The Great South East

Last Summer, my partner and I embarked on a road trip along the south east coast of Australia. Starting in Sydney, we drove along the gorgeous coast of New South Wales into Victoria, making our way through Melbourne and then along the Great Ocean Road. We had no plan, no accomodation and no idea where we were, but this is my favourite way to travel! Here are the highlights.

Grand Pacific Drive: Sydney to Wollongong

We left Sydney in the wee hours of the morning, driving through the Royal National Park and on the Grand Pacific Drive towards Wollongong. There are so many gorgeous views on this drive. It really is a must-do, especially for Sydney-Siders.

1173818_10156439751155118_5163624420193128772_n (1)

The Sea Cliff Bridge

10344842_10156439879460118_8444711434010833118_n

Wollongong Harbour

734536_10156439879470118_7426120130108416918_n
Nan Tien Temple

Wollongong to Shellharbour

From Wollongong, we ventured through the many coastal towns that speckle the New South Wales coastline. No matter where you stop along this route, you are sure to find somewhere lovely to cool down in the water. I highly recommend Bushranger’s Bay for a serene snorkelling experience.

1557695_10156440043240118_4205593102012358108_n

Lake Illawara

1930630_10156443628915118_7705290541071008249_n

Bushranger’s Bay

 

Jervis Bay, Australian Capital Territory

Once we had thoroughly explored Shellharbour and experienced the Kiama blowhole, we then followed the highway through to the gorgeous Jervis Bay. Only a few hours drive from Sydney, Jervis Bay is nestled within lush, green national parklands. Technically part of the Australian Capital Territory, the crystal clear waters and milky white beaches of Jervis Bay make for a postcard-perfect holiday destination.

Screen Shot 2016-03-29 at 9.05.42 am

Cool, clear water at Green Patch

1003394_10156446917695118_864690415927197359_n

White sand, blue water, green bushland

Crossing the Victorian Border, Arriving in Lakes Entrance

With sand in our hair and our bodies happily salted, the heavy driving section of our trip began. We drove through the national park forests to cross into the state of Victoria. We drove and we drove and we drove, until we reached our next port of call – Lakes Entrance. This was where we had our first shower in three days… an icy cold, outdoor shower at Main Beach.

1496623_10156446917955118_5658706209472625677_n

Setting up camp at a rest stop

1620372_10156446918010118_7329153509831264759_n

Lake’s Entrance – Bridge to Main Beach

Melbourne City

The time had finally come to make our arrival into Melbourne. It was New Years Eve and we were in desperate need of a hot shower and a cold beer. Luckily, an old friend from High School had recently moved to St. Kilda and he was kind enough to provide us with both. We spent the next few days exploring the sights of Melbourne.

1422436_10156454278000118_8137037163293942178_n

Hipster Coffee in the CBD

735134_10156454276230118_6164216922945762018_n

Hosier Lane Street Art

10553528_10156454794830118_2456773158825183241_n

St. Kilda Beach

Geelong Onwards

After a few days exploring Melbourne (and sleeping in a bed) it was time for us to move along. We drove south west towards Geelong, a place very close to my heart. My Father grew up in Geelong and we spent many Summers exploring the parks and swimming at Eastern Beach. We then decided to detour to Queenscliff, another Summer escape for my family, and admire the gorgeous blue green waters of the Bass Straight.

993855_10156458395690118_2312679637578524888_n

Eastern Beach, Geelong

10313544_10156458395900118_7763569224862111917_n

Queenscliff, Victoria

The Great Ocean Road

Finally, it was time to embark on the last leg of our journey along the South East, the world famous Great Ocean Road. We had the car packed with supplies, our cameras at the ready and our swimmers on…. Unfortunately, the Great Ocean Road was a little bit on fire. The road was closed from Lorne and we had no idea how safe it would be to travel. Nevertheless, were determined to experience as much of the drive as we could. So, with a great deal of detouring and hours of driving through endless Victorian farmland, we finally arrived at Warnambool and drove the Great Ocean Road backwards. We saw all the major sights – The Twelve Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge and (most importantly) the lighthouse from ‘Round The Twist’. This is definitely a drive that you should do at least once in your lifetime.

Screen Shot 2016-03-29 at 9.05.54 am

Freezing cold water at Loch Ard Gorge

1454928_10156461532860118_8920457081107961763_n

The Twelve (?) Apostles

10639619_10156458385495118_2295250478401983685_n

HAVE YOU EVER, EVER FELT LIKE THIS?

The Road Home

By the time we had driven the length of the Great Ocean Road, we were ready to make our way home. So we drove back towards Sydney, through the rain and the increasingly lush countryside towns of Albury and Gundagai. But, having never visited the capital city of Australia, we decided one last stop was in order. It turns out Canberra is not as boring as one would think, hosting some of the best museums in Australia. We paid our respects at the War Memorial and rolled our eyes at the extravagance of Parliament House. The calm, cool city was the perfect way to unwind and complete our adventure of the great South East.

10556390_10156464014245118_3989996164279087988_n

Australian War Memorial and Museum, Canberra

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s