We decided to rent a car to get down to Melbourne as it’s a fairly long way and we’d heard great things about the coastal drives; and we weren’t disappointed. Following a vague plan we’d found online, which highlighted good places to stop and where to spend the night, we had a rough route. However, we quickly went off track as little towns or beaches caught our eye – or if the satnav decided to take us somewhere entirely different which often meant dirt tracks or dead-ends. Literally the worst satnav.
On the first day we drove out of the city and onto the Grand Pacific Drive, weaving around mountains and beaches with the most insane views of the crystal clear waters and white sand. We stopped along the way for photos and coffee and spent the night in a classic Motel in Nowra.
The next day we drove through a beautiful national park where we very excitedly stopped for a snack with a group of kangaroos, some even had various Joey limbs sticking out of their pouches which we greatly enjoyed. One inquisitive little fellow came close enough that Emma offered out a little bit of her blueberry muffin to him. The situation quickly escalated and ended up with us standing atop a picnic table surrounded by muffin hungry kangaroos at our feet. We also nearly ran over a huge snake, spotted a little porcupine and whale watched (unsuccessfully).
Trying to be savvy we thought camping would be a good money saver. Unfortunately we had no camping gear at all so we decided to make do with the car. We unintentionally stumbled across a near empty campsite by a river with the loveliest owner who, when we explained our plan to sleep in the car without blankets, sourced 2 double duvets and a sleeping bag for us. Even with our two burning candles and plethora of blankets our excitement dwindled when we realised how uncomfortable the seats were. Minimal sleep that night for sure.
The next few days were mainly spent driving through forested roads, dairy farms and vineyards. We would stop at tiny villages when we could find them to source some food and an opp shop or two for bargains. After a massive detour through the Baw Baw rainforest we were back along the coast to stock up on our windy coastal walks. On the long drive down to Torquay we did a quick stop on Phillip Island which is home to some pixie penguins. We only saw one and did some potential illegal moves to try and snap a good photo which ended up not even working.
The last day of our trip was on the Great Ocean Road which is one of Australia’s most famous drives. It again weaves along the coast and through mountains and forest. The views are insane and roads are amazing to drive if you don’t get stuck behind a camper van. We stopped along the way to enjoy the last of the white sand and blue sea before heading to Melbourne. By this time we’d had 8 days with no issues and we nearly ruined it on the last evening as we realised too late we had no petrol left. Stuck in the middle of nowhere with the satnav telling us the nearest pump was nearly 30 km away, we swiftly drove some bumpy back routes to get some petrol. We filled up at the dodgy looking pump only to find the gauge was still stuck on empty. Without knowing if there was actually any petrol in the car we risked the long drive back and were rewarded with an insane sunset and the gauge gradually moved up to half by the time we got home. Even with an hours detour we made it back in time to watch the Bachelorette with dinner (Australias favourite programme and we are definitely hooked).