#YOLO road trip – Melbourne to Sydney coastal drive PART 1

WHOAAAA much delayed post!

After I was done with school in Melbourne I decided that it would be a good idea to get out of the city. I’d done the Great Ocean Road with Celeste (which, BTW, is a lie! Half of the Great Ocean Road actually consists of inland roads), so Bob and I thought we’d hit the coastal drive from Melbourne to Sydney. In the holiday #YOLO spirit, we booked our vehicle late and also didn’t book any accommodation…which, according to a friend in Melbourne was potentially a bad idea because all the Australians take their camping seriously, especially at the end of the year.

Armed with a small Suzuki + a roof tent from Wicked (for $50 a day including a portable stove, cooking stuff, plates and utensils), an appetite for adventure, two pillows, a budget blanket and unusually free spirits, we set off. No plans, just cruising to Sydney and stopping wherever we fancied.

Hey, Melbourne was hitting ten degrees in summer. What else could go wrong?

For my own reference (and okay, yours, if you’re planning a trip too), we ended up stopping by these places:

  1. Bairnsdale
  2. Lakes Entrance
  3. Croajingalong
  4. Cann River
  5. Mallacoota (Gipsy’s point)
  6. Pambula
  7. Bega
  8. Bermagui (Blue pool)
  9. Tilba Tilba, Central Tilba
  10. Narooma
  11. Dalmeny
  12. Bateman’s Bay
  13. Jervis Bay
  14. Nowra
  15. Sydney
  16. and back to Melbourne, 11 hours straight.

Here’s the Google map


If you’re planning to do what we did (right up to renting a car with a roof tent), here’s what you will need to pack:

  1. The obvious, clothes, toiletries, swim gear
  2. Bath towel
  3. Beach towel
  4. Picnic mat
  5. Something warm, like a hoodie (it gets cold at night)
  6. Pillow, blanket
  7. Torchlight / portable light** IMPORTANT, we had to buy one.
  8. Phone charger for cars
  9. Good music
  10. If you’re not used to driving long distances (esp if you’re Singaporean), Red Bull, Gummies
  11. Remember to ask for a GPS

hey ho, let’s go!!


The drive from Melbourne CBD to Bairnsdale is a flat one, on which you’d typically see this:

Our first stop was a spontaneous one about 219km away from Melbourne CBD. I’d spotted “Paradise Beach” on the GPS and thought, that sure sounds nice. When we got there, it looked “not bad”; on hindsight, there are many other prettier beaches on the coast. The good thing is, it was really quiet.

We also went to “kaypoh” around the campsite – and realized that indeed, Australians DO take their camping seriously (read on for elaboration).

After a quick look-see, we set off for Lake’s Entrance, where we enjoyed the beautiful sights of the sun setting over a huge lake. (We set off late.)

(Our car is the red one on the right!)

Headed to Coles (we love grocery shopping!) to grab some stuff for dinner (we wanted to make use of the stove).Then we headed to a fun fair! FUN FAIRRRR!!! I hadn’t been to a legit one in AGES so I made Bob take a few (two?) rides with me, before we decided that was enough adrenaline for the night.

wheeee so much screaming


So, pro-tip about finding caravan parks: they are very easily found. Just look out for these signs along the highway:

Another pro-tip, you have to be there to “check in” early – they generally close at 6pm.

At each caravan park you have options of a powered site (if you have a legit caravan), some come with sullage (to empty your caravan toilet); or an unpowered site which is usually just a patch of grass, which was all we needed. It’s cheaper too. And so your next question would be WHY PAY FOR A PATCH OF GRASS? Because there’s a toilet with warm water within walking distance. Hot showers and clean water are the only things stopping me from real-camping. Generally, staying in campgrounds is a much cheaper option than staying in a hostel. They have toilets, barbie areas and sometimes swimming pools and wifi. If you’re a tourist it’s also a nice way to see how the Aussies do it – it’s amazing. They have huge marquees, a living area, a bbq area, individual tents, a tent for their dog…

Moving on, we settled for a place called Lakes Caravilla, where we paid 30 bucks for our patch of grass and had a nice cosy dinner next to our car – salad and spaghetti bolognaise. It was quite a struggle doing this with no light. Our roof tent proved roomier than we expected, and we had a good night’s sleep.


Our tent in the morning!


I’d initially wanted to have dimsum for breakfast at this place called the Floating Dragon; unfortunately no, the Aussies don’t have dim sum for brunch; so we went to a cafe, and then I suddenly felt sick, and then I just wanted some sun. So I sunned myself in a field by the lake.


and i guess Bob wanted to try it too:

(A friendly swan came to say hi.)

And I felt better after. Thank God. It takes about 3 hours to reach Croajingolong National Park, and the drive into the campgrounds was slightly boring.

Why were we heading to Croajingolong? Before the trip I told Bob i wanted to surf some sand dunes (bucket list). He did some research and said we had to go to Croajingolong National Park where apparently they had massive sand dunes! We got lost for a bit and finally reached the park.

Campsite entrance

We cooked some Korean-inspired cheese corn before hiking to the dunes. (I think it’s a 2 hour hike).

I realized we didn’t bring a backpack along so I got all McGyver and managed with my beach towel.

The hike was okay, nothing exciting, pleasant though.

Then we reached the dunes (after 2hrs), and attempted to “surf” with a piece of cardboard. FAIL.

Determined to have fun, we rolled down instead.

Warning: you will find sand everywhere for the rest of the week. Not just the clothes you wore. Bits of sand will find their way into other clothes. Socks. The sofa. Your bed. They will haunt you.

Needless to say, sand dune surfing is still on my bucket list.

Hiked back and spotted a wild animal on the way out:

It roared at us.

We went to a campground at Cann River for the night (the only one we found) – paid ten dollars for the campsite, payment made at Cann River Hotel ($5 beers!). PSA, dinner can no longer be found after 8ish in anywhere else but the petrol kiosk opposite Cann River Hotel.

This was our very unappetising parma dish.

Cann River’s campgrounds were decent! There was a stream running by it, and the showers, though not the cleanest, were roomy.

Stay tuned for Part 2… markets, the coast, whale museums and oystersssss!!!

One Comment

  1. Driving the Princes Highway coastal road from Melbourne to Sydney is one of the most amazing experiences I’ve had in Australia. Too bad I pushed it in only 2 days, a lot of driving!

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