What springs to mind when you think of Australia… Beaches, Sun, Surf and BBQ’s.
Going on a good old fashioned road trip is a surefire way to increase spontaneity, lower stress and inspire creativity, which lasts after you return from the trip. What better way to travel the country than a roadtrip along the East Coast!?
Somewhat bias of Australia’s most stunning coastline because I was fortunate enough to spend 18 years of my life growing up there. The first time I did this drive I had just turned 18, bought my first car and finished school. My 4 best friends and I had the time of our lives and by the end of our East Coast roadtrip we had named my car CC, meaning “coast to coast”.
Below you will find my tips for exploring secret coastal towns and how to experience Australian culture like a local.
This is the land of surfing culture and everything that is Australian. Pristine clear beaches, good waves, hot summers and warm winters. The Farm is a popular restaurant where the owners grow all produce on the land and everything is hand picked in the morning and served fresh for lunch.
The lighthouse walk will take you through the headland to overlook the town and the oceans and mountains in the distance. I recommend going early in the morning to watch the sunrise.
A cute little coastal town 3 hrs south of Sydney. Kiama is know for its chilled out vibes, good swells and famous ice-cream shop. A nice drive along the coastline for 15mins and you’ll reach Gerringong, an even smaller town with a really good surf shop and vegetarian cafe and great headlands to sit on the grass with some hot chips and watch the locals surfers.
A beautiful little town where the ocean opens up to an inlet that surrounds the edge of town. The Boardwalk is a nice spot for fishing and an afternoon walk around the headland. Narooma is a cute little fishing town that has charters that take you out for whale watching at Montague island. For accommodation the best option is camping, the Island View Resort is 5mins outside of town and is very popular in the summertime filled with travelers, families and big groups on holidays.
Just outside of Narooma is another little town called Tilba, an old heritage town with rolling green hills, beautiful mountains to climb and an excellent cheese shop! Also check out Foxglove Gardens in Tilba, Dalmeny beach in Bermagui, Camel Rock and Horseshoe bay.
Great Ocean Road
The 12 apostles are a collection of limestone rock formations just off the shore of the Port Campbell National Park, Victoria. Thanks to global warming there are in fact only 8 apostles left as they are slowly sinking and breaking off, so it’s best to see this natural wonder while you still can. The drive through the National Park and Great Ocean Road is abundant with scenery, wildlife and stunning ocean views. The roads in Victoria are well maintained and very nice to drive.
The Byron Bay of the South. The word Torque means momentum or force, and there no guessing how this town got its name. The big waves that come through the famous Bells Beach are not for beginners. Bells is a big time surfing hotspot that hosts annual competitions all year round with pro-surfers traveling from all over the world. The vibe at Torque is very laid back and coastal. The main streets are lined with surf and skate shops, trendy cafes and bars.
License and Registration:
Getting your paperwork is important, there’s no chance of bribing an Australian police officer. Ensure the car is roadworthy, has good tires and hasn’t been stolen. For cars that are over 5 years old you will need to have a pink slip which is a safety check of the car to ensure its in good shape, and a green slip which is compulsory third party insurance. Find the info here –> RTA Australia
Buying a car
Local car dealerships and Newspaper ads
Renting a car/van
Hiring a van is a great option because your accommodation is factored into the overall price. Also waking up with the sand and ocean at your feet is the best way to start a day exploring a new town.
Wicked Vans are covered in loud artwork, they are the most popular among travelers, check the details of insurance and leaving the vehicle in a different state than from where you picked it up.
The latest alternative to hiring a car. This is a good option for if you are spending more time at each location and less time actually on the road. You can sign up to GoGet or Car Next Door and pay for a daily or hourly rate for using a local car. Insurance and petrol are usually included too.
So you’ve got the car, license, itinerary.. now what should you be expecting on a road trip in Australia… The land of multi-culture, diversity, mountains, deserts, famous beaches, beers, barbecues, cricket, wildlife, and more??
…well, a few things for sure:
Kangaroos and Koalas. They are the national animals and you will see many kangaroos munching on grass or on the side of the road. Be careful if driving at night because they can be attracted by the lights and have been known to jump out onto the road.
Sunburnt skin. Its called the sunburnt country for a reason. The sun in Australia can be very hot, in summer averaging at 30degrees and even hotter in the middle and the northern regions of the country. The national slogan “slip-slop-slap” refers to protecting your skin by wearing a long sleeve shirt, a hat and sunscreen at the beach, so follow suit unless you want to look like Zoidberg from Futurama.
BBQ’s and Cricket. Its the food and sport of the nation, and there’s no better way to mix with locals than over a cold beer, a bbq and a game of cricket in the sun.
The best time of year to go is anytime. It’s always warm and sunny in Australia, however the summer months are from December through to February. Keep in mind this is also peak and holiday season so there will be more people on the roads, prices will be higher, the sun is much hotter and accommodation will be scarce.