Our trip to Aussie this time was intended to be a road trip from Melbourne to Sydney. We only booked our hotel for the first day in Melbourne and the last two days in Sydney. We had a rough itinerary on hand but we left the accommodation bookings until the last minute so that we would stay at whichever suburbs that we were passing by when it was getting dark. It was re-living the trips that I had when I was little with my dad, only this time it is so much easier with all the apps available. We have google maps or waze this time, instead of the conventional maps. We are able to look for nearby accommodations and calling them ahead for availability instead of manually visiting the accommodations one by one. As for the accommodation, we wanted to not just stay in hotels but also in cabins and caravan parks.
What I loved about this trip was that not everything was planned. I love road trips with my family to just enjoy the journey on the road and the adventure of moving from suburbs to suburbs. This is how our itinerary looked like:
Day 1: Melbourne
We spent the day in Melbourne, staying at an apartment in Flinders St. On the way from the airport we passed by my old apartment and all the memories just come rushing back in. The city has changed so much since the last time I saw. We put our things in the apartment that we booked and then had lunch at my fave place, Nando’s. We spent the day going by foot to Victoria Market and then just strolling around the city to Flagstaff Garden and then Melbourne Central. Luckily we arrived in Melbourne on Friday so the shops are still open until 9 PM. At night we went to Crown Casino and had dinner there.
Day 2: Melbourne – Geelong – Great Ocean Rd – Colac
Melbourne is known for the coffee shops, unfortunately as our stay in Melbourne was very limited we only had time to try one coffee shop which was Higher Grounds located in Little Bourke Street. I must say that I loved the place. Their food and coffee was amazing, not to mention that the interior was grand yet warm. We went there around 8.30 AM and the place was already so busy.
We hired a car through a car rental site the day before to be picked up in Spencer St. After we got our car, we packed our staff and then started our road trip journey! Our first destination was Great Ocean Road to see the twelve apostles. Too bad it was showering that day, if it was sunny the view would have been so much more beautiful. The beach was just gorgeous and the sandstone rocks formation made it even prettier.
The next destination was Ballarat to see Sovereign Hill in the morning, but as it was already dark when we were only half way, we decided to have dinner in Colac and spent the night there, where we stayed in Colac Cabin and Caravan Park.
Day 3: Colac – Ballarat – Phillip Island.
It was only in the morning that we were able to see the view that this place had to offer. It was a hilly greenery scene of a farming land, it was just beautiful and calming. We left early from Colac around 9 AM to head to Sovereign Hill in Ballarat. I was surprised that it was very expensive to go inside, it was AUD59 for adults so we decided that only the kids and adults that haven’t been to Sovereign Hill that went in. As for me, we waited in the local restaurant and had lunch there. Sovereign Hill is an open air museum that portrays Ballarat’s first ten years after gold was discovered there in 1851.
After that we continued our trip to Phillip Island to see penguins. We reached there just in time at around 6 PM but unfortunately it was low season for the penguins to come out so there were only limited penguins to see. However it was enough to show our kids the shape of it. We used airbnb to rent a house in Phillip Island. There was an instruction on how to find the key to go inside, so when we came we had to be some kind of Sherlock Holmes to find the key to the house. It was a really nice house though.
Day 4: Phillip Island – Melbourne – Yea
We left Phillip Island around 9 AM to head to Melbourne and spend some more time there, but not in the city. We went to Monash University where my mom and dad as well as my brother and I studied. We showed our kids our uni in the hope that one day they will experience education here. We then went to Chadstone Shopping Complex to see how much it has changed and then had dinner at my dad’s favourite all time pizza place, Gabriella, located in Carnegie. The pizza is beyond delicious. The toppings were so generous, that even after we have tasted a lot pizzas at a lot of restaurants, the pizza at Gabriella is still the best. After dinner we direct ourselves to our next destination, which was Mt. Buller. After driving around an hour we decided to stop at the side of the road and looked for the nearest accommodation available. After calling a few accommodation we finally found one that was still available. It was the snow season and it was a weekend so it was a bit busy around the mountain area. But it worked out great, because the cabin was super nice.
Day 5: Yea – Mt. Buller – Benalla
It was freezing down in Yea in the morning. It’s been a really long time since I experienced that kind of weather. Today we continue our trip to Mt. Buller! We’re so excited to see the snow and luckily it was a really good day with the sun shining brightly. We didn’t ski though, we just played the toboggan had lunch and then did a sightseeing tour with the cable car. We should have done the opposite though, the cable car first then the toboggan because at around 4.00 PM the sun was already starting to set so it was kind of freezing when on the cable car. We went back around 5.30 PM and reached Benalla the closest city around 1 hour after. We headed straight to dinner as we were starving after playing in the snow. We managed to have dinner in this Chinese restaurant and then found an apartment nearby. The apartment was nice but was a little bit pricey compared the accommodation we had the previous days.
Day 6: Benalla – Canberra
We were lenient in our timing today. We only started to go out at around 10 AM but then we stopped by at Coles. Almost every day we went to Coles or Woolworths, I never realized how enjoyable it was to go grocery shopping. After that we stopped in a rest area for lunch. I had subway, yeay! And we were lenient with our timing there too. Then it was a straight drive to Canberra. Unfortunately, we reached Canberra when it was almost dark so we weren’t able to see the city or the Parliament House. We managed to find a 4 bedroom apartment to fit all of us in which was fun because up to this time we stayed in 2 or 3 separate cabins or apartments. We had dinner in a Thai restaurant in the city. Apparently In Australia it’s kind of easy to find Asian food, even in the suburbs so we actually had Asian once a day, whether it was Chinese, Vietnamese or Thai.
Day 7: Canberra – Sydney
We spent the morning strolling in Canberra. It’s such a beautiful and quiet city, but it was really cold. We went to the parliament house and also spent time in the lake. We had lunch in a Vietnamese Resto in Canberra before we went off to Sydney. We managed to reach here around 4 PM and we head straight to Sydney Harbour Bridge. Luckily (again), we reached Sydney on Thursday where it was a shopping day which the shops close at 9 so we went shopping in Town Hall. Had dinner at a Thai Resto called Home. It was so good and so packed with people.
Day 8: Sydney
There was kind of an incident where my nephew fell off the bed and kind of torn the corner of his mouth a bit. So I accompanied my brother in law to the hospital around 2 AM in the morning and was to go back again at 8 AM to get it stitched up. After that we went to Paddy’s market and apparently above Paddy’s market was a factory outlet so unintentionally we spent a lot of time there. It was already 2 PM when we had to force everyone to finish and went back to Circular Quay to go to Taronga Zoo. Unfortunately, we reached there in the evening, at 3.30 PM so we only had an hour to explore the zoo. Only the kids went in, and our goal was just to see the Australian animals such as Koala, Kangaroo and Wombat. After that we still spend time in Town Hall before heading home to have dinner there. A lot of my cousins study there and they cooked for us for our last night in Sydney.
Day 9: Back to Bali
We went to the airport in the morning, return our car and checked in! This marks the end of our extremely great road trip! I hope next year we can do another family trip.