After our adventures through the outback, along the Great Ocean Road and in Melbourne, our next destination was Sydney. A city that appeals to the imagination with the opera house, the beautiful Harbour Bridge, famous beaches, surfers … We can not wait to explore it all. But since we travel by car, we have to drive the entire stretch between Melbourne and Sydney. We go all the way up along the coast of New South Wales. And guess what, the journey to get there, was just as nice and stunning as the city itself.
We had no idea what to expect from our trip from Melbourne to Sydney. There are no big ‘major’ cities or interesting sights (as far as we knew) in between. Once you drive, however, you pass one beautiful spot after another. The coast is full of stunning beaches and natural parks, interspersed with beautiful villages and small towns. Knowing what we know now, we could have easily spent another week here. So we would love to come back one day to further explore this region.
Our first stop after Melbourne is Lake Tyers, still in the state of Victoria. We end up at Lake Tyers Camp & Caravan Park, where we stay for two nights. We had read about this campground on the Wikicamps App and the fact that two spots had a fantastic view of the sea. Unfortunately, they were already booked. People often call ahead to reserve these places. On the second night, however, THE best place was suddenly free. So we didn’t hesitate! Hooks out of the ground, annex loose and we drove quickly with the car to the other place. A lot of hassle to move but it was worth it! Judge for yourself…
Lake Tyers, a part of East Gippsland, is a beautiful lake that ends in the sea with sandbanks and much wildlife! And it is also a heaven for any self-respecting fisherman. Something that was clearly noticeable on our campground. Half of the guest had their own boat, and there was even a special place to rinse off the fishing tackle and boat. Although we would like to go fishing one day, we stayed in our tent. We really had to work and homeschool the kids. In the evening we went hiking on the long, beautiful but very windswept beach. A successful stop!
This small town is actually one of the places to admire the great migration of the Humpback Whales. If you’d visit between April and November that is … And since we pass by at the beginning of December, we miss these magnificent animals. We are only 2 or 3 weeks too late. What a pity (without the car troubles we probably would have been just in time), but nothing to do about it. We go to one of the lookout points anyway. You never know we see a lost whale … But no luck ?.
It is also a place with a rich history as a whaling station, where whales used to be caught and slain. Fortunately, these practices are history, but it’s still interesting to read and see how it used to be.
Camping by the beach
Since the whales aren’t the reason to come here in this season, we enjoy the beach which is close to our campground. The kids really want to go play, but there is a terrible wind! And it is far too cold to go in the water too! But OK, we take the chairs to the beach, put our backs into the wind and let the kids happily build their sandcastles. After a good 45 minutes, we are completely sandblasted however with sand all over, even in our ears. So we decide to go back to our campground. A very nice one by the way, between a lake and the beach. The only downside is that we haven’t slept well because of the wind, for a change.
As we drive further north, we read in the Lonely Planet about two villages that are supposed to be very nice to visit, Central Tilda and Tilda Tilda. Central Tilda seems to be the nicest out of the two, so that is where we go. And then suddenly, this village turns out to be one of the loveliest and most beautiful villages we have seen throughout our trip in Australia. Fantastic those unexpected discoveries!
After a picnic next to the cheese factory, with of course a delicious piece of artisan cheese, we walk down the main street. The village has been preserved very well with many houses dating from the early 20th century. Beautiful wooden houses, some in vintage style, surrounded by flowers and plants. It is so stunning we wish we could buy a house here!
Of course, the village is full of shops, but we don’t mind. They sell the most delicious artisan goods, beautiful art and many other things. The girls (and I’ll admit, mum too) could not be happier, and even dad is enthusiastic! Although buying is not really on the agenda, both because of the budget and lack of room in our suitcases. But we still enjoy looking at all those nice things and end with delicious ice cream!
The further we go, the more stunning beaches we encounter. We never knew that there are so many long stretched beaches in Australia! Some go on for more than 100 km and almost all of them are deserted, except for a few surfers! So much natural beauty, what a luxury. We really think the Australians do not always realise how lucky they are to have a landscape like that!
For our next campground, we try to find one close by the sea. Because we really want to camp one more time next to the ocean with sweeping views and the beach right in front of our tent. We find such campsite at Potato Point, completely remote, reachable via a long gravel road. And then unfolds a little piece of paradise just before our eyes. This campground is located next to a magnificent beach and is full of kangaroos and wallabies which frisk between the tents and campervans. We even see a snake in the dune grass!
Luckily we had a spot close to the beach, but unfortunately not next to one of those fire pits situated on the border between the grass and the sand. It is clearly a very popular campground and we totally understand why! I hope we will have the chance to return to Australia, and then we will definitely spend a few days here at this fantastic place !! In the evening we could enjoy a beautiful sunset and walk along the beach before we crawl into our tent, tired but happy!
On our way to Jervis Bay, we stop at a park next to the sea for a picnic. We read on WikiCamps if you’re lucky, and the fishermen are just cleaning the fish, you can see a few stingrays. And luck is on our side! We spot three huge sting rays swim among a gang of pelicans! I never knew they are sooo big! It is a special experience to see them gliding through the water right in front of us. It still amazes us, the natural beauty and wildlife you can see here in Australia. After this top experience, we continue our journey up to Jervis Bay.
This bay is one of those places many Australians go to during their annual holidays. As we previously said, Australia has hundreds of beaches. But occasionally one jumps out, one that is just a little nicer than all the other magnificent beaches. In Jervis Bay, you can find some of those beaches, with clear white sand. They gently slope into the sea without those high surfing waves, ideal for small children. We decide to visit one of them, Hyams Beach, one of the most famous and whitest beaches in the region.
En wat doe je dan wanneer het mooi weer is, je een prachtig wit strand voorgeschoteld krijgt en een azuurblauwe zee! Juist, bikini en zwembroek aan, en in de zee om daarna nog even na te genieten op het strand. Dolle pret dus en het is moeilijk om de meisjes weer mee te krijgen naar de auto zodat we onze tocht kunnen verder zetten. Bovendien wouden we toch niet te lang in de volle zon, het blijft toch uitkijken voor een zonneslag of verbranden. Maar wat een mooie plek! We waanden ons bijna op één of ander tropisch eiland! ‘s Avonds overnachten we nog op een uurtje van Sydney op een camping aan de zee voor heel weinig geld. Soms kan het leven gewoon zo simpel zijn!
So what to do when the weather is nice, you see a beautiful white beach and turquoise sea? Right, bikinis and swimming trunks on and in the sea! Everybody has a great time, so it is difficult to convince the girls to go back to the car because we have to continue our journey. We didn’t want to stay in the sun for too long anyway… There is always the danger for a sunstroke or to get burned. But what a beautiful place! It felt as if we were on some tropical island! That evening, we stayed on a basic and very cheap campground right next to the sea, only one hour from Sydney. Sometimes life can be that simple!
And then, we finally arrive in Sydney… But we’ll keep that for our next travel diary!