Dust off your swags, get out your rods and pack your beers — camping is back!
People across the Greater Shepparton region are gearing up for a long weekend of camping, fishing and outdoor recreation for the first time in over two months.
The Victorian Government pared back restrictions on Monday, allowing cooped-up campers to stay in caravan parks and on public land provided they have their own private facilities or access to public toilets, with no use of communal spaces such as showers or kitchens.
Shepparton's Jaclyn Threlfall from Trelly's said she was looking forward to going camping along the Murray River with her son Charlie, 4, and extended family for the first weekend of cray-fishing season.
“We’ll probably head up the Murray to go cray fishing; we’ll try to head up on Friday afternoon with the kids,” she said.
“I grew up camping weeks at a time with my grandma and I usually go camping every school holidays.
“Usually we go fishing by the Murray or up near the hills near Eildon to catch cod or yellowbelly.”
Cobram's Max Shannon, 18, who has his own fishing YouTube channel, said he could not wait to head out camping with mates and catch some Murray cod.
“I'm so keen — especially because it’s a long weekend — also because it’s the first time I can go out camping with mates again,” he said.
“Normally we go camping pretty much every weekend, so this is the longest I’ve gone without it.
“Getting outdoors again, out of home to sit round the fire and see the stars with mates will be great.”
Trelly's owner Steve Threlfall said sales of camping gear such as toasters and swags had spiked since restrictions eased ahead of the Queen's Birthday long weekend.
“Lots of people going out for the last weekend of the duck hunting season and a lot of guys are taking off for hunting, deer hunting and the first weekend of cray season,” he said.
“I think people have been under pressure with what's going on — we’ve missed out on some of the better weather, but this weekend looks like there will really good weather and people will be back camping once again.”
Gatherings are still restricted to 20 people with 1.5 m distancing, and multiple groups of 20 people should not stay close by, according to the Victorian Government.
Public toilets can be used and current cleaning frequency will be doubled.