Trip Report Sydney to Adelaide
We are a retired couple in our 60’s who have just returned home after spending 4 weeks in Australia (February 2014). Our plan was to make a leisurely drive from Sydney to Adelaide and then to fly back to Sydney after returning the car to Adelaide airport. Petrol is about half the cost of UK fuel.
We aimed to drive for no more than 2 – 3 hours a day between destinations and then to stay 1 or 2 nights before moving on. Staying 2 nights did give us an opportunity to explore places rather than just ‘passing through’. We followed the Princes Highway for most of the trip to Melbourne.
Our drive from Melbourne to Adelaide took us 5 days with 4 overnight stops. The distances between destinations were further.
We flew to Sydney arriving around 09.00. After collecting a hire car at the airport (and a sat nav – not essential when travelling down the Princes Highway if you have a couple of good maps - but none the less somewhat reassuring), we made our weary way to Wollongong. This was a very short journey but long enough after a 9 hour night flight.
Day 1. Sydney Airport to Wollongong
Our first night was at Wollongong at Market View. We found a nearby food court in a shopping mall less than a 5 minute walk where we were able to get a meal . We also had a look round the town and its farmers’ market (last Saturday of the month). It was a 15 minute walk to the beach passing through extensive parkland with BBQ’s, play areas and exercise machines. It looked very ‘family orientated’.
Day 2 Woolongong to Berry
We drove from Woolongong via Kiama which was a very pretty town. The coastal blowhole obliged as the tide was in.
Next stop was Berry where we were staying but it was too early to check in so we diverted to Kangaroo Valley driving up Berry mountain and down into the Valley. It is very pretty countryside here. We visited the Pioneer Museum which was quite interesting but in need of some t.l.c.
Berry is a busy little town with lots of attractive shops and places to eat.
Day 3 At Berry
We visited the annual Berry show which was on at the weekend we were there and it was like going back in time. Lots to see and do from fairground amusements, local produce shows, showjumping, cattle, pigs, sheep and poultry classes, wood chopping competitions and, to finish off in the evening, a fantastic firework display. During the day we drove a few miles to the spectacular 7 Mile Beach.
Day 4 Berry to Nelligan
We headed for Nelligan, near Bateman Bay. Our first stop was Huskisson on beautiful Jervis Bay with its aquamarine sea.
Next was Hyam’s Beach with peculiar squeaky sand – yes, it does actually make a noise when you brush your bare foot over it.
We had lunch at Ulladulla harbour after driving through Milton with its historic buildings along the main street.
On to Nelligan and the Big 4 Campsite where we stayed in a lovely riverside cabin. We had done some shopping for supplies in Milton which was just as well as Nelligan has little in the way of shops and the campsite reception area has only very basic supplies. The river here is tidal and in the evening, at low water, the kangaroos come down to the river on the opposite bank to drink.
Day 5 At Nelligan
A very leisurely day spent fishing, reading and watching the world go by – with a trip into the village for an ice cream.
Day 6 Nelligan to Courier Creek
Woke up to a rainy morning but still hot (mid 20’s C). After watching a pelican fly in to land opposite us on the river, we moved on towards Courier Creek. Our first stop was at Mogo Zoo which is well worth a visit. The keepers take the ‘wild’ dingoes for a walk on leads and encourage visitors to get to know them.
On to Bodalla where we stopped for lunch at Bodalla Dairy Shed. This is a very retro place which serves good food in the restaurant and a selection of locally produced cheese, yoghurt and honey to buy.
We arrived at Courier Creek cottages near Tilba – surrounded by rolling lightly wooded countryside with resident alpacas and donkeys and the occasional visiting wallaby. Listen for the bell birds!
Day 7 At Courier Creek
In the morning we set off to Tilba Tilba and Central Tilba. The latter has more to offer the tourist and is a beautiful village set high on a hill and is full of ‘historic’ buildings housing a variety of interesting shops. From there we headed to the coast again and had lunch at Bermagui on fisherman’s Wharf which had really good fish and chips. The harbour was full of pelicans and cormorants swimming around the boats.
Day 8 Courier Creek to Eden
Today we chose the more picturesque rout along the coast rather than the quick Princes Highway passing through Burmagui (again) Tura Beach, Pambula and on to Eden where we had lunch at a nice harbour side restaurant at Snug Cove (beautiful fresh fish to eat again) before heading to our accommodation at Bay View Motor Inn where we stayed for just one night.
Having talked with the staff at the hotel, they suggested a walk around Lake Curalo on the boardwalk and then a drive Cocora beach which is very pretty and sheltered.
Day 9 Eden to Lake’s Entrance
This drive was a little further than we had done up to this time and was mainly through forest with the occasional settlement. Lake’s Entrance is spread out along the shoreline but the town does have plenty of shops and restaurants and a supermarket. We bought freshly caught prawns from a trawler in the harbour. We had 2 nights here at the Lakes Waterfront Motel.
Day 10 At Lake’s Entrance
A day spent relaxing. There is a nice walk along the lakeside to a foot bridge which takes you across the lake then over the sand dunes to the surfing beach. If you prefer, you can always swim in the lake.
Day 11 Lake’s Entrance to Wallhalla
This was the hottest day of our trip with temperatures in the low 40’s C (thank goodness for air conditioning in the car) for our drive to Wallhalla. This place is an old gold mining town which now has just 16 residents. Once off the main highway the road became much narrower and very windy and we gradually headed up to the mountains. Our hotel in Wallhalla had already advised us NOT to rely on sat nav but just to use a map. This was very good advice as, with 3 km to go, the sat nav said we would arrive in 15 hours !!! We stayed just one night in the Star Hotel. Wallhalla, on this Sunday night, was almost deserted save for the guests at the hotel. It’s a charming place and all those we met went out of their way to make us welcome. The Hotel’s restaurant is closed on a Sunday but they made arrangements for us to eat at the local Wally Pub just down the road.
Day 12 Wallhalla to Melbourne
A relaxing (apart from a very close encounter with a logging truck) cross country drive to Melbourne where we stayed with a friend for 6 nights.
Day 18 Melbourne to Ocean Grove
We continued our trip towards Adelaide with a minor diversion to Ocean Grove. We spent the afternoon at Queenscliffe – good place for a coffee by the harbour – and then on to Barwen Heads which is very picturesque. Overnight at a friend’s house.
Day 19 Ocean Grove to Apollo Bay
A longer drive today but this time along the Great Ocean Road.
Apollo Bay is a quiet seaside town but we were told of wild koala bears fairly nearby along the road north towards the lighthouse. We saw over a dozen koala bears in the trees! The coastal views are spectacular – the 12 Apostles are outstanding and the walk from the visitors’ centre towards the headland is great.
From here, towards the Bay of Islands: we stopped off at Boat Bay where you can get a spectacular view of the Bay of Islands.
Day 20 Apollo Bay to Port Fairy
Port Fairy is a really pretty little coastal town with lots of old, small houses and a beautiful harbour. Griffith’s Island is well worth walking around (via a footbridge) and we had a very close encounter with a very inquisitive wallaby.
Day 21 Port Fairy to Robe
Another long drive and we stopped at Mount Gambia town to see the Blue Lake – which was really blue. This part of the journey was the busiest and we met many logging trucks along the way. Robe is another small seaside town.
Day 22 Robe to Adelaide
This was really a quite monotonous journey with long stretches of very straight road for miles on end. Our first stop off was at Millicent for morning coffee and a walk around the town. Then it was on to Hahndorf a very tourist orientated village on the outskirts of Adelaide.
From here we went into the city but were surprised by the amount of parkland surrounding Adelaide.
Here our car journey ended but we still had a few days in Adelaide
Day 23 and Day 24
Adelaide is a very compact city and easy to get around. We found that 2 nights was enough to see everything we wanted. Our accommodation was at the Mansions On Pultney and it provided budget accommodation in a superb central location.
We took the tram to the beach at Glenelg from the city centre, visited the market, the museums and the very nice shopping malls and arcades. Again we were fortunate that the weekend coincided with the Adelaide Fringe event. In the evenings the town was buzzing and it was fascinating just to sit in one of the many pavement restaurants and people watch.
Day 25 Flight from Adelaide to Sydney.
We had a 4 night stay in the suburb of Glebe in Blacksmith’s Cottage. This is a great area to stay in with lots of eating places, interesting shops and easy access to the Light Rail which took us straight to Darling Harbour and to Central Station (amongst many other stopping places). Sydney has so many things to do and to see and we could have easily spent much more time here.
We loved Australia, and on this trip, our favourite places were those between Sydney and Eden. But there is such a lot to see and we found everyone we met to be so friendly. The roads outside the cities are quiet and so the driving is easy. Next time ......... north to Brisbane and Cairns !!