The Great Australian Road Trip – Part 1.1 – Sydney > Melbourne

Quick Facts

  • Status: Completed
  • Dates: 1st January 2018 to 10th January 2018
  • Objective: Sydney to Melbourne to Adelaide
  • Route: Coastal
  • Approx Distance: 2450 Kilometers
  • Approx Time Driven: 32 Hours
  • Accommodation: 6 Nights Camping/ 1 Night Car/ 2 Nights House

Insights

  • We are not on this Earth to live or be alone. To be social with one another is core to our existence whether we consider ourselves introverted or otherwise.
  • Tackling your fears head first is the best way to overcome them (Safely ofcourse).
  • It’s more difficult than you think to foresee where you may end up in life, where you might settle and live, how your relationships will turn out and what career you might set your path upon.
  • It’s possible to live life or atleast short bursts of it purely based on spontaneity and trust in your gut feeling.
  • Always, always make time to take the scenic route, miss a turn onto the highway and drive off the beaten path. You’ll be surprised where it takes you.
  • Simply ask the locals what you should do when you get there, they’ll talk of places and things to do that you just can’t find anywhere else. TripAdvisor is one thing, but a true local is another!

Introduction

And Kaboom! It’s 2018 and we’re off to a good start! First of all, Happy New Year to all the amazing people in my life who have all contributed to my happiness and success over the past few years, I truly wish you all the best. Here’s to bigger, bolder and more amazing years for us to come!

Day 1

For me, however, the journey begins here at day 1. Preparation is the key! So here we are, my stock for the next 10 days (not including my exclusive clothing collection). Please for my sake let me know if there’s something I’ve forgotten ❤

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Sometimes things just work out for the best. Day 1 was a lot about that! Only from missing a turn off the highway did I discover the route through Kangaroo Valley and oh how that was such a beautiful drive. Between Mittagong and Glenquarry I drove through a pass on the Range Road, it’s one those drives that is so reminiscent of what Hollywood movies would portray as a a dreamy road trip.

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It was often that I could not help but stop the car to just enjoy the view in front of me. Think about the image below, imagine yourself standing where I was with a paintbrush and a blank canvas. Maybe this is where inspiration truly comes from, you tell me.

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After following the road for some time I stumbled upon a place called the Fitzroy Falls Lookout, completely unintended as I had not even known it was there. After a short hike, I was presented with this view for the Sunset!

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It was just about dinner time I thought, cheating for the first night I pulled out what mum had packed for me this morning. I was surprised at how empty the lookout was considering the view in front of me. I sat down and had my own little picnic by the lookout.

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And of course midway through my meal I was met with some passerby (I don’t know how to spell that). A Spanish couple here on holidays, 4-day road trip to Melbourne and a family of 5 whom I took a photo for. They had a son who as soon as he saw the book I was reading (Harry Potter) was excitedly talking to me about how he’d just finished it and absolutely loved it; mind you he was like 5 years old. I then proceeded to make my way down the mountain through a series of really fun tight corners. Now, won’t you look at that beauty.

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The next pit stop on the map was Ulladulla. When I got there and to my happy surprise there was a carnival on! Lots of noisy machines, fun rides, carnival games and food littered the park. I couldn’t help but stop for a little walk.

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By this time I found the beach to camp at for the night it was already midnight! Luckily the full moon was out, beautifully lighting up the night sky and sea. There is not much that can compare to the peaceful sound of waves coming ashore throughout the night. I took out some snacks and began by nibbling on some biscuits and a celery stick before I fell into a deep sleep that would prepare me for the next day.

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Day 2

Rolling hills as far as the eyes can see. That’s how I would describe today. But before that let’s start from the beginning. Breakfast in one photo…

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Then off to our next stop, Batemans Bay! Oh, the memories (shoutout to TBL!). I ended up taking a break in this…water gazebo…and didn’t even notice the time go by reminiscing about good old times and just generally enjoying the great sunny weather. Next thing I knew it was half past 12.

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Back on the road I go, on my way to my next destination when I bumped into a town called Mogo. This old mining town has changed a lot in the years and it now boasts over a dozen dedicated antique/gift shops along with a variety of local restaurants serving everything from homemade pies and desserts to candy and well more candy! I was surprised to see most of the shops open and a great buzz in the air from all the passing tourists, I couldn’t help but check out some of the shops, sadly a lot of the things I wanted were too large or heavy for me to take on my flight back home. Back on the road, I made my way down to a town called Narooma. There is where I found what I had been looking for since the beginning of this road trip. Showers. Public showers for the beachgoers coming out from the seawater. Little did they know that I was literally taking a shower, after jumping on the beach of course! The water was super nice! Not too salty, nice and cool, not too cold and calm gentle waves, here’s a photo of that beach, not so much the sparkling clean Jason.

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And another photo from the lookout on the right side of the photo above. The beach I was just on you can see to the left of the photo below. Absolutely stunning!

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Now back on track to Eden taking the scenic routes through Tilba Tilba and Wallaga. Soooooo many hills as green and grassy as the eyes can see, it’s quite dreamy actually. The pictures don’t do them justice, it gives you that feeling of hey… I want to escape everything, I want to build a house on top of one of these hills and have this view every day!

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Now I’ve been to Eden before, twice actually, but not like this. I don’t know why I’d never been up to the lookout but here I was, and there I spent Athens next hour or so having dinner and just overlooking the beauty of nature. Mind you that by this time the weather had totally changed, shortly after arriving a storm began to build and in the distance you could hear it all unfolding. This storm is still raging in the distance and as I lay here in my tent, ready for another night on the beach, I feel that I won’t be able to help being awoken by its distant rumbles.

 

 

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In the light of the full moon, sounds of the waves coming ashore and the distant rumbles of a storm not too far away, good night my friends ❤️

Day 3

What an incredible day. Today was an example of a day where time felt like it was not a problem, that it would go on forever. It’s a point that I make when I travel that I don’t plan things too tightly, that I make sure there is leg room for me to explore what I see in that very moment instead of rushing off quickly to the next (It also gives way to Murphy’s Law).

For example today I reached the town of Griffith’s, I thought I’d stay here for maybe 3 hours before I journeyed off…I ended up staying here for 7 hours and spending the night as well…now how the hell did that happen? I’ll explain further below. I woke up early today, I must have had a wonderful sleep because I was wide awake and ready for the next journey ahead. Half an hour later I was at Lake Conran, a short scenic route I decided to take for no particular reason. When I got there, however, there was quite a few cars and a dozen people doing Yoga on the grass! This is crazy because I’m pretty sure we were far from pretty much anything and here I am watching these people doing Yoga. Well, I didn’t stay long as the BBQs nearby were making me hungry…they had sausages and steak and I had a banana, apple, carrot and a tuna sandwich…not very appetizing once you’ve had it 3 days in a row. I walked down to the beach and climbed some rocks where the waves were crashing up against. To my surprise in the distance were a number of surfers riding some pretty big waves, this was quite a nice scene to just sit and watch and so I did for awhile.

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A little further down and I was at the Snowy River Estuary which was reaaaaaly pretty, I’m pretty sure this was man made right? #factcheck.

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Another little further down I passed a sign saying the old Stony Creek Trestle bridge driving at 100km/hr, I quickly made a stop, literally reversed back to the turn and asked myself (out loud), what the hell is a Trestle bridge??? I guess I’ll find out so I made my way to the dirt road which was quite fun kicking dust around and wearing out my tires (which I would do a lot more later). I get to this bridge and I’m like wow, it’s beautiful! So then I set upon climbing some of its trusses lol just for monkey fun.

 

 

The dirt road back to the main highway was bumpy and posed a serious car bog threat (I’m just making up my own words and grammar now). But hey I kind of felt like I was in a rally car, thank god this was a hire care because the amount of dust I was kicking up when I was drifting those corners was incredible (don’t do this at home kids, don’t be like badass Jason). See back to the main point, when you give yourself the freedom of time you can randomly do things like this, just casually go on a rally course. Okay, that was a bit risky and somewhat irresponsible but yeah well it’s done…moving on! I saw a camel farm way out there as well that was incredibly random; they were grazing on green grassy hills…not dessert like sand dunes…

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It’s about 2pm when I arrive at Griffith and 5 minutes in, I’m already loving this sea town. Fresh seafood restaurants and takeaways everywhere! I’m lying in my tent at midnight getting hungry writing this down but oh hell yeah did I get a fisherman’s basket for lunch Yumm!!

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I then sat by the water for an after snack with my carrot and apple when these black swans come sliding over like a gang rounding me up. So I gave them some carrot and some apple; neither of which did they proceed to eat and only slowly swimming away after that. I realised at that moment that I also wanted nothing more to do with carrots for the rest of this trip.

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I was then about to head off when I saw something really cool in the distance, an amusement park! And I was hooked right back in again, sadly it wasn’t open until 6pm…one look on the other side of the river had me curious though so I crossed the bridge and that’s when I decided I’m going to be here for the rest of the day and into the night. The beach was absolutely gorgeous! And I’ve said this a few times already I know but wow this was my favourite yet. So I spent the rest of the afternoon on the sand and in the sun reading and snacking before I made my way back to the amusement park for some more fun.

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Oh, and plus, I’m bringing sexy back, with my farm hats (super effective against the sun). Gosh, I look like such a Chinaman!

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Oh and also the sunset was on point (y)

 

To retire for the night I am camping on this incredible spot high up in one of these sand dunes on the beach. Imagine this, to your behind you have the town across the long stretch of the river, along with that town is the amusement park. On each of the sides, you have dunes full of sand and those beach plants (Iunno) in the front is the ocean full of waves crashing ashore and up above is a full moon and stars shining so bright. That is where I am now and that is where I will fall asleep tonight. Good night you all ❤️

Day 4

So day 4 comes along and it’s probably the most driving I have done on this trip so far. From berry picking to hiking and making my way right up to Melbourne rural towns I’ve almost made it to midway! The day started late for me as the night before I’d stayed up late admiring the view I had. Midway through the drive, I came across a massive corn field (that is corn right?). Couldn’t help but stop to contemplate whether I should jump the fence and run around inside of it, maybe find a crop circle or something. So tempting but in the end, I didn’t have the guts to trespass. One day I will experience that movie like feeling of running through a cornfield though.

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Shortly after, and hungry, I made my way to a berry picking farm! The farm was actually really cool! I thought I’d only be picking some Strawberries but it turns out there were heaps of others, a large assortment of blueberries and blackberries of many types which were great to eat while I was picking. That was breakfast sorted, berries; and probably some bugs I mistakenly ate with those berries (oh well, more protein right?).

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Then it was the long drive to Mt Oberon where I’d opted for the scenic route. Farm and more rolling hills everywhere. These were the roundest bumps I’d ever seen, so smooth you just want to lay on them. By my gosh were there a lot of farms in those Hills!

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To get up to Mt Oberon’s summit, you first go to this massive camping spot called Tidal River and catch a free shuttle up to the entrance of the hike. When I got there I realised I’d missed the last shuttle up so when that happens they allow you to drive up the mountain and so I did. The twists and turns and the 100ft drops at first were pretty scary but hey remember that we have an experience Rally car driver here so no worries. Once at the top you being your hour-long hike to the summit. Being the first hike I’d done on this trip so far I quite enjoyed the walk at first. It was only an hour each way but if you’re fat and unfit like me out felt like a lifetime with plenty of water and snack breaks, mostly snack breaks (and now you know why the struggle is real). Well worth it though because the view was absolutely amazing from the summit! Comparable to the hikes I’d done in New Zealand which is quite a feat. When I reached the top I was greeted by four Korean travellers who had also just reached the top of the peak so they were ecstatic for all of us congratulating our success when we got up there. We talked about fried chicken and Soju and wished we’d had a bottle up there to celebrate the moment.

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Back down to Tidal River walked along the beach where so many families were playing games and riding bikes around. I camped for the night with what looked like thousands of others, it’s a really beautiful area to camp. So with that, I leave you at day 4 so exhausted but happy to almost be in Melbourne.

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Day 5

Melbourne was just the way I remembered it. I’ll keep this day a bit shorter because for me this was a mid-way pit stop to take a break, catch up with a friend and just generally recover. I arrived in the early afternoon in the posh suburb of South Yarra, okay that’s not fair to say posh but it was quite a peaceful area with expensive cars roaming the streets around most corners and nice clean cut shops lining the main street. I don’t know how else you would describe that. Making my way into the city was easy having both the option of train and tram, I decided to go on the train as I thought the old Victorian style of the station was quite cool.

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Before I knew it I was already at Federation Square, oh the memories here where I’d attended in a flash mob dance with 80 other people. I don’t think I’d ever forget that (shoutout to TBL again!)

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For lunch, i made my way to Roule Galette for some authentic French Crepes which were an absolute delight! It’s a small and cosy French restaurant hidden away in an alleyway, everyone who works there speaks French as well and it just gave the place a really chill vibe. I ended up just roaming the city centre very slowly soaking up the local busker’s music as I walked past or took a seat in the shade. Hours passed like this so fast and the next thing you know I was catching up with a good old friend of mine. A nice cold beer and some fried chicken later we tried out this really cool bar called Storyville! Walking inside really was a bit like a fairytale scene with the heavy roots of trees climbing the stairway, glowing mushrooms all around and Alice in Wonderland type decorations. Eventually, i met up with another friend as well and it was just really nice just to have some good friends to talk to after going about it all on my own in the past 5 days. (Shoutout to JinLu for coming by to say hi and catching up and Christine for hanging out after work and the awesome hospitality of letting me couch crash for the night! Plus the nice breakfast <3)

 

 

 

Continue the road trip on the next post from Melbourne to Adelaide…

Author: Jason Li

Jason Li (born 17th October 1992) grew up in the big bad city of Sydney. After all these years, he’s still growing up; or at least trying to. Sometimes he writes. Sometimes he gets lucky and writes something good. Most of the time, however, he has no idea where life is taking him, living life just one single day at a time.

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