Last updated October 2021
Wills Bend Quick Fact Box*
Sandbar Beach for swimming
Accessible by gravel/dirt corrugated road. Generally 2WD accessible unless wet/changed conditions
BYO drinking water, own cooking etc^
Before visiting always check up to date regional fire, safety & road access conditions with government websites.
*Source – as per campground signage and site visit March 2019
^Wikicamps is a great source for up to date campground changes from travellers who have recently visited.
There is currently no specific government information page I could find to link to.
If you are looking for free camping in Echuca that is dog friendly then Wills Bend is a great choice. Wills bend campground is actually two free, dog friendly campgrounds on the Murray River, 20 minutes drive North West of Echuca, Victoria.
Both campgrounds, sandbar 1 & sandbar 2 are a good option for a weekend away bush camping with dogs in Victoria, offering easy dirt road access, lots of space to camp in open woodland and near river frontage. The facilities are basic drop toilets and best suited for people who can live without a shower and can bring their own drinking water and cooking gear.
Choosing a campsite
There are two campgrounds, one further from the entrance road at the boat ramp and one closer to the entrance road on the sandbar at the bend – there is signage when you get to the entrance of the reserve. Both campsites have a drop toilet and have similar vegetation. I was able to find a campsite with trees I felt safe pitching a tent near.
The campsite located near the boat ramp and is great for those looking to launch a fishing or wake boat. As people launch their boats very early in the morning avoid this campsite if you don’t need the boat ramp.
The other campsite (which is what is pictured in this post) can be a quieter alternative in less busy times. However remember as a free camping area long weekends, school holidays and nice weather weekends it will likely be packed.
While it is quieter, be aware boats will still wake you up as this is a busy part of the Murray. It is also not National Park so there is more people around and houses and properties across the river. Unfortunately, this also means like most regional and state parks sometimes campers do not respect the campground but it was fine when I visited.
The campsite was quite dusty at the end of summer which is to be expected at that time of the year.
Things to see and do
Enjoy the river. The campsite is located on the banks of the Murray River (very close but not with views). There is a beautiful sandbar which has easy access for swimming (be aware of currents etc and how to stay safe) and launching kayaks.
It’s a really nice place to just hang out on the river for a picnic or to read a book and a relaxing spot for watching the sunrise and enjoying sunset beers.
Dogs who like water will LOVE this spot as they have gradual easy access into the river from the sandbar.
While the river is always beautiful, this is not a national park so like most local, regional and state parks it has a lot of tracks and the ecosystems and river banks are more degraded. There is also infrastructure and houses across the river so it’s not all a ‘bush’ experience.
Other very popular activities in the area include fishing and wakeboarding but be mindful of environmental impacts and fishing seasons when enjoying these activities. Victoria has fishing licence requirements and remember if you cross the river you are in NSW so make sure you know both fishing regulations to avoid any issues.
Getting there & road access
The Campgrounds are located at the end of gravel roads that can get pretty corrugated. But hey that’s part of the fun 😉