Nelson, on Victoria's Discovery Coast in the south-west, is often ignored, as the Great Ocean Road ends at Portland where the road no longer hugs the sea. Just a few kilometres from the South Australian border, however, the pretty town is the perfect place for those wanting a quiet holiday. Quiet doesn't mean boring, though. There are loads of activities, including waterskiing, fishing, canoeing and camping, with endless nature to explore.
The beautiful countryside has been recognised by the declaration of Lower Glenelg National Park, which extends along the Glenelg River and Discovery Bay National Park that stretches to Cape Bridgewater.
The Glenelg is Victoria's longest estuarine river, starting in the mountainous Grampians and travelling 400km to the sea near Nelson. The river's banks are dotted with picnic and camping areas. The last 35km are superb, winding through bushland and limestone gorges created over years of making its way to the ocean through soft limestone cliffs. There are many caves in the area. The best known are the Princess Margaret Caves, 20m underground.
Nelson has walking tracks down the length of the Glenelg river, taking in the best gorge and cliff top lookouts, as well as the perfect sandy river beaches.
Surf and rock fishing are popular, with the river providing giant mulloway, bass, southern black bream, yellow-eye mullet and salmon. Game fishing is another option.
Nelson Boat and Canoe Hire makes it all very easy for you to enjoy a visit to Nelson. Campers can hire canoes and be dropped off at a chosen starting point with or without camping gear.
Tailor your own trip or follow one of their suggestions of overnight, two-day or week-long adventures. Being driven to a spot and cruising back in a canoe, camping along the way, is a great way of doing it. There are on-river villages and several campsites upstream. You can catch dinner along the way as fish life is abundant and wildlife spotting is fun.
Play beach cricket, swim, bushwalk or go possum spotting. The forest, sea, and river are your playgrounds. What more could you want in a real old-fashioned holiday?
Despite the beauty of the area, its relative remoteness means that it has undergone little commercialisation.
The Glenelg River in Victoria's south-western corner.
Canoe Hire starts at $25 for two hours and up to $60 for the whole day. Life jackets and paddles are included. They are closed for the month of August and on Christmas Day.
Vehicle-based camping is $11.50 per site a night off-peak, and $15.50 a night during peak periods.
Canoe camping in Lower Glenelg National Park is $3.20 per person a night. It includes use of canoe, campsite, barbecue, toilets and jetty.
Ballots operate for Christmas and Easter holidays. Contact Nelson Visitor Information Centre for details.
Prices correct at September 18, 2008.
For further information
Nelson Visitor Information Centre
Ph: (08) 8738 4051
Nelson Canoe and Boat Hire
Ph: (08) 8738 4048
Check out our celebrity Getaway blog or our photo gallery for more Getaway adventure pics.