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Family weekend under $500: beachy Lorne

13:00 AEST Fri Aug 26 2011
Jason Dundas set out from Melbourne to show that a family of four can have a great weekend for around $500. On the Friday night, he drove around two hours to Lorne, one of Victoria's favourite playgrounds for more than 100 years. It was known as the 'Squatters' Riviera' and is still very appealing. It has great beaches for swimming, surfing, fishing or just taking in the Shipwreck Walk. Be warned though — the water is always cold so unless you are very brave, you may need a wetsuit.

Here's what Jason and our family did. Scroll down to see how Jason spent his $500 budget!

Cumberland River Holiday Park

Nestled in a lush green valley between cliffs and rolling mountains, the park is bordered by the Cumberland River. Being in the bush, they generate their own electricity and water comes from the river. For safety reasons, there are no power points.

Deluxe ensuite cabins have a gas fire, stove and refrigerator. They sleep up to six and each has a full-length verandah overlooking parks and cliffs. Ensuite cabins also sleep up to six in two bedrooms. Bedding is not supplied.

Ninety-five well-grassed and flat unpowered camping and van sites are suitable for four adults or a family of six. Hot showers cost 20 cents for five minutes.

This is a perfect place for families with undercover barbecue, playground and kiosk.

Pizza Pizza

Overlooking the Erskine River, a thin crust gourmet pizza will satisfy the family's hunger for around $30. Brett Grahame set up shop in a charming colonial building with the river on one side and an antique shop on the other. It's furnished with an interesting mish-mash of recycled furniture and the hard part is choosing just which pizza you fancy.

Erskine Falls

After breakfast in your accommodation — it's a good idea to take provisions — a 10 minute drive will take you to Erskine Falls in the Otways. An easy walk gets you to 30 metre falls cascading into a fern gully. The first lookout is a 15 minute walk, the second 30 minutes. It's a great place for a picnic lunch.

Gentle Annie Tea Barn

What a wonderful place to spend an afternoon. The pick-your-own berry farm is nestled in the Pennyroyal Valley. You'll leave with quality produce from the working farm, but may want to stay for lunch or afternoon tea in the cafe. Children adore the scarecrows dotting the gardens which grow every berry you can think of, plus a few others, as well as plums, apples, apricots and pears.

The shop has a tempting range of jams, chutneys, sauces and cordials, all made from fruit they grow. They also have frozen berries when fresh supplies are out of season.

Take your own container along or use one of Annie's and you can buy a Gobbler's pass and eat your fill of warm fruit as you pick. It's really berry heaven.

Lorne Pier

A destination for fishermen and those who just enjoy delicious seafood, the pier was built in 1879 to accommodate the logging industry. It underwent a $2 million rebuild in 2007.

Right next-door is the fishermen's co-op and you can buy your choice right from the boat. In season crayfish is the biggest seller, and locals line up for velvet crab. For around $30, the family enjoyed an outstanding dinner of barbecued snapper.

Kafe Kaos

Perfect for Sunday breakfast — which they serve all day — brunch, lunch or early dinner, Kafe Kaos is easy on the pocket. Focaccia spread with pesto, dipped in egg and covered with tomato, basil and cheese cost $12.80 and was a real winner. A big breakfast with drinks for four was under $50. The menu is huge and they are licensed.

It's a favourite with locals and tourists and has a good buzzy ambience. Jayne Strickland's artworks add to the bright feel of Kafe Kaos.

Louttit Bakery

When breakfast has worn off, a visit to Louttit Bakery will keep hunger pangs at bay for the drive home.

The family owned and run bakery serves breakfast and lunch every day — gourmet rolls, meat pies, sausage rolls and homemade soup can be enjoyed inside or out. Their Cypriot heritage can be enjoyed with their filo pastries, almond shortbread and baklava, perfect to enjoy with a coffee.


Lorne, two hours south-west of Melbourne.


Cumberland River Holiday Park cabins start at $90 a night.

Pizza Pizza is BYO and pizzas range between $12 and $16.

Gentle Annie Berry Garden Gobbler's Pass is $5. It's open between 10am and 5pm (closed Thursdays) in November, February, March and April. In December and January it's open every day.

Lorne Fisheries Co-op is open in summer every day between 10am and 6pm and from Friday to Monday between 10m and 6pm.

Kafe Kaos is open from 7.30am to 5.30pm in summer and 8am and 5pm in winter.

Louttit Bakery is open every day between 7am and 6pm.

Prices correct at August 27, 2011.

For further information

Cumberland River Holiday Park
680 Great Ocean Road
Lorne 3232
Ph: (03) 5289 1790

Pizza Pizza Lorne
2 Mountjoy Parade
Lorne 3232
Ph: (03) 5289 1007

Gentle Annie Tea Barn
520 Pennyroyal Valley Road
Pennyroyal 3235
Ph: (03) 5236 3391

Lorne Fisheries
Pier Head
Lorne 3232
Ph: (03) 5289 1453

Kafe Kaos
52A Mountjoy Parade
Lorne 3232
Ph: (03) 5289 2639

Louttit Bakery
46b Mountjoy Parade
Lorne 3232
Ph: (03) 5289 1207

Breakdown of $500 weekend:

  • Petrol $70
  • Accommodation $180
  • Dinner $30
  • Groceries $50
  • Gentle Annie's $17
  • Dinner $30
  • Breakfast $48
  • Pies $18
  • Trampolines $10
  • Snacks $15
  • Total $468

User comments
I Think this weekend trip realise too much on eating, what good is it being near the coast, if the water is too cold to swim in, without a wet suit? May as well stay home and just eat out every meal!
sounds like a great place to visit

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