First Road Trip of the Year: South Australia > Victoria > New South Wales

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Over the last ten days, I’ve been travelling and working on the road with my family.

The first week, the hubby, the kids, my mum and sis travelled from Adelaide to Robe, with a stop at Meningie where we had a picnic next to Lake Albert. Oh, and a quick view and photo op at Kingston, where The Big Lobster resides.

Obligatory photo of The Big Lobster.

In Robe, we enjoyed whatever was left from the day by having a cuppa at a garden café and then visiting some of the shops on the high street. Then, we cooked and ate our dinner in our tiny lakeside cabin.

Enjoying the shops in Robe.

The next day, we did a bit more sightseeing in Robe before heading off to our next and last South Australian stop: Mount Gambier. Here, we visited a couple of favourite spots: The Blue Lake and the Umperton Sinkhole. It was a scorching hot day, so we tried not to do too much walking.

A gorgeous sink hole.

We then left South Australia to get to our next destination: Warnambool in Victoria. But, before we got to Warnambool, we also stopped by Port Fairy (also in Victoria). It’s a lovely town, where we took a walk to get a glimpse of the Port Fairy Lighthouse on Griffiths Island. It was still a bit of a walk to get to the actual lighthouse, so just tried to make the most of our vantage point. Thankfully, my Canon Powershot’s zoom lens is pretty effective. Loved seeing some of the photos that I’ve managed to capture.

Day 3/365: Port Fairy Lighthouse

Oh, there was also a lovely beach and some beautiful wildlife on Griffiths Island. We would’ve really enjoyed seeing the rest of it, but we didn’t have much time.

By the time we got to Warnambool, it was nearly sunset. So, we simply had dinner at a fastfood place on the high street and rested in a motel. My sis has never stayed in a motel before, so it was part of the attraction of the day for her.

From Warnambool, we headed off to one of the main parts of the trip: Driving along the Great Ocean Road. Last time my husband and I did this drive was back in 2001, during our first trip to Australia. Long before we knew we were going to end up calling this country our new home. And yes, that was pre-kids. So, it was quite exciting to show the kids this part of their home, as well as to showcase it to my sister and mum.

Unfortunately, it was another scorching day, with strong hot winds and plenty of flies in each of the Great Ocean Road stop. So, we had to make the most of it, even though each step was almost torture. The one advantage is that hot days bring out the deepest blues from the sea and the sky. So, some of the photos I took made the most of these colours. Just look at this snapshot of the famous Twelve Apostles:

Day 4/365 (2013): The Twelve Apostles, Revisited

Incidentally, this “Photo of the Day” of the Twelve Apostles (Day 4) turned out to be my most popular photo from Week 1 of my 365 project (2013). It received the best comments and most “favourites” on Flickr.  The lighthouse above (Day 3) came second.

On the way to the The Blue Door Bed and Breakfast, where we were going to stay at in a town called Colac, we stopped by Port Campbell. At Port Campbell, we ended up hanging out for a late lunch at this beachside café called The Twelve Rocks, and the kids and hubby went for a swim. After a delicious steak sandwich and some nachos, we then headed off to Colac and stayed at the B&B to keep cool and well away from the blistering heat.

The next day, we decided to explore Colac’s lovely Botanical Garden after we left the B&B. It was a beautiful little place, with a great collection of flowers and trees, as well as lovely picnic areas and a playground that overlooks a lake. Here, I took some more photos and enjoyed the results. I’m hoping to share the snaps some time.

We then headed off to a berry picking farm near Colac. It was a nice place, but we were a bit put off by some aspects of their customer relations. We don’t know if that’s the standard level of service, or if it was just the busy season or it was just due to the extremely hot weather. Nevertheless, the kids still loved picking raspberries and blackberries, which they ended up devouring that evening when we got to our apartment in Melbourne.

Oh, and between the berry picking and Melbourne, we stopped by this gorgeous town called Lorne. It was very touristy, but seeing its beautiful beaches, the forest, and the waterfalls, you can see why it’s a popular, busy destination. We ended up mostly spending our time there visiting the lovely Erskine Falls.

Day 5/365 (2013): Erskine Falls, Lorne, Victoria, Australia

From Lorne, we ended up back on the Great Ocean Road on the way to Melbourne. My sister and I requested a quick stop to take photos of the Split Point Lighthouse on Cape Otway. And, this is one of my favourite shots of the lot (straight out of the camera, not processed):

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After this, we headed straight to Melbourne, which is the final point of the holiday for the whole family. On our first night, we ended up eating at this gorgeous Italian restaurant called Spiga. I was so tired and hungry by this time, I’ve completely forgotten to take photos of the lovely food. What a shame, as I would’ve loved to do a proper review of the place, if I could.

The next day, we toured Melbourne by tram and by ferry along the Yarra. It was still warm, but the weather was no longer harsh. Thankfully.

Day 6/365 (2013): Cruising along Melbourne

That night, we discovered this Malaysian restaurant/café called the Coconut House, which was just near our serviced apartment in the CBD. We loved it. In fact, we loved it so much, we didn’t mind going back there to eat dinner the next day.

On our last full day together in Melbourne, we ended up spending most of our day in jail. Yes, the Old Melbourne Gaol. It was quite an experience, really. There was a “pretend arrest”, a lock-up, a storytelling time, and a re-enactment of Ned Kelly’s trial as part of the tour. We even got to take our own mug shots! Glad that Celeste recommended this to us.  Even though I’ve been to Melbourne a few times already, this was the first time I did this. And, it was definitely an interesting experience!

Day 7/365 (2013): A Day in the Old Melbourne Gaol

After a week on the road together, my hubby and the kids headed back to Adelaide, whilst my mum, sis and I continued our travels to Sydney. Since they’ve never been to Sydney before,  I was determined to make sure they enjoyed their first visit of one of my favourite cities in the world. Yes, I love visiting Sydney, even though I seem to have found myself there so many times over the last couple of years.

Anyway, we didn’t really do much upon arrival to Sydney, as it was another scorcher of a day. However, we still decided to walk to Darling Harbour for a quick dinner at Harbourside that evening. My sister went off to meet one of her friends who live in Sydney, whilst my mum continued to have a look around Harbourside. I headed back to the apartment to catch up on work and rest.

Day 8/365 (2013): Darling Harbour, Sydney

The next day, I decided that the best way to give my mum and sis a compact tour of Sydney was to first take the ferry from Darling Harbour to Circular Quay. Just like the way I experienced Sydney the first time around. I reckon it worked, as I watched their delighted faces when the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House came in to view from the harbour.

Day 9/365 (2013): Spectacular Sydney

At Circular Quay, we took the Sydney Explorer Bus to do a two-in-one “hop on, hop off” tour of Sydney and Bondi. We stayed on the bus most of the way until we got to The Rocks, where I suggested we walk, take pictures, and have afternoon tea before going back on the bus to do the Bondi part of the tour. We ended up with a lovely High Tea from Guylian Café at The Rocks before seeing Bondi. That café stop probably deserves its own blog post at some stage.

Guylian High Tea at The Rocks in Sydney. Chocolate overload! :)

Having never been to Bondi Beach in my prior trips to Sydney, I was quite pleased to see it. I suddenly understood what the fuss was all about. We got off the bus to have a quick look and to take some photos.

Well, hello, Bondi!

Then, we headed back to Darling Harbour for a scrumptious seafood tapas dinner at Toros. Again, probably another story worthy of a separate blog post.

Seafood Tapas delights: Soft Shell Crab, Oysters, Crispy Tiger Prawns, Mussels + Garlic Bread.

After dinner, we headed off to The Star for a drink (and at the request of my mum who wants to see what it’s like + to check out Zumbo’s). As my mum explored the place, my sis and I hung out at Rock Lily. It was also good that there was a live band that night, so we enjoyed a bit of music too before heading back to the apartment and doing a second night of movie marathons on cable TV.

The next day was our last day in Sydney. And, after checking out of our apartment, we headed off to Chinatown and Paddy’s Market. We ended up with a bit of shopping (even bought a new hat!) - and a fantastic lunch at a food court in Chinatown.

Amazing how much you can see and experience in 10 days of a road trip! Week One theme of Adventure: Definitely done.

And, while I had a blast, I’m now looking forward to staying put in my home office in Adelaide for a little while. Until the next travel itch strikes, of course.

Sydney Harbour Bridge

Here’s the Road Trip 2013 album via Flickr.

About the Author Shai Coggins

Shai has been managing and blogging here at ShaiCoggins.com for 17 years. Here, she writes about creativity, productivity, and how to recharge for a better, happier lifestyle. She is the author of Today: Life Journal, Colour Bliss: Kaleidoscopes, and a little known children's book. A serial entrepreneur, Shai also currently runs Vervely.com, a boutique digital media agency offering online content, community, and conversion marketing services. Her blogging experience and digital work have been featured in various media, including being listed in Fast Company's "Most Influential Women in Technology" list. Originally from Manila, Shai lived in Singapore and the USA before moving to Australia with her British husband. They have two children, a pet bunny, and a rambunctious rescue Labrador.

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