The Discovery Bay Coastal Park stretches from Cape Bridgewater to Nelson in south-western Victoria. It stretches 50km and is made up of ocean beach, huge dunes, Aboriginal middens and coastal lakes. Dunes can reach hundreds of metres high and 7km wide.
Behind the dunes are a number of small and pretty lakes and lagoons, which are great for swimming, waterskiing and fishing. It is also a fantastic place for off-road enthusiasts but there are strict guidelines in place. Vehicles eligible to use the area are 4WDs, dune buggies and Honda Odyssey-type vehicles with a suitable protective cage structure for occupants. Motorcycles, trikes and quad bikes are not permitted.
The Portland Dune Buggy Club was formed in 1969 when a unified voice was needed to negotiate with government departments on the use of the dune complex. It was granted a trial permit in the early 1970s to operate within a specific area of the dunes. The period was successful and satisfactory to the Victorian Government and the area was officially declared a designated dune buggy area. Rules were put in place for its use and the club acts as the sole regulator of vehicular activity.
The club has an excellent working relationship with Parks Victoria, in particular local officers, and embraces the opportunity to assist with both the policing and ongoing maintenance of the Discovery Bay Coastal Park.
Focus is on family-orientated social activity involving the use of off-road vehicles. The emphasis is on driving experience in sand, not dissimilar to acquiring driving skills other terrain forms, such as mud, snow, or steep hills. A variety of 4×4 clubs use the area in organised groups on long weekends and holidays. These groups generally utilise the four-day membership option.
To enjoy the dunes you must be a member of the Portland Dune Buggy Club. You can purchase a four-day membership. Each vehicle must fly a flag fitted to a tall pole. While you can drive in most of the unvegetated dunes in the area, vegetated areas are strictly out of bounds, as is the beach. Once you've had your fun, Mother Nature's winds take care of blowing the sand back into place.
The area is great for winter fishing as the huge surf pounds the coast, and the club maintains camping areas at Swan Lake.
Discovery Coast, 420km from Melbourne.
Portland Dune Buggy Club membership is $50 for four consecutive days. It includes access to the grassy camping area which has flush toilets, running cold water and bring-your-own wood barbecues.
Prices correct at October 9, 2008.
For further information
Portland Dune Buggy Club
PO Box 463
Ph: (03) 5529 2468
Fax: (03) 5529 2400
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