6 Months Road Trip in NSW, Vic, Tas – Stats & Favorites

So much has happened since we took off on our big Australia road trip.

They say time flies when you’re having fun, and here we are already 6 months into our family adventure.

The planning, the anticipation, and all the excitement builds before departure and before you know it you’re living your dream.

Hyams Beach, Jervis Bay, Australia
Hyams Beach, Jervis Bay, NSW

The great Aussie road trip, doing the lap, is a dream of many and not a day goes by that I don’t pinch myself and realize how fortunate we are.

We always imagined we’d do this later in life, but later may never come and there really is no perfect time. So here we are, making tracks and creating memories.

This post comes to you from our camper trailer in sunny Sawtell on the Coffs Coast of NSW. Not where we thought we’d be at this stage.

Originally we were planning to go clockwise around Australia but we decided to reverse our trip and now we are heading north for the winter.

Thank you all for following along. We love getting your local tips along the way, and we hope we’re showing you pieces of Oz that you’ll someday be inspired to visit.

Quick Facts:

  • States Visited – Three (NSW, Victoria, Tasmania)
  • Distance travelled – 17,000 kilometres
  • Fuel Cost $3,400
  • Types of Accommodation – Hotels, apartments, cabins, camping, hostels, camper trailer, house-sitting. (Ways we’ve saved on accommodation in Australia)
  • Hottest Day – 43 degrees Celsius in Melbourne at Aussie Tennis Open, January.
  • Best Guilty Pleasure – Coffee, whilst driving, is a MUST for me.
  • Biggest Purchase Camper Trailer: $28,000
  • Team song in the car – One Republic Counting Stars
  • Meltdowns in the car – Lost count!
  • Internet & Phone Costs – $2,100
  • Worst Place to Drive – Melbourne CBD. Between their hook turns (turning right from the leftmost lane) and trams, get me outa there!
  • Biggest Bummer – Kalyra’s broken arm last week. She fell off the flying fox at a playground in Armidale. Bugger!
  • Bike Tyre Punctures – Three.
  • Scariest Moment Savannah escaping from our hotel in Melbourne (we eventually found her in the lobby)

That’s a quick run down on the basics. Let’s get into our major award winners now.

Best of Australia Road Trip So Far in 6 months

Best State

Wilsons Promontory National Park, Victoria, Australia
Squeaky Beach, Wilsons Promontory

Victoria.

We planned to visit Vic for one month, and they finally kicked us out after three. What a revelation. So many great destinations in a small area.

And all within easy access of Melbourne. e.g. Phillip Island, Wilsons Prom, Grampians, Bright, The Bellarine, Great Ocean Road, Mornington Peninsula, Yarra Valley, Echuca. Victoria, we owe you an apology, and we wrote it here.

Best City

Melbourne, Australia
Yarra river, Melbourne

Melbourne. No contest really. Hobart is the only other major city we’ve visited, and though it’s nice, it has nothing on Melbourne. This city has it all, just try and ignore the crazy weather, and your growing waistline from all the coffee and cake.

Best Beach

Squeaky Beach - Victoria, Australia
Squeaky Beach

Squeaky Beach, Wilsons Promontory National Park, Victoria. Hang on, ask me again in 5 minutes and I’ll have another answer. Impossible question.

I could have said Hyams Beach or Wineglass Bay or Hazards Beach or…the list goes on. But those beaches already get enough promo. So I’m giving my vote to Squeaky.

Shhh…just don’t tell the Victorians I told you. I sat on this rock where the below photo was taken for an hour and was blown away at the beauty of this place.

Best Town

Bright, Victoria, Australia
Bright, Victoria

Bright, Victoria.

We’ve visited many great towns and Bright had a lot of competition, but we love the alpine scenery, the cafe scene, the walks, the bike rides, the river, and the kids playground is viewable from the awesome Brewery – which has the best cider ever by the way – how could you not love this place?

Best Food

Curried Scallop Pie
Curried Scallop Pie

Tough category. We’ve had some GREAT meals in some top locations over the past 6 months, bit I’m finding it hard to single out one establishment as an OMG you must eat there.

So I’m going to offer some memorable family moments and general dishes: Curried Scallop Pies in Tasmania are the bomb!

Eating takeaway pizza with a bottle of wine on St Kilda Beach in Melbourne whilst watching an awesome sunset was memorable. The bustling night food market at Queen Victoria Markets in Melbourne is tops. Takeaway fish & chips on the water in Sorrento, Victoria. Sometimes simple is the best!

Best Brewery

Bridge Road Brewers, Beechworth Victoria
The best beer in Australia

Bridge Road Brewers, Beechworth, Victoria. Australia is slowly getting better in offering more independent breweries and this one in Beechworth ticked a lot of boxes. Great craft beer, great story, great setting, great pizza and kid friendly.

Best Coffee

Melbourne Victoria 347
Melbourne coffee is outstanding

Another tough category. Can I just say Melbourne?

There was this place on Smith Street in Collingwood that Caz loved (name now escapes us sorry).

And the Old Echuca Post Office Cafe in Echuca made awesome coffee! Oh, and the Raw Ingredients Cafe in Queenscliff makes the best chai latte ever!

Best Markets

Queen Victoria Markets, Melbourne, Australia
Queen Victoria Markets

Night Market, Queen Victoria Markets, Melbourne.

This place was a global street food extravaganza with offerings from all over the world. It was like any night food market you’d find in Asia, and one of the best places to eat in Melbourne. Runs over the summer months. Get there!

Best Wine Region

Mudgee, NSW, Australia
Lowes Winery, Mudgee

Mudgee, NSW.

It took me 40 years to visit Mudgee and I grew up just 4 hours away. It won’t be another 40 before I go back. Great wines AND town. Highly recommend a visit over the more famous Hunter Valley.

We loved being able to cycle between vineyards. And don’t miss the brewery in town. Post coming soon!

Best Drive

Great Ocean Road, Victoria, Australia
Great Ocean Road

Great Ocean Road, Victoria.

Finally found out why this drive is so famous. It matched my expectations and we got lucky with the weather. Amazing scenery, great towns, walks, waterfalls, rainforests, wildlife. Many people drive this in one-two days, we took 8 days. Check out our 16 highlights of hte Great Coean Road.

Don’t miss these other great road trips in Australia:

Best Walk

Wineglass Bay, Tasmania, Australia
Wineglass Bay hike

Wineglass Bay to Hazards Beach loop, Tasmania.

When you can combine two of Australia’s best beaches in the one walk (Wineglass Bay and Hazards) you know it’s good one. And to be standing alone on famous Wineglass Bay was incredible. Get up early to beat the crowd folks!

Best Apartment

Great Ocean Road 020
Mantra at Lorne

Mantra Apartments at Lorne, Great Ocean Road. Lorne is a great town to visit, and we loved this Mantra property. Awesome location right on the beach and the rooms were very accommodating. Our Mantra Lorne Review.

Best Hostel

Apollo Bay Eco Hostel, Victoria, Australia
Apollo Bay Eco Hostel

Apollo Bay Eco YHA, Great Ocean Road.

Apollo Bay is a nice town, without being great, but we really enjoyed this hostel. Eco and family friendly, great kitchen and public areas, and just a real homely place with a nice vibe. Post coming soon!

Best Caravan Park

Bellarine - Lorne 030
BBQ in our cabin

Big4 Beacon Resort, Queenscliff, Victoria.

We’d never heard of The Bellarine Peninsula until we got a tip from a friend. This park and peninsula became our home for 3 weeks.

It doesn’t have the prime beach front setting like many in Oz, but they do a lot of things right – great activities, good indoor & outdoor playgrounds, great kids club, lovely cabins, friendly staff, and handy to many nice towns and only 1.5 hours from Melbourne.

More places to visit near Melbourne

Best Sporting Event

Federer-vs-Tsonga-charity-match-Aussie-Open-15
Federer playing at the Australian Open

Aussie Tennis Open, Melbourne.

Although it was 43 degrees celsius when we attended with the kids, we loved seeing live tennis for the first time. Such a great atmosphere. Three highlights were the family day prior to the tournament starting, seeing Raphael Nadal practice, and Caz got to watch Roger Feder play on Centre Court. We’ll be back!

Best Family Attraction

Dubbo Zoo - NSW, Australia
Feeding the giraffes

Dubbo Zoo, NSW.

Our new favourite Zoo experience in Australia. When you can sleep inside the zoo, and ride bikes around to see the animals, you have one HAPPY family. Awesome variety of animals and wide open spaces.

Best Island

Cowes Beach, Phillip Island, Victoria, Australia
Cowes Beach, Phillip Island

Phillip Island, Victoria.

We thought Phillip Island was all about seeing the Penguin Parade, but it offers so much more. We spent 8 days here. Stunning beaches and coastline, lovely walks, great family activities, wildlife, top vibe and easily accessible from Melbourne.

Best Cruise

 Bruny Island Cruise, Tasmania, Australia
Bruny Island Cruise, Tasmania

Bruny Island, Tasmania. Rugged coastline, awesome cliffs and sea caves, wildlife, fun and informative guides. Tasmania at its best! More things to do on Bruny Island.

Best National Park

Honeymoon Bay, Freycinet National Park, Tasmania, Australia
Honey Moon Bay overlooks the Hazards

Freycinet National Park, Tasmania.

Imagine pristine beaches like Wineglass Bay, Hazards Beach, and Friendly Beaches, stunning walks, amazing bays like Coles Bay and Honeymoon Bay, and the incredible Hazards Mountains and it is easy to see why we love Freycinet.

24 other outstanding national parks in Australia.

Best Sunset

Susnet in Strahan, Tasmania, Australia
Strahan sunset magic

Strahan, West Coast Tasmania

We witnessed this stunning sunset after our amazing cruise down World Heritage Gordon River.

Best Wildlife Experience

Kangaroos, South Coast NSW, Australia
kangaroos on the beach

Wild Kangaroos on South Coast NSW.

It’s amazing how many wild kangaroos we saw on the south coast. They’re on the beaches, on the golf courses, by the side of the road, in the camp grounds, in the National Parks. Was such a great experience for our kids.

Two other great places to see wild kangaroos in Australia: Cape Hillsborough, Mackay Queensland, Carnarvon Gorge National Park, Queensland

And wild platypus at Eungella National Park Queensland – the only place I’ve seen them. You can spot koalas on Magnetic Island and Noosa National Park and Kennett River on the Great Ocean Road.

Best Historical Site

Port Arthur Historic Site, Tasmania, Australia
Port Arthur Historical Site

Port Arthur, Tasmania.

One of the best places to visit in Tasmania. Moving, interesting, sad, troubled, beautiful. Port Arthur has a violent and troubled history as a penal colony for some of Australia’s hardened convicts. We loved this Port Arthur ghost tour!

Best Museum

MONA museum - things to do in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
MONA, Hobart – worth a visit

MONA, Hobart, Tasmania. We’re not museum people. Normally we would run the other way.

So to capture our attention a museum has to be interactive, different, fascinating, and maybe a little weird. MONA, the Museum of Old and New Art, was all that. The founder David Walsh has described the museum as a “subversive adult Disneyland.”

There you have it.

And that’s just scratching the surface. We have lots more to come.

UPDATE:

Our Australian road trip is complete! We spent 18 months on our Australian road trip. Here is our Best of Australia.

All our content after this section is here: Northern NSW, Queensland, Northern Territory, Western Australia and South Australia,

And our best of Australia tips including highlights, itineraries, saving money and more are here.

We are now living in the US, after getting a green card for our extraordinary ability in the art of travel blogging. What a journey since we wrote this post!

Join our free email community for the latest stories and insider tips!

Read more:

Tell us in the comments: What place do you most want to see in Australia?

77 thoughts on “6 Months Road Trip in NSW, Vic, Tas – Stats & Favorites”

  1. Can’t wait till you guys get to Perth! I might even still be here… I love this place, and all of WA. Not quite the same degree of hustle and bustle as over east – and maybe lacking in the number of tourist attractions – but it’s a beautiful and fun place to be. You’ll enjoy canoeing through the tunnels underneath Fremantle Prison I’m sure, and we’ve more kangaroos – and quokkas – than you can shake a bent stick at!

    1. We have visited Perth before Tony, but only briefly. Looking forward to exploring the city and surrounds with some more time. And thanks for the tips.

  2. I had the feeling as if I was traveling the places as I went on reading your blog. It is superbly written and I would love to hear from you again on your Perth trip. Good luck! 🙂

  3. Your posts just make me want to get back to Australia to do everything we did again and then all the things we didn’t do. Agree with you about driving in Melbourne CBD we had the use of a car but chose to use public transport as much as possible. The traffic! The hook turns! And we come from car city, Birmingham UK. I miss Lentil as Anything, The Espy in St Kilda and Riverland, happy days in the hot sun with cold beer. And most of all the friends we made.

    1. Luckily Melbourne’s public transport is pretty good (trams, trains). And it’s how we prefer to explore a city anyways. It was only the odd occasion we had to drive in the CBD, and I think all the locals know that too. Riverland Bar is great. We never got to the Espy in St Kilda.

  4. I love reading all about Australia! I’m moving there in February with the work & holiday visa, and this post just made me even more excited about living n Melbourne! I’ve heard it’s one of the best cities in the world, and I think what you said about the coffee scene just won me over even more.

    1. @ Hannah – You will love it when you get here. I have been fortunate to travel through a lot of Europe and the UK and being to most of Oz (except Perth), I will say that I believe we are the city that feels the most like Europe/UK. You will love the coffee as it is sensational right through from the city to the suburbs and country towns alike. While Melbourne, like all cities has its ‘cons’, the Pros far outweight and there is a reason we have won “the worlds most liveable city” two years running.

      @ Craig – I loved reading about your travels of Melbourne and larger Victoria. I am a Melbourne girl, born and bred and I truly adore my city and state and have the pleasure of visiting and experiencing all places you did with the exception of the Grampions. It was really nice, especially coming from a new south welshman, hehe, that you realised how beautiful our state is and you wrong to perceive it otherwise, and i find so many from NSW see us a ‘poorer cousin’ who is trying to compete. the two cities are very different I think so comparison isn’t really the best thing. I myself love Sydney whenever I go. The beauty of the harbour is stunning and world class and beaches are beautiful, however, we have some great hidden gems to, as you have come to find. I do love this Melbourne town with so much to offer. You are right, I often find other people from other parts of Australia have no idea what we have to offer and have pre-conceived ideas…mostly based on our weather. I think we offer pretty good weather throughout summer and can be damn hot, and realise our winters can be cold, but I actually love the temperamentalness of the weather and love that there are days where we do experience ‘four seasons in one day’. Keeps it interesting, haha. Anyhow, great post

    2. Dana L Gaviotis

      Hi Hannah, how was your stay in Melbourne? I stumbled upon this awesome blog, and my husband, daughter and I are going to move to Melbourne for 6 months. Curious about your adventure. TIA, Dana

  5. Caz and Craig, it is great that you have really enjoyed some of our favourite places ever! We lived in Melbourne for 10 years and made the most of every place you mentioned. We also loved Bright – we travelled there quite a few times during our time there. We went to Tasmania for our honeymoon so your stories there also bring back many great memories. We currently live in Sydney (we are up to 8 years of living here now so catching up to Melbourne) but Melbourne is still our favourite place to live – maybe we will get back there one day. You are now heading to another place where we have spent a lot of time – Queensland!

    1. Yep, both fantastic cities Anne. Would love to live in Melbourne for a while at some point, during the summer!!! And we’re really looking forward to some sunshine and beaches in Queensland

  6. Strahan was also the setting for one of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen. Stoked Tassie got so many mentions here. Happy travels

  7. I hope that readers -especially other Australians- take note of how CHEAP it actually is to do what you’re doing with a family. There’s one big name travel blogger whose face I’d really like to rub this article in, who I recall telling people stupid things like a can of coke cost $5… Clearly the guy had never heard of a supermarket. Can’t wait for you guys to get to the outback!

  8. I can’t believe it’s been 6 months already! I love all your posts and this tops them all. I’ve been dreaming of the day when I can make a trip there. Hopefully you will have published a wonderful book on your year-long road trip of fascinating and fun places to visit throughout Oz. I still can’t believe it’s been 6 months! Seems like just a month or so ago. Enjoy your next 6 months. We will be right there with you!

  9. Who knew Australia could have so many “bests”! Actually, I totally knew it could – you guys are seriously making me want to save up for a big OZ trip, too!

  10. Great post!
    We too just celebrated 6 months on the road in Oz!! We’ve got 9 months to go.
    Best team car song ever! We are counting stars the whole way along too.
    Couldn’t agree more about Melbourne CBD driving. It’s crazy and the most stressed I’ve ever felt in the car (towing an 8m caravan!)
    The Great Ocean Road is amazing. But trust me when I say that some of the SA coast line trumps it big time. Mainly because it’s not so touristy. The Eyre Peninsular has some of the most spectacular cliffs and formations and no one else in sight.
    🙂

  11. Fantastic list guys! It has been fun following your trip from over here in SF, although makes me a little homesick at times. Have to say that you photography skills have come along in leaps and bounds over the last 6 months.

  12. Hi Caz & Craig,

    Great post and very interesting to read. We are on the road for 5 month now and it is pretty interesting to see the differences and similarities in travelling and costs. Safe travels and see you somewhere on the road.

    Reni & Marcel, the Swiss Nomads

  13. Wonderful wrap up guys!!!
    Have really enjoyed your trip so far although i disgaree about Melbourne, have never found much of interest there… BUt i do agree about the hook turns. We got stuck in peak hour traffic on a friday night trying to get to our hotel, in which we missed the turn off and had to drive around for another 45mins to get back to where the turn off for our hotel was!!

    1. Hey Sam,

      From a tourist perspective I can see Melbourne doesn’t do it for everyone, but we think it has everything as far as being liveable (besides the weather).

  14. That’s amazing! I am so happy to know that you guys liked Melbourne the most, because that’s the only city I have been to (other than Sydney) in Australia. I am so happy to have traveled to the best! It’s incredible the way you have journeyed so far. All the best for the days ahead.

  15. I love your sunset photo! And totally agree with Melbourne as the best city and Victoria Night Market as the best market. I loved the market. During the two months I spent in Melbourne, we visited the market almost every Wednesday. The music was good, the food amazing and it was fun wandering around the stalls, drinking some Sangria and dancing in front of the stage :). I miss those days and my little routine during my travels. Enjoy the future months of your trip!!

  16. As an Aussie who has been an expat for a year, this post brought a wee tear to my eye. I miss home so much when I read things like this. I am so glad you are loving my home country. I hope she continues to be good you (and there are no more broken limbs!)

  17. Alot of places in Aust actually that I want to see – Uluru tops the list. Coober Pedy, Alice Springs, Darwin, Broome, Kangaroo Island and I’m sure there’s way more!

  18. Hello Caz & Craig,

    Wonderful article! Glad to know you have spent a awesome road trip for a long time, and your word “Best” really motivated me to visit Australia. And this article will help them who are planning a road trip to Australia, all the things you have mentioned in this post that really need to know before planning a road trip.
    Thanks for sharing these great information on Australia road trip.

  19. Thanks for this, and many other great blog posts. I’ve bookmarked many of them 🙂
    We’re planning a 6+ month roadtrip in Australia and reading this I can’t wait to go. We’ll probably start in Tasmania, so definitely looking forward to that, but there’s sooo much to explore… Love reading your stories as you travel further!

  20. I very much want to take a road trip up the west coast of Australia – in part because I have only been to Perth in WA, but it also sounds and looks amazing.

    As a proud Melbournian who grew up in Hobart, I am very happy to see so many of the places you love above. Melbourne is the best city in the world 😉

  21. I so want to travel to Tassie after seeing those gorgeous photos of yours. I would agree with most of your list of ‘bests’, but I think Hyams Beach at Jervis Bay was a stand out for me.

  22. I am always amazed at some travel bloggers that claim it is very expensive to travel through Australia. I am interested in getting your opinion on ways to save money for a family of five. Do you plan on lodging ahead of time or wing it?

  23. Money is always an interesting subject when it comes to travel and I am really curious your budget for food, because when I look at your blog and instagram is seems like you eat out all the time 🙂 And eating out in OZ is not cheap.

  24. Your posts just make me want to get back to Australia to do the whole thing we did again and then all the things we didn’t do. Agree with you about driving in Melbourne CBD we had the use of a car but chose to use public transportation as much as probable.

  25. Jeepers….your trip sounded amazing! My wife and I are desperately trying to build up the courage to pack up and hit the road for 6 months for a coastal drive in the USA. Our biggest concern is our kids aged 2 and a half and 7 and whilst we understand the daily grind with kids at home we are nervous of the unknown on the road with them. Any advice?

    1. Hi Gareth! I personally don’t find life on the road too different to life at home. the challenges are still there, but the moments in between are far more enriching. It’s daunting at first but after a few weeks you find your groove.

      Here’s a recent post I wrote that might help https://www.ytravelblog.com/is-travelling-with-kids-too-hard/

      Our other family travel articles can be found here https://www.ytravelblog.com/start-here/travel-style/family-travel/

      I’ll be writing more about family travel in the coming months. You can join our email community so you don’t miss the posts here https://www.ytravelblog.com/welcome/family-travel/

      You also get a free family travel planning toolkit when you do.

      And, we’ll be heading over the States, possibly in May to begin an epic road trip for 1-2 years. First stop will be coastal California up to Oregon so be sure to follow along. We’ll be sharing a lot more videos so you can see the lifestyle in action!

      Go for it Gareth, you won’t regret it!

  26. Caravan purchase. How did u sell it.
    We will do Australia for 6 months and having problem , where to buy a car and than the resell

  27. Hi I’m starting a road trip to Australia in April 2017. I plan to live in my car and work in the go. Any job recommendations for working on a go? Jobs like waitress, bar back, bartender , call centre and any temporary job? I applied for a tourist visa already. Btw I love your website and how you list the best of everything in Australia. I plan to couchsurf as well and do not plan to spend anything on accommodation for 6 months.

  28. Good read, pity you guys didn’t go to Adelaide as the food, scenery, beaches, walking trails the list goes on is good. I have only been here for 2 1/2 years, originally from Perth, and love this state.

  29. Hi,
    We’re looking for do a trip around Australia with our 3 yr old. Wondering if you can offer some ideas of your itinerary and what times os year you needed up in each place. You trip looks amazing and it’s good to see it can be done with young children. We are yet to decide the best way to travel, although have looked at camper and. How did you travel? Any advice on what worked well etc would be grateful.
    Likely to touchdown around November time and are open to where we start..

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