The Ultimate Road Trip Australia – Part 1

After our mini road trip to Great Otway National Park, Twelve Apostles and Grampions National Park in Victoria, Australia (check the post about it here) we did not have much time to rest before taking off to the road trip we have been so eagerly waiting for. The plan has been to cover the east coast of Australia starting from Melbourne and finishing the journey in Cairns. Without any detours, the journey would have been approximately 2,700 km, but obviously, we have been aware all the detours will add up to a more significant number. I will include a screenshot of google maps at the end. Our intention was to spend approximately 4 weeks on the road staying mainly in campsites in order to save on costs.

Also, just a note that due to the length of the road trip I decided to split it into several posts to keep the posts short(er). I will drop a link HERE once part two is ready.

The journey begins – Day 1 – Melbourne to Wilsons Promontory

In the morning of day 1 we picked up our fourth travel comrade Bernard a.k.a. Chandler. Considering we had a mid-size sedan I was pleasantly surprised we managed to fit all the gear inside the boot. Our equipment was pretty minimalistic – our backpacks, two double tents with mattresses, tarps to protects us from rain and sleeping bags. We also had some basic kitchen utensils but you know… no flower pots and all.

The journey started from Melbourne where we quickly stocked up on food and by midday we were already in Philip Island (southeast of Melbourne). We enjoyed the views of the ocean, wild birds and rabbits and even spotted a penguin inside its little cave. We did not dwell too much in Philip Island though as we had planned to reach Wilsons Promontory by the end of the day.

Wilsons promontory was a really pleasant surprise – the campsite (inside the national park) was really well equipped and was located right on the coast. Our friend Bernard took some drone videos for his road trip vlog which you can find HERE.

The location was so nice we would have stayed for a second night but in the morning the weather was really iffy so we decided to pack the tents while they were still dry and move on.

Day 2 – Wilsons Promontory to Cooma

Our second day was fairly uneventful apart from the fact we jumped into a massive pothole while driving at 80 km/h and (probably) nearly broke the car. It was so bad we had to stop to check the car was still intact. After an in-depth mechanical inspection of the vehicle involving walking around the car while scratching our heads, checking the underside and making sure the indicator signs work we all unanimously concluded that “the car is fine”.

We could not quite reach Canberra, the capital of Australia, on the same day so we decided to get a bit of rest in a small town called Cooma. This was the first night in my life that I spent in a drive-by Motel (similar to ones shown in American movies). Unlike in movies, nobody tried to kick the door and no shootings occurred that night.

Australian Road Trip Cooma Motel
Stopover in Cooma – Photo by Andrius – December 2018

Day 3 – Cooma to Canberra to Penrith

Our first stop of the day was the lookout point in Canberra from which we could see the Parliament building. At that time I was still unsure why Canberra was the capital of Australia and not Sydney or Melbourne but luckily we had this clarified during the tour inside.

The tour guide inside the parliament building (tours happen several times every day and are free) explained that the two major cities of Sydney and Melbourne have for long been at a disagreement about which city should be the capital. The old parliament was located in Melbourne but when the time came to rebuild it no immediate agreement about it’s new location could be reached. This is how the idea of developing a new city between Melbourne and Sydney and declaring it the capital come about. Despite the fact none of us are into politics the tour was very interesting!

KATrippin Canberra Australia Parliament
Parliament – Photo by Andrius – December 2018

That day we also visited the War Memorial which was also really cool. I am not sure if this is true but I heard someone saying that War Memorial was built in front of the Parliament building on purpose. The reason is that once sensitive political topics are considered, people in the parliament would see the War Memorial building, remember the unpleasant historical events and hopefully reach a peaceful resolution at all times.

Canberra War Memorial
Inside Canberra War Memorial – Photo by Andrius – December 2018

Once we were finally done with the attractions we decided to make a move towards Blue Mountains National Park. Once again, we could not quite reach our campsite in time so we had to resort to staying in a Motel again.

Day 4 – Blue Mountains National Park

Penrith, which is a town where we spent the night in was only a short drive away from Blue Mountains National Park so we decided to not make the same mistake again and set up our camp early in the morning before beginning with activities of the day.

This time the site was located in the middle of the forest. It was a really nice campsite only a short drive away from the Grand Canyon (Australian, not the American one) trail which we were all keen to hike.

It was a reasonably easy 3-4 hour hike (including a stop for lunch) after which we stopped at the Evans lookout. Breath-taking views of Blue Mountains National Park opened up from this lookout and we also had a chance to take pictures of this beautiful looking parrot.

Interesting rumour: The national park is called Blue Mountains because of the blue-coloured mist/haze you can see at some points during the day. Apparently this blue mist has something to do with evaporated oils of eucalyptus trees. I am not sure how true this is though – that’s why I called it a rumour and not a fact!

Here we come Sydney!!!

Day 5 is when we finally reached Sydney and visited the world famous Opera House! I will cover that in Part Two (HERE) though as there is only so much I can fit into one post before everyone starts snoring. I have included our road map below as promised.

See ya’ll later!

Australian Road Trip Map 1
Ultimate Australian Road Trip Part 1 – December 2018

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