Way, wayyyyy before I booked my plane tickets to Australia I was set on a coastal drive around the country. I felt this was the best way to see everything the country had to offer. I eventually settled on a coastal trip from Melbourne to Sydney ensuring to stop along the way at Phillip Island to see the Penguins.
Before leaving the UK, I did some research and came across an app called Navmii. This came in very useful throughout the trip but especially while on our road trip to Sydney. Useful not only because it meant we had full directions throughout our trip but also as it used GPS signal it did not require internet or WIFI. Awesome 👍
We picked up our Jucy Campervan in Melbourne. We chose Jucy because they were cheap to hire but reviews online advised they were also reliable. Let’s face it, who wants to break down in the middle of nowhere?! The guys at the Melbourne office were friendly and informative. Following some essential but let’s admit boring paperwork and some Campervan navigation issues (who needs a hand brake anyways) we were on our way. The Campervan was automatic and driving in Australia is very similar to here in the UK, except a few sign differences, so pretty easy from the start.
I had a pretty good idea in my head of the route I wanted to take, but the idea was just to follow the route and stop off wherever took our fancy.
And away we go..
First stop, Phillip Island:
Phillip island was on my list of things to do. I had booked advanced tickets for the Penguin Parade with an upgrade to Penguin Plus to get a good view of the Penguins waddle in from the sea after a hard days fishing. Penguins are one of my favourite animals and therefore this nature encounter was a miss see.
The Penguin Parade started just before sunset each evening and that night they arrived in groups from 6.25PM. You can find all information here: https://www.penguins.org.au/attractions/penguin-parade.
After a cold evening at the Penguin Parade which was totally worth it, we headed to our home for the night: Cowes Caravan Park. We had a lovely stay here, all the usual amenities including a much needed shower plus it is located right on the beach. Lovely site and highly recommended if you are planning on making a trip to Phillip Island.
The weather was not what I had expected at all and boy was I not prepared for the cold, rainy weather that Melbourne had to offer us. If you are going to Melbourne to escape the bleak British weather… Don’t. Melbourne is renowned for having four seasons in one day and it didn’t fail to live to tell the tale. Using my travel friend Abi as my human radiator, we made it through the night.
Next step was the Koala Conservation Centre, still located on Phillip Island. A visit to Australia would not be complete without seeing a Koala up close, right? The Koala Centre is two self-guided walk through treetops with sleepy Koala snoozing high up in the eucalyptus plants. Did you know the eucalyptus leaves are toxic to most animals but the Koala’s digestive system has made special adaptations?
We had made only a few steps through the treetops when I had my first glimpse of a Koala. We gasped in awe. They are literally like cute teddy bears asleep in the trees. Adorable nocturnal creatures.
Next step: Wilson’s Promontory, Victoria
The trip from Phillip Island to Wilson’s Prom is approximately 75 miles. Wilson’s Promontory National Park has many beautiful sights and walks, but being short on time we made a brief day trip here. We continued our drive along the Princes highway to find a stop for the night. We decided on a town called Foster. Foster itself has little to offer with a small pub with an olde worlde vibe to it + a couple of small stores for essentials for the journey. Our essentials were cookies, sweets, jam sandwiches and cheese. Yes, Jam sandwiches, each to their own. Although a quiet town being in easy reach of Wilson’s Prom is a handy base for anyone planning on visiting the area.
The following morning we left the campsite just before 10am (a common time for check out amongst the sites in Australia) and continued along the A1 route. The plan for the day was to visit 90 mile beach but as it was raining we decided to continue on and stop whenever it took our fancy. We came across some beautiful swamps and lakes visible on the right hand side of the road, so decided to pull in.
This is what we found…beautiful.
Known as the Gippsland Lakes, we decided on a “short” walk to the lookout and spent a considerable amount of time here. It was beautiful and was more than I could of imagined.
Next stop: Mallacoota/Croajingolong National Park
Once we arrived at Mallacoota it was starting to get dark so we found our accommodation for the night. That night we stayed at Shady Gully Caravan Park deep within the National Park. There was not a soul about on this windy cold night, located away from artificial light, perfect for a night viewing the stars for those that may be interested. Less than 10 minutes away was the lakes and rivers of Mallacoota Inlet, stunning at night but we opted to get a better view in the morning.
Here it is:
Next Stop: Kiama
Yay, its sunny and finally warm. Off we go back to the Mallacoota centre. A photo opportunity not to be missed.
Off we go again.
We made a lunch time stop to the town of Narooma. There is a plenty of things to do in Narooma, a haven for wildlife and beautiful panoramic views. Short on time though we continued on our journey to Sydney. Losing track of time, it was dark before we had found a place for the night. We required a shower, so hunted for a caravan park. After miles of hunting and coming across a circus type camp you would expect to see in movies but luckily with no vacancy we eventually came across surf beach caravan park. Being very late at night, we set up the free wifi connection and video called our parents to fill them in on our trip so far before heading off to the land of nod. When we woke the next morning, we were astonished to find our camper-van pitch was positioned right on the edge of the park overlooking the beautiful beach. You can walk straight down the steps from the site to the main beach of Kiama or can get there within a short 3 minute drive if you prefer the lazy life.
Final stop: Sydney
Our camper van has to be dropped off today. Bye bye, Apple plum (yes, we named her). We make the final journey to our destination, not as scenic as the rest of the journey and mostly made up of motorways (NB: scenic routes can be taken and they are nicely signposted along the way). The Jucy offices in Sydney are found in the suburbs of Botany. Drop off was quick and easy, with a quick check over of the vehicle. Opposite the Jucy location there is a fuel station, where you can top up the fuel in the camper van before returning it and purchase a opal card, a necessary for travelling around Sydney. A short 30 minute bus journey took us to Sydney CBD and we located our hotel for our stay in Sydney: Travelodge Sydney.
So why go campervanning?
Believe me campervanning isn’t for everyone. But if you want a great way to see a country with convenience, freedom and fun then this way of travel cannot be beaten. Better still it is a fairly cost effective way to travel with your travel combined with accommodation, all you need to add is fuel.
Given the chance I would do it all again, but spend a minimum of 14 days exploring the areas beauty. Although manageable in 5 days, I feel there is so many places to visit that we didn’t get to see.