A Travellerspoint blog

Coastline Camping from Melbourne to Sydney!

all seasons in one day 18 °C
View WORLD ADVENTURE on siandrach's travel map.

16th May - Arriving late afternoon into Phillip Island, we checked into a campsite before shooting over to the far side of the island for the main attraction on the Island- the ‘Penguin Parade’.

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This nightly occurrence entails hundreds of Little Blue Penguins making their way from the sea, up the beach and into their burrows. As the sun set, the 20cm tall penguins (the smallest in the world), nervously waddled their way across the sand in groups and past where we were sitting.

The Penguin Parade

The Penguin Parade

Soon they were all up in their hillside burrows and after having the opportunity to view them from various points within the centre as well, we headed back across the island to our burrow!

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17th May – After a quick morning stroll on the beach, we packed up and made our way North to the ‘Nobbies’ and ‘Seal Rocks’.

Nobbies and Seal Rocks

Nobbies and Seal Rocks

Sadly we had arrived too early in the year to view the Australian fur seals who come here in their thousands to breed, so instead we captured the dramatic coastal scenery.

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The Nobbies coastline

The Nobbies coastline

Stopping next at the koala sanctuary where we saw koalas, wallabies, kookaburras and galahs roaming the forest until lunch came and we headed to the ‘Chocolate Factory’.

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Parakeet

Parakeet

After a free sample, we decided not to do the tour and instead continued on to Wilson’s Promontory 2 hours away.

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Arriving at the gate at dusk, there was no one to collect the National Park entrance fee so we drove in to the park and found a good spot on Tidal River to camp for the night.

Sunset from Norman lookout

Sunset from Norman lookout


Who wants to come and stay in our lovely abode!?

Who wants to come and stay in our lovely abode!?

After a sunset walk along the beach, we walked back through the forest and came across numerous foraging wombats and possums.

Wilsons Promontory - Tidal Bay

Wilsons Promontory - Tidal Bay


Wombat watch

Wombat watch

pesky possums!

pesky possums!


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We cooked under the stars and ate beneath the clear sky until it was too cold.

Gourmet gas stove dinner

Gourmet gas stove dinner

18th May – Waking up with the bright sun and mountains that surrounded us, we cheekily used the public toilets’ electricity to power our kettle and toaster for breakfast before kitting up for a day’s walking in the National Park. Grabbing a map from the visitor centre, we decided to start with a gentle 1.5km boardwalk through the wetlands followed by the track ‘Lily Pilly Gully walk’ which wound 4km through rainforest and up steep mountain sides before arriving back down to the Park entrance road.

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View over Wilsons Promontory

View over Wilsons Promontory


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Tidal River

Tidal River


Taking it leisurely

Taking it leisurely


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Still feeling energetic after 5.5km, we tackled the steep track up to the Tidal Bay lookout and devoured our well earned packed lunch whilst sat admiring the 360° view of the Bay.

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Taking the 3.1km track back to our campervan, we weaved back down the mountain, overlooking the sea and giving breathtaking views of Squeaky Beach and Norman Bay.

Normans lookout

Normans lookout

Back to our van for 3.30pm and after 4 hours walking we were shattered so relaxed on the beach and waited for another spectacular sunset.

Sunset over Tidal Bay

Sunset over Tidal Bay

The wombat whisperer

The wombat whisperer

As the reds of the sky disappeared into the sea, we made our way to the free, communal barbeque and sizzled some sausages for dinner.

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With the nights’ sky above us, we snuck into the toilets and charged up our laptop and cameras ready for tomorrow.

19th May – With breakfast again using the washrooms’ electricity, still having not paid to even enter the park, we also managed to get ourselves a hot shower in the communal camp facilities!

Our 2 day 3 night accommodation, with sweeping views of....a car park!

Our 2 day 3 night accommodation, with sweeping views of....a car park!


Breakfast time!

Breakfast time!

At least the birds get a free shower!

At least the birds get a free shower!

Clean and fresh we decided we had overspent our 2 free nights but on the way out made one more stop in the National Park at the stunning Squeaky Beach – named so for the sound it makes as you walk on the sand. With the white sand sparkling next to the turquoise waters and only the two of us in sight, we wished we could have spent a whole day relaxing on it, but unfortunately we had many more stops to make along the coast.

Squeak Squeak!

Squeak Squeak!

Big rocks at Squeaky Beach

Big rocks at Squeaky Beach

Driving through the National Park exit we were relieved not to be stopped and drove on up to Agnes Falls; unfortunately an unimpressive waterfall but supposedly Victoria’s highest!

Next we drove up to a lovely little town called Metung, situated on the shore of the large Gippsland lakes. With an abundance of pelicans and black swans nestled amongst the yachts, we paused to admire the serenity of the area.

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Pressing on to Lakes Entrance further up the coast, we found a campsite situated on the lakes edge and at only $25 for the night with power, we couldn’t resist. Parking up and plugging our van into the much needed power source, we went to explore the town before enjoying another beautiful sunset over the lake.

Room with a view!

Room with a view!

20th May – Woken by the sun gleaming through the rear window of our van, we sat and enjoyed breakfast on the lake’s edge before checking out of the sunny campsite and parking down the road to explore 90 Mile Beach.

Breakfast over Lakes Entrance

Breakfast over Lakes Entrance


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Back on the road, Marlo was our first stop; another small and deserted town but very picturesque and situated on the banks of the Snowy River. After watching a few locals reeling in some large catch with the eager pelicans watching over, we rejoined the empty winding coastal road until we came to Cape Canon National Park.

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Here, we took a walk along the beach and over the rock pools before stopping for lunch in the sun. Pressing on through until Mallacoota, initially we had planned just to look around but upon seeing the charming lakeside town, we decided we had to stay for at least a night! With another lakefront campsite available for a poultry $15 a night, we paid up and took our pitch, then walked down to the pier and watched a few locals gutting a preparing their catches whilst feeding (the ever present) pelicans their leftovers.

Mine! Mine! Mine! Mine!

Mine! Mine! Mine! Mine!

After a wander through the town and its 8 shops, we bought some supplies and headed back to cook a vegetable red thai curry followed by popcorn and a film on Si’s laptop.

21st May – Waking up to another beautiful morning, we had breakfast whilst chatting to our South Australian campervan neighbours who had decided to spend a week there as it was so picturesque.

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Sadly we had a much tighter schedule so packed up and hit the road. Stopping at the Bega Cheese Factory, we spotted the free tasters sign and within minutes were stuffing down as many as we could manage before purchasing some heavily discounted blocks for our onward journey!

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Back to the camper - storm is on the way!

Back to the camper - storm is on the way!

Continuing on our way to the seaside town of Narooma we stumbled across 3 seals playing amongst the waves in the harbour and after they kindly posed for our photos, we chatted to a couple of locals who advised not to ‘free camp’ in the town.

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They instead pointed us in the direction of a free site they had stayed in 15 minutes further up the road. Arriving to the woodland Bodalla Forest campsite, it was basic (to say the least!) with drop toilets and no running water, but it was perfect for what we needed and we were grateful for the inside knowledge of the area!

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Another budget pasta dish for dinner then managing to get internet signal somehow, we spent the evening arranging our travel arrangements in New Zealand.

22nd May – Waking up we decided to take the 2km rainforest track around the camp and nearby lake. After breakfast we drove onwards to Batemans Bay and after a quick drive around the town, we took the winding, gravel road down to Pebbley Beach.

With kangaroos roaming the sand dunes, we sat and had lunch amongst them, some even friendly enough to be stroked!

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Can you say cheese?

Chillin with the natives on Pebble Beach

Chillin with the natives on Pebble Beach

Back on the Princes Highway, we drove through to Hyams Beach; reportedly having the whitest sand in the world and it was like flour.

The whitest sandy beach in the world- Hyams Beach

The whitest sandy beach in the world- Hyams Beach

Together with its crystal clear, blue waters it was like we were in Thailand again. Back in the van, we headed to our stop for the evening; Jervis Bay.

Rolling into Booderee National Park and again arriving to a closed visitor centre, we continued in regardless and parked in a campervan spot. Taking a stroll through the forest and along the beach, we felt spoilt by the landscape and watched another amazing sunset from the white sands.

Jervis Bay beach

Jervis Bay beach


Sunset over Scottish Rocks

Sunset over Scottish Rocks

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Heading back through the forest we spotted a couple of possums in the trees and glow worms lighting up the branches above them. After cooking up dinner on our portable gas cooker, we were visited by a few curious possums and an unidentified mouse-type creature in search of our leftovers – as if!

Nocturnal cooking!

Nocturnal cooking!


Close up of the pasta thief!

Close up of the pasta thief!

23rd May – Deciding to look round a few more beaches, we explored Scottish Rocks and Murray Beach along with its rock pools.

Clear rock pools in Jervis Bay

Clear rock pools in Jervis Bay


Jervis Bay

Jervis Bay


Beach life

Beach life


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Again finding that we were one of the few on the beach, we lazed around in the hot warming sun, before we had to make a move. Arriving into Huskisson, we wandered round the town and after lunch continued on, stopping at various little towns and lookouts on our way, before visiting Kiama and its famous lighthouse and blowholes (where sea water is blasted through a hole in the rocks creating a huge eruption of water).

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Soon we were back on the road and with light fading we decided to push on through to the Blue Mountains, still a good two hours’ drive from us. Arriving into Katoomba for 7.30pm with no free camping allowed, we decided to head to a holiday campsite and disappointed by the lack of facilities for the $34 but having no option, we cooked up dinner and watched a film in the van.

24th May – Up early and straight down to Echo Point, we parked up and walked to the spectacular panoramic view point of the Blue Mountains, part of the Great Dividing Range.

Misty Blue Mountain view

Misty Blue Mountain view


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Here we saw their misty blue appearance; created from the oil exuded from eucalyptus trees around them. We also saw the huge expense of mountainous terrain including the Three Sisters.

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Pulled in by the beauty around us, we decided to go on a hike and packed a lunch then set off into the rainforest. Walking past the Katoomba Falls, we continued down a track which twisted and turned its way up steep cliffs and down to the valley floor.

Waterfall in the blue mountains

Waterfall in the blue mountains


Blue Mountains Lookout - half way!

Blue Mountains Lookout - half way!


Cascading Waterfall within the Mountain range

Cascading Waterfall within the Mountain range

After 3 hours of strenuous walking we reached the Three Sisters rock formation. Taking in the breathtaking views around us it was soon time to trundled another hour back to the van, before heading up to Blackheath and more stops on the itinerary.

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We stopped for another lookout over the other side of the Blue Mountains and with the sun setting over the misty range at Govetts Leap and the car park behind us deserted, we decided this seemed like a good spot to park up for the night.

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Using the outdoor picnic tables, we cooked up dinner in the thick eerie mist and as night descended upon us, so did the freezing temperatures! Needless to say it was the quickest dinner we had ever had, particularly after Si saw a big dog-like shape with green eyes watching us from the bushes! Packed up and in the van faster than we ate dinner, we were in bed with the doors locked although Rach with 5 layers on was still freezing and unable to sleep.

25th May – Woken by the heavy rain pounding on the roof, we were up and on the move by 8am. With the rain and thick fog surrounding us constricting our views and photos, we sat and called numerous fruit picking employment agencies to offer our services. Sadly there were no fruit picking farms available in the area for us to work at and we soon realised replenishing the funds we had so easily spent was going to be a lot harder than we anticipated!

Deciding to make the most of the day, or what we could see of it, we headed out to the Jenolan Caves and after an hour of windy, steep, hairpin bends we eventually arrived at the caved entrance but with the cheapest tour through the caves still $30, we sneaked our way into a couple of the more accessible ones which were technically free (once you’d paid the admission charge that is!).

Cave exploring

Cave exploring


Jelon Caves

Jelon Caves


Jelon Caves

Jelon Caves

These prehistoric caves were very impressive and despite the windy journey out to see them, we were glad our campervan and us had made.

After a spot of lunch we decided that we might have more luck finding a job in the vineyards of the Hunter Valley however as the light continuing to fade and us nowhere near, we gave up and went in search of a campsite in the tiny country village of Rylestone. Having paid for the site, we walked into town in search for some life and spotted a sports club. However, upon entering the bar area it felt like a scene from a Western movie and we were just waiting for tumbleweed to roll past us as all the locals turned to stare at us. As friendly as they seemed, needless-to-say, we had one swift drink and left for the comfort of our camper.

26th May – Leaving the tiny village, we went in search of jobs but not before being flagged down by the campsite owner as we had stupidly left our washing on the line! Doh! Washing collected, we pushed on to the Hunter Valley stopping at every vineyard we found on the way, asking if they needed any pruners.

Hunter Valley vines

Hunter Valley vines

To our dismay, most had completed their pruning and after such a bad year some were actually pulling up the vines as demand had decreased so much.

Wino Wombat roaming to vines

Wino Wombat roaming to vines

With no sign of any jobs on the horizon, we arrived into Denman in the heart of the Hunter Valley and we chatted to the Information Centre staff who confirmed there was no seasonal work in the area. With the rain lashing down, we decided that there was no point staying in the Hunter Valley despite the wine tasting on offer and thought it best to make our way to Sydney where our time could be better spent looking for an alternative means of work. Cutting through the Woollemi and Yengo National Parks known for their beauty, sadly through the torrential downpour and thick mist infront of us this wasn’t visible.

Eerie forest

Eerie forest

Instead we continued on to Colo hoping to find a campsite as it was getting dark, but sadly the town was dead and the campsite closed. With no other option, we pushed on to the quaint town of Windsor another hours drive. After chatting to some locals on where we could camp, we were directed to a Woolworths supermarket car park, which had facilities and providing we parked after 6pm, we wouldn’t be moved on. As there was ‘no camping’ in the area we had no choice we parked up in a discrete spot and a very nice red Thai curry was created; despite a few funny looks from the local shoppers!

(Car)Park life

(Car)Park life

27th May – Weary not to overstay our welcome, we left the city supermarket early and pulled into a nearby park where we could have breakfast. We then made our way to the outskirts of Sydney to a holiday park in Botany Bay at a whopping $40! Wanting to be near Sydney came at a cost, although we were also on the beach and had a great view of the city skyline.

Sydney skyline from Botany Bay

Sydney skyline from Botany Bay

Taking a walk along the beach, we explored the town and admired Sydney from afar. After a long walk we headed back for dinner whilst sitting outside making the most of the warmer climate away from the mountains!

28th May – With 2 nights left of our campervan rental, we decided to head to Sydney’s coastline, namely Coogee and Bondi beaches. Arriving into Coogee at 11am, we parked up the van and decided to tackle the well-known Coogee-Bondi Coastal walk, a total of 12km return.

Sydney coastal walk views

Sydney coastal walk views

Sydney coastline bay

Sydney coastline bay


Surfers braving the cold waters!

Surfers braving the cold waters!

With the sun shining down on us, it wasn’t long before we were stripping off to our t-shirts and still too warm! Over the 2 hours’ walk into Bondi beach, we passed numerous stunning beaches and rocky coves, along with plenty of surfers out riding the big waves. Finally we stepped on to Bondi beach and explored its bustling streets and sandy beach. Sadly with only an hour and a half left at the car park we had to turn around and hike the 2 hours back!

Posing on Bondi beach

Posing on Bondi beach


Bondi beach

Bondi beach

We hadn’t anticipated 12km would take quite so long, although it probably didn’t help that we stopped to take a photo or ten every 100m! Making up a picnic when we arrived back to Coogee, we sat and watched the waves before driving back to Bondi to explore the town a little more.

Sunset over Bondi

Sunset over Bondi

As the light was fading and with Bondi renowned for fining overnight parked campervans, we headed back to the slightly more relaxed Coogee where we had previously seen a quiet residential spot which ticked the free camping boxes – toilet nearby, flat enough to sleep (and not slide to one corner which had happened before!) and not too obvious to the locals! Soon we had found a hidden spot near a park to cook up dinner on the free barbeques and sleep for the night.

Coogee cooking

Coogee cooking


And on the dinner menu tonight we shall be serving..... pasta...again!

And on the dinner menu tonight we shall be serving..... pasta...again!

Unfortunately the amenities we had spotted earlier were now locked; back to nature it is!

29th May – In the morning we drove over to Shark Bay and took the scenic coastline walk which provided amazing views over the harbour to Sydney’s Opera House and Bridge.

Sydney Skyline

Sydney Skyline


Sydney harbour views

Sydney harbour views

We spent the afternoon back in Bondi relaxing in a little cafe lining the backstreets where we managed to charge up the laptop. That evening we found the same spot empty as the night before in Coogee and having avoided detection last night, decided to stay again.

30th May – Catching Bondi’s Sunday market first thing, we then wandered down the beach to find ‘The Annual Barefoot Races’ was starting. Taking a beachfront view with sausage sandwich in hand, we watched as men, women and children took park in various running races, from sprints to endurance feeling a little guilty but not enough to join in! With a room booked at a backpackers in the Kings Cross district of Sydney for that evening, we navigated our way and checked in before heading back to the Hippie office to drop off our van. It had definitely served us well over the 3 weeks and had enabled us to explore as much of Australia as we could in that time, however we were now ready for a proper room, and with showers!!

With the van checked over by Hippie and the deposit back in our pocket, the hostel picked us up from the nearby airport terminal and took us back to Kings Cross. Although much like the Kings Cross of London and renowned for the Red Light District and dodgy people, it was only 10 minutes from the CBD and held most of the backpacker accommodation. Unpacked and even hanging up some clothes for the first time in weeks, we relaxed in our room and were happy to have booked it for a week; allowing us the time to explore Sydney and look for a desperately needed job!

Posted by siandrach 17:42 Archived in Australia Tagged round_the_world

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Comments

Glad you're both having such fun... Keep the stories heading this way...Love the updates and photos.. Looks like the adventure of a lifetime..
Enjoy and have fun...ATB...Mike

by Mike Hall

Brilliant - liked the picture of the 'Eerie forest' looked fantastic. Cant believe you got to pet the kangaroos's - cool.

by Daniel M

Hi Guys
My partner and I really love reading your blog! We are in the process of sorting out our own 13 month adventure, due to start on 29/11/10 in Kathmandu. I hope we have nearly as much fun as you seem to be having. Our itinerary is almost the same! Some of the photo's you have taken are amazing - what camera are you using? Look forward to your next entry!!

by Jenny

Thanks Jenny, sometimes we wonder if any one ever reads our blog so its great that someone we havent even met is enjoying it! We are very jealous that you two have it all to come- you´ll have an amazing time! If you havent booked your flights we used oneworld as it was the best value for what we wanted. The camera´s we are using are an olympus slr for the big close ups,rach has a panasonic zr1 and i also use a canon ixus 130 which has a great feature which allows you to take in black and white but leave one colour- gives some great photos! if you have any further questions please email us as we love to share (bore people)with our experiences!

by siandrach

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