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A Sawpit odyssey

MANY Christmas/New Year holiday traditions have been put on hold this summer, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic restrictions, but one is going as stronger – or perhaps even stronger than ever.

And that is the influx of visitors to the Sawpit free camping ground in the Mt Clay State Forest.

As usual, they’ve come from far and wide to spend a day or four in the beautiful surrounds, swap stories with fellow travellers, and generally take some time away from the world to get away from it all.

And for many there has been plenty to get away from, given the lockdowns that crippled movement in Victoria for much of 2020.

The Observer, on a visit to the campground last week, asked some of those visitors to share their stories.

For Allie Moysey, son Charlie Renaud-Moysey, 15, and Denise Poyser, the visit to the Sawpit was also a chance to forget about lockdowns and get away from the city and surrounds.

Ms Moysey lives at Mt Eliza and was caught in the lockdown when the metropolitan area was extended to include the Mornington Peninsula, while Ms Poyser is from Melbourne.

“We’re just so happy to be able to travel,” she said.

They got out of the city before Christmas, spending it at Berri before visiting other parts of South Australia such as Mannum on the Murray River where they spent New Year’s Eve, the Barossa Valley, Adelaide, the Coorong and the Coonawarra wine region before crossing back and landing at the Sawpit before making their way home via the Great Ocean Road.

The trip has been a mix of free camping and Airbnb, but the Sawpit was a pleasant surprise.

“We’ve never been here before, but it was on the way through and we’ve loved it, it is great,” Ms Moysey said.

“I didn’t know there were mountain bike trails in here and I’m thinking of coming back.

“There’s nice bird life and the little grey kangaroo was eating out of (campers’) hands last night.”

Ms Poyser agreed.

“We weren’t too overcrowded here and weren’t all on top of each other,” she said.

“Obviously there are a lot of people passing through and staying for a night or two.”

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