10 Self Drive Destinations You Shouldn’t Miss In Victoria

The state of Victoria comes to mind every time “road trip” is mentioned. The best tourist spots in the state are very accessible and Victoria is also home to the most scenic coastal drive in Australia, the Great Ocean Road. Hiring a motorhome or a campervan can help you get around this picturesque place without leaving the comforts of a home on the road, and what better way to start your road trip than in a Hippie Camper?

Start at Melbourne or Adelaide

Before you go on that fun-filled journey, it’s best to start at Victoria’s capital city of Melbourne. This metropolis is known for its vibrant façade, a strong sense of artistry and inclination to sports, especially cricket. Find time to go around and immerse in Melbourne for free tram using the that goes around its CBD.

Adelaide nicknamed “the city of churches,” is an alternative starting point, especially if you are coming from the South. Adelaide is famous for their backstreet graffiti, boutique shops  and chic bars.

Melbourne and Adelaide are 726 kilometres apart and takes about 8 hours to cross from one city to another. Rent or pick up your vehicle in any of these two cities. So if you’re all geared up and ready to go, here are 10 self-drive destinations in Victoria that you should not miss.

  1. Phillip Island

You don’t have to go far from Melbourne to experience nature. The penguin sanctuary in Phillip Island is a great place to see these cute mammals. Every night, tourists can watch the “Penguin Parade” where groups of penguins walk to shore. The Nobbies centre is another attraction that drives visitors to this island. It houses much wildlife including koalas, several species of birds and fur seals.

Penguins_Phillip_Islands

"chick" by Frankzed available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/frankzed/8264488321 under a Creative Commons Attribution. Full license at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/ BY Frankzed

 

  1. Torquay

Drive about 100 kilometres south-east of Melbourne and you will arrive at the first point along the Great Ocean Road, the surfing town of Torquay. Its world-renowned waves attract amateur and experienced surfers alike. Bells Beach in Torquay is the site of the annual Rip Curl Pro, one of the top-rated surfing competitions in the world. The town  is also perfect for a relaxing walk along the shoreline or sunbathing.

  1. Otway National Park

Continuing on your Ocean Road journey, you will arrive at Otway National Park. This place is great for taking photos because of its scenic views. Be sure to drop by the Cape Otway Lightstation, mainland Australia’s  oldest lighthouse. Dare to climb the 45-metre Otway Fly Treetop Walk, the longest and tallest treetop canopy of its kind in the world. The facility also has an exhilarating zip line ride that will leave you thrilled.

  1. 12 Apostles and Bay of Islands

Perhaps the most popular site on The Great Road, the 12 Apostles is a sight to behold. Million years of erosion has formed these 45-metre rock formation into how it is today. During dusk and dawn, it changes colour from dark to sandy yellow. To fully appreciate its beauty, simply head down the beach below through the Gibson Steps, where the coastline perfectly contrasts the 70-metre high vertical cliff line.

Just 3.5 kilometres from the 12 Apostles is the Loch Ard Gorge cliff. Not far from the area is another must-see: the Bay of Islands. This 32-kilometre coastal park has a great view of the ocean, rock stacks, sheer cliffs, and beaches.

Twelve_Apostles_in_Victoria

"12 Apostles" by Prerak Patel available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/prerak77/3344430560 under a Creative Commons Attribution. Full license at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/ BY Prerak Patel

  1. Tower Hill State Game Reserve

Warrnambool is a place to be closer to nature. Just 15 kilometres from the town lies Tower Hill, a dormant volcano. Tower Hill was made into a state game reserve and is home to animals such as emus, kangaroos, and koalas. People can see its diverse wildlife while enjoying their barbie in a nearby picnic area.

A 15-minute drive from the reserve is Port Fairy, a coastal town known for their old stone churches, Norfolk pines, and 19th century cottages. During winter months, visitors can go whale watching here. Stay  for the night at the country-style Merrijig Inn, the oldest in Victoria.

  1. Geelong and Bellarine Peninsula

Less than two hours Southwest of Melbourne lies the city of Geelong. Victoria’s second largest metropolis has a bustling port. Kids will love its steam-powered, hand crafted carousel which is over a hundred years old.  Tickets are sold at only $3.50.

Geelong’s waterfront is also riddled with bollard people and wood carvings of the city’s history and local figures. For a unique souvenir, drop by the Geelong Vintage Market. Here, you can choose from a huge collection of antique and quirky items.

  1. The Great Aussie Beer Shed

Aussies just love their drinks! The Great Aussie Beer Shed has a huge collection of beer and beverage-related items that will astound anyone. The shed now has 16,000 collections from old bottles, retro bar signs, modern brewery equipment to beer barrels.  Visit them at 377 Maryann Road, Echuca and get a personal tour from its owner Neil Thomas.

  1. Peninsula Hot Springs

The daily grind may have worn you out. To relax your mind and body, head to the hot springs. Victoria’s Peninsula Hot Springs is just two hours from Melbourne. The place is famous for their natural thermal mineral waters that relax tired muscles and give plenty of medicinal benefits. The facility has over 20 bathing areas based on hot springs around the world like cave pool, reflexology walk, and Turkish steam bath.

  1. Coorong National Park

Dive into the untamed wilderness and learn from the Ngarrindjeri people. Coorong’s tranquillity will instil peace into your being. The park also has a 140-kilometre narrow lagoon that runs parallel to the coastal dunes and a wetland ecosystem that includes freshwater lakes and estuaries.

Birdwatchers can also get a glimpse of several species of birds as pelicans, ibis, terns, wild ducks and terns head towards their breeding grounds.

Ibis_at_Coorong_National _Park

"Coorong National Park" by loloieg available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/loloieg/3474119819 under a Creative Commons Attribution. Full license at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/ BY loloieg

  1. Colac Culinary Tour

What’s a road trip without a great culinary experience? The town of Colac is the perfect gastronomic destination because of its restaurants that serve different cuisines. Brae, which serves home-grown organic food, received the illustrious Restaurant of the Year Award in 2015 by The Age Good Food Guide.  Future Restaurant Colac is one of the top rated restaurants in the area. Their food choices range from sea food to home-cooked delicacies. Dishes cost an average of $13 to $57.

 

Victoria offers some of the best self-drive destinations in Australia. Renting a campervan will not only save you on accommodation but will also help you manage your schedule better. To get affordable deals on these vehicles, book a Hippie campervan today. *terms and conditions apply with travel in Adelaide- please check with our friendly reservations staff.

Drive Around NSW in 10 Days

New South Wales is teeming with sites worthy of a visit from any tourist. Considered the most populous state in Australia with a population of 6.7 million, NSW offers a multitude of experiences from its natural wonders, sandy beaches, rainforests and historical sites.

Because it encompasses a large area (809,444 square kilometres to be exact), travelling around the state may take a week or more. So to make your holiday planning easier, we’ve come up with a 10-day self-drive itinerary so all you camper van hippies cover all that NSW has to offer. Of course, your travels kick off from the beautiful Harbour City- Sydney.

Day 1- Immersing in Sydney Part 1

You can start the first leg of your self-drive holiday by taking a short tour at the Museum of Contemporary of Art in Sydney, where you can view their collection for free. The museum also overlooks Circular Quay where you can admire the city’s majestic harbour. Afterwards, learn more about Australia’s history and Aboriginal heritage by visiting the Rocks Discovery Museum which is just a short walk away from Circular Quay.

Sydney_Harbour

“Sydney Harbour” BY Nicki Mannix via www.flickr.com/photos/nickimm/19829716730 under a Creative Commons Atribution 2.0 Generic. See full license terms at creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/ BY Nicki Mannix

Spend the afternoon relaxing at the Royal National Park. Just be careful not to get lost in its littoral rainforest that has over 100 kilometres of walking tracks. The Royal National Park is also famous for the coastal views from its Wattamolla picnic area, making it ideal for camping and picnics. Park your motorhome for an affordable $29 a night on top of the $11 entry fee to the park.

Day 2- Immersing in Sydney Part 2

On your second day, explore the Bondi to Coogee Cliffside Walk. This six-kilometre walk may require four hours to complete, but is worth all the effort. The views of the harbour and the city will surely make you forget about your tired legs and aching feet! While you’re in the area, drop by Grotto Point Light House and take snapshots of the harbour;  you know you want to.

After an adventure-filled day, relax at the Waterfront Cafe on Fort Denison which has a great view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House. You can get to this fortress-like island through a ferry service from Circular Quay. Most of the shops offer cocktails and snacks perfect for your next Instagram upload.

By now, you have a firmer grasp on how life in Sydney flows. There are really a lot of other places you can go to, but since this article can’t cover them all,here’s a quick roundup of our highly recommended spots: St. Mary’s Cathedral, the largest cathedral in Australia; the Sydney Aquarium which is home to a variety of marine animals and the Sydney Tower with its breathtaking views of the city.

You can also use this day preparing for your drive deeper into NSW. If you want to carry with you a piece of Sydney, shop for souvenirs at the Peruse Paddington markets. Don’t also forget to stack up on food if your supply is running low.

Day 3- Blue Mountains

Just two hours drive from Sydney is a rugged region with steep cliffs, waterfalls, eucalyptus forests and villages, collectively known as the Blue Mountains. The village of Katoomba is considered as the largest town in this region, known for its chic retail outlets and diverse restaurants. It also has its own sporting facilities and golf courses. Not far away from the town is the famous Three Sisters rock formation which are made of sandstone.

A 10-minute drive east from   Katoomba is Wentworth Falls which has several picnic areas surrounded by trees and other vegetation. The place is particularly more attractive during Autumn when the trees are dyed in shades of red and gold. Depending on your itinerary, you can cover much of this region without missing its natural beauty.

Day 4- North Coast

From Blue Mountains travel about 200 kilometres north towards your next destination. The North Coast is famous for its brimming coastline highlighted by Queensland’s pride- the Gold Coast. One of the great urban areas to stop by is New Castle which is the second largest in NSW and is just 162 kilometres northeast of Sydney. It is known as one of the most vibrant cities in Australia with several beautiful surrounding beaches that boosts its tourism.

You can also divert from the Freeway and drop by Stockton Beach for its majestic sand dunes. If you want to explore this area further, the best way is by riding a camel, a sand buggy or a 4WD adventurer. However, do plan ahead as permits are necessary in renting an off-road vehicle. You may also include visiting the fishing towns of Hawks Nest and Nambucca Heads while you’re in the area.

Day 5- Heart of the Country Part 1

After indulging in lush coastlines and riverbanks, it’s time to head to the wilderness. Drive for about five to six hours towards The Heart of the Country region. This place is rich in national parks that preserves the natural wonders known only to Australia. Mount Kaputar, which is elevated by 1,200 metres from surrounding plains, is one of the best place to start your journey of this vast wilderness. The mountain’s rocky exterior offers breathtaking views including the Sawn Rocks, a rock formation with very distinct lateral patterns.

If you want to catch a glimpse of Australia’s fauna and flora, head to the Warrumbungle National Park which is just about a two-hour drive from Mount Kaputar. The magnificent Breadknife, an ancient volcano, is a must-see. You can even camp at three locations- Camp Blackman, Pincham and Wanbelong.

Day 6- Heart of the Country Part 2

For your second day in the Heart of the Country, drive for more than three hours toward Oxley Wild Rivers National Park. Spend time in Wollomombi Falls, the second highest in Australia, at 220 metres. You can also check out nearby falls such as Chandler Falls and Apsley Falls.

Travel a bit for three hours northward to Bald Rock National Park which features the water-streaked dome, Bald Rock which is 750 metres long, 500 metres wide and 200 metres high and is Australia’s largest granite rock. Vehicle entry fee in this park is $7 per day.

Day 7- Outback Part 1

After playing around the Heart of the Country, it’s a long drive towards the Outback. Be prepared to travel for almost half a day towards Bourke, which is considered as the gateway to the “real” outback. Here you can resupply and discover artworks in the Back O’ Burke Gallery. It also has an exhibition centre with interactive displays and a gift shop.

If you still have time in the afternoon, you can travel for two hours toward the mining town of Cobar via the Kidman Way. There are plenty of hotels and place to stay in this town for the night.

Day 8- Outback Part 2

Cobar has mining areas that were discovered as early as 1870’s. You can visit the Great Cobar Heritage Centre and  learn about the their mining history. The town is also known for their parkland where you can enjoy water sports.

If you have had your fill for the day, you can opt to go to the Snowy Mountains early. You can stop mid way to Canberra, which is more than seven hours away. Being the capital of Australia, Canberra has much to offer from historical sites to an active night life. It is also just less than two hours drive from your first stop in the Snowy Mountains region- the town of Cooma.

Day 9-Snowy Mountains

The  Kosciuszko National Park takes up a third of this region. The town of Cooma is a good starting point for your adventure as it is only an hour drive to this park. Here you can see the Mount Kosciuszko which is the highest peak in Australia standing at 2,228 metres.

Tourists can fully appreciate the beauty of this region during the winter season when you can have fun on its snow-capped mountains. The nearby town of Jindabyne is known for its ski resorts and unspoilt rivers and lakes. Another great place to visit is Tumut which hosts the Festival of Falling Leaf to celebrate the coming of Autumn.

Day 10- South Coast

For the last day of your 10-day tour, it’s time to explore the South Coast. If you have been here, you know that this region is known for its beautiful coastal and fishing resorts. Just travelling  Princes Highway traverses much of the attractions available. Visit the town of Narooma where you can spend time swimming and fishing.

You can also drop by the town of Merimbula which also has a beautiful coastline and marina. During the holiday season, you can go whale watching. Finally, if you are looking for a great shopping experience, you can drop by Wollongong, the third largest city in NSW. There are a lot of chic boutiques in this area plus the city itself is a marvelous place to explore. From here, Sydney is only an hour drive away, so returning your motorhome rental should be a breeze.

We only listed some of the most popular places you can visit in New South Wales, and there is still so much more to see. So check out Hippie Camper’s website www.hippiecamper.com  to get the best deals on your campervan rental right now!

 

4 Towns You Just Can’t Miss When Travelling to New Zealand

4 TownsThere are a lot  of ways and definitive signs to know you’re in love with a person: you wake up happy with the thought of your significant other or you know that time spent with them will be the best and will never be put to waste. For some, it takes time while for others, like a bullet through the heart, love comes instantly.

Exaggeration aside, it will not take you a full minute know that you’ve fallen head-over-heels in love, not a person, but with a country; and that is New Zealand. Every turn is a dream come true, every sight a marvel on its own and every activity worth taking a second (a third or even multiple) trips, and every opportunity you get to spend time here is one you should take.

If you have plans of visiting New Zealand for a few days, after the initial awestruck sensation you’re sure to have, you might find yourself extending your trip for at least a week or two. New Zealand’s biodiversity is owed to the fact that it is one of the last countries to be inhabited by humans. The “Middle-earth”, as it is fondly called after much of the Lord of the Rings trilogy scenes were filmed here, boasts of the untapped and the untouched; a fact that has paved the way for New Zealand to be marketed as “clean”, “green” and “100% pure”. There are 29 towns found in two main islands (and various islets) that make up New Zealand but the top four you shouldn’t miss are the following:

Queenstown: A Blur of Adventure

Photo by TomHall via Flickr/ CC BY 2.0
Photo by TomHall via Flickr/ CC BY 2.0

It comes as no surprise that Queenstown makes the list as one of the towns you shouldn’t miss when travelling to New Zealand. Many people would know that Queenstown is where most of the Lord of the Rings trilogy is filmed and it is one of the reasons why the resort town has become so popular.

Still, drawing most of the tourists are the promises exhilarating and literally breathtaking adventures. Scrape the skies with hot air balloon rides, cruise through the still water of Lake Wakatipu or go on heart-stoppers like jet boat rides, bungee jumping, ziptrekking, Gondola rides, hot air balloon or see the expansive surround via scenic flight to Milford Sound.

Nature and outdoor enthusiasts will enjoyment to be aplenty with several places of interest are The Remarkables, Coronet Peak, Skippers Canyon and Shotover River, among others.

Auckland: The City and the Sea

Photo by Chris Gin via Flickr/  CC-NC-ND 2.0
Photo by Chris Gin via Flickr/ CC-NC-ND 2.0

When it comes to the marriage between the urban metropolitan and the engaging sea, Auckland puts every other region to shame. Auckland is located in the far south west of the North Island with about 1.5 million people lucky enough to call it home. Though it is the largest and most populous urban area in the country, it’s major attractions, the beaches, remain as unspoilt as can be. The sands, sun and the sea are perfect for laid-back day trips, beach walking and swimming.

Blending heritages of European, Polynesian, Asian and Maori give birth to a distinctive culture only Auckland has. In the cosmopolitan area, the tallest free-standing structure in the Southern hemisphere is one spectacular sight as well giving you eye-catching  panoramic views of the central streets through its observation platform. Another way to see the magnificent cityscape is through the Mount Eden, a volcano with a grassy crater serving as the best natural way to view the beauty of Auckland.

Aptly named Tāmaki Makaurau by the Māori, New Zealand’s indigenous tribe, Auckland is truly “desired by a hundred men”.

Rotorua: A Real Hot Spot

Photo by Jason Jones via Flickr/  CC BY-NC-ND-SA 2.0
Photo by Jason Jones via Flickr/ CC BY-NC-ND-SA 2.0

Known for spouting geysers (the most notable are Pohutu Geyser and Whakarewarewa) and  for hot mud springs, Rotorua is a literal hot spot. Seismic forces have molded the region’s landscapes into dreamlike wonders, springs flow into streams and winding gorges, perfect for tours in duck boats or through nerve-wracking adventures via high-calibre jet boats.

Tourists flock to Rotorua on a daily basis mainly for two things: to relax and to have adventures. The geothermal activities in the town have spawned spa and wellness experiences for those looking to relax. There are mud baths, massages, paddle tours, hot water beaches and even kayak tours. For adrenaline junkies, Rotorua’s landscape make for great days outdoors. One of the most extreme happen to be rafting against or kayaking through the Kaituna Cascades. Other attractions you can do are ride gravity bikes or ride the sky swing.

Wanaka: Quiet made Quaint

Photo by Geee Kay via Flickr/ CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Photo by Geee Kay via Flickr/ CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

While Queenstown has become one of the best-known travel destinations in New Zealand, one that emerges as a less commercialised (and therefore more relaxed) resort is the humble town of Wanaka. The town lacks the hustle and bustle which gives way to experiencing the stillness and undisrupted natural beauty of the area. Lake Wanaka appeals to the relaxation-minded and is named the world’s first lifestyle reserve.

One of the first things you’ll notice about the town are the snowcapped mountains touched by wisps of the whitest clouds. These mountains could be better enjoyed through scenic helicopter rides and tours. The Deep Canyon is an abseiling adventure spot that balances the relaxed atmosphere with a taste of thrill. Meanwhile, another thing that is not to be missed is Stuart Landsborough’s Puzzling Worlds, a mind blowing experiences made for kids and adults alike. Other points of interest and festivals include the Paradiso Cinema, the National Transport and Toy Museum and the biennial Warbirds over Wanaka airshow

New Zealand is a breath of fresh air of a country with natural spots and landscapes that easily rival those of the South. Untouched, unspoilt and clean and green, take your Hippie Camper RV for a drive in NZ from our branches located in Auckland and Christchurch to visit the North and South islands, respectively. For easy access to updates on promos, games and events, follow Hippie’s Facebook page and pin a tab on our official website, www.hippiecamper.com.

 

The Great Ocean Road: From Melbourne and Back

Photo by Betsy Weber via Flickr/ CC BY 2.0
Photo by Betsy Weber via Flickr/ CC BY 2.0

When you get home from your trip to the Great Ocean Road, you’ll realise there might be nothing else that can top the experiences you just had. You’ll find yourself smiling as you remember the long yet equally wonderful drives on the inspiring coastlines, all the stopovers and activities you had and the bonds you formed with your travel buddy or buddies.

If you have a budding love affair for the beaches, seas and shores, the Great Ocean Drive is where you’ll definitely know you’ve fallen. But if you are still treading carefully in the water, it’s time to take the plunge and drive away through this stretch of magnificent road!

Where to Start

The best place to start your drive is from Melbourne. From the Hippie Campers branch found in 189A South Centre Road, Tullamarine (entrance via Annandale Rd), turn right onto the National Highway then to Princes Freeway, to Beach Road and then to Fernbachs Drive. The trip to Torquay, where the ultimate start of your Great Ocean Road adventure, will take you only about an hour and thirty minutes.

Torquay, where some of the best surf beaches in OZ are found, is where the trip officially begins! If you’re visiting in the Easter, you’ll be able to catch the the annual Rip Curl Easter Pro, the world’s longest-running surf contest. If not, the waves are almost always great anyway, especially from March to October. Next, see the kangaroos in a golf course or in the many nature reserves and parks found in Anglesea, stopover for some lunch in Lorne (only 30 minutes away) and then to Kennett River some koala hugs. Go for a thirty minute drive and you’ll arrive in Apollo Bay.

Photo by Ian Armstrong via Flickr/ CC BY-SA 2.0
Photo by Ian Armstrong via Flickr/ CC BY-SA 2.0

In Apollo Bay

Take time to take photos while on your way to Apollo Bay. The scenic cliff-tops and postcard-worthy wild beaches are stunning and are seemingly created to give everyone a picture-perfect sight! Spend the rest of the day in Apollo Bay, a coastal town. Here you can go swimming, surfing, sea kayaking and fishing. For no-cook dinners, visit The Bay Leaf Cafe or the famous Chris’s Beacon Point Restaurant and Villas.

The Next Day

The following morning, begin your day with a drive to Otway National Park and go on some adventures. The park offers the longest and tallest walkway of its type in the world which is known as the Otway Fly Tree Top Walk. For a rush of adrenaline, try the Otway Fly Zip Line Tour.

Photo by Katty Rawlings via Flickr/ CC BY-ND 2.0
Photo by Katty Rawlings via Flickr/ CC BY-ND 2.0

Coast back through the Great Ocean Road and head on to the famous 12 Apostles which are a strikingly wonderful group of limestone pillars that sit on the coastline. Now, only eight stacks can be found as some have eroded away through nature’s work. Still, the remains are nothing short of breathtaking. You have an option to stay by the road or go to the wild beach through the Gibson steps to see the 12 Apostles on eye-level.

If you happen to be on a drive on the Great Ocean Drive in the winter, you might get a chance to see some southern right whales or blue whales at Logans Beach found in the historic town of Warrnambool. Before that, you can also go to Loch Ard Gorge, Port Campbell or at the Bay of Islands.

Almost capping off this one adventure of a road trip is going to Port Fairy. Here lies more wildlife wonders especially in the Tower Hill State Game Reserve for koalas, emus, kangaroos and waterbirds. Also here is the Worn Gundidj Visitor Centre for an Aboriginal and geological history fix.

Dine in Port Fairy’s seasonal regional fare or treat yourself to luxurious restaurants in hotels and historic dining rooms such as the Merrijig Inn. The next morning, be amazed with the vistas that will wake you up to an inspiring drive on your way back to Melbourne.

Photo by Revelateur Studio via Flickr/ CC BY-SA 2.0
Photo by Revelateur Studio via Flickr/ CC BY-SA 2.0

Of course, if that’s not enough adventure for you, extend your road trip adventure to the Halls Gap and see the Grampians. The Grampians is the hub of Victoria’s Aboriginal sites and is where the communities thrive. It is also a lovely expanse of picturesque mountains and is teeming with national parks.

On Your Way Back

Trace your way back to Melbourne and experience the routes, the sights and all the experiences. Revisit your favourite attractions and discover more from those you breezed through. With your campervan hire from Hippie Campers, a second take would be as easy as 1-2-3.

The times you’ll see the water crashing to the shore are might be described as “countless” but you’ll surely never have enough. If you’re planning a road trip that you’d like to remember for a lifetime, then the Great Ocean Road is the journey you’ll want to take!

Book a vehicle with Hippie Campers and start planning your road trip adventure on the Great Ocean Road now. Visit http://www.hippiecamper.com/ or www.facebook.com/HippieCampers for more information.

3,512 kilometres, 14 days, 3 states, 1 Hippie Camper and a lot of fun and memories

This great story is courtesy of our Reservations Consultant Julian, who recently took a Hippie trip around Aus: When one of my mates from Germany told me that he’s coming to Australia for a visit we agreed in the most important point: We have to do a road trip!

Some months later and just a short taxi ride from the airport we finally picked up our Hippie Camper in Sydney, needless to say how excited we were to finally hit the road. Our first destination were the impressive Blue Mountains just a one drive out of the city. If you are heading there, get a map from the info centre and drive to some of the remote spots away from the mayor tourist bus stops. The landscape is beautiful, you can go for different walks or a swim in a creek and there is hardly anyone else around.

After our relaxed start, we drove south to Canberra visiting some of the cities free museums and the Australian parliament. Overall the city was worth stopping over, but it’s not a place you would like to spend all your holidays in. So we continued our journey towards Melbourne, stopping for lunch in the country town of Albury. Our Hippie Camper scored some brownie points with a local shop owner and some entertaining stories about road tripping and a free meal later we departed to Melbourne.

Unfortunately we underestimated the caravan park situation in the city and had to make some phone calls before finding a nice park in Coburg not too far out of the CBD. The following day we left our Coburg base by public transport to discover one of Australia’s most amazing cities, and trust me there is a lot to discover. Within the city centre, it is the most convenient to take a walking tour or hop on the free tram which takes you from the CBD to all the big sports facilities,  the Docklands and lots of other good places. My personal recommendation for the city is the Eureka Skydesk, a skyscraper lookout with memorable views over the whole city.

Two days later we left Victoria’s capital with many new friends, photos and big city impressions to spend a day in Phillip Island. Even though the island is populated, it still seems to be a place with a lot of nature and some great wildlife (wallabies, penguins, koalas, wombats and all kinds of birds), some of it in nice wildlife parks. Having ticked off some island fun off our list, we spend the night in Geelong to start one of the must dos in Down Under on the next day: The Great Ocean Road.

If you have been in Australia and haven’t done it, come back and make sure you do it self driving! We took two days for our experience of a road, I would rate the most attractive I have ever travelled. There are so many places to stop (almost every car park is worth it), go down to the ocean, or hike/drive up a mountain (Apollo Bay is quite awesome for that), the possibilities are numerous. We felt the biggest advantage in having our own camper was to be able to take the roads less travelled (e. g. Cape Otway Lighthouse or Triplet Falls Park).

From the ocean we went inland to the mountain ranges of the Grampians National Park. Just the drive to Halls Gap, where we made camp, would have been worth it as we were driving through the most original Australian towns with just a couple of hundred inhabitants.

All the driving made us want to go for some serious hiking and you bet the Grampians are the right place for that. Impressive rock formations, breathtaking views until the horizon and pure natural pools inviting for a swim, in other words we had a stunning time.

As time is flying by when you are having a good time, we started to make our way back east towards the coast, driving past Melbourne and spending the night in the chilled out coastal town of Lakes Entrance. Two days later which were packed with some nice national parks and sunny hours at beaches we arrived back into Sydney. At the start and end point of our journey we put the icing on the cake by visiting the Sydney icons Bondi Beach, Botanic Gardens, Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. And after precisely 3,512 kilometres it was time to waive our loyal and fun loving companion goodbye: Thank you Hippie Camper we will take you for another journey soon!