Shh, keep this a secret, we have found a top spot – Lakeside in SA
I’ve got a problem … I want to tell you about a hidden gem, but don’t want this location filled with every Tom, Dick and Andrew, so if I let on, you’ll have to keep it between the two of us … OK. About 30km out of Mannum in South Australia is Lakeside, signs need a bit of repair and chances are you’ll miss the gate, but it’s worth finding. Lindsay the 70+ year-old owner potters around (in between having a chat) keeping the pristine lawn in top-notch condition (we hardly wore shoes). (Off the Purnong road from Mannum to Purnong Landing at Caurnamont).
It’s next to a backwater lake of the mighty Murray, no powerboats but and great for canoes. Lindsay reckons it’ll hold about 30 RV’s, although on our visit there was a larger caravan and a couple of seventeen footers, plus a camper trailer, we had heaps of room for more and then some and we weren’t in each others space. I reckon Easter would be very busy, it’d be a good idea to book). No power, so treat this as a free camp with a small fee. There’s two long drop dunnies and up the hill a bit are three flushing toilets and hot water showers. Facilities need a bit of TLC, but for $12 a night, I reckon it’s worth it. Hopefully Lindsay can keep it going for a bit longer and before word gets around, you’ll get to stay there (I know we’ll be going back). Remember, just between the two of us … OK.
Update March 2014 Yep, We reckon Lakeside Campground is a hidden gem. It’s been a while so we thought a weekend up there was needed. A few things have changed, but the lawn is still as green as ever. Signage is easier to read, so it’s not as hard to miss the gate. It seems more of a family affair with Sarah (daughter-in-law) our main contact, we did see Lindsay pottering around watering the lawn. As I write this I’m listening to the sound of a plane in the distance, or a boat on the river (about a kilometer away), but that’s about it, the sound of the abundant birdlife and even better the sound of silence is amazing. Inflation now has the price at $15 a night, in the campground, the long drops (in this case not-so-long drop) now number just one with the other one in a state of repair. The bathroom facilities up on the hill along side the house/office are fine, but we picked a weekend when the hot water was not working (it’s being fixed). But you know what? None of that mattered, we still reckon this is a top spot. They have canoes for hire but we brought our own and a couple of hours paddling on the lake was amazing. They also sell ice and wood at the main house, so a campfire might be on the cards tonight, just need to check fire restrictions. Bookings aren’t necessary but it’s probably good to check in and see if there are any ‘groups’ booked in. Last night we had a family on a one year ‘escape’, they had closed a business, sold a house, bought a Complete Campsite rig (very nice) and a Land-cruiser to pull it. They were all set up for outdoor living and it was great to see them run around, play, read and still enjoy each others company after 100 days on the road to date. Good on them and we are very jealous! Yep … we like Lakeside and it will be terrific to return in about a year (or sooner) to see if anything has changed. Highly recommended!