Another Camp at Majors Creek

Another trip to Majors Creek! After the year we’ve all had, including myself; I have been itching to get back out among nature and the camping group I belong to was heading back to the same spot I went last year so I couldn’t pass up the opportunity!


4 Days along the backwater of the Goulburn River. Kayaking with friends and encircling campfires was soul-enriching. The weather was hot in the mid 30 celsius range which made my thermoregulation issues challenging but loved every moment of the trip. Got to share all the good news that’s happened to me since the last trip and the group leader announced my little achievement to the group, where my name is on the Mars lander that successfully landed on Mars at the same time we were camping.


My NDIS support worker drove me up on Thursday, helped me install the tent poles and dropped off all my stuff. I had been practicing at home and was able to put up the gazebo and the rest of my setup independently. On the Sunday I was able to take-down and pack up all my gear all by myself, a new achievement for my stubborn independence. haha.

Got to go Kayaking up backwater and into the Goulburn River, first time I have been using muscles in my back that I injured and went to hospital back last November. But ironically its my wrists that are near-immobilised today as the nerve pain is intense. It was only a 90min kayak trip and I definitely want to do more, so tweaking my workout routine to try to improve that strength and look into a small electric motor so I can explore even further next time and the next river,


This past winter and summer had been particularly wet compared to past years and was worried that the dusty enviroment was going to bog my wheelchair down but it was just as accessible with its firm, compact and flat group. The campsite has a wheelchair accessible long-drop toilet and easy access to the water-line so I had all the amenities I needed.

Kiwi, my new Red Heeler puppy got to come for a visit on Sunday when a friend came to pick me up. Got to start socialising with other dogs for the first time since his vaccinations. He was terrified and it was quite funny. But he will be joining me on all my future camping trips now that he’s old enough.


Gallery:
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Fishing at Hastings Pier, Victoria

A close day trip from Melbourne, Hastings is a small town outside of the Port Phillip Bay area and has a great fishing spot. While I didn’t catch anything, the weather was cold but calm enough to be an enjoyable day. The parking was easy and the pier is fully accessible, including the water-level floating pier with a good ramp down to it. I would call this a great location for wheelchair users to try out fishing in seawater.

I very much had to learn as I went, there was no simple “how to” guide for wheelchair fishing that I could find. I remember fishing when I was younger and as soon as muscle memory went to cast the line, it literally flew sideways the first time, by the end of the day I had figured out a few techniques. I hope after a few fishing trips I should be able to articulate some ideas well to help teach others what I’ve learnt, I’m no expert that’s for sure but no reason I cant try to help you all out.
Got some ideas on some ways to make this experience smoother, need to get a bait board that has some grip, with pier wood being wet, it tends to be slippery, so the extra grippy tires I have came in handy a lot!
View Eastward from Hastings Pier

View Northwest from Hastings Pier

Grade 3 Accessibility

  • Has accessible car parking spaces
  • Mostly firm but rough ground
  • plenty of ramps and flat space to choose a spot to fish
  • accessible toilets nearby are unknown

Toorongo Falls Campsite

2 hour drive east of Melbourne, down near the end of a unsealed road is this gem. Recently there was massive renovations to this very large campsite, there is more flat ground with terraces running parallel with a swift stream.

The access paths around and to the accessible toilet are covered in fresh gravel but its still new enough that it hasn’t settled so be prepared as a wheelchair user to spin wheels on the gravel sometimes. Terrain like this a FreeWheel to help moving across the uneven terrain much easier.

The area is protected from state forestry logging and contains a lot of old growth bush that hasn’t seen bush-fires in decades. its at the end of a steep valley so it has its own damper micro-climate. You can expect to see a lot of temperate rainforest flora and fauna in this area.
Note: Don’t expect to visit the local stream running along the campsite if your a wheelchair user, this would be an easy improvement to do on the maintenance part, but those short paths are only safe for able-bodied to walk on.

Accessibility Grading

Grade 2 Campsite
  • Wheelchair accessible long-drop toilet
  • Pathways too steep for most except the most active wheelchair users
  • Walking trails connected to the campsite only traversable with crutches or minor mobility difficulties
  • Some campsite areas are surrounded by a fence that can stop unsupervised people from wandering too far.

    Toorongo Falls Walk

    And they claim it’s not wheelchair accessible. Well we sure showed the system that it can be! Almost 2 hours east out of Melbourne into the southern part of the Yarra Ranges, it is lush and green with old growth gum trees stretching up to the sky. There is no cell reception so best to come prepared! There is a large accessible campsite nearby as an accommodation option (that article will be written up soon)

    This would have to be the single most challenging trail I’ve done personally since the wheelchair and would not have been possible. There was boulders that made the trail too narrow so we needed 3-4 people to simultaneously pick up the entire chair with me in it, and some parts had me carried only because the park service placed posts in the way to stop motorbikes but also stops wheelchairs -_-

    The group and myself had a fantastic time. It took me a while to emotionally process the experience, but I cant wait to do it again at other locations once this COVID-19 pandemic is over.

    A shout out to Gay Camping Victoria group for their support into making this awesome experience possible.

    Accessibility Grading

    Grade 1 Trail
    Rough-hewn stone stairs and steep slopes.
    Very few handrails
    Small and Medium sized boulders on paths will block independent accessible travel.
    Not wheelchair accessible without multiple people assisting

    Majors Creek Campsite

    A 90 minute drive from Melbourne, Australia you have campsite that can be accessible for the active wheelchair users and those with minor mobility issues. Situated directly next to the water and Puckapunyal, accessible by a good quality dirt road. It’s a great dark spot to enjoy the stars and calm water to get wet and/or fish.

    Terrain

    In good weather conditions the ground is quite compact, firm and flat. With my off-road tires on the chair, I had no issue traversing the campsite area. The water nearby is good for fishing and very calm for beginners to learn waterways. Before my weekend trip here, I had been an avid kayaker before the wheelchair and this was the first time I had been in one since hospital. It took some adjusting, learning a new technique to suit my mobility, but i’m really glad I got to experience it somewhere like here where the water was super calm and boat users were courteous enough to slow down around the kayaks.
    There is no concrete other than the boat ramp into the water, so be prepared to spend the trip traversing gravel. I found with the off-road tires and no freewheel attachment, that I was fit enough to get around. But I will recommend to still bring a puncture repair kit.

    Facilities

    • 1 Wheelchair Accessible Non-Flushing Toilet (Not Sanitary for continence Issues)
    • Boat Ramp for traditional water entry
    • Recycled plastic bollards in regular interval to not let vehicles get too close to the water.
    • Water is quite calm and easy for persons with disabilities to enter the water with assistance (Kayaking etc)
    • There is no definite walking tracks from this campsite, but there is a dirt road the continues along the water.

    Grading

    I would give this campsite a Grade 3 as it meets all national legislation on accessibility. My only note is that if you require sterile/sanitary conditions for continence issues, come prepared to have your own space for it.

    Other Notes

    The campsite is full of tall gum trees and you need to be cautious if it gets windy due to risk of falling branches