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Be prepared when visiting state forests

There are many exciting activities and attractions just waiting for you in Victoria's state forests.

Make sure you're prepared for your next trip by being aware of some important safety information before heading out.

DELWP staff member with civilian looking at map

Bushfire and extreme weather awareness

Check the weather before you venture out. Be fire aware as changed conditions can impact your safety and ability to travel. Consider rescheduling your visit during stormy weather or at times of high bushfire danger.

Campfires and BBQs on public land

Bushfires are a very real threat in Victoria and can result in loss of life and property. Flames can escape from a campfire or BBQ and cause devastating damage.

Educate yourself on the safe use of campfires and BBQs on public land by visiting our Fire restrictions and regulations. Never leave a campfire unattended. The rules applying to the use of campfires and BBQs in Victoria are actively enforced and significant penalties apply for non-compliance.

Rules in state forests

Want to know how and when to collect firewood? What about the safest way to light a campfire?

Find out what rules apply and learn how you can help to protect our state forests on the Conservation Regulator website.

Mobile phone coverage

Many forest areas do not have mobile phone coverage. If travelling to remote locations with no mobile coverage, you may wish to travel with a satellite phone or a personal locator beacon (PLB) for use in emergencies.

Peak visiting periods

State forest campgrounds can't be booked in advance and are available on a first-come-first-served basis. If you are planning to camp during peak periods (summer and Easter holidays) and public holiday long weekends (Labour Day, Anzac Day and Melbourne Cup) arrive early and have a backup plan if there are no free spots at your preferred campground.

Typical facilities – know what to expect

  • State forest visitor sites provide beautiful settings but often only basic facilities.
  • Our campgrounds don't have showers or washbasins with running water.
  • There are no bins provided at state forest visitor sites. Please bring garbage bags with you and take your rubbish home.
  • Toilets in forests are typically non-flushing long-drop toilets. They are basic, may not have hand-washing facilities and can run out of toilet paper. Don’t get caught out – bring your own toilet paper and hand sanitiser.
  • Empty chemical toilets at approved dump points – It is an offence to dump your chemical waste (or any rubbish) into our toilets. Use the National public toilet map website to search for dump points.
  • Drinking water is not supplied at our visitor sites.
  • Bring drinking water, insect repellent, protection from the sun (hat, sunscreen, long sleeves) and a basic first aid kit.

Drinking water

  • Bring your own water.
  • Drinking water is not supplied at our visitor sites.
  • Always carry enough water to stay hydrated.
  • There may be no water in the area you plan on visiting or only water from natural sources like rivers and lakes.
  • Drinking untreated water from these sources can lead to illnesses such as gastroenteritis and diarrhoea.
  • You should use natural water sources with caution and where possible boil the water, then allow to cool before drinking. Other water treatment methods include the use of chlorine and iodine tablets, microfilters and purifiers.
  • Choose water from free-flowing rather than stagnant sources and avoid collecting water downstream from visitors and camping areas.
  • Think before you drink and treat the water before drinking if you’re unsure.

Tree hazards

  • When camping or having a picnic, be aware that trees and limbs may fall unpredictably.
  • Don’t camp under trees.
  • Stormy and windy weather increases the risk of tree and limb fall.
  • Being under or near trees may be dangerous and could cause injury.
  • Stay away from trees that appear to be dead or have dead limbs.

Keep safety front of mind, enjoy yourself and always remember to treat the environment and other visitors with respect.

Travelling in state forests safely

Know where you are going and the conditions to expect. If you are relying on mobile phone or tablet maps, always have a decent hard copy map backup in case your mobile device runs out of battery or is dropped and broken.

Most of the roads through Victoria’s forests and parks are unsealed dirt roads. Many are 4WD only (particularly after rain) and are typically narrower than urban roads.


Getting lost or injured are possibilities when undertaking bushwalks in Victoria's great outdoors. Following these safety tips will help you keep safe.

Water safety

Every year people drown in public waterways across Victoria, with many others suffering spinal injuries from diving into shallow water or into submerged objects. On inland waterways, some of the key risks are strong currents, submerged branches and rocks and waterfalls.

Page last updated: 06/03/23