The Great Australian Road Trip

australian road trip

To celebrate my graduation, we decided to travel across Australia.

What better way to do that if not by road? For a second we considered taking a RV but looking back I’m glad we got cozy hotel beds to sleep in on our 12-day Great Australian Road Trip.

After touring around the city for two days, we crossed off the Yarra river cruise (an informative and interesting cruise), Queen Victoria night market (Wednesdays nights during Winters) and The Melbourne Star from our touristy checklist.

I recommend these fabulous spots to everyone coming to this city especially because you get to see the beauty of the city and taste food from around the would.

Since this was my dad’s first visit to Melbourne, I took him to my favourite place – Southbank which is a tiny walk away from Flinders station. Lined with amazing bars and restaurants along its bank, the Yarra river looks mesmerizing at any given time. Since my graduation was at the Royal Exhibition Hall, dad also got to see this World Heritage Site-listed building that also happens to be one of the world’s oldest remaining exhibition pavilion. Being a unimelb student, we’ve given our final exams here – several times in the last two years.

  • melbourne

If you’re curious about our trip, read on to find out the places we covered and the highlights of each destination.

Day 1: Melbourne to Warrnambool

Via The Great Ocean Road and the 12 Apostles

Distance covered: 344 km

Highlights: We started the day in no hurry but by the time we had our stop overs at Geelong and Lorne, it was clear we needed to rush to see the 12 Apostles if we wanted to see them in their glory while the sun was still out.

Although it says that this famous attraction closes at 5 PM online (which is exactly when we reached), we (thankfully) found a lot of tourists still taking pictures and hanging out. The highlight of this trip was catching the 12 Apostles view at sunset. It was absolutely gorgeous. Although this was my second visit to the Apostles, you can never truly get enough of the view.

Day 2: Warrnambool to Robe

Via Tower Hill, Port Fairy, Naracoote Caves, Blue Lake at Mount Gambier

Distance covered: 404 km

Highlights: On our way to Robe, the cutest little fishing town in South Australia, our first stop was the Tower Hill wildlife reserve which is essentially an inactive volcano. We saw an emu there!

A short hike up the hill and you can even see the ocean. We made our second stop at Port Fairy (a fishing village) for a quick lunch and went on to go to Naracoorte Caves National Park – my first cave experience.

robe australia

This place is South Australia’s only World Heritage site where you can see fossils from hundreds of thousands of years ago. Being a fossils nerd as a kid, this was such a trip! Having reached there a bit late, we did the self guided tour of the Stick-Tomato Cave so I’d suggest you check the timings before you reach this place.

We also checked out the animated Wonambi Fossil Centre that takes you back to what Naracoote looked like 200,000 years ago. It is amazing to see the different kinds of prehistoric animals that used to exist. Our last stop before Robe was The Blue Lake – a large monomictic crater lake located in a dormant volcanic at Mount Gambier.

Day 3: Robe to Kangaroo Island

Via Cape Jervis

Distance covered: 516 km

Highlights: On our way to Kangaroo Island, we crossed one the of many giant tourist attractions in Australia –  The Big Lobster in Kingston SE.

As we got closer to the coast, the landscape became more beautiful. I have to say, this was one of the best scenic routes we traveled on. In fact, I witnessed a half circle rainbow on my way to Cape Jervis. It. was. amazing! You can also see some kangaroos along the way. We took the ferry to the island and reached our Airbnb near the American river at night.

Day 4: Flinders Chase National Park: Admirals Arch, Remarkable Rocks and Hanson Bay

Distance covered: 290 kms

Highlights: When in Kangaroo Island, you have to visit Flinders Chase National Park that includes its iconic attractions like Admirals Arch, Remarkable Rocks, and Hanson Bay. We saw the cutest seals at Admirals Arch – an amazing natural arch shaped by the ocean. I also made it a point to cartwheel on the Remarkable Rocks!

At Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary we took the famous Koala Walk where we witnessed a young female running away from a persistent male. Classic wildlife. We saw a handful of koalas hanging on to tree barks on a windy day. My highlight was meeting Maggie, the resident dog.

Day 5: KI to Victor Harbor

Distance covered: 118 km

The ferry ride could get rough depending on the weather forecast. So, I suggest you take some appropriate medication along. We reached our Airbnb at Victor Harbor. A cute small town, I really liked the locality. We made ourselves dinner and enjoyed our gigantic backyard.

Day 6: Victor Harbor to Wagga Wagga

Distance covered: 938 km

A long stretch, we mostly drove the whole day (and night). I loved looking at the gorgeous stars in the sky. The Outback was miles and miles of nothing but desert shrubs and the occasional creeks along the way. Couldn’t help but think of the movie Wolf Creek.

the outback

Day 7: Wagga Wagga to Lithgow (The Blue Mountains)

Distance traveled: 458 km

Day 8: The Blue Mountains tour, Lithgow to Sydney

Distance covered: 176 km

Highlights: At Katoomba Scenic World, we covered the skyway, walkway and railway (the cableway was under renovation at the time). Not only did we have the breathtaking views of the Three Sisters and the Jamison Valley, we also took a ride on the world’s steepest railway!

I couldn’t help but think of the Jurassic park movies while we explored the rainforests in the valley. A must visit when in Australia. Don’t forget to wear your sport shoes and check the weather before heading there.

Day 9: Sydney: I’m Free Walking Tour & Sydney Opera House

Highlights: Sydney, you beauty.

We took I’m Free Walking Tour in Sydney which was one of the best decision we made to see the city. It was like taking a crash course in getting to know the city up close and personal. Later that day, we went to the Opera House and saw Rigoletto, an extremely moving opera show. You must experience the Opera if you find yourself in Sydney.

Day 10: Sydney Cruise

Highlights: Sydney has undoubtedly the most beautiful harbour. We took a two-hour cruise around the harbour with tons to see and experience.

Day 11: Sydney to Canberra via Coledale, Wollongong, Shell Harbour

Distance covered: 333 km

Beautiful villages and towns along the way, reaching Canberra was a sober experience. It’s the opposite of what Sydney is like. That’s how I put it.

Day 12: Canberra to Melbourne

Distance covered: 662 km


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