After my parents spent a week with me in Melbourne we left on a road trip up the coast. We drove in my roommate and I’s car. Since we bought the car a few months ago, it has changed our lives in Australia—made everything so much easier and nicer! I love it.
If I tried to write about all the places we went on our trip this blog post would turn into a 3-part novel series. So, I’ll summarize:
Places we stopped:
Wilsons Promontory, VIC
We did a hike and explored Squeaky Beach—its called Squeaky Beach because the sand squeaks when you step on it. Also, its absolutely beautiful and I love it there.
The parents taking pictures of the waves going in and out
Seaspray/Ninety Mile Beach, VIC
Perfect unspoiled brilliant white beach for as far as your eyes can possibly see in both directions. We were so disappointed when we were here because it was too cold and raining to swim and we so badly wanted to spend a lot of time enjoying the area.
Lakes Entrance, VIC
Gorgeous location, full of boats and great sunsets! We went fishing one day and pulled in a few puffer fish. Also, ate a lot of great seafood.
There is something incredibly interesting going on here
Raymond Island, VIC
Drove here and took a 5 minute ferry ride to the small island known for koala sightings. And we saw koalas, tons of them (and kangaroos)! No matter how many times I see these guys curled up in trees—they will always be adorable.
Buchan Caves, VIC
Took a guided tour through one of the caves and saw very sparkly rocks and amazing stalactites and stalagmites. Different than other caving experiences I’ve had.
This is where my family spent new years eve. Its a small town with a huge whaling history. One day we did the ‘Killer Whale Trail’ and drove around to different locations to learn about the colorful whaling history in the area. I was way more into it than I expected and really enjoyed this stop!
Quite the party animals these two are!
Tilba Tilba & Central Tilba, NSW
Tiny little towns in the middle of nowhere. Accidentally spent too much time here cause there is great cheese and tons of fun little shops to explore.
Huskisson/Jervis Bay, NSW
A bit of a party location. The beaches are unbelievable. Still a bit rainy for enjoyable swimming but we got some snorkeling in and explored Booderee National Park (Cape St George Lighthouse/Moe’s Rock/Stoney Creek/Murray Beach/Botanical Gardens). Hyams Beach is in the Guinness World Record book for being the beach with the whitest sand. It is brilliant and so soft! But looks just as white as a lot of the other beaches we’ve stopped at?
I don’t know if you could ask for a picnic lunch with a better view
I’ve been to Sydney a couple of times now, but I do like going with different people and showing them some of my favorite views or exploring new areas together. I actually traveled to Sydney with my family when I was still in elementary school so it was fun to be back in the same place with them again. This time we spent an entire day at Cockatoo Island in the sun learning about convicts and industrial ship building in Australia.
In the middle of our audio tour on Cockatoo Island
Another one of my favorites in Sydney is the fish markets. I made sure my parents stopped here before we drove on to the next place. We obviously ordered up a seafood lunch and ate it outside under the watchful eye of the seagulls. Read about my last trip to Sydney here.
Port Macquarie, NSW
We went to the Roto house, Tacking Lighthouse and Lighthouse beach, but my favorite stop was the Koala Hospital. It is free to tour around and look at the koalas. A few of the patients are now permanent residents because they have been too sick or injured either due to bush fires, cars, or chlamydia infections (yes, surprise! All the koalas have chlamydia in Aus; look it up!)
Just before we headed down to look at all the blue bottle jellies on the beach
Coffs Harbor, NSW
I wanted to stop and take a picture of the giant banana statue. (ask my mom why I never got the picture 😛 )
Byron Bay, NSW
I love Byron Bay, this is the Australia that everyone imagines when they think of ‘down under’. Its hot, its right on the ocean, everyone is tanned and beautiful, people wear swimsuits everywhere, no one wears shoes. Surfer dudes galore! Party town. I wished I could spend a whole summer here. We visited Main Beach, the lighthouse at night time, and The Farm.
We didn’t nearly have enough time in Brissy to explore it properly. But we did go to the Australia Zoo (and Wildlife Hospital)—possibly the best zoo I’ve ever been to! I loved all the exhibits and the fact that Terri, Bindi, and Robert Irwin are still heavily involved in promotion of wildlife and carrying on Steve Irwin’s work.
We stopped at the Glasshouse Mountains during sunset to eat fresh pineapple and watch the sun go down—absolutely breathtaking.
Lastly, we did a ‘hop on hop off’ bus tour in the CBD. My fav stop was Streets Beach—a man made beach right in the middle of the city because Brisbane is located slightly inland from the ocean and doesn’t have their own beach.
Brisbane skyline overlooking the river
My parents left from Brisbane to fly back to Canada. We had a great trip together that I will remember forever. It was nice to be able to spend a lot of family time in my new home. Looking forward to the next trip when my brother might join us!
Then the drive home….
Tommie flew up to Brisbane that same morning to meet me and drive home to Melbourne with me!
Places we stopped:
Byron Bay, NSW
Since I loved Byron so much we decided to stop here again; we may have also bought a surfboard and spent an afternoon playing around in the waves at Main beach. We went to visit Stone & Wood Brewery for a tasting of one of Tom’s favorite beers.
Picture of giant prawn statue obtained!
What a beautiful thing
Coffs Harbor, NSW
Picture of giant banana statue (finally) obtained!
Port Macquarie/City Beach, NSW
Tom and I had fantastic weather for our entire trip back down the coast, this meant that we could stop and swim whenever we wanted. And we loved it!
Picture of giant oyster statue obtained!
This oyster ‘statue’ was oddly very hard to find
If you’ve never been to Sydney and you’re driving past Sydney—you really need to stop! The harbor and Circular Quay is exactly like the movies and its very impressive. We did the Bondi to Coogee coastal walk to see 2 of the most popular beaches (and all the ones in between) before going for a quick swim and then continuing on!
I hadn’t been to Canberra yet so I really wanted to stop here. Most people say there is nothing to see in Canberra—but I think I would come back to the capital city. It is a lot smaller and not as visually impressive as Sydney or Melbourne but there is a ton of history and museums to explore. And the area around is beautiful as well. Since we didn’t have a ton of time here, we randomly picked the Australian War Memorial Museum to take a tour at—huge!! Then we drove up to Black Mountain and went onto the viewing deck of Telstra Tower. I think this was a great option for us as it allowed us to see a lot of the important buildings and locations all around Canberra even though we didn’t have time to visit them.
Poppies on the wall at the Australian War Memorial Museum
I actually loved driving inland on the way back to Melbourne. Likely because I had seen coastline for the last few weeks (And the coast is brilliant, don’t get me wrong) but the rolling hills and fields reminded me home. I like seeing the sun shining on straight roads and the open sky.
While we didn’t have many days to drive all the way home, we managed to see a lot of spots and experience a lot of cool things! We saw dolphins swimming in the ocean, goannas in our campground, learned to surf, and had a ton of fun!!
Pending: one more travel blog post before I get back to what this website is really about—vet student adventures!