We went to Flanagan Reserve June long weekend 2008. It was our first time there, and we had friends with us - 2 caravans 3 camping trailers, in total 11 adults and 10 children plus 3 dogs. Normally we go to Darlington Park as it is also dog friendly, but we thought we'd have a look someplace new. I had rung and spoken to the people in charge - a Desley and Geoff Carson. I spoke to her, and was thinking how unfriendly she sounded.
First impression for me was how dark and depressing it was with the many hundreds of stalky gums trees. As we drove around the area toward the office I really just wanted to go back to Darlington. Well, we chose as good a spot as we could, so we could have a circle with fire in middle and could stay as a group. We went to pay but the owners were out, so I went back in the afternoon. I paid, got very strict instructions what to do with the sticker he gave us, then he handed me a set of rules. Yes, RULES. I kid you not, this was not camping, it was ridiculous. Friends of ours came later on the Saturday (we arrived first thing Friday morn) and hadn't gotten around to paying yet, but by the early evening a man (think it was the son) came around everyones sites and demanded people go right away and pay, no exceptions. We actually felt quite threatened as his demeanor was certainly not friendly. Every time I went near the office to use the facilities etc, if the owners were around you could see them giving everyone the once over - it didn't feel welcoming it was just rude and off-putting.
Sunday night we used all the wood we brought with us in the fire bins, had a good night but all went to bed early because the RULES say absolutely no noise after 10pm. As the whole camp ground is dirt we left the fire burning - a lot of wood but not a lot of flame, and no one was in any danger, however the rusty old half drum broke as the wood was heavy and the drum wasn't welded especially well anyway. 10:45pm 2 sets of friends were woken up by about 5 men swearing and screaming abuse while slapping hard on the walls of their camping trailers. The male owner and whoever the rest of his posse were had come around and decided to harrass us because we 'broke' the fire drum. The children woke up petrified and of course us adults wondered what the hell was going on. These idiots act like guestapo, and after speaking with a number of other campers I discovered that they too had been harrassed for whatever reason and would not be back. If we didn't have dogs we would go back to Big Riggen - we loved it there, but instead we will stay at old faithful Darlington. The new people at Darlington are lovely, and come and chat with the campers - they remember you from year to year and make you feel welcome.
I would wish that no one would go to Flanagan Reserve ever again, just to teach those head trippers a lesson. Camping is supposed to be a relaxing time away from home, and instead we had a tense, anxious long weekend feeling like we were being watched and then punished, every time we turned around.