Australia is such a vast and diverse country that it is possible to drive the equivalent of London – Edinburgh and not leave the state of Victoria. This means that it is perfect for road trips, and if you’ve been keeping up with our Instagram and Facebook, then you’ll know that in January, we embarked on a road trip up the east coast of Australia from Sydney to Brisbane; and what a ball we had.
We were joined by my parents, which was incredible – it was so nice to see them after so long (even though this stretch will be longer until we see them again!). To experience travelling in Australia together and for them to become part of our “WhenTwoWander” adventure was fantastic. This is part one of two posts about this trip which will show you what we got up to on our road trip, give suggestions about where to go and what you can get up to in each location, as well as boast about what a wonderful time we had together – I want to do it all over again.
Day 1: Our roadtrip began the day before my parents arrived as we landed in Sydney for Australia Day. Sam’s family are Aussies so we knew about the day, but we had no idea how important and impressive these celebrations were, until we were stood in a completely packed Darling Harbour watching a mind-blowing firework display. People get the day off work and just get plastered all day until the big show at Darling at night. It’s a pretty festive atmosphere, with a boat race, and a citizenship ceremony all before the magnificent display at its climax.
Day 2: The next day was super exciting – my parents had landed! I hadn’t seen them in 5 months and I couldn’t wait; we’re a close family. We met at the Sydney Opera House in time for lunch at the Opera Bar below – the food was great and decently priced, and you dont get many views better for lunchtime! Fish and Chips consumed, we then explored Sydney’s streets and just enjoyed our time together again.
Day 3: The next day we went to the famous and spectacular Bondi Beach, a must do when in Sydney. The sun was blazing, the waves rolling and our skin golden-ing – in my dad’s case, frying – and all was right with the world. Despite the fabulous weather and location, all that sun gets tiring so we headed off to an amazing grill restaurant called Hurricane’s. Our day was finished off by eating delicious and plentiful ribs, a real recharge.
Day 4: As we had a car on this trip, we decided to ditch the backpacks for the more conventional suitcase-on-wheels. What a mistake! The bloody thing broke the second we got off the train from Sydney Airport, which meant dragging all 23kgs of it all the way to Ultimo. We were so grateful for the car when we left the metropolitan Sydney and headed for the tranquility of the magnificent Blue Mountains. We arrived at Solitary Restaurant just in time for a deluge whilst had some food. My brother had booked the restaurant as a treat for my birthday and the restaurant had spectacular views; the food was sumptuous too.
We stayed in an Airbnb in Wentworth Falls (totally the way forward) which was very modern and clean. Our host, Deb, was great. She even had chickens so we could have fresh eggs every morning. Deb’s Place isn’t far from Katoomba, where the Three Sisters live, and was close to all the other walking trails in the area. If you’re looking for accommodation, Deb’s place is a great choice and we would highly recommend her as a host.
In the evening, my mum and I went for a short walk and stumbled across the most magical views. The landscape is so vast it’s unbelievable. We couldn’t believe we could see so far and how beautifully peaceful and natural it all was compared to the city. It was so nice to be able to spend some quality time with my mum again. Sam and I often get caught up in our travelling lifestyle, and this walk was a great way to reconnect with my family.
Day 5 – Today was the day of the long hike in the Blue Mountains. The climate here is usually considerably cooler than Sydney, however during our visit there was a heat wave. This meant that the hikes we went on were very sweaty. Nevertheless, we commenced on a walk through the gorgeous mountainside. The hike was two hours of sweaty, dehydrating terrain and as we had forgotten to bring any water, we were suffering.
We took the over-under trail and it was the stunning views, like the one below, that kept us going. There were many moments in which you just had to stop and take a moment to admire the beauty of it all. If you’re thinking of doing this hike, its great fun and very rewarding but I can’t stress enough how important it is that you remember to take water. We were extremely hot and bothered by the end.
NELSON’S BAY, PORT STEPHENS
Day 6 & 7: On these days, our trip slowed down a little. We had arrived in Nelson Bay at Port Stephens, a supposed three hour journey from Wentworth Falls. Unfortunately for us, and thousands of others, a huge, fiery accident closed the Pacific Highway for four hours, whilst we were on it… This led to monumental delays and ate up nearly a whole day’s travel.
However, we were buoyed by the fact that we were going dolphin-watching the next day. It was the most perfect day ever. I love dolphins so much and we were on a yacht with only 5 other people so we got plenty of personalised time with the guides. You can read more about this exciting activity here but it’s safe to say that it was a truly memorable experience. If you’re planning to go to Port Stephens on your road trip, then our tip would be to only spend one day here to watch the dolphins – in an eco-friendly way of course – as the restaurants close stupidly early, and the local barramundi catches taste like mud!
Part 2 of this article will drop next week and will tell all about the things to do in Coffs Harbour, Byron Bay, and Brisbane so stay tuned for that.
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