In one weeks time we embark on our next adventure – nearly 2 month road trip in Australia – famous for having some of the world’s most unique wildlife and diverse natural environments – pristine beaches, rainforests, red deserts and home to a several natural world heritage sites. We will be traveling through Victoria, New South Wales, Tasmania and Queensland (might try to touch on North Territory as well). It is a one way journey starting in Melbourne March 24th and finishing off in Cairns May 12th. In between we travel a distance of approximately 6000 km over 50 days passing through stunning coastal areas, mountains, rainforests, beaches, wetlands, scrubland, cities and lot of nothingness in between!
How are we travelling?
We fly to Melbourne from Auckland and after spending a few days there city sightseeing, we take the Spirit of Tasmania overnight ferry to Devonport, Tasmania. Ferry leaves at 9pm, gets in at 7am. Once there we have a rented a car from Europcar for five days and are doing loop around Tasmania (details further below) before we return to Melbourne via ferry. There we have rented a car from Hertz for 2 weeks from Melbourne which we return in Sydney. Tip: We rented the car in Tasmania Monday to Friday and got a really good deal as no weekend involved. We searched at different car rental comparison sites, found the cheapest and then went directly into their own websites and booked with them.
In Sydney we pick up our tried and trusted Britz campervan Hire and Rental which we have used for all three campervan trips in New Zealand. We love the freedom that comes with campervan travels and are excited to be doing this adventure in a new country. See post here on why we thought campervan travel with the kids was such a great idea! We slow travel by campervan from Sydney to Cairns, zigzagging through different national parks, islands, beaches and explore bit of the outback in northern Queensland. After 4 weeks we return the campervan in Cairns and fly out to Bali, Indonesia.
Where are we staying?
We are doing it differently this time – in the past we have done AirBnB – had some unique experiences with this, self catered apartments, motels and the odd hotel here and there. We use booking.com mostly, read reviews on tripadvisor, and usually go with the cheapest (best) offer. Our needs are basic – clean and enough space for four of us to sleep in! Thrown in a pool sometimes, kids are happy. We also stay with family and friends scattered across the world.
We are adding couchsurfing to the mix now! In the past we have hosted several couchsurfers at our home in Sheffield and met some really awesome and interesting travellers. We plan to do the same this time and are staying with lovely couchsurfing hosts who were kind and generous enough to accommodate our family of four. We will tell you all about this new experiencing surfing once we have stayed with hosts in Tasmania, Victoria and New South Wales. We are also staying with friends in Melbourne, Ocean Grove and Sydney. We still have several gaps in between April 4th and 11th so do give a shout out if you know of anyone who can host us – we have our own mattresses, sleeping bags and are willing to floor it – near Yarra Valley, Gippsland and Alpine Park National Park (see details below on what’s planned so far.) The last 4 weeks, we are in our campervan.
What are we taking?
Our packing and travel planning for road trips hasn’t changed too much since we did the 3 week epic road trip in Europe through seven countries – see post here with more details on what we take.
- 4 day bagpacks and 3 small carry ons
- 5 tops, 3 trousers/shorts, 1 jumper/jacket, bathing costumes (I sneaked in a dress or two for me and Shama).
- Gadgets – laptop so I can blog, camera, 2 kindles, 1 DS, chargers, 2 pairs of Binoculars
- Medicine and Emergency Kit
- Insect repellant, sunblock, toiletries
- 2 portable mattresses and 2 sleeping bags
- 1 pair of sandals and 1 pair of hiking/walking shoes each
- few books, study materials (kids missing school for 5 months), arts and crafts, Australia Lonely Planet
- Board games -we are big on family bonding over board games 🙂
- Impractical but fun stuff we are taking – BB8 – so we can share a picture of this cute little robot droid travelling down under. Shama is also taking a cuddly toy penguin which turns into a pillow.
What is our budget?
So far campervan hire, car rental and our return ferry tickets to Tasmania – which itself cost $1200 for four of us, expensive, could have flown for half that price – have cost roughly $4200. We have another $5800 for accommodation, food, fuel and attractions for 50 days – that $116 a day for four people (kids are quite big now and eat as much as me, rooms cost more for 4 people, hardly any discounts with our 8 and 10 year old now.)
I read up a few posts on how much to budget for Australia road trips and it varies depending on travel style – this article was the most helpful for our kind of travel with lots of useful tips on saving money. Steph at Big World Small Pockets has oodles of information on budget travels in Australia, super helpful 🙂 Our goal is to spend under $10,000 for the two months in one of the most expensive countries one can travel in, Yikes! We did our Europe trip on €100 a day (for 4 people) so let’s see if we can make it happen here too…there will lot of supermarket/BBQ food, bread and cheese, cutting down on the wine and beer (right.) Good thing we are working with a few tourism partners throughout Australia which I am super excited about promoting! More on that once we start the trip 🙂
What’s planned so far?
Here a snapshot of our trip planning so far (all plans subject to change as we get on the road).
Melbourne – We are staying with friends in Melbourne and plan to hang out with them, do some city sightseeing and see wildlife at Phillip Island for the day.
Tasmania – We get here early morning by ferry and head to the East Coast, explore Freycinet National Park -“dramatic pink granite peaks, secluded bays, white sandy beaches and abundant birdlife” and the surrounding region, onwards to Hobart for 2 days and back up to Devonport via Cradle Mountain National Park -“ancient rainforests and alpine heath.” I am most excited about seeing Tasmanian Devils at Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary!
Great Ocean Road – one of the greatest coastal drives in a the world, a 243km road along the southern coastline of Victoria, I must have read a dozen posts on this trip and seen hundreds of pictures! The one that excited me the most is this one from fellow travel blogger from Travel Tales of Life who had just been here 2 weeks before. In fact, I loved following their entire 3 weeks in Australia as we are doing lot of the same things during our time in Tasmania, Sydney and Great Ocean Road.
After this it’s a bit hazy as we make our way to Sydney over 10 days – and we still don’t have much of the accommodation sorted here, only one couchsurfing host in Canberra. We plan to make a loop suggested by Mark from Wyldfamilytravel who hails from Gippsland and we love nothing better than advice from locals!
Enjoy vineyards in the Yarra Valley region, get down to Wilson Promontory National Park, go fishing in Gippsland Lakes, hike in Alpine National Park and then make our way to Canberra. We hope to do little bit of sightseeing before making our way to Sydney where we drop off the car and pick up Campervan.
Between Sydney to Brisbaine and onwards to Cairns -No plans made yet – Fraser Island-Gold Coast-Sunshine Coast-Noosa-White Sunday Island-Cairns-Great Barrier Reef-Daintree Rainforest-Outback Queensland – All plans free flowing and will pan out over the course of four weeks and dependent on budget.
Some of the wildlife we hope to see:
What we hope to not see!
Sydney Funnel Web, Redback spiders and other venomous spiders in Australia :-/ These 2 months will be very different from all the nature travel we did in New Zealand past one year! Few other deadly creatures to look out for – box jellyfish, blue-ringed octopus, Taipin and other snakes..the list goes on..
How are we feeling? What else do we need to do?
We are really looking forward to our upcoming adventures in Australia and after. We are a little nervous about leaving our ‘paradise bubble’ in New Zealand – we had such an amazing one year here – and moving to Bangladesh. It will a big change for the kids, for the whole family.
We would LOVE to get your feedback on anything else we should be considering for road trip and campervan travel around Australia, any must see off the beaten track destinations in all these places? We look forward to meeting new people, hanging out with old friends and having new experiences and adventures. Give us a shout out if you are a local and want to meet up anywhere along this route. Am pretty sure over the course of 7 weeks, we might tire of each other’s company 😉