
Park Lane Tourist Park on the Princes Hwy, midway between the Victorian Latrobe Valley centres of Morwell and Traralgon.
The transformation has come from the kind of practical knowhow that goes with people like owners Graeme and Chris Hellings and the caravan park management skills of Barry and Denise Stewart. This happy combination has propelled Park Lane from two stars to a AAA Tourism rating of four and a half.
Pets are allowed at the managers discretion. They must be on a lead at all times. Park Lane recognises that many people love their pets and want them with them on the road.
There are also a small number of Pet Friendly cabins available for travellers.
What impressed us on the 1.5 hour trip from Melbourne is how green everything was!
Apart from the charred trunks of trees in some areas, it was hard to believe we have a drought and there were such huge fires in the area earlier in the year.
While there we took a trip up to Walhalla and spent some time looking around this historic quaint 19th century gold mining town.
Michael Leaney who is the president of the Walhalla and Mountain Rivers Tourism Association and the owner of the Star Hotel told me that in its heyday Walhalla was home to 10 hotels, three breweries and seven churches, with over 2,500 residents.
More than 75 tonnes of gold was removed from Cohens Reef which runs deep below the town.
There are now only 18 permanent residents.
You can take a spectacular journey on the Walhalla Gold Fields Railway, or take a tour of the Long Tunnel Extended Gold Mine.
Phillips cottage Walhalla
There is even a Ghost Tour, and there are several cafs and eateries, a
gift shop, museum, post office and Bed Breakfasts.
While in the Traralgon and Morwell area a visit to PowerWorks and the Tara Valley National Park is a must do. I can recommend the Traralgon RSL for lunch or dinner, the food is fantastic, huge serves and reasonable price!
There is an Australian as well as a Chinese menu. We had curried prawns on the night we went, and were served a huge plate of 12 large prawns on rice, with self serve salads for $17.95 each.
While staying at Park Lane we met Jan and Alan Bull from Auckland NZ.
They had who sold up their property and quit their jobs in NZ to travel around Australia for two years with their two dogs.
31ft Crossroads escape cruiser 5th wheeler
After much research they bought a new 31ft Crossroads Escape Cruiser 5th wheeler from American Victorian Imports in Traralgon.
Dubbed Casa del Toro this 5th wheeler is something to see.
There are three popouts, one in the bedroom, one in the kitchen and one in the lounge. There is so much room inside, the lounge has two couches.
One of the couches makes up into a bed, the kitchen has a double sink, and there is a queen size bed in the bedroom, with a full size wardrobe and plenty of walking around space.
Jan and Alan are making their way to Perth initially, and then on to Broome to visit family before setting of to tour the rest of Australia.
Casa Del Toro lounge room
On our way home we stopped at Yarragon Village for lunch at the Gippsland Food and Wine shop, and took some time to visit a number of the quaint gift shops and galleries. Chantry Faire has a large
selection of Australiana as well as a beautiful range of gifts and jewellery etc, and the Town Country Gallery is a must to browse.
There are lots of places to eat, antiques, specialty shops, toys, in short something for everyone!
We then made our way to Drouin West to check out the Glen Cromie Caravan Park which I have heard a lot about but never seen. This place is absolute heaven!
It is located in a little valley with the Tarago River running through it, lots of trees, grass, fresh air and mountain views. At present there are only two cabins and a caravan, lots of powered and unpowered sites, and pets are allowed under strict control.
This caravan park is less than an hour from Melbourne, but is in another world!
New owners Karen and Charlie Azzepardi have lots of plans for improvements in the future and we will definitely be staying there sometime soon!
Editor's Note: Also see -
Casa Del Toro 31ft Crossroads Escape Cruiser with the Bulls
Eating area of the Crossroads 5th wheeler